Memory:  A Theme and Variations

Suzuki Book Three opens with a Gavotte by Martini – the Suzuki Book doesn’t cite the source work’s title, but the site I found the other day sources it to Martini’s Sonate D’intavolatura per L’organo e il Cembalo Sonata No. 12: V. Gavotta.  The piece is a theme and variations kind of number, and I’ve been working on it since May; it’s the only Suzuki tune I play that I have not yet memorized. The theme is repeated often, alternating with 6 different variations.  Two of them are remarkably similar, and one contains slight fingering differences to begin to introduce the concept of subtly shading the tone of the instrument – it seems designed to test memory.

Teacher knew memorizing this one would be tricky – when I started with the piece we wrote labels on all the theme parts in the music “A” and then attached letters to the rest of them too.  She pointed out the difficulties I described above.  I admit to feeling a little off now that I’m working two songs later in the book without having memorized this Gavotte.  It’s just not the Suzuki Way.

Memory is associative by its nature – we associate bits of memory with other bits of memory in order to keep it organized in our brains.  And we can force the associations – I think I need to feel this piece a bit more broadly than I have been and attach some significance to it in a way that I have yet to try with music.  As I’ve been writing this post, I’ve come up with an idea to give each variation a mood/nickname. Maybe I can come up with a word for each theme that speaks to the variation and progresses down the alphabet, “A for airy” or something like that.  It’s worth a shot.

Thanks for reading.



  1. […] Well, really only one – the first Gavotte in Book Three, by Martini.  I have written about struggling with that one.  But despite the exception, overall I think it’s clear that the listening really adds to my […]

  2. […] kicked off yesterday’s lesson by playing two of them.  First up was the Martini Gavotte, the one I have written about concerning my memory struggles.  Well I did look at the music (Teacher says that looking at music […]

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