Etudes with second violin part

June 8, 2020, 10:43 AM · Just curious, what do folks think of etudes with a second violin accompaniment? Do you use them? Are they helpful? Any advice on how to use them? I was looking at a set of 15 studies by Charles Dancla with an ad lib. part for the second violin. They seem to be a way to develop technique and listening skills at the same time.


Replies (14)

June 8, 2020, 10:51 AM · I think it might be a good thing to play with ones teacher. Wieniawski has some too I believe
Edited: June 8, 2020, 11:13 AM · I remember really loving Dont Op. 20 as a kid because my teacher would play the second violin part at my lesson. He didn't really want to because then he couldn't pay as much attention to my playing but I always asked him to anyway. There are so many student-level duets that can be used for the same purpose and I played a lot of those too (Pleyel, Mazas, etc.).

All you teachers out there: When you play a duet with your student that is an *extreme* treat for your student, regardless of age. Just occurred to me that it could be used as a reward -- "if your scale and your etude are in good shape (or if your repertoire piece is well memorized, etc.) then I'll read a duet with you."

June 8, 2020, 11:12 AM · Mazas ones are really nice
June 8, 2020, 11:47 AM · There is an edition of Kreutzer etudes with a 2nd vln. accompaniment.
June 8, 2020, 2:37 PM · Spohr in his "Violinschule" has teacher-parts for every little exercise. Often harder than the student's part.

Personally I don't see the pedagogical value: My teacher is supposed to listen to me and observe me, not to play along and miss half of my mistakes in the process....

But of course an etude is useful as an etude--or not--independent of the existence of a second part...

June 8, 2020, 9:17 PM · The accompaniment parts allow the student to play with the teacher so there is a sharing of the music. In addition to making the exercises more enjoyable, it gives the student more opportunity to learn about musicality, assuming the teacher plays musically.
June 8, 2020, 9:20 PM · I like using duets for lessons. It's a lot more pleasant than using a metronome, and improves intonation.
June 10, 2020, 4:08 PM · Paul, You've actually played the famous "Dont Duet" despite the warning in the title? (sorry I can't resist that very old, very bad joke...)

I played the Op. 20 a very long time ago at a student recital with my teacher and we played the joke to the hilt as well as playing the piece. Being the only adult student the joke (It's the Dont duet but we're going to do it anyway...) got a chuckle.

June 10, 2020, 4:13 PM · Raymond,

Being serious now: If you want student/teacher duets check out Doflein particularly volume-II which is supplemental to volumes I and III and all are quite playable and also teach skills.

FWIW: The duets are a big part of why I still love Doflein and use the system to teach my students - the bio-mechanical approach also fits my "thinking like an engineer" mind.

June 10, 2020, 8:04 PM · Thanks George for that suggestion.
Edited: June 11, 2020, 4:54 AM · My teacher considers a good lesson when we dedicate a bit of time to sight-reading a duet. Learning an instrument is about making music together, that’s her firm believe. She wants me to look at the score, envision the music and then to communicate via our parts with each other.
In the beginning it was a real struggle. Just too many things to take care of although she choses not too demanding duets. I learned a lot. Especially my weak spot to get the rhythm right while sight-reading improved a lot.
June 11, 2020, 11:07 AM · Eve,

I found the Bartok duos to be helpful for sight-reading in particular.

June 11, 2020, 2:22 PM · Raymond, thanks a lot. Very lovely!
Edited: June 17, 2020, 11:13 PM · "Personally I don't see the pedagogical value: My teacher is supposed to listen to me and observe me, not to play along and miss half of my mistakes in the process...."

It's true that the teacher won't observe you as well while he or she is looking at the music and playing, but there's nothing ruling out hearing your mistakes even if you don't. And pedagogically it also adds elements of ensemble, timing and harmony/intonation.

By mixing observing and guiding solo playing and accompaniment, you can get the benefit of both, as well as the pleasure of making better/richer music together.

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