Attempting the Danse Macabre

September 24, 2018, 9:18 AM · Hello,

I am attempting to learn the violin part of the Danse Macabre by Saint-Saens and play it with my friend pianist. After I looked through the piece a little and listened to some recordings, I have a few questions and I'm wondering if you could answer them.

1. Is my skill level appropriate to play this piece?

I have been playing the violin for about 6-7 years, and I finished the Grade 7 RCM exam a few months ago. Would I be able to play this piece with some degree of mastery, or is the piece something to consider when I'm more experienced?

2. E flat and A double stop

For this note, should the fingering be 1 and 2 on the A and D string respectively, or something else?

3. largamente passage(or bar 50 or that part with the rich vibrato)

Should I play this on the 4th position?


If you were wondering why I don't just ask my teacher, it's because we're working on another piece(Bach) and he might not be pleased if I suddenly show a new piece(I swear I'm practicing my Bach too).


Sorry if this was kinda weird, I don't go on this website too often. Either ways, thanks a lot in advance, and I hope I can receive constructive advice from everyone.

Replies (5)

September 24, 2018, 12:48 PM · -2) In the orchestral version that Eb-A is scordatura, the E string tuned down to Eb. Some concertmasters will use 2 violins in the performance, trading off. It is the tritone, symbolic of the "devil in music". Or transpose all the E string notes up a half-step? (no thanks). When I did it I faked it, first finger on D#(Eb), second finger on A, with the vibrato turned off.
September 24, 2018, 12:49 PM · you're supposed tune the e string down a half step to an e flat. that way, you can just play the double on open strings.
September 24, 2018, 12:54 PM · and are you planning on playing the solo violin and 1st violin part? because the solo violin part is pretty simple and just the solo line doesn't get that much notes compared to the 1st violins (http://ks4.imslp.info/files/imglnks/usimg/9/92/IMSLP66554-PMLP05008-violin_solo2.pdf) If you're only attempting the solo violin part alone, it's probably easier than the bach you are working on. if you are planning on playing both the 1st and solo violin parts, you might not be able to play it if you're still working on bach (concertos) as your main piece. of course, if you're working on a bach solo violin piece, you could probably play it (danse macabre).
September 24, 2018, 12:59 PM · To answer your third question, yes, that part is played up in position (you could do it in 4th; I prefer to vibrate the top note with 3rd finger rather than 4th).
September 24, 2018, 2:54 PM · Anthony: OP is talking about the version for violin and piano. I think there it is fine to play that without scordatura, so indeed as Sejune already found out, second and first finger.

I have a question about the orchestral version. That version actually features a solo violin, which plays very little, i.e., pauses for most of the time. When the concertmaster plays the solo part, does he just take a rest in between, with the associate concertmaster actually playing the role of concertmaster? Or, like Joel says, are they supposed to play both the solo and the 1st violin parts?

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