March 2012

BAH. BACH. Steady even tone no matter what. Yeah, right..

March 16, 2012 03:57

I had one of THOSE lessons on Wednesday, still not sure how to feel about it. I am working on the Bach accompanied sonata no.2 in A major. This is the 2nd month, and finally I have sorted out the timing things (does anyone else shift the goal posts so that notes held for too long are compensated for in the next bar by playing short? Sometimes I miss seeing a change in pattern, and make dumb mistakes like that). Teacher had been hinting along the weeks that once the rhythm and timing were established, we were to dig into the tone.

But Wednesday was the day when I was finally going to show how WELL I can play the first movement. I knew the notes, and in my head they sounded pretty good.

So with S1 the teacher at the piano, and S 2 (that's me) at the violin, I poise to go - and didn't even get the first note in. S1 "have you thought about how your setting the bow before you play? S2 "huh?" S1 "hmm. ..."

So for ten minutes she moved my bow arm in a sort of graceful arc, hand over hand to make sure the bow was positioned nicely between thumb, little finger so it was straight on landing, at the frog, flat hair, NO shoulder raising (ever), and then we played that first and second note. then me, then her, then me again.

30 minutes later I was ready to play the first phrase.

Since the lesson still and another hour of life left in it, you can guess at the pace today. And once again, I was not able to suddenly uncloset my hitherto unrevealed prodigious capacity. I think I have to accept that I never will.

And today, since micromanaging means I have now memorised the piece, I played without music, eyes shut and listened. And to tell you the truth, it was a teeny bit horrifying how uneven the tone is, and the notes that stand out are the ones that are easier to play. I think this is one of the true gifts f a good teacher - S1 has never implied that its horrible, but that it can be improved, but lordie I wouldn't want to listen all day the way I sounded. - that was really the gist of that lesson, to develop a constant sound so that no matter where in the bow or the rhythm I am, every note CAN sound exactly like every other note, and then I can choose to change that.

I suspect this lesson is a long way from learnt. Anyone who wants to pipe in with ideas for how you first think about setting your bow, and how to keep that constant tone (particular moments of weak sound are the slurred up bows ), please chime right on in. I'm charging batteries for my Kodak flip tonight, will upload video progress tomorrow. then we can really get in on the action.

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