bach sarabande supported by shoulder rest, chin rest, strad pad:)

July 23, 2010 at 11:39 PM ·

in this video my kid was trying to play sarabande on her own since teacher is away for most of the summer, with her usual setup: rest, chin rest, strad pad.  as i said in the other thread, she must be reasonably happy with the setup because she never complained about it.  on the contrary, this morning when i asked her to try without the rest,  she found it bothersome. 

my personal opinion is that sd rest allows many kids to arrive at some level of stability which is important for beginners who need to deal with many overwhelming facets during practice.  i acknowledge that there is a fine line often between to use vs to abuse.  ron and buri talked about their approach which makes a lot of sense, but is more sophisticated and may require continued education on the part of violin teachers. 

also feel free to share your feeling on how sarabande should be played...on body mechanics...on how to get the most of practice when you have no time, haha:):)  

ps. the violin strings are about 8 months old.  do they sound bad enough that need changing?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ta9KhvVASxs

 

Replies (37)

July 24, 2010 at 04:15 AM ·

@Al,

Terrific playing.  You must be very proud.  The Sarabande is a lot tougher than it sounds.  Since you are asking for feedback, I'll offer my amateur observations, so take them with a grain of salt.  Perhaps Sensei Ron or Buri can add to the following.  Or expose me as a complete crackpot that should keep my opinions to myself.

First of all, your daughter appears to have a medium, longish neck so the gap between shoulder and chin must be filled somehow.  It appears that most of the gap is filled with a rather high shoulder rest and relatively little if any elevation on the chin rest.  If she were to use a lower shoulder rest, so the violin sits on or near the collar bone, and a higher chin rest, that would lower the elevation of the instrument making it easier to pull a full sound.

Secondly, I noticed her right index finger has a lot of bend in it.  With her index finger in that position, it becomes quite difficult to flex the fingers of the right hand.  Flexible fingers allow for smoother bow changes, fuller sound, and easier string crossings.  Sevcik Op 3 (40 variations) is terrific for developing a loose right hand.  Buri recommended it to me, and it is doing wonders for my right hand.  

I also notice that when she plays on the G string, there is quite a bit of motion in her head and shoulders to tilt the instrument to make the G string more accessible.  This is one of the downsides of using an SR IMO.  Because the SR is more or less locking the instrument at one tilt angle relative to the body, one must move the head and shoulders to change that tilt angle.  When playing restless, the violin can be tilted more readily without tilting the entire upper body.

Overall, she is an amazing violinist.  How does she memorize all those notes?

July 24, 2010 at 11:19 AM ·

hello smiley, since i am not a musician, take my response to your observations with tolerance:)  first of all, thank  you for your time and input.

your suggestion on varying the chin rest/rest height ratio makes sense, which goes along with the central theme in the other thread.  definitely another way to try to improve even though she doesn't overtly complain of anything except that it is indeed painful to practice violin if i have pulled her away from her favorite tv programs.

i also find your take on the right hand/finger flexibility very perceptive.  although i am not very familiar whether it is the curved index finger that leads to the tightness/stiffness of the hand, i do acknowledge that her right hand can use much more relaxation.  in fact, that is one area we have tried to focus on, specifically, everyday, such as doing some bow work near the frog before anything.  your point on this will help her to continue to focus on it.  some kids can handle the bow with a relaxed, collapsed hold without trying very early on.  others seem to have to work on it.  also, the length of her hand and individual fingers are longer than kids of similar age from very early on.  i wonder if that contributes to the way she prefers to hold the stick...  i am considering holding a cane in my hand and give her right hand a whack whenever it looks tighter.  do you think the threat will do wonders?

again, good observation on some degree of body sway between e and g string. it is indeed what you have said, just that i don't know enough to comment further, whether what she is doing is ok, or not ok for people on rest, or whether it warrants a restless approach. 

i think she is the type of person if given the chance to learn a new page by reading the score vs listening by ear, she gets it much faster listening by ear.  i have noticed that very early on, that she can remember 5-6 page concertos (more or less:) in a week without any particular effort.  if she has put her bow through the phrases couple times, the phrases are basically in her already. but the downside has been sightreading ability which has improved of late after some emphasis. 

July 24, 2010 at 11:33 AM ·

 Greetings,

its always a real pleasure to listen to your daughter play.  As Smiley has observantly noted she seems to be rotating the violin to get the chords and this is having quite an overall effetc in destabilizng her structure (my observation- I`m the mean one).Its sort of a back handed compliment.  Since she is well coordinated she is compensating by all the swayign up and down and becaus eit correpsonds to the music in effetc peopel often say `oh, she is expresisng the music with her body.`  This misinterpretation of the situation is not helped by the fatc that if you forced her to keep still, perhaps by standing somwhat away from a doorpost and leaning back on it then the movement might sort of feedback into its orign and block the music, thereby proving thta it is necessary to move around to express the music.  Sort of vicous circle of delusion.

The bow can also be seen as a kind of see saw wit the tumb as the fulcrum around wich it swings/roatates.   This makes playing movements such as htis Bach much simpelr becaus einstead of mving the violin to meet the bow one simply allows the long end of the stick (on te left side of the fulcrum as it were) to drop virtually using only gravity.  Its an efofrtless way of playing which allows the music to flow very freely.  One way to work on this is to pause just before a chord and actually allow the part of the bow on the right side of the thumb to fall into the palm of the hand by dropping the little finger over the frog as though it was changing to a cellists bow hold... You cna even play the chord if you wish.  Getting this kind of feleing in te right hand is invaluable in Bach.   

At te moment I woudl have to say that the extended right hand index finger is verging on the boreder of caricature and as Galamanina once said to a young Joshua Bell `if it looks ugly,  it@s wrong.`   That is a bit of a downer because it dispenses with my cat.

Cheers,

Buri

July 25, 2010 at 10:30 PM ·

'Live Free or Die Hard'

I get a rap on the knuckles if my index finger creeps up like you daughter's. She'd better be careful. :)

July 26, 2010 at 12:04 AM ·

ha.  today when she practiced,  i suggested that the silver wire part should not be touched too much because there is a chance of silver poisoning, that her index finger should be on the leather section :).

she went to the internet to research silver poisoning.  we will see what happens,,,

john, you have noticed something that happens with her or some other kids, that everyday is a new day to make more bad habits out of thin air for no particular reason, making aging gracefully for parents rather challenging.  hehe.

July 26, 2010 at 04:14 AM ·

Forgive me if I repeat some things already mentioned. First of all, it's always a pleasure to hear your daughter- we get to grow up with her, hear the refinement in her playing and her developing skill level- she continues to blossom and grow- it's great !  And she's lucky to have such a supportive and caring father- don't blush- it's true!

 As for the general things- yes, she needs to  look after the relationship between the way she turns  her violin head and neck. It seems that she sometimes moves or leans to the right  in a way that may seem natural to her but that does not benefit the tone. In general, I'd suggest following something Oistrakh does quite beautifully and naturally in the following video:

http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&hl=en&q=Oistrakh+Claire+de+LUne+youtube

The principle is to shift weight from left foot and leg  to right foot and leg when playing slow to medium speed bows from frog to tip on a down bow and move in the opposite way from tip to frog on an up bow. This moves the center of gravity so that you can still have weight in your arm and a sense that you can sustain the sound in the bow longer than if you move the opposite way. If you're trying to get rid of the bow in a hurry, with fast speed, say on a final brilliant chord, you would move your bow to the right while shifting your weight to the left.

The other thing has to do with vibrato and developing greater ability to choose to vibrate faster or slower at will, wider or narrower. These exercises may  prove helpful:

http://www.violinmasterclass.com/vibrato_qt.php?video=vib_exer3&sctn=Exercises

 

July 28, 2010 at 01:11 AM ·

hello ron, thank you for the very helpful suggstions and advice, as always.  since she is decidedly going to be a recreational player, it is very much fun to get experts like you to throw in  a bone or two via this medium.  it is fun and stimulating.   perhaps some will question: hmm, then why doesn't she get the teaching from her teacher instead?  well, let me tell ya:)   i think the fact that she can pick up a violin, ready or not, to play for youtube, knowing that others will comment/criticize, is the outcome of this approach: learn to take suggestions from all over at a young age, just play for the sake of it,  don't worry how it may sound like,  be comfortable playing for others, be comfortable with yourself.   that is why they say dogs in new york city are the least jumpy because they are used to all the noises already,,, so thank you youtube, thank you v.com and v.comers for raising a puppy collectively.

john, with a pink dress, you have to shake it! :)  i have no idea who you are talking about...but then again, these days, people often develop their musical style,,,,extrinsically:)

July 28, 2010 at 01:23 PM ·

I noticed the following clip of Perlman demonstrating how he changes the tilt angle of the violin.  Look at what he does at 5:15.

Itzhak Perlman, Tchaikovsky VC

Perlman makes it look easy, but he also plays without an SR, and his head is attached directly to his shoulders; I don't see a neck do you :-) 

For the teachers out there, how does one go about changing the violin tilt angle with/without a shoulder rest?  Is there a standard technique, or does it vary depending on physiology and setup? 

 

 

July 28, 2010 at 02:35 PM ·

actually, what is the purpose for that tilt?  can someone give him a call or do i have to do it? :)

if we tilt the violin to make G string playing easier on the bow arm, well, he was on the g string, so why move around so obviously?

is this simply a body stretch to let loose of the body tension during a slower part? or genius doing things because he can?

we often talk about neck length.  with some people, the chest size/thickness also contributes the the equation on proper setup,  i think. 

smiley, without a rest, do you feel that your neck now needs to tilt sideways more or less than with a rest?

 

July 28, 2010 at 04:49 PM ·

If you notice what Perlman does before that head/neck change on the G string where he tilts the violin is that he is still playing on the G string before that with a higher level to his arm,so one might wonder why he did not do this at the beginning of the passage that started on the G string.  Also, it looks as if  he shifts the violin position with more than just a movement of the head dropping- something is bringing the violin over and tilting- it's not just the head nodding like we see in the clips John posted before which dealt with this issue- the ones in which you see players "nodding" their head to change the tilt to facilitate and make more efficient their string crossings to the G string and back  again to the other strings and to provide a better angle for the left hand as well.

This is a technique that I've never heard any teacher explain to do but it seems to be a logical and easy way to change angle. It is more difficult to do it with a shoulder rest, but it depends on the positioning of the rest and how fixed the position is. The tilt can also be done through a movement of the hand but what basically happens is that the violin is brought  up and  closer to the bow to shorten the distance the bow arm would have to travel to go over to the G string and then released down so that the arm is at a better angle for the E string. A lot of this is subconscious because the instinct is there to shorten the distance so that you can get to the notes on time.

July 28, 2010 at 09:53 PM ·

smiley, without a rest, do you feel that your neck now needs to tilt sideways more or less than with a rest?

I tilt my head less, but it may not be a fair question to ask.  I now have a raised chin rest which is something I did not have when I used a shoulder rest.  But my head is quite neutral -- slight downward tilt and almost looking straight forward, with very slight twist to the left.  Violin is pretty unnatural as we all know, but for long term comfort, it makes sense that playing position should be as close as possible to non-playing position (e.g., just standing straight, call that "neutral position").  The more we deviate from neutral, the more stress we are putting on our body parts.  So the head should not be heavily tilted or twisted and the shoulders should be relaxed, not raised.  That's what seems sensible to me, and that is what I am shooting for in my playing. 

 

July 29, 2010 at 11:43 AM ·

hello smiley, that makes sense.  i really like your approach and philosophy on that.

having said that, i have seen many people, without a shoulder rest, with overly thin chin rest,  tilts extremely or rocks the head more freely, because there is more space/room for the head to move around.

to be fair, i have also seen many with good set-up, ie, neck and head in good angle, space under the chin well cushioned,  but still manage to squeeze hard under the chin.

a good tool used poorly...

July 29, 2010 at 03:56 PM ·

Good Morning from Texas:

If you would like to ask Mr Perlman a question, he takes questions from his facebook page and

answers with youtube videos.  I've watched a couple.  Just Mr Perlman talking. Quite the resource for those (i)enquiring minds.

all the best to all around the world. I just love reading the converstions here.

Clif Fiske

 

July 29, 2010 at 07:48 PM ·

Hi Clif,

I noticed you are a golfer.  Since I reconnected with violin a couple of years ago, my handicap has gone up by 12 strokes.  :-) 

July 30, 2010 at 12:05 AM ·

talking about this centering and balance,,,it really helped my kid's golf of late.  improved her contact and therefore better distance control and feel.  was able to shoot 2 under par 3 times in junior 9-hole tournaments.  what  it can do to violin study is yet to see, but the past couple weeks of discussion and our application definitely made a difference in golf.   balance is the key, really.

still, talk is cheap!  here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kwo1Ec3avkU

July 30, 2010 at 12:59 AM ·

Bravo.. Nice and expressive.I share the opinion above  about the right index. This makes balance uncomfortable. I do not really care about the shoulder pad issue. I started at 5 without any and still think like Milstein expressed it so may times that the contact with the instruments ( violin and bow) is more intimate. I will not go fto far on that issue,because violinists like Hahn and Ehnes play wonderfully and they are using shoulder pads. I have a long neck and wide shoulders and still hold the violin on my collar bone solely and with my entire left-hand and thumb without effort.

I believe that at the very beginning, children should be teached to play without a shoulder rest. At first it is more difficult, but balance comes naturally with time. The teacher. must be able to play without and be aware about all the subtilities of that kind of playing. I do not believe in long necks and short fingers being the cause to use a shoulder pad. If you look at Milstein aged 24,or any pics of Kreisler, they had long necks. Kreisler was a tall person. Idem with Szigeti...

July 30, 2010 at 01:26 AM ·

marc, thanks for the comment.  whenever i see milstein play (on tape), his violin scroll more likely than not points below the horizontal plane.  i guess it is energy saving in a way.   is that an issue in terms of sound production?

i know violin teachers as a whole constantly remind their students to raise up the scroll to level.

it is an interesting thought what will happen if most teachers themselves do not use rest and teach likewise... 

July 30, 2010 at 01:28 AM ·

In the second video, her eyebrows are rather stiff and directionless. Shouldn't they lead in the direction of the bow stroke for good balance, overall harmony, and to better engage the audience and prepare them for what is to come? High awareness of eyebrow orientation can also help a violinist with choosing bowings.

Corruption of the eyebrow-arm neural loop is, unfortunately, a product of our classroom education system. While some movement of eyebrows is allowed, enthusiastic arm waving is discouraged, so the natural pathway between the two goes fallow from suppression and disuse, and symbiosis is lost. This has dire consequences beyond violin playing. Breakdown of non-verbal communication cues between "classroom cultures" and "non-classroom cultures" resulted in misunderstandings, which were at the root of the slave trade.  So synchronizing the bow and eyebrows should not be taken lightly .

We also can't see what her feet are doing. Judging from her eyebrows and lack of expressive interpretive ear movement, there could be significant tension in the toes, or the arches of the feet. Tension is heavier than relaxation, so gravity  tends to cause it to accumulate in the feet, unless one cinches up the belt, or is wearing very tight underwear.

Google "Yoda" for some good expressive ear movements. Yoda lived to be 900 years old, so I think ear suppleness, range of motion, and expressiveness clearly tie in to health and longevity. Perhaps wisdom too.

July 30, 2010 at 01:30 AM ·

:)

July 30, 2010 at 02:20 AM ·

 Greetings,

absolutely right.

Gogh chopped a chunk off and look how young he died.  

Cheers,

Buri

July 30, 2010 at 02:22 AM ·

 Hi Al and good to converse with you again: Raising scroll gives tonus to the playing and shortened the distance of the violin from the body. In a sense , you are not climbing up anymore,but going down the stairs if I can express it that way, and it is much easier that way. This is done with  arching the back a little first, and slightly raising up the instrument with the left hand, like Hilary Hahn... Both are very important and must be done with balance and ease, softly. Then the new felling appears: your left hand is improving and experiencing a conscious awareness to glide in a downward direction instead of an upward. The instrument feels light and all the shifting process seems different , the distance being closer than ever. Both arms are closer to the body on each side, avoiding the left to swing from left to right or vice-versa and the right one, being in symbiose with the rest of the body, giving few inches more for expression and a better contact with the strings. It is easier that way to keep the bow in the middle section between the finger board and the bridge, and to find the best spots for resonance and sound production.

The young and middle aged Milstein played with his violin in a higher position. The best postures I have seen are Kreisler, Neveu (look at her video Chausson poem),Oistrach and Heifetz. I heard Milstein in the concert hall playing Brahms Concerto ( aged 72) and he raised the violin high when playing passages in the upper register. As he got older, it is true that his violin was pointing down a little. But I have seen him many times and he could play,as a figure of style,with his violin resting at the very top of his head if he wished to do so.

 

Marc

July 30, 2010 at 05:06 AM ·

I do agree with Marc regarding his observations about Milstein, and in an example I posted elsewhere of Milstein playing the Brahms concerto he does indeed lift the violin at high points in the phrase. In addition to the ease of shifting it seems to allow the violin and bow to come together for a stronger connection and more brilliant sound and projection. Would you agree though that sometimes a downward slant of the scroll may just be a way of letting the instrument rest against the chest a bit and allowing the weight of the instrument to be shifted because it obviously takes some physical effort to have one's hand and arm in a lifted position and  when maximum tone and projection are not an issue  it may just seem easier to let the violin rest without it being held up at that end. As long as one does not grab and the elbow is not stuck against the ribs then there may not be much harm in having this as an alternative when desired. 

   I like this second video of your daughter's playing even more. Her head and neck do look better balanced and there is more freedom in the bow movement. Good for her- she is, as they say, a quick study.

July 30, 2010 at 09:28 AM ·

 Good for her.

Much more beautiful. Very enjoyable. Certainly deserves some prunes.

Cheers,

buri

July 30, 2010 at 02:49 PM ·

Like I said Ronald: slightly... But in the first 3 positions, which are used most of the time,the violin is in my view kept perpendicular. If both arms are  close to the body in a natural position, lifting or raising is not difficult and becomes second nature after a while. Look at all the pics of Kreisler for instance. The violin is always pointing to the right, in the ground direction. Same for Milstein and Oistrach or Neveu. Some do turn and transfer all their body weight to the left, but I find this position to difficult for me and not natural (Heifetz and Szeryng. I believe they do so because of the raising of their entire bow arm. The left one is not close to the body in that particular way of playing . This does not work at all for me and many others. When you walk, you go ahead in the most natural position. Keeping the instrument in front of you is easy and you do not need to use any contorsion while playing or performing.

July 30, 2010 at 05:00 PM ·

It may also be that a leftward stance is used because the violin being to the left,  and weighing more than the bow, inclines the support system below to the left. Look at this video of Ilya Kaler playing solo Bach:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34X0BpDVKq0&feature=related

 What  I have found to be a good balance is to use a chin rest cup that goes over the tailpiece somewhat to the right in addition to the part that typically goes to the left of  the tailpiece and let the violin at the scroll end move to the left whenever I have unusually high reaches, for example like  the middle section in Wienawski's Scherzo tarentelle going  up the G string. in this way, I am able to still reach to the tip of the bow with a straight bow but have the flexibility to move the instrument, when needed, to the left to help the left hand and arm not have to reach around as much.

July 30, 2010 at 07:08 PM ·

Good Afternoon to all.  Sorry about the delay Mssrs Hsu and Cadd.  I've been out on the back forty.

Mr Hsu(I hope Smiley is ok).  My golf handicap has stayed unexpectedly constant since taking on the strange little wooden box. Both are simple concepts not easily executed.

Mr Cadd(likewise, i trust John is sufficient now forward).  Yes, we do regularly bite and spit. Quality cigars, however,  get a nice clean cut prior to  burning.

Have a spectacular weekend, all(or better yet, Y'all)

Clif

Just like the declaration of Independence we need to draft a drafter to submit the query to Mr Perlman.  I dont now recall the question. Something about chinrests and downshifting, perhaps? 

 

July 30, 2010 at 08:11 PM ·

buri, i just knew something is missing.  prunes will help with the runs for better phrasing.   nothing beats easier passage.

probably will help unlock the eyebrow twist as well :)   david, does this centered or else discussion drive you more crazy or your buddy luthiers talking about the secrets of strad varnish? :)    we are so tame in comparison.  we need tender loving care from our luthiers and makers.

marc/ron/buri/others, when you play this piece, how do you feel musically and emotionally?   please provide something that is worth reading, esp marc since i know you have put in some focus on bach works. 

July 30, 2010 at 09:32 PM ·

Al: I will agree to do so,but by small steps. So it will be a long conversation. First, you would be kind to read a reply of mine in Elise Stanley's recent Blog: "The 3 voices of the violin"

Spirit, mind and body... It is philosophy, but I believe strongly that this is the foundation of anything you do in life concerning self-creation.

Second,avoid to listen to any recording of the piece by any violinist. This is the worst thing to do or teach when you are seeking for originality and individual sound.

Third: go to the concert and listen to Bach organ music , piano litterature or vocal and orchestral work... There is no better ambiance than a live performance in a concert hall.

Of course,this concerns you and your daughter.

My first question is do you know, and of course your gifted daughter, exactly what is a "Sarabande" ?  What is the difference between a Sonata and a Partita?

The rest will be discussed later...

 

July 30, 2010 at 10:35 PM ·

Answer: The Sarabande is a dance that originates from Spain. It is written in 3/4 or 3/2. Before 1700, it was played faster, with a guitar and castagnettes, then it became noble and played slower. Why? The church restrictions... It was considered lascive and sensual and bashed by the ecclesiastics.

Bach introduced the Sarabande in his partitas. It became during that baroque era a slow Menuet, serious in character, deprived of any "sexual connotation" as required by the Church. But I suspect Bach kept some sensuousness in his beautiful writing... Usually,the second beat is longer than the others ( whole-whole doted- half). The second beat is not accentuated because it correspond to a glissando step in the dance. It is preceded by a Courante and followed by a Giga.

The Chaconne is a sarabande with variations. Same for the  Passacailles. La Folia is one of the most famous melodies of the Sarabande...

July 31, 2010 at 02:31 AM ·

Question for Marc: Are there any of these dances in 3 that get an accent on the second beat ? The only one I know of is the mazurka, of different origin than the sarabande and not, to my knowledge, invented or come in to common use until the 19th century.

July 31, 2010 at 11:14 AM ·

thank you marc for providing the background/history of sarabande, as well as the required summer reading of elise's blog which was very insightful, and which in some sense was the reason for my question: i know how i feel when i listen to something like sarabande as a listener. i wonder what feelings, musical/emotional, does playing something like sarabande elicit in the player during the playing process...

to make it more interesting, you threw in the suggestion of not listening to others' interpretations! 

we will be on the road for about a week.  will check in whenever i can.  good stuff!

July 31, 2010 at 07:21 PM ·

we will be on the road for about a week.

Did you sell your house?

Cheers,

Buri

July 31, 2010 at 08:17 PM ·

Ronald: In the baroque era, I do not know any in the 3/2, 3/4 beat. It always has to do with the "levée" of the previous bar... Even,some of the dances are quite similar,like I mentionned about the Chaconne, the Passacaille and La Folia being in fact various types of Sarabandes. So many researches have been made on these particular subjects and sometimes, not all in agreement. Everyone is claiming the paternity of the Rigaudon for instance: French, English,  Irish... This is a counterdance if I may be helpful where in the "promenade section " you have a definite accent on the second beat... It is written usually in 2/4. Maurice Ravel's Rigaudon in "Le Tombeau de Couperin " is a fine example, but very often not understood by the conductor rythmically speaking. The Rigaudon Provençale is from the Baroque era and was imported here, in the Province of Quebec, by the French. It is still very popular nowadays in the countries of Quebec and in the provençal province of France.

August 2, 2010 at 03:28 PM ·

She's a nice player. I think you should stress a stable tempo, no matter how fast or slow it is.

There are some issues I have with her playing though. You can bash me later

The position of her hands on the violin. Her left thumb is in a fixed position which makes finger-work and good intonation a tad difficult when series of chords are involved. Check out Hilary Hahn's left hand for comparison. Her thumb is ever changing in position, reacting to the dynamic nature of the succession of triple and quadruple stop chords.  

Secondly, her right index finger is way up the stick and her wrist is overly bent at the frog. That in it's self is not that bad, since Silvia Marcovici plays with the same bow grip with fantastic results. The trouble is that with a high index finger must come a high shoulder to balance the increased pressure dealt to the stick. It is also a good way to prevent any break of flow between the energy transferred from the arm through the wrist to the palm to the fingers to the stick. An overly bent wrist will interrupt the natural bridge-like transmission of energy of the arm's weight to the hand.

August 2, 2010 at 03:39 PM ·

We v.commers are a hard bunch to satisfy.

So, if I may ask for just one thing, it would be a pervading, comfortable sense of the one-two-three beat.

Does anyone know how to dance a Sarabande?

Bart

August 2, 2010 at 04:20 PM ·

Now: how to practice the piece...First a short analysis.

Allemanda: first two bars identical in harmony to the first two bars of the Corrente...Sarabanda and Giga the same...Ciaconna the same...

All the movements of the entire partita have the same structure in their 2 first bar...Do not count the up-beat of the Allemanda, Corrente, and Giga...

Bar 17 of the Allemanda =  a fifth higher ( Basic structure of any Fugue)

Bar 25 of the Corrente: a fith higher

Bar 9 of the Sarabanda: very wise; not a fifth higher or lower, but by replacing the D by a C# , half a tone lower, you are in A , the equivalent of bar 17 and 25 of the previous movements...

Giga: a fifth higher in A at bar 21...

Everything is so logical in the structure and perfect...

For the fingerings of the very opening bar of the Sarabande, I would suggest ,done in a circular and homogeneous arppegio of the bow : D(4 on G) followed with D and A open , then the third double -stop (D-F). This must sound noble and continuous and more accentuated on the dramatic chord opening of the second bar...

A good tip: Play all the chords one after another of the entire movement, and also the double stopping for structure and intonation, using the practice mode... Do not forget to understand the "hidden Hamony "in between: for instance,bar 20= even if they are all written as single notes, there is what I call a hidden harmony right there, or bar 22... This is very important to play these at the right speed in order to enhance the internal resonance of the instrument!!!

August 2, 2010 at 10:55 PM ·

I would end the same way as I have suggested  to start it... with the fourth finger on G and the open D string played together, fading away, with a very quiet vibrato at first, and senza, at the end... The reason: : In the original score, the Allemanda starts with a double D and ends with a double at the octave... Same at bar 17...  The corrente has a Dminor chord at the first bar and an A chord at bar 25 and should be ending with the second finger in third position at bar 54...

The Giga should start with the 4th finger on the up beat and in third position ,second finger , on the G string at the very end... It is the Chaconne that is determining these fingerings and colors, because at the very end, bar 257, Bach has clearly indicated a double D...

As I mentionned before, the Sarabande is the closest movement structurally speaking to the Chaconne. The Chaconne is in fact a Sarabande with variations added...

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