Zigeunerweisen

Edited: November 16, 2017, 3:13 PM · I've been working on the first set of quick notes in the first line, any specific suggestions as to how can I play faster? And, I meant fast, as in Heifetz-fast(if not, almost). I can do it within 3~4 sec, but I do miss a note or two, and the intonation isn't quite perfect.
Here's what I do: I tend to practice by splitting them into 3 major and 2 minor parts, starting with an open G(minor part), then play 3 sets of B to G(major parts), then play B and C(minor part) + E.
I can do these very well separately, but when it comes to joining them together in one bow, my finger gets rigid and the bowing between strings always create a squeaky sound. Noise, rather.
My teacher just told me to practice more, but are there any other possible ways?
I'd like to hear all the technical suggestions; none of the 'play what you feel' such & such. If you want to share your own experience of this line, you are more than welcome.

Replies (11)

November 16, 2017, 4:47 AM · Hi Dylan, I am no teacher (not that you seem to expect only tips from certified teachers), but for me personally it works better to think of three runs from C to B, with the initial G and B kind of glued freely in front, and the penultimate note, C, glued at the end. The final Eflat is detached from the run anyway. How I practice it is to first focus on the first two runs. If you shift on the E-string from first-position G to fourth-position B, that means that part is entirely in first position, except you end in fourth position on the first finger. You play the initial G and B freely, then try to play the two runs with as little bow as possible and you also try to nail that shift. (The two aspects can also be practiced separately.) Then the second part of the passage is the final run from C to B, which I finger 231234. I practice that starting already in the middle of the bow. Then you try to combine the two parts. The final two notes C and Eflat can be played freely, perhaps even with separate bows, the last B could also be given a bit more length. But that is interpretation.
Edited: November 16, 2017, 4:54 AM · By the way another fingering is to play also the low B on E-string in first position, then shift to first finger on C, some people prefer bigger shifts, the advantage is that you can start the final run on the first finger with a nice fingering 121233... with the highest B given some freedom, playing it with the same 3rd finger coming up from the G. Yet another good fingering, still starting with first finger on C, is 121212...
Edited: November 16, 2017, 5:32 AM · One problem with using the fancy German name "Zigeunerweisen" instead of the American translation "Gypsy Airs" is that one might misspell it.

The opening phrase somehow reminds me of the tune "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To." Take it away, Ella...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSY9Iwq3ne0

November 16, 2017, 7:00 AM · I don't have my copy of Zigeunerweisen in front of my but some general tips:

For fast runs involving string crossings, practice by pausing every time there is a string crossing. Finding every string crossing in order to pause is surprisingly difficult for many students.

If you're practicing in sections and then having trouble joining the sections together, the solution is obvious: practice the joints. Start from a few notes (or a phrase) before the joint, practice through the joint to the first few notes (or phrase) after the joint. Start by doing this slowly and then gradually speed it up.

November 16, 2017, 8:07 AM · A long standing method tought by my two previous violin teachers is the following:

Play the arpeggio in very slow triplets. Then play a tiny bit faster in sextuplets. Keep repeating these two methods. If you falter, start again with the slow triplets. The hand will only accommodate a certain speed so don't hurry the process.

The advantage of using this method is in training the left hand in inculcating finger memory. Milstein used finger memory and never gave a thought to the individual notes.

November 16, 2017, 9:35 AM · Practice in groups and rhythms.

Sorry to those I've promised to send out my version of groupings and rhythms. I've looked but can't find those who've contacted me requesting it. If anyone wants a copy, let me know and I'll get to it this week.

Frankly, I'm seeing too many advanced students who have not been taught to solve these easily-solved problems using groups and rhythms. There are too many teachers out there who are taking money from students and not giving them the tools to advance. This includes such basics as intervals, scales, very basic harmony, etc. I would have thought that the incredible competition of the music market place would have led to better teaching by this point.

November 16, 2017, 10:11 AM · Besides what MaryEllen suggests (practice the joints) one way to speed up a piece is to speed it up with the metronome. Start with a metronome speed that feels comfortable and easy no matter what it is. Then VERY slowly build it up by putting the metronome only one notch higher. Then another notch higher. Important is to also go back down with the metronome. So if you go up say, a total of five notches in one practicing session, go back down three again. Next day start one notch higher than you started the day before and do the same. It will take time to build up the speed but you'll be very secure with it. Be careful to remain relaxed both in body and in mind :)
November 16, 2017, 1:55 PM · Good advice Vivien and a very effective tool the metronome is. My teachers used the pencil on the music stand to gradually increase speed in practicing scales and arpeggios.

The use of various groupings of bow strokes (3 or 4 or 6 or 8) notes per bow stroke laid the foundation of many violinists. If a mistake is made, keep going and finish the scale or arpeggio and try to complete it.

Edited: November 16, 2017, 4:35 PM · How to think about this piece???
One could try to dash through it - or maybe watch a couple of movies about gypsies and rethink it.
Maybe watch the video of Nigel Kennedy playing Monte's Czardas to get some different ideas about tempos and what to do with Gypsy music.
Listen to some of Ivry Gitis interpretations of almost every encore he played (try YouTube).

And - practice the tough parts slowly and carefully. And work on your left-hand pizzicato for the 4th page.

My father-in-law, a cellist who was born in the 19th century told me he once knew a violinist who could not read music and could play only one piece: Zigeunerweisen! Hard to believe!

Edited: November 17, 2017, 12:55 AM · Here is my favorite rendition of Monti's Csardas with a touring Gypsy Orchestra having Jozsef Lendavy on the lead violin part. This is pure entertainment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3fYZDqb7qw

November 19, 2017, 7:06 AM · Scott Cole I'll gladly receive your rhythms guide. pdeck (at) vt.edu.

You might update your contact info on this site. I pressed the contact button and was led to a "buy this domain" web site placeholder.


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