I just can't get the double stops right in Mendelssohn Mov. 2!
I practice them slowly, without the trilly things - just the chords, i play them separated but i just can't get them right! i play them perfectly one day then i go back the next day and i'm back to square one. It's been like this for about 5 months now? and i've made no progress on the passage. any advice? please help!!
As a rank amateur, what I've found is that the best way to improve one's double-stops is to just play a lot of different things with double stops. Especially slow things where you can really concentrate on each double stop *and* each transition. Bach sarabande movements! Scales too! And if you really just can't learn the concerto you've been assigned, after five months of work, maybe just maybe you weren't ready for it in the first place.
I'm always suspicious when someone says they "can't get it right" without describing what that actually means. Intonation? Note accuracy? The fact that you don't have a vocabulary to describe what's wrong tells me you aren't at the level to play this, and don't yet have the practice methods. Or possibly teacher.
I do not mean to be discouraging or harsh.
In the nutshell, practicing double stop without knowing intonation system will most probably result in shooting in the dark at best.
Many of the double stops in this movement are thirds. Thirds are tricky because of the way they expose the intonation differences between harmonic and melodic passages. (It's one of the reasons amateur performances of Mozart string quartets often sound so bad.) Many of the non-thirds double stops are sixths, which have the same fingering problem.
Casey, I like what you wrote.
That's one reason why I like to play piano trios. Sometimes it may not be exactly "correct" but there is no arguing with it.
Camilla, work every day a little bit on the Flesch scale in double-stopped thirds. Also work on finger independence exercises, develop soft fingers, proper left hand position, ..., in a word: the basics!
Also: play one string at a time with the bow while fingering all notes.
Congratulations. You have just encountered the three intonation systems; melodic (Pythagorian), chordal (just), and equal-tempered (piano). The differences are mostly noticed when playing thirds and sixths, and the thirds are also mechanically awkward. When asked why the string instruments do not have frets, my answer is "so we can play in tune." My opinion is that double-stops are three times harder to tune than single notes, and most students should learn the positions, the high notes on the E string, before starting double-stops or the famous Bach sonatas. Persevere-- jq
The good news is that working on double stops will improve your regular melodic intonation too. By a lot. Partly because you just get better control over your left hand, but also because your brain is learning to listen that much better and to react that much faster when things aren't quite perfect.
To be honest, the way I interpret Camilla's outcry is not that she is discovering subtle or not-so-subtle intonation differences. Like Scott and Adalberto I think it is mainly that she is technically not yet up the level of this section in Mendelssohn 2nd movement, which is not something to be ashamed of, as said section requires a high level of violin mastery to play cleanly and beautifully.
Camilla, can you post a short audio clip of your trouble section?
I'm not sure what the issue could be.
That's interesting, Ryan. For me, that passage is overwhelmingly the most difficult thing in the whole piece. No contest.
For some reason I never had any issues with that passage. Probably because I played so much Korgoff and the Schradieck School of Violin technics double stop book before I played the second movement.
Ryan, I think it might stem from the fact that it's a lot easier for someone to *notice* themselves playing double stops poorly (in real time), whereas arpeggio and scale sections tend to work really well in conjunction with the "self-listening denial" effect where we're hearing something better than is actually coming out of the instrument.
Also OP, I have to agree with Scott. It is suspicious that you're looking for answers without actually having a specific problem in mind. It means that you haven't actually tried to critically think about the problem for yourself yet (or you have, but just didn't want to type it out).
I will say, without knowing the exact problem, that this really isn’t the piece to learn how to play double stops in my opinion. I think it will be so much more satisfying for you coming to this piece with the necessary technique so you can sight read this passage at a high level.
Ryan, come on, I think it is clear that this discussion was about the second movement.
I guess my response wasn't as clear as it could have been.
"...without the trilly things"