April 2011

The whole third variation

April 28, 2011 11:34

After posting the theme about a week ago, I've only posted things like scales and the Kreutzer etude, so today I wanted to post a portion of the caprice.  I thought about trying to get variation 2 up to tempo, but I was a little too afraid of the grace notes, so I passed.  But variation 3, what's so hard about a few octaves?

Here's where we get into a plus of having this blog.  Besides the first passage, which I posted about a month ago, I hadn't played any of this variation before.  Danielle played the whole thing, so I knew what it sounded like, but not where the fingers went, what notes there were, etc.  Now, I take forever to learn anything new on my own because I'm really slow at reading music.  I can do it, but I have to figure it out note by note and then figure out which finger needs to go where on the fingerboard.  Then I have to worry about the rhythm, which I usually end up messing up anyway.  How is this a plus for the blog?  The blog literally forced me to learn this so I could play it and post it--something I spent about four hours on today (although I didn't practice thirds - don't tell Danielle).  Without the pressure of posting, I probably wouldn't put myself through this torment.

And octaves really make my pinkie hurt.

In this variation, every note is a double stop, so playing it involves shifting the first and fourth fingers up and down the G and D strings.  I tackled this in two ways.  First, I practiced playing octaves in general.  Here, the octave scales helped and some Sevcik exercises helped as well.  Second, I learned the notes of the variation with the first finger shifting along the G string only.  Here's the first finger only starting at that high A:


Once I had the notes relatively in tune and the rhythm not horrible, then I added in the fourth finger and played the double stops:

 Again, like everything I've put on here, it's not perfect but I'm fairly proud of that four hours.  It takes a little too long to find that high A (I think it's closer to a G#), the rhythm isn't perfect, and the octaves themselves at times are not quite full octaves (more like a 7th, if such a thing exists) but I'm happy with it.

The next step was to play it with vibrato, which I did next:


Not bad, huh?

Read the whole story at www.vaughnvsviolin.com

2 replies | Archive link

So here's the entire theme

April 20, 2011 22:41

I really don't know why I'm stuck on getting the theme up to tempo, but I just am.  One of the most important things for me to practice right now is to play things slowly and try to make them perfect, and trust me I do that also.  A huge concern though, as I've mentioned before, is to be able to play things fast.  Since I have to play this thing in 10 months, I don't exactly have time to dilly dally, so that's where I'm coming from here.

First off, my rhythm sucks.  Perhaps that's a little dramatic, but it's certainly not great and the theme has sort of a tricky little rhythm.  It's basically an 1/8th note followed by a 1/16th rest then a 1/16th note in the first beat, then four 1/16th notes in the second beat, then that pattern continues.  Doesn't sound too bad, does it?  The hardest part is knowing when to play that first 1/16th note after the rest.  It's supposed to be right before the next beat, and the beat starts with the second 1/16th note.  Does that make sense?  It's supposed to look something like:

BUM  bum BUM bum bum bum BUM  bum BUM bum bum bum BUM...

Timing when to play that "bum" right after the rest is pretty hard.  Also, I tend to speed through the four 1/16th notes and make the too long.  Metronomes help, but when the going gets fast, it's difficult for me to even tell if I'm with the metronome.  Another metronome problem is that infernal noise box right next to my ear drowns out the sound of the metronome, so it makes it even harder to tell if I'm with it.  Danielle devised a little solution to that last problem.  This is not a joke; she was quite proud of herself and actually wants to invent this contraption.  I'm practicing the Kreutzer:


I've been working with the metronome on the entire theme and also targeting just the 1/16th notes, trying to get them as even as possible.  It's certainly not perfect.  Here's me playing the theme:


So the first part doesn't sound too bad, but it gets a little rough around the edges later on.  Oh well, room for improvement isn't entirely a bad thing.

Read the whole story at www.vaughnvsviolin.com

5 replies | Archive link

My Introduction to Arpeggios

April 13, 2011 11:55

A few days ago, Danielle started me on Caprice 24's finale, which starts out with an A-minor followed by an A-major arpeggio.  Since arpeggios are something I should probably be working on anyway, it seemed a logical choice.  The arpeggios themselves weren't too difficult to learn, but to actually play them was another story: 

I actually just slur two notes at a time because it seemed a little too fast for me.  The music says I should slur 6 notes at a time, and Danielle wants me to play it slurring 12!  That's in the future, I'm afraid.

The next day, I took some more time with it and actually played it slurring 6:


Finally, I added in the next little part which is a D-major (or is it D-minor?) arpeggio:


The finale gets really hard after that part.

Read the whole story at www.vaughnvsviolin.com.

3 replies | Archive link

Fast Fears

April 3, 2011 17:56

 As I practice and play in my own little world, it's easy to forget how real violinists sound and look as they play.  Now, I'm not saying I should be playing at that high a level, but the speed at which the Paganini Caprice should be played is, to say the least, intimidating.  Even the theme, which I have down the best at this point, isn't anywhere near tempo.

 So I'm scared.  Mostly, I practice at a slower tempo, a tempo where I can hit all the notes and make it sound as clear as possible, but I also try to play faster - and it's always a disaster.  Danielle says the speed will just come; I hope that's true.

At this point, you're probably tired of variation 2, but I promised I'd post a video of me playing the entire thing, so here it is.  I'm not ecstatic with this performance, but it'll have to do for now:


It's not that clean and certainly not fast enough.  I'm a little disappointed with this variation because I thought it would be much easier, but it's turned out to be a beast.  Whenever the hand has to be really stretched out with the index finger and pinky (first and fourth fingers) on different strings all far apart, well it's hard.

Danielle described the first and fourth fingers on the strings like a block.  She had me do this blocking exercise:



Read the whole story at www.vaughnvsviolin.com

11 replies | Archive link

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