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Mendy Smith

Etudes in Odd Places

February 2, 2010 at 3:00 AM

A few years back when I was learning to play the Moldau, my teacher at the time threatened to give it to me as an etude, and later followed up on that threat.  It turned out to be an excellent etude for 2nd position as well as endurance. 

After that experience, I began looking at the pieces that I was learning in a different way and started identifying passages that posed a particular technical challenge that I could use as etudes: Bloch's Suite Hebraique for the cadenza up in the stratosphere, Bridge's Lament for its double-stops, Brandenburg #6 for its low 2nd (F-nat) & 4th (A-nat) passage, the list goes on.

I discovered a new piece/etude recently:  Vieuxtemp's Cappricio measures 28& 29.  These two measures has a whopping 53 notes with many string crossings.  The challenge, besides managing so many notes in two measures, is to make each note clear in tone - a matter of bowing technique.  Taking these two measures at a very slow tempo while looking in a mirror is helping me work on my bowing - from my bow hold, right hand flexibility, right arm height for each string, to the "push/pull" of the bow stroke. 

You never know where you will fine a good etude.

From Stephen Brivati
Posted on February 2, 2010 at 4:50 AM


I once knew a good etudist,

Who happened to be a nudist.

He could find a 5th

In any orrifice,

So his technique was the cutest.




From Mendy Smith
Posted on February 2, 2010 at 5:22 AM


Oh Buri !  Will you marry me?  I LOVE your humor!

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on February 3, 2010 at 2:07 AM

Thus one could say this etudist... surely practiced much vibrato and glissando studies I suppose right? ; )


From Marsha Weaver
Posted on February 3, 2010 at 5:05 PM

Hey, Buri's on the right track here!  We should have a violin-specific limerick competition!!  Anyone up for it?  :)

There once was a violin student

Whose violin choice wasn't prudent.

It shrieked and it screeched,

And new sounds were reached

By this poorly-built musical mutant!

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on February 3, 2010 at 7:58 PM

Talented poets to be found here...


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