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Expression woes
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (4 votes) 
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RDP
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March 1, 2022 - 5:42 pm
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For the life of me I just CANNOT get any expression into Etudes.  I listen to the Suzuki CD and try to play like that, even if slower than molasses sliding down an iceberg, and I just CAN'T do it!

There's no melody in there that I can wrap my brain around.  I don't know why either because obviously there is since I can hear it on the CD.  But, when playing, it's just saw, saw, saw, note, note, note.

I'm afraid of trying to move on because the fingering speed isn't there because I can't seem to anticipate where the movement is going next. I can't even hear it in my head when reading the score.

The next piece is Bach's Minuet No. 1 and I'm positive that unless I can get something out of Etudes, I'm not going to get anywhere with the Minuet.  And it's just Etudes (and the last 3 or 4 pieces) because I can play Inisheer just fine and get the expression correct.  I'm also just starting on the Theme from Romeo and Juliet and I've already got the expression in the first phrase figured out and can play it the way it's supposed to be played.  It's crappy, but I can play it with expression and it's a melody rather than a series of notes played one after another.

 

So, what the heck am I missing with Etudes?  I've been working it it for a month already and I'm still no closer to figuring it out.

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JohnG
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March 1, 2022 - 5:47 pm
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@RDP - I think the problem may be (as I have it) that etudes generally don't have a recognizable tune. I find that the case with me when I try a new tune that I'm not familiar with and I try to play it and find it is just notes, one after the other. If I find myself confronted with that, I either find videos of the tune and finally "feel" the music, or I just drop it! lol

The old curmudgeon!

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ELCBK
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March 1, 2022 - 6:06 pm
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Agreeing with JohnG, that's precisely why I chose to learn short Irish tunes vs. etudes - easier to keep a catchy melody in my head. 

You are asking a lot for someone who hasn't been playing for very long. (lol) 

Here's a good exercise, but you MUST be able to consistently draw a straight bow, with consistent pressure AND at a consistent speed, FIRST - or it won't matter. 

 

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ABitRusty
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March 1, 2022 - 6:15 pm
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@RDP besides the cd youre practicing with...is there another version that someone may have posted on youtube?  Maybe grab some more inspiration from someone else?   If you feel you can play inisheer with more expression and feeling it says to me that Inisheer resonates more with you than the etudes youre trying to play.  That probably isnt the case but it seems like it.   Compared to Inisheer...how many times have you just listened to the suzuki piece when not practicing?   like when driving or just sitting around?  Im not saying you have to listen to something before being able to play it...but I know for myself it helps if ive heard it before, like it and have listened to it played many times by someone who plays it well.   I bet thats the case with inisheer vs the suzuki etude for you.

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stringy
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March 1, 2022 - 6:20 pm
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Etudes are designed to solve certain students problems with difficult passages such as string crossings. Play it as you hear it in your head, it takes a long time  to start getting different tones using the bow, its very hard.

Bit more, bit more, snap #*÷?×[email protected]?#[email protected]

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ABitRusty
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March 1, 2022 - 6:37 pm
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@stringy that being said... you can make the tunes/songs you love etudes instead of just playing for fun.   especially if you can identify what the lesson etude is trying to teach.  And even more so if it helps with motivation or interest.  

 

@RDP have a look at mark o conners method for violin.  he published it as an alternative to suzuki.

http://www.oconnormethod.com/A.....ut-Us.html

 

things like arpeggios, string crossings, and scale runs can all be found in a tune like this.  you have a D, G , and A arpeggio practice, string crossings, and scale runs just in the A part.   Im not saying tunes are always an alternative to etudes..but you can find the same things etudes are teaching at this level in alot.  

example

so knowing what the etude is trying to teach may help.  then find something that has that as a target in a song or tune you like.  

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ELCBK
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March 1, 2022 - 10:12 pm
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Think ABitRusty hit the nail on the head. 

I always forget to mention I use tunes exactly like etudes. 

It's probably my main reason I've been trying to play so many different styles & types of music - it depends on what I need to work on. 

Each tune has something that offers a different challenge. 

Besides just liking a tune, pick ones with specific qualities you want to work on, right now.  When you've finished learning it, the tune then becomes part of your repertoire - an additional bonus. 

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RDP
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March 2, 2022 - 1:15 pm
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I hear you all, but it just seems like I've got a mental block on this one.

 

I had to learn how to do slurs in order to play Inisheer.  Suzuki doesn't teach slurs until later in the program than where I am so I'm ahead of the game on that.  BUT, to my ear, Etude sounds like it uses Spicato for the first few bars then Staccato for the rest before it switches to something else more fluid (and fast) for a second go around.

Here's a linky to the Suzuki CD on You Tube

Etude is at 10:52

 

I can count the notes, and play them... saw, saw, saw.  I can even hear the 1-2,3,4 rhythm in the playing, but I can't match it.  Not even with really short bowing for the notes.  I have no ability to do whatever it is during the repeat because I can't figure out what technique is being used.

I've watched other videos of people playing this score and they all play it like the CD sounds.  I can't see anything they're doing that changes how it sounds from what I'm doing.

 

I'm about ready to give up.

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ABitRusty
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March 2, 2022 - 4:17 pm
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Without looking at what they are trying to teach...it sounds like alternate bowings and coordination between left and right hand.   A compliment to that in what I like playing would be a reel.   Something like swinging on a gate or the sally gardens are similar type bow work at first.   the expressive part comes into play when you start adding slurs and varying pressure and speed of bow inyo and out of slurs.  It doesnt sound like alot of that going on in the recording to me.

concentrating on loose wrist and hand instead of bowing with the whole arm.  especially on the 2nd part.  but to practice on something that you can find alot more examples of online and explore more...search for those 2 reels.   I mean practice the etude but use the tune for expression work.  

Like i said though.. just what im hearing.  Im surr someone on here has wotked through that already and can correct me if wrong on what the target of the etude is.

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stringy
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March 2, 2022 - 5:01 pm
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RDP
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March 2, 2022 - 5:39 pm
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ABitRusty said concentrating on loose wrist and hand instead of bowing with the whole arm.  especially on the 2nd part.   

This actually helped.  I'm uncoordinated and slow with my fingering, but the bowing sounds more like the cd.

 

More wrist less elbow!

 

 

 

1

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ABitRusty
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March 2, 2022 - 6:03 pm
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from the page that @stringy linked it seems that etude is introducing the G major fingering and getting you ready for another exercise.   here is an excerpt...

....Etude uses the same short detached bow strokes as Perpetual Motion and the repeated string crossings of the theme provide an extra workout for this foundation skill. Keep the right elbow relaxed and stable while crossing from A to D string. A flexible bowhold allows economical string crossing – finger motion without arm flapping....

IDK.. seems like if you have G major down and feel comfortable with alternate bowing and string crossings youre getting the jest... remember the etude and come back to it maybe from time to time?  save the sweat on expressivness for the next tune or others that use G major with alot of alternate bowing and string crossings?  just a thought

 

good find @stringy... explained it well

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Gordon Shumway
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March 3, 2022 - 4:49 am
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There was someone else on another forum who had problems with the concepts of expression and emotion in music. My advice would be to forget them and just try to play the violin however you'd sing a piece if you were singing it.

On the other hand technical matters are something completely different. Lack of technique will hamper your ability to sing. That is why we work on technique.

Andrew

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Fiddlerman
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March 9, 2022 - 11:20 am
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In many ways there are no differences between etudes and musical pieces/compositions. The main difference is that the etude is mostly designed to focus on particular technical aspects of playing.
To be expressive you must sometimes be creative. It's almost always great to use dynamics. Growing in volume as the tune goes up and diminishing volume as you go down. Fading at the end of the phrase, accents on the beats or no accents..... Everything relating to the style, genre, taste, etc..... BUT, take the time to be creative and to listen carefully to what you are playing.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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