Schumann Scherzo

February 9, 2008 at 02:28 AM · I'm brushing up on the scherzo and it is a beast! Anyone else feel the same way?

Replies (23)

February 9, 2008 at 10:21 AM · yes.

February 9, 2008 at 12:40 PM · If I'm ever auditioning and they tell me to pick some excerpts I NEVER do this one. It's so hard to go 2 measures without having a train wreck. Do you have any special way to practice this?

February 9, 2008 at 08:25 PM · Me too.

Though for a while, it worked really well.


1) Slow for intonation

2) Right hand only - open strings, for string crossings

3) Rhythms, also groups of 4/8/16

4)doubling, or best of all tripling, each note for clear, quick articulation and time to think between

5) on the string

6)playing everything on one string together, stopping, consciously moving the bow to the next string and playing everything on that, etc. For awareness of right arm levels and string crossing points

7) slurred

I think that's enough for now...

February 9, 2008 at 08:40 PM · i LOATHE this excerpt. i think it's worse than don juan. in fact, i'd rather they ask me to play a couple paganini caprices than this thing....

February 9, 2008 at 08:44 PM · Me too. Don juan is easier than this.

February 9, 2008 at 09:14 PM · I practiced it so much for my last audition that I started getting violently ill just thinking about having to do it again. It gave me nightmares in my sleep as well.

February 9, 2008 at 11:10 PM · It's not so bad if you have a good fingering. I think Don Juan is harder.

Also, people tend to play this excerpt a heck of a lot faster than it needs to be. Listen to what Mr. Preucil has to say about it on his excerpts CD.

February 9, 2008 at 11:18 PM · I auditioned on that one. Personally, of all the excerpts I played, I did the best on that one, probably because it had been drilled into my fingers so many times that they had a strong autopilot.

February 10, 2008 at 07:35 AM · Marty, do you do the traditional fingering? (i.e. shift with the jumps) My last teacher here had a different idea - shift after the jumps. For instance, the first one would be from E flat to D on the D and A strings in about measure 7. Traditionally, we'd play 1-1, but his idea was to play 1-3 and shift on the following note (2 on the next E flat). Weird, but ít does have some rhythmical and intonational advantages. What do you do?

February 10, 2008 at 06:35 PM · What does Preucil say????

February 10, 2008 at 09:08 PM · is the recommended metrononome marking of 144 too fast?

February 10, 2008 at 09:21 PM · Orchestras generally play it several ticks slower - if not at the beginning, then certainly after the first trio. But the ones which do play it at tempo are proud of it, and like to see their colleagues-to-be playing it that way as well. Obviously 138 or 132 and clean is going to be more impressive than 144 and hectic, though.

February 11, 2008 at 02:26 AM · whoops I can't spell. :P

February 11, 2008 at 02:29 AM · Hey Catherine -

Anywhere from 126-138 is good. 144 is generally for the coda.

February 11, 2008 at 03:49 AM · Mr. Preucil says anywhere in the 130s or 140s is ok. He says that playing at 144 in an empty hall may make it sound too fast and muddy.

February 11, 2008 at 04:23 AM ·

February 11, 2008 at 04:44 AM · I'm looking at my part here. It says 1/4 = 144. I listened to the Klemperer recording and it is around 130 to the 1/4. I much prefer Schumann's tempo for this work.

February 11, 2008 at 05:08 AM · You guys are bringing back great memories.

February 11, 2008 at 05:58 AM · I just had a lesson with someone who said "it would be better to play it at Quarter=120 cleanly than to play it faster while feeling frantic."

...but, to answer the question about practicing this little Scherzo of Schumann's...As the kids say, "Yes, it SUCKS!"

February 11, 2008 at 11:43 PM · Greetings,

one of the hardest things to conme to terms with on the violin is the idea that the more we practice stuff we loather and struggle with (the two often being synonimous) the better we become because we are adressing the real weaknesses in our playing rather than what we like to do. Using the Schuman as an daily etude is an interesting posisbilty...

Here are some ideas for practicing that I use.

1) If its detache pratice it slurred and vice versa.

2) Use all the diffenet bowings and rythms you can think of. However, accent practice is equally importamt and i think it gets neglected in favor of the other two types of heuristic.

3) The bowing is as importnat as the left hand so practice opens trings and opne stirngs with double stops so that you know exactly where the string crossings are and the bow is anticipating them.

4) Discoordiation is importnat so pracitce bowing only the g string and playing the left hand as normal.

5) Coordiantion is importnat so practice the hooked bowing tecnhique (1plus2 sluured, 2plus three slurred, etc all in a dotted rythm as fast as the mmwill go) This makes sure the left hand changes before the bow.

6) Practice left hand only.

Seven practice in very small chnunks, each one repeated many times using only one mental command. Then combine to chunks and reopeat the procedure , then combine three chunks and repeat and so on.

7) Imagine the grould were piano chords and practic eputting all four fingers down simultaneouysly. Just one grou@p at a time. Gibe yourslef time to vizualize.

8) Count aloud as you play. Dribves me nutrs..

9) Shadow play it (no instruemnt) before you go to bed every night. Make this the absolute last thing you do. Then the mind will learn it while you are asleeop.



Sorry, Magan already said a lot of this;)

February 11, 2008 at 11:46 PM · Great minds think alike, Buri.

Or is it 'fools seldom differ'...?

February 11, 2008 at 11:53 PM · Hi,

Yep - this one is though. Some personal suggestions...

1) The bow keeps the rythm - fit the left hand to the bow.

2) Keep the left hand fingers close to the string.

3) Think patterns - always know where the semitone(s) is/are in your hand. There are too many notes to think about to think any other way.

4) Keep the left hand and bow hold light - be weary of thumb pressure in either hand.

And last but most importantly - good luck!

February 12, 2008 at 01:23 AM · I think 120 is a much better tempo. Thanks for the ideas!

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