William Tell excerpt letter L

January 1, 2020, 10:42 AM · One of the excerpts at for an orchestral audition. I have practicing this excertps for awhile now by starting at a slow tempo and gradually speeding it up, but I can't seem to get it to be very clean up to tempo (around 150 bpm), especially the string crossing in between adjacent semiquavers while maintaining the sautille bowstroke. Any tips for production of a cleaner sound?


Also for those who are familiar with the excerpt, at bar 328 2nd crochet, the conventional bowstroke of playing alternating strings at E B F# B seems almost impossible. Would playing the E B F# B all on the G string (using 4 1 4 1 fingering) be perhaps better?

Replies (5)

January 1, 2020, 12:24 PM · You're probably too high in the bow and almost certainly using too much bow. Middle of the bow, very very very little bow, stay in first position and do the string crossings.
January 1, 2020, 3:58 PM · I've found in my teaching that many students, while doing rapid string crossings, overshoot each unplayed string by an unnecessary amount.

So, let's say you have a rapid crossing pattern between the D and A. As the bow tilts to the D, how much clearance are you giving the A string? For most, probably too much. All you have to do is not touch the A string, and not one bit more. Eliminating excess motion is often what will spell the difference between success and failure in fast passages.

Edited: January 1, 2020, 5:41 PM · I had a challenging (for me) string crossing passage and my teacher suggested I practice it (just the tricky bit) with *none* of the "clearance" that Scott is describing, i.e., as double stops, to learn exactly where that limit is. I was kind of surprised how well that worked. But ... that was a detache bowing.
Edited: January 1, 2020, 9:24 PM · Ditto for me. The trick (and difficulty) is to preposition the bow to be "a hair short" (literally) of crossing.
January 1, 2020, 11:37 PM · I don't have the Letters and measure numbers in front of me but I know that spot. It is difficult. In general don't Try to bounce the bow, that will slow you down. Instead lift the bow a little, right after the C# quarter note, let it drop into the B#, and Let it bounce on its own after that. Two lines later, when you have to go from G# to G# , skipping over the A string, Don't lift the bow very much. Pretend it's not a problem. Then the spot you mentioned, E-B-F#-B-G#, is an example of "against the grain" bowing, more complicated that forward direction string changes. For that spot, be slightly below the balance point of the bow, so the extra weight of the upper half of the bow will pull it over to the lower string. When we change strings for only one note, at high velocity, there isn't time to use arm motion. Instead use the fingers and wrist to change strings. Let the bow weight work for you, not against. For all high velocity passages like this the work-up is; 1) slow, on the string, 2) dotted and reversed-dotted rhythm. 3) fast double notes, bounced, 4) finally, as printed.

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