March 07, 2010
This piece is finally starting to come together, although I have to focus on the rhythm and tempo to make sure I play each note long enough. The middle section, measures 9 - 24 are where I spend the most time practicing. At this point the one note that gives me trouble is the G in measure 18; I tend to play it too long, overcompensating for having played it too short for so long.
The goal with Rigadoon is to play it faster. ## Two Octave C Major Scale I've been using this scale to practice hooked bowing. Playing each note in the scale as a dotted quarter note followed by an eighth note is relatively easy now. Changing to the next note in the scale progression for each bow stroke is considerably harder. Something like this:
This piece is difficult to memorize due to the lack of variation in the note durations. It's a relentless stream of eighth notes. Oddly enough I find the double-stroke variation to be easier to play.
This piece is the first in Suzuki book 1 that feels out of place. All the pieces prior to this one introduce a single new concept or technique. This piece skips over slurs and goes straight into hooked bowing. To my mind at least, slurs are easier. After many practice sessions doing scales over and over to learn the rhythmic pattern used in Happy Farmer, played using hooked bowing, I was finally able to play this reasonable well. That the piece also requires string and fingering changes in the midst of the rhythm pattern only adds to the challenge. I am getting it now. Along the way I've discovered a fingering variation that seems to help me play the piece efficiently.
The first measure below is how measure 4 is written in the book, the second measure is how I play it. By keeping my first finger down throughout the last four eighth notes I'm able to play more accurately and, I think, more efficiently.
I like finding things like this in the music I play. Solving puzzles and problems have always been favorite activities of mine and learning to play violoncello combines aspects of both.
I started this piece Friday night by working through the rhythm verbally and then playing it pizzicato. Yesterday I started in earnest with the bow and I can now play the first two lines (up to the repeat) very roughly. This is the first piece that I have started deliberately breaking it down and thinking about what I was going to do before doing it. Even with Happy Farmer I tried to just plow through and learn everything at once. That process was frustrating enough that I am taking my time with the Minuet and trying to learn it layer by later rather than all at once.