November 19, 2006 at 4:09 AMI started working on Conte Serieux by Ludwig Mendelssohn. It's from "Solos for Young Violists," volume 1, and it's supposed to be pretty easy and straightforward.
It is in some ways, but . . . it has a lot of double stops. They're all open strings. The editorial notes call them "beginning double stops." Okay, good, gotta start somewhere. But when I play them it sounds more like an intonation exercise than an artistic piece.
I didn't, of course, get that impression from listening to the CD at all. The CD is played by Barbara Barber, whom someone on the viola list was kind enough to tell me is a well-known Suzuki teacher and violinist as well as violist. I think her sound is lovely. It's very rich, it's smooth, it's lush. I have her on my iPod immediately following the artist known as Pinky playing Brahms, and I really like her better. Oops, probably shouldn't admit that.
My violin teacher of 10 years ago told me that the sound out in the room and the sound under your ear aren't the same. And I'm back to that again. I need to know what the relationship is on viola (or, to be more precise, I guess, on *this* viola) between the sound under my ear and the sound "out there." Under my ear I hear the open string of the double stop way too loudly, or at least way too insistently, but I don't know how to correct that. Or if it's even really a problem for a listener a few feet away.
Another problem that I've chronically had is kicking the ends of phrases where there is supposed to be a diminuendo. I'm doing that again and it's hard to stop. The double stops make it worse because I'm trying to make the note very precise and make sure I hear it correctly and before I know it, I've accented it inappropriately.
Here's a link to a good computer recording program called Audacity.
This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.
Violinist.com is made possible by...
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins
Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine