December 2004

December 25, 2004 15:04

Merry christams everyone! I finally have a chance to get out my thoughts about bach, scales, progress, my brahms obsession, etc...

1)The search for meaning: The way I try to learn bach is basically what I refer to as "note juggling". The first thing I do is play a 3 octave scale and all arpeggios in what ever key the piece is in. I then try to learn every note and the order in which they appear, then I pay attention to how long each note is to be played and how the dynamics are marked. The thing is you can know the note and the time value of the note but more importanly it is necessary to know the MEANING of every note, what note needs to be accented, how long a not sould be held and also how long you hold the note and how that affects the tempo and the flow of the music. The term note juggling refers to the fact that you already know what notes are to be played and in what order but you keep playing them over and over until you have the phrase sounding the way it should sound and it doesnt always come right away. More importantly, even it doesnt sound the way it should what is important for me is to know HOW to play it and in time it will sound good with persistance. You have to know in your head how you want it to sound and just keep playing through it when the sound doesnt match what is in your head. You really have to want it, the desire to learn and grow and play bach correctly is where all inspiration comes from, you have to want it so bad you can taste it. The violin is like a puzzle and you have to play with the pieces to make everything fit and it doesnt come right away. I may be new to violin but I have been playing bach on guitar for a long time and Ive always broken pieces up into little phrases that I practice one at a time, often a only a few seconds each. I learn the first phrase and once I can play that I go on and then ignore the first phrase and move on to the second one, etc

2)The right way: I believe every piece of music has an inherent pulse, there is a natural tempo or "inner pulse" for every melody written. I find it intereting that how long you hold a note affects if the note is accented. Obviously volume also influences if a note is being accented also in addition to how much bite is being used or not used. When I learn bach, every note seems to have a meaning and it is important to identify why notes to accent. I remember talking to my friend Kelsey about wherehere or not there is one right way to play bach and we disagreed. She thinks there is more than one way to interpret bach, and I think there is one right way in terms of tempo and timing and dynamics, but there is still room for artistic expression with regards to portamento, adding trills, vibrato, tone and the give and take of rubato, it is ok to play a little fast or a little slow but overall the tempo must be steady and if you get infront of the pule a little and take part of a beat, you have to give it back in the next measure.

3)Polyphony: What has always affected me in the music of bach is the ployphony and counterpoint, there are frequently several layers of melody travelling in opposite directions resulting in an infinitely complex melodic structures because the accent changes even what voice is being used for example you play a chord and melody comes out of the top and the chord changes and then the melody may come out of the middle or the bottom often in a different direction, this is why I love the music of bach so much and is also why he is the master of all solo music ever written for solo violin.

4)Bowing: I watch videos of bach as much as are available to get bowing strategies for playing bach. Alot of time I have the notes in my head and think out all the ways to bow a phrase and I also do alot of experimenting and in the end I do whatever comes natural.

5)What Im really saying: In review the point I am trying to make is that it is important to know the meaning of every note and its relevance to the pulse and inherent flow of the music. How something so little as holding a note a little longer affects everything else that will be played next and what happens to the flow of notes as a result. I think it is artistic to have the concept of sometimes you hold a note a little longer and at the end of the phrase you make it a little shorter and vice versa. The main thing is if you take one you have to give it back so that it balances out but never sould the time get lost. I suppose sometimes this is ok to use alot of rubato to really stress a significant note, almost to say the music is so good Im going to stop to make you pay attention...

6)More about scale practice:I studied jazz for a number of years so my scale practice my be a little more in depth then most. Lets give the notes of a scale a number for example c maj c=1 d=2 e=3 f=4 g=5 a=6 b=7 I start by playing a scale in 3 octaves then play arpeggios then patterns like 2132435465 and 3142536475 and 1234 2345 3456 etc The I play in different keys g min then g maj a min then a maj d min then d maj e min then e maj etc. Im only starting to practice double stops and octaves. Someone asked me how to practice 3rds. You just take the intervals of the scale and skip a note like 13 24 35 46 57 68 etc you can play the nots one at a time or as double stops, 2 notes played at the same time. Most of you already know this and this is probably boring but for someone of my skill level it is a terrifically important part of my violin practising. I also like to make geometric charts of every note of a scale on a fingerboard and form my own chord scales, basically a geometric shape of the first chord and moving that shape up and down.

7)Re: progress, 7 yr old...
Ive been making good progress progress on my g min adagio and the chaconne, its so rewarding to play those intervals in tune! Lately I have been trying some lines from the c maj allegro and dmin gigue, wow those are so hard but I keep coming back to them. I also want to try working on the c maj allegro again soon. My goal is to learn all of the g min adagio and c maj largo by this time next year. I already know all of the d min and b min sarabandes in full by memory and almost half of the g min adagio, not bad for 2 years of playing. If I had started playing violin at age 5 I would be 7 right now so Im basically a 7 yr old kid who know about 2 1/2 movements of a bach sonata, i also know liebsleid by kreisler and estrillita by ponce by memory and can play the slow movement of the tchaikovsky concerto and vivaldi's summer and winter. Ill also be goofing around with bits and pieces of several concertos like Mozart 3, 4, more of the 4 seasons, beethoven, brahms, mendelssohn, dvorak, lalo and maybe some vieuxtemps 5...

8)Next time I plan on starting to log all my notes I have about brahms and his concerto and my obsession with his music and everyhting i know about him and his great concerto because i am obsessed with him right now. I hope to soon begin collecting notes about brahms from all the books i am reading and from all the cd liner notes i can find. Just to wet your appetite did you know the brahms violin concerto was written when brahms was 40, it originally was 4 movements and he burned his second violin concerto because the first one was recieved so poorly? More later...

9)I plan on making wednesdays violin day, and will start showing up at moms so I can not only practice without my mute when ever I want but also to start trying to learn from mr redrobe's online lessons and also the new masterclass web I have been reading so much about and also Steve Redrobe's String Academy Web (who studies with Oscar Shumsky).

scott (muggle violinist)

Archive link

December 19, 2004 14:28

157 for gasoline, am I hallucinating┬┐?┬┐

So anyways I recently had a lesson with my new piano teacher and she told me I now have guitar students so I gave a few guitar lessons, mosty scales and a little chord theory. Its nice to get paid for music for a change.

Later I plan on commenting about my thoughts about playing bach and a little about my brahms obsession

stay warm everyone

-muggle violinist

Archive link

December 2, 2004 09:07

Am preparing a drive by viola solo, details later...

Archive link

More entries: January 2005November 2004

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

2023 Authenticate LA: Los Angeles Violin Shop
2023 Authenticate LA Shopping Guide Shopping Guide


Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop


Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine