need help with arpeggios

August 9, 2018, 10:59 PM · so this is kind of embarrassing. I recently played the third movement of the sibelius concerto. at the beginning there are lots of d major arpeggios that go into high positions and I did just fine on those. however, I could not for the life of me get the straightforward g minor arpeggio in first and third position. I basically played the first and last two notes of the arpeggio and made noise in between. in fact, I can't seem to cleanly play fast arpeggios in first and third positions. I try to practice using different rhythms and slower speed and I try other fingerings but it doesn't seem to work.
I don't know what the problem is. I'm open to speculations and advice on how to practice these kinds of arpeggios, as well as exercises that could help

Replies (5)

Edited: August 10, 2018, 4:19 PM · 1st of all, I have not played this concerto (yet), so take my advice with a grain of salt...
Based on my experience in playing arpeggios, there at least 3 factors influencing each other:
1. string crossing
2. shifting
3. rhythm

A general guideline is to find the most natural compromise between the first 2 elements, keeping in mind the 3rd. Sometimes, one has to yield to right hand, sometimes to left. String crossing, in my opinion, takes precedence, so I typically work more on shifting than "flying" (with bow arm). 3rd element can be worked on in the opposite rhythm or other patterns.

Edited: August 10, 2018, 5:34 PM · the issue here is that your string crossings aren't smooth. the arpeggios are the first page are all on one string, so that's why you can play those arpeggios cleanly. the one on the 2nd page that you have troubles with involves string crossings, so that's what you need to work on. I would recommend just playing the open strings from G-E slowly and paying attention to your right hand. you might be moving your hand to much, causing the "noise" you described. do this until you can play the string crossings (in open strings) at the speed you would normally play at in the sibelius (i would recommend using a metronome). then, throw in your left hand and play it as written slowly, then slowly speed it up to the normal tempo (would recommend using a metronome).
August 11, 2018, 10:06 AM · "I try to practice using different rhythms and slower speed and I try other fingerings but it doesn't seem to work."

You haven't stuck with them long enough. If you're going to play Sibelius, you're going to have to EARN it.
More patience, more repetitions. No mystery here.

August 11, 2018, 12:06 PM · --"made noise in between"-- That Gmin arpeggio at reh. #3 should definitely be easy compared to the rest of the piece. If you can actually play the Sibelius you are two technical levels above me, so, at the risk of telling you things you already know, here goes--. The middle notes of 4-string slurred arpeggios frequently get slighted. If you place the bow on the strings and just rock it back and forth, the bow moves, but there is no sound, because there is no net horizontal motion. Whenever we change strings on a slur we need to add extra bow speed to compensate for that loss. That is especially noticed when using contrary motion bowing; up-bow slur on an arpeggio going up; the bow gets stuck on the middle strings. So, as others suggested, do the open-string slurred arpeggio, forward and backwards bowing, short-long, long-short, then even rhythm. For that Gmin arpeggio: down-bow, maybe break the slur by hitting the top note D up-bow, don't try to force the printed crescendo; rising notes have a natural perceived crescendo, and the increased pressure will slow down the bow. Use open D and shift during the open-string note.
August 11, 2018, 1:24 PM · thanks, joel. that makes sense. my teacher was trying to get me to make a dramatic crescendo at that spot and I think there might have been too much bow pressure. I'll also try doing more open strings like others have suggested

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