Intonation on violin is hard enough when you're alone. With piano I find it's easier because you can hear the chords.
Playing chords is even harder because you can tell quicker that someone's out of tune.
Playing a quartet composed of you, you, you, and you is... well... extremely hard.
With minimal tweaking, this is how I apparently sound in quartet form. Surprisingly, better than I had expected! Not perfect, but still pretty good!
I wanted to share a YouTube project with everyone here to showcase the power of the Internet in bringing violinists from all over the world together.
I found a violinist named Marc-André Gautier on YouTube and asked if he would like to perform the Bach Double with me. We've never met and I wasn't familiar with his playing style or Bach Double interpretation, but I felt I was up for the challenge.
I have learned A TON about my own violin playing through this process. Marc-André first recorded his violin part and sent the video and audio to me. I printed out the sheet music from imslp.org, grabbed a pencil and watched Marc-André's video over and over again, writing down fingerings, bowings, and expression. I then practiced against his video, recording my takes and then listening back to determine what could be improved. I was amazed to find out how little I vibrate my notes vs Marc-André, especially the short ones. His video also taught me how to improve my tone and expression in the right hand. It was like a private masterclass that I could pause and resume as many times as I wanted!
Once I was ready, I recorded against his audio and mixed the two together. It took many hours to get everything synced together, but I'm proud of the final result and hope you will enjoy it as well. I'd also like to know how obvious (or not) it is that we recorded separately and then combined the videos together. The hardest part of this project was timing my playing with his in the absence of organic, real-time body language cues.
Thanks for watching and I'd love to hear your feedback on this! And I'm working on the Handel-Halvorsen Passacaglia with cellist Nathan Chan and will post it here as well if people like this one - the audio is complete but there's work to be done to get the video in sync.
-- Ben Chan
More entries: April 2011
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