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Cello Slow Bowing and Double Stop Issues (Violonists might have thoughts, too)
Can anyone offer tips on how to improve slow bowing when scales with one bowing don’t seem to achieve improvement? Can anyone explain how to remember the proper angle for double stops? Even if you are a violinist or violist, your technique for honing this might be helpful for my cello playing.
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February 7, 2020 - 10:36 am
Member Since: December 26, 2018
Forum Posts: 3610
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I was just given a Tarantella. Op 23 by William Henry Squire. I really like it. I do have issues. It was given to me at my lesson on Wednesday. Granted, I have only had it a couple days, but I am having issues that I don’t quite know how to solve.

One of the purposes of being given this piece is because I have bowing issues. I have speed issues. I cannot bow slowly. Another issue is, what I think are referred to as, double stops on your violin. Playing 2 strings at a time. This song has both.

There are long slurred sections with one long vow in the same direction. I run out of bow all the time, or it is weak and scratchy, or both. There are also sections where,  for one note, the A is played using the open A string and the A on the D string at the same time, very cool dynamic. There are also sections of many bars where the open D is being played as a drone with notes on the A string. Again, a very cool dynamic, except when I do it. I think that these sections are a couple of the reasons I like this song. I am having fun trying to do it, and I think I can do it if I can get past these two issues. These sections are the reason my instructor brought this piece in for me. He is very calculating as to techniques needed in a piece. They have sections that I need a lot of work on. I love it! The lesson material is based on my needs.

Slow Bowing

This is an issue I have been struggling with since the dawn of me playing cello. There are sections with up to 13 notes being played in one bow stroke. In looking at the sheet music thirteen are done in one stroke 4 times. There are about 9 instances of 12 notes. There are a lot of 5-12 note slurs, too. There are shorter stretches, too. I am concentrating on the first 15 measures for now, but in working in pieces. The 5th, 6th and partial 7th measures are connected with a slur with 13 notes. It is 6/8 time. The first 12 notes are 8th notes and end with a quarter note. No matter what I do, I run out of bow. If I do the section on its own, I can do it once in a while, but when it gets back into the piece, I lose it. Then I do the measure before that section that leads into it, thinking I can work it backwards, nadda. I run out of bow and/or it sounds scratchy and weak, especially at the end. I did it once in my lesson. It was not really good, but better than what I am getting. I have not been able to repeat what I did. How do you all slow bow and have it sound strong, not weak and scratchy?

Double Stops and Drones

The eighth measure ends with the E on the D string, 1st finger, 3 beats. The first finger slides up to the A on the D string and it is played with the open A string for the other 3 beats. When done correctly, it is beautiful. I have issues angling my bow to get both strings, or when I do have both strings, both with equal volume.

Starting with the 24th measure there is an open D string drone being played with the notes on the A string for 8 measures and 3 beats of the ninth. You are basically only concerned with fingering the A string notes and playing the D string along with it. Again, beautiful when done correctly. This D drone with the A string is done a lot in this piece. I can’t, I don’t want to say, “can’t”, I am having issues angling the bow to do this. I either hear the D only, D with weak and scratchy A, or the opposite with the A being dominant.

I can sit there and play an open A and D together over and over and it sounds lovely. I can add the notes from the A fingering, and it is not too bad, but, when I go to the song, it is lost.

I spent 3 hours on the drone playing yesterday and about 2 hours with slow bowing with scales, and fingering exercise. I don’t feel like I have gotten anywhere with it. I am pretty sure, that even though this is cello, any help from violin, along with you cellists out there, would be most appreciated. How did, or do, you correct these issues. I want so much to get this, at least pretty good, by this coming Wednesday.

I am so sorry this is so long.

Thank you.

The Bumblebee Flies!

February 7, 2020 - 6:18 pm
Member Since: December 26, 2018
Forum Posts: 3610
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It was better this morning, but it seems like it is just pure luck, and never sounds right. I can’t figure out if there might be a better way to practice both issues mentioned above. 

I figured using scales that are slurred would be good for figuring out slow bowing so I don’t run out of bow, but maybe that is not the most productive way?

The double stops are still sporadic and dumb luck.

The Bumblebee Flies!

February 7, 2020 - 8:39 pm
Member Since: December 27, 2019
Forum Posts: 79
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I saw this video on the "One minute" bow for violin, I wonder if that could be adapted and help for what you are working on?



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