Tips for arranging a tune for solo violin
When I'm around with the violin my grandmother likes listening to me play folk from a booklet she has.
I thought of trying to make an arrangement of one for solo violin for me to play.
Any tips on how to go about this?
Below is the melody in question:
I suppose the most straightforward way would be to play a chord at every place where the chord change is indicated.
Slightly unrelated, but I really like how this one is done:
It's not a folk tune, and Schubert also wrote the piano part which is imitated in the arrangement. It's also above my level as far as playing it goes.
For solo violin, it would benefit from a slight rewrite to have the last measure resolve to an actual C.
Wow, thank you Carmen for such a detailed response! I'll follow your instructions and see what I can make of it. Will post whatever I come up with.
Before you arrange a folk tune, play it "many times", exploring both bowing and double stops. Then work for ornaments, dynamic variation, and other stylistic "tricks".
I did a basic pass using the method I posted above, then made a few more refinement passes. Here is a link to a PDF of the sheetmusic. It contains the expanded solo melody, bass/harmony line, and the basic chord changes written above the measures.
Christian Howes is recently doing something on working out solo arrangements. Might be worth checking out:
Graeme, I'll check out that book. And I'll keep vigilant not to get addicted!
Nice! I added your double stops to my Musescore file. It sounds good. It reminds me of street musicians playing folk dances for loose change from my youth.
I meant to mention that the running staccato and tremolo/trill embellishments that the violinist played in the first video might be worth adding as a few more lines as a variation.
It would be really interesting to hear your grandmother's thoughts about the song as it is presented in the two videos linked in above. The presentations in the two videos are quite "cultured", rather than folkish. Well, I think so, anyway.
Graeme, yes I'm definitely not abandoning the project just have variable amount of time to squeeze it between other things. :)
The ending chord progression of the second part is a classic subdominant -> dominant -> tonic cadence. So IV -> V7 -> i (D -> E7 -> Am).
Urban, thousands of videos are available on YouTube. To get you started I have put two links in here. These are players with real skills, but not yet at an standard that most folk could not reach.
Here is Phil Berthoud playing in a "Celtic" style, and further illustrating the impact of bowing on folk tunes.
graeme a question just out of curiosity: that man obviously is good on the violin, but why does he hold the bow like that?
In addition to all that excellent detailed advice; There are two genres of solo violin that are satisfying without accompaniment; The very difficult Bach, Paganini, Ysaye, Bartok route, and, the much easier traditional folk fiddle styles. So, resist the temptation to add harmony, double-stops. They don't need it! Some fiddle traditions use lots of open-string double-stops, and you can transpose the key too maximum advantage of that. If you have some composing skill take a look at what Scott Skinner did with Scottish fiddle tunes; theme and variations for solo violin. They also have teaching value and I have occasionally assigned them. Rhythm; that tune would also work as a 2/4 march, with more dotted and reverse-dotted figures.
jean, fiddlers often hold the bow loosely, with two fingers and thumb, even as far as a quarter of the stick's length from the frog.
Sorry for not replying for a while! The project's been on the back-burner due to work and keeping up with regular practice.