Fast Run of Thirds in Rode Caprice

December 27, 2018, 3:34 PM · Hey Guys,
For our upcoming states audition (Virginia) we have to play an excerpt from Rode’s caprice no. 11. The only problem I seem to be running into is intonation in the ascending run of thirds. Besides the usual advice to practice it slow , would any of you have some suggestions ? The tempo is 100, and B Major isn’t doing me any favors.

Replies (4)

December 27, 2018, 4:26 PM · Adam,

You should practice each shift to lock down the intonation.

You can also practice the non-shift notes by setting fingers 1/3 and making sure the intonation is solid, then setting 2/4 and checking those. Then you can trill on 2/4 to make sure that the finger motion is quick and relaxed and listening for intonation.

Then you can start combining notes with shifts with the next notes, and build it note by note.

Another strategy is (start slow) to finger the run normally in the left hand, but only play on one string with the bow, and make sure your intonation is really spot on, then play on the other string, then play on both. Then play it a little faster once you got it sounding good on both strings at that speed.

If you aren't practicing 3rds and 6ths and octaves in your scales, then then this should be a good reminder to start making that a regular part of your practice diet.

December 27, 2018, 7:43 PM · Here are some of the things I do when challenged by double stops, I remediate as I go hoping to find new errors. I try to fix errors quickly rather than playing slowly all the time.

1. one line at a time: higher finger first, then flipside. So for bar 8, the first thing you would do is the bottom line first (since it uses the higher fingers), until it's in tune and in time with the correct fingerings. Then embark on the top line - and learn how to find it and make it stick.
I use the tuner to double check.

2. left before right: To learn to set the fingers quickly and simultaneously, I go through a process of fingering the chord quickly (stop the bow), then bow, then set the next chord (quickly with the left hand), then bow etc. This trains my brain to have fast finger actionj fast even when I'm practicing slow.

3. Double Trial: Finger both, play one line only with the bow to find out where things are going fishy.

4. Outline: skip the stepping stones. So for bar 8, you would play all the 1/3 combinations while leaving out the 2/4 combos. I.e you'll be going up in thirds. Then reverse and only play the 2/4

5. Take two chords at a time and play them back and forth to get used to changing shapes minimal finger pressure. Quick action is the name of the game

6. Right hand only - I'll play only the open strings to make sure I'm committed with the bow.
then put the left hand back in. Bottom string should get 60% of the weight.

7 To check for tension and overkill finger pressure, I sometime practice without the thumb or tapping lightly so I can understand not to abuse the fingerboard with pressure.

Hope all of this makes sense in the written version!

Edited: December 28, 2018, 7:27 AM · For me the most important is awareness of where you go up a half tone or a whole tone, and, linked to that, when you are playing a minor third (fingers more apart from each other) or a major third (fingers closer to each other), and this using 31 fingering or 42 fingering. This is quite a lot to analyze in detail. Spending the time to do this analysis amounts to "slow practice"; after that you use "fast practice" to nail the passage, which I would do mainly using AB, ABC, ABCD, ... practice: first all two successive double stops in tempo; then all three; then four; etc.

Analysis starting from the second double stop (the first one is a musical restpoint to go between the previous measure to the rapid climb up starting in the second double stop):

2. 31 fingers play a minor third.
3. finger 4 forms half a tone, finger 2 a whole tone, so we get a major third.
4. both finger 3 and 1 go up a whole tone from fingers 4 and 2, respectively, so this remains a major third.
5. now, opposite to step 3, finger 4 forms a whole tone, finger 2 half a tone, so we get a minor third.
6. as in step 4 fingers 3 and 1 each go up a whole tone from fingers 4 and 2, but now going from a minor third to a minor third. But it is useful to make a mental note that in both cases we shift up whole notes in both fingers.
7. same as in step 3. major third.
8. this last shift, finger 3 goes up whole tone from finger 4, but finger 1 only half tone from finger 1, so back to minor third.
9. to finish, both fingers 4 and 2 form a whole tone, so we end in a minor third. (but actually you may want to shift again here just for comfort and better vibrato).

When shifting, you give most attention to the finger that needs to move a whole tone. So in shifts 4 and 6 you pay attention to both fingers 3 and 1 nicely ending up a whole tone about where fingers 4 and 2 just were. But in shift 8 you spend more attention to finger 3 and kind of give confidence to finger 1 moving just half a tone about where finger 2 was.

I got all this from the book "Practice" by Simon Fischer.

December 28, 2018, 8:00 AM · Thank you all for taking time out of your day to provide such constructive (and detailed) help. I really appreciate it! A spectacular community of musicians.

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