More than Notes: Humoresque

The music looks quite complicated, and maybe I’ll admit that at this point in my playing I think 32nd rests are a little silly.  But since discovering it, I’ve been quite taken with Dvorak’s famous Humoresque.  It’s the fourth piece in Book Three of the Suzuki repertoire, and Teacher started introducing me to it in yesterday’s lesson.  I think the major lesson of the piece will be producing a rich variety of tones, or this concept called “color” that I’m just beginning to scratch the surface of in my playing.  There are also position shifts coming up soon.

As I’m getting into Book Three – I’m on piece four of seven total – I’m realizing that musicality in general is a major theme.  I’m learning to appreciate the richness of tonal variation that the violin offers, and trying to play more expressively – the combination of player and instrument are starting to be a bigger factor.  Part and parcel to the musicality project is the introduction of vibrato – Teacher mentioned yesterday that I’m about ready to start in on that.  Students need to wait until we’ve developed decent tone and the ability to appreciate pitch prior to starting vibrato; you don’t begin with it on the violin on day one; Suzuki waits until book three.  Once I start, it will take a good while to develop.

Dvorak composed his Opus 101, a cycle of 8 short works for piano, in 1894.  He called the whole piece Humoresque.  Humoresque is also a generic term; Wikipedia says it’s a romantic-era genre meant to evoke lightheartedness and humor.  The quite famous Dvorak tune is number 7 of his series, originally composed in G Flat Major.  I’m playing it in D Major.

Here are Itzhak Perlman and Yo Yo Ma playing their version with the Boston Symphony Orchestra:

Thanks for reading.


One comment

  1. […] some point during the first half of the 20th century Dvorak’s Humoresque (the famous number 7 from his cycle that I’m currently working on) was set to words – poignant lyrics inspired by the inconveniences and conveniences of train […]

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