Waltz Bowing. Rules?
I just got a whole book of waltzes. They are the simple melody. No embellishments. They are quarter notes, dotted quarter and and eighth, and eighth notes. They are no markings. So, are their any rules about bowing? If so, what are the rules. And by “rules” I am including “best practices.” Thanks
The starting point would be; down-bow on beat one, up-bow on beat three. Everything else will depend on the context, and where you put the slurs. Another thing to watch for; some waltz melodies will retain the rhythm of the older Landler or danced Minuet, 3/2 against 3/4. Emphasize that subtle syncopation.
Is it actually difficult for an experienced player to make an upbow sound the same as a downbow in terms of attack, tone and dynamics?
continued,-- watch a youtube clip of any Vienna Phil. New Years' day concert.
Randall. I’m taking a guess that you have The Waltz Book by Bill Matthiessen - great book, I play from it everyday. It’s written for all instruments so violin specific slurs are not included in the score. But as you have hinted at, saw bowing is not the best way to play waltzes. You need to emphasize the first beat in each measure but don’t overdo that unless you are playing for dancers and beginners at that.
Too bad there's no Galamian edition.
Can’t edit my post above. The web site is www.thesession.org
A friend who was in Ireland was playing for dances, and the locals wanted to teach him the dances first. He protested and said that he didn't want to dance, just play. They told him that he would understand the tunes better and how they should be played once he learned the dances. He found it enlightening.
duane lasley wrote: "They told him that he would understand the tunes better and how they should be played once he learned the dances."
In my experience, i agree too.
All, -Thanks for bringing up the topic of working with dancers. Dancers can be very fussy about tempo. Their choreography will only work within a narrow range of tempo. But, they can have even more differences of opinions than musicians. For the Waltz; the Viennese waltz is fast, the Peruvian waltz is even faster, the American waltz at traditional dances will be slow. When I did a bunch of the Bach unaccompanied dance movements from the Suites I spent some time looking at you-tube clips of period-correct dance clubs in Europe, to get a clue on proper tempos. It was not helpful. They are worse than musicians. There were big differences in tempo and choreography according to the century and country, even differences between clubs doing the same dance culture.
There are some Irish set dancers who regrettably enjoy treating the dances, particularly reels and the like, as athletic speed events, and are aided and abetted in this by certain bands, which as a consequence build up a following (literally) of like-minded dancers. I've seen this sort of thing in action - but as a spectator, not as a musician or dancer.
Generally, when playing rhythm I bow it down, up, up. This works for most waltzes, where the emphasis is on the first beat of a measure. Other dances using triple rhythm have different requirements, though; in the mazurka our orchestra is currently playing, the bowing for us violas is rest, up, DOWN.
I should also point out a basic difference between professional dance and social dance.
Wow, guys, things got really busy for me right after I posted, all good, but I am just getting back to the thread. I really, really do appreciate all the replies and they have all been very helpful. First, James Stevens, you guessed correctly. The book I have is Vol1 of the Bill Matthiessen Waltz Collection. It has some great songs that I would like to learn to play.
Not sure what's in said book, but some scandinavian waltzes have odd beat distribution(one fiddler called them 'naughty beats' in the middle out the bar), so definitely look (lots!)at YouTube for them or you to dances with experienced musicians if they're included.
And then to complicate the matter of "waltzes" there are waltzes written in 5/4, such as by Tchaikovsky (for the classical world) but also in some other regions as folk waltzes. :)
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