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Mendy Smith

Exploring the Fingerboard

January 28, 2008 at 7:59 AM

In picking up a new piece, Hummel's Fantasie, I perused the cadenza thinking that maybe some day I might be able to play a cadenza like this. My first exposure to the cadenza not long ago left me sitting back and listening to my teacher play a rather remarkable peformance, while I gave up even trying to keep pace.

Not long after that lesson I thought to myself, if not now then when? Why not just go for it? It's a huge challenge, but then again, I've pushed myself before and took giant leaps both technically and musically from the experience. So, I e-mailed my teacher - I'm going for it! He accomodated my desire for a new musical adventure, and the cadenza has been worked into the last few minutes of lessons.

After the time I spent with Jose yesterday, my recent lesson with Joel, and a new-found bravery after performing in public solo for the first time in decades, I looked at the cadenza under a new light. The 32nd note run that covers 3 octaves, shifts from 2nd position to 8th position and then proceding back down the fingerboard, 3rd & 4th position on the C string, harmonics (single, double stopped, fingered), etc... Seems a bit overwhelming, but then again, it wouldn't be the first time I've pushed myself. I applied the tricks & tips that both Joel & Jose have given me and worked through the cadenza note by note, measure by measure, forwards and backwards. Then I gave the cadenza a run-through. I think I can do this!

With my new-found sense of adventure still going, I pulled out Clarke's Sonata for Viola & Piano, a piece that I didn't think I would be able to tackle for several more years. Looking at the first movement, it didn't seem THAT much more difficult than the cadenza. Could I even attempt a piece that is written almost entirely in treble clef that is mostly played in 3rd position and higher all the way through?

What the heck! I gave it a go, slowly, without worrying much about tempo, rhythm or dynamics at this point. Hummmmmm...... it's got some definite possibilities now. What will Joel think when we finish Hummel and I bring this piece in...

Enough music candy! Back to my "homework" assignment: the string crossing excercises on the last page of the Hummel. Just a bit faster now, just a tad under tempo...

From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on January 28, 2008 at 12:26 PM
Oooh, the Clarke Sonata! My teacher suggested that to me too after we finish the Passacaglia. Maybe we'll be working on it at the same time :)
From Stephen Brivati
Posted on January 28, 2008 at 10:37 PM
nothing wrong with pulling -technical- passages such as scale runs out of a work thta is a bit beyond you and building them into your daily practice regime. My firts teacher made me practice the thirds and 10ths from Paginini 24 long before I actually studied the work. That bit was ready when I took up the work. Anothe rplayer on this list has talke dabout how his teacher made him make his own scale maunal using all the scales from the Sibelius cocnerto, and so on.
Go from strength to strength,

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