I’ve been wading through this exceptionally difficult series of double stops (playing notes on different strings simultaneously, creating chords) in Seitz 5’s Third Movement for weeks now. I just counted – the uninterrupted series of double stops goes on for 25 measures! The past couple of days I do feel like I’ve broken through a bit. I am getting to the point where I can manage to play it through – albeit quite slowly and poorly. I’m now going back to the CD to listen, trying to make musical sense of notes that, until a couple of days ago, had been nothing but a seemingly impossible series of finger contortions. It’s time to try to relax and start appreciating the music.
Happily, a couple of weeks ago Teacher started to work with me on the rest of the movement as well, which is quite a bit more approachable. She wanted to give me new music that allowed me to feel success. With the rest of the movement, I can play through without needing to focus intense thought on each note. It’s a big breath of fresh air; overall the movement is lovely and a treat to play. Teacher said we started with the section of double stops because, to paraphrase, it’s deeply frustrating to be going along as normal in a lovely piece and to arrive at a brick wall in the music that stops you dead in your tracks for weeks on end.
One outcome of the Seitz double stops bonanza is that they are rendering this other section of music I’m working on – a small passage in my arrangement of Ashokan Farewell – much more approachable. In Ashokan, the double stop section is comprised of nice, long half notes, which are much, much simpler for me to play in situ then the sixteenths of the Seitz. Of course, there’s also the overall tempo – the Seitz is to be played Allegretto, much spritelier than the “Plaintive” Farewell. My current big hurdle in Ashokan is a beautiful shift up into third position at the end – at least it’s supposed to be beautiful!
Thanks for reading.