Monday, February 12, 2007

Ear worm

Oh, my poor head. I have snippets of the first of Dvorak's Slavanik Dances stuck in it, going round and round, from one ear through the neural jungle to the other. It started after our strings-only rehearsal on Thursday, and seems to get worse daily. Even though I haven't touched the piece since rehearsal. Guilt? Revenge?

There is one 8-bar phrase in that dance that I despair of ever playing. It's a set of ascending broken thirds, and the last 5 measures are the same repeated fragment. Since it's eighth notes in 3/4, that comes out to a unique 32-note fragment. A similar 3-bar motif in Beethoven Op. 59 No. 3 was the only fragment of two quartets that I could not play at all at camp last summer. Is this my Waterloo?

Maestro encouraged us in this movement, pointing out that it is scored very pianistically. Unfortunately we aren't playing keyboards. The bottom line was to suck it up, quit whining, and fake it as best we can. He also suggested that if we practiced these short sections slowly for 25 hours playing it fast would be a piece of cake.

That does exceed the limits of my faith. I have experience with slowly bringing a piece up to tempo with a metronome, but no experience with it magically improving with extended slow practice. So I am going to try an experiment. I hereby resolve to play these 8 bars over and over s*l*o*w*l*y for 10 minutes at each practice session until I reach 25 hours of practice time. That should be in about 6 months. I'll let you know what happens.


Guanaco said...

25 hours slowly!

Now that's dedication.

Gottagopractice said...

Not dedication. Desperation.

PinkFluffySlippers said...

At first I thought you meant 25 hours straight. Yeegads.

I don't trust the whole play-slow-to-play-fast thing either, but my (former) teacher swore by it. She never explained how the transition to fast would happen though.

ola del m rio said...

I have been practicing Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring lately. It is extremely fast paced for me (viola) I started out slowly with all the eighth notes, and once your fingers know the notes it seems that it is easier to play it faster. Almost like not really reading the notes but remembering the sound that is to be made. This is a big change for me since I have not been able to hear anything and just play it, I have to see the music written out.