Saturday, May 19, 2007

Cello lesson 5/10 - Rhythms

Yes, that's 5/10, not 5/17. I canceled my lesson this week, something I rarely do, because I was still getting over being sick, plus I had practiced a total of maybe an hour the preceding week, again because of said illness. It didn't seem sensible to waste both of our times.

However, I haven't posted anything about the preceeding lesson. The most important item we discussed was a practical approach to working up music that consists of strings of notes using rhythms. I won't call it passage work, since the music under discussion is Bach, the Courante from the 2nd Suite, and heaven forbid I think of that as passage work.

The reason we had to discuss a practical approach is that, though I have tremendous theoretical knowledge about how to do this, for some reason I have been unable to apply it in practice. So we went over 10 variations, and I have explicit instructions to work one section, or even 1 measure, at a time. Ten rhythms, sequentially, 5-10 reps of each rhythm. Since my lesson I've worked on 2 measures and two sections this way.

Today during breaks in my practice I was thinking about this post, and it occurred to me that I should record the last of my reps in each rhythm and post them. It will make a lot more sense, to you now and to me later, to see/hear them than to read the following cursory description. It's a good time to do it, too. My readership falls off significantly on weekends. Plus, I'm going to post the description now and the video a little later, because it will take some time to compile the clips (Oh! A movie!) and I'll bet lots of folks won't remember to come back to look <g>.

All rhythms describe a block of 4 sixteenth notes. The 10 rhythms:
1. long - short - long - short
2. short - long - short - long
3. add quarter note to 1
4. add quarter note to 2
5. add quarter note to 3
6. add quarter note to 4
7. accent 1
8. accent 2
9. accent 3
10. accent 4

I keep the metronome set at my target quarter note value (84 for now), but for 1-2 and 7-10 I play at half that rate. The bowings are not altered, which takes some planning for bow distribution, especially in variations 3-6. T- was very clear that after playing the rhythms I should play the bit I have been working on in tempo, up to tempo. Then I slow down a bit, check my memory, and add it to what I have done so far. I recorded both the up-to-tempo (still a little too fast) and the "so far", 3/4 of the A section.

Should be more video than anyone would want to watch.