The Eighth Note Gets the Beat

This new concerto is in 6/8 time, which I’ve never worked with before. In general, I’ve worked in pieces where the quarter note gets the beat, so in this Seitz piece when the count references the eighth note I feel like I’m holding the quarter notes for too long.  There are also many staccato accents – places to punctuate a moment with a quick turn of the bow. Sometimes the musical phrase seems to end in the middle of the measure.  In yesterday’s lesson, teacher walked me through most of the rest of the concerto, but only very superficially.

The double stops section is tricky as can be; I’ve been practicing it for a week, but it’s going to take a while to make it sound decent.  I trip up on double stops wherever they appear – they come up in three of my pieces now.  Three note chords seem a bit easier for me – I just drag the bow across three strings in succession.  But simultaneously drawing the bow across two strings while applying equal pressure and the proper finger position (or, heaven forbid, trying to make one soft and one loud at the same time!) is much trickier.  There is also a whole section of slurring that’s lovely and melodic and tough.

Overall the Seitz is totally lovely; I can imagine wanting to play it all day long once I can play it through.  It has some very exciting and dramatic finale flourishes, “Your moment!” teacher said, about one of them that comes after a fermata (in this case a dramatic pause).  I said, “our violinist moment!”  It’s kind of hard for me to believe I’m trying to play this thing, and more or less making it happen.

We also moved on to the second etude in the Wohlfahrt book.  This is a big step in my mind – I’m pretty sure I’ve been working on the first one for over a year and a half.  There are many rhythmic and bowing variations that I play with the same first melody.  The etude was the first piece I read from sight.  Though I’m moving on to number two, Teacher didn’t introduce me to this second one with a play through either – she just said “go ahead and start working on it.”  This new one is also in C Major, and these etudes remain the only pieces I’m working on in the key.  I look forward to seeing what this one sounds like; I truly have no idea!  We worked for a bit on my hand position as I do my best to contort it into the necessary C Major configuration while playing the first etude.  It’s not easy for me.  But it’s important – Vivaldi is coming up in A Minor (the relative minor) before too terribly long, so the finger positions will more or less be the same.

Thanks for reading.


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