New String and Muscling Through

I opened my violin case to practice yesterday and encountered a broken A string.  The good news is I’ve long known to keep extras on hand, so I replaced it in short order.  The bad news is new strings always take a while to break in – they slip slowly flat as they stretch out.  My new Vivaldi concerto somehow seems to require tonal precision more than my other pieces, and accidentals abound.  Much of the movement works best in third position, where every millimeter counts mightily in getting the notes right; the margin of error is low.  To make a long story short, the creeping flatness of my new string made it difficult, but I did muscle through and get an OK practice session in.

The concerto is coming along, but it’s quite difficult.  There is a three bar section that is just killing me right now – it’s mostly in third position, but it shifts back to first.  As to the tonalization, when notes are adjacent to other notes a mere half-step away, and a series of them includes an open string, which sounds out the true note without fail, perfect finger placement becomes necessary.  That millimeter seems to be reduced to a nanometer and I start to feel like my fingers are tree trunks falling in the woods aiming for a single blade of grass.

Meanwhile, I’m still working on improving the Seitz concerto movements – the first three pieces in Book 4.  Overall, it’s become quite clear that all the pieces in the book bring a different level of complexity than the pieces in previous books.  The shifts in moods within the movements, the rapid pace, double stops, position shifting – a completely new level.  While fun and rewarding, all the pieces also take a long time to get through.

After I finished practicing yesterday, I cranked the new A string sharp. I have some hope that overnight it finished its stretch-out warmup, and that today it will behave.

Thanks for reading.

Ryan

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