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Phrasing and Bowing
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Gordon Shumway
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March 22, 2020 - 4:07 am
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Since orchestras and lessons are out, yesterday I started to look at this piece of Charles Ives.

Phrasing for violin bears little resemblance to phrasing for piano or oboe, so I'm a bit perplexed.

In particular, how should the last line of p.4 differ from the 2nd line of p.3?

Do those slurs mean you play the whole phrase with one bow? Does that mean the staccato is bowed staccato? Do you try to do that on the up-bow (given that it's only ABRSM grade 5)? Or do you alternate bowing during phrases?

The CD - I have it and I recommend it

Should I provide photos of the measures in question? Would @Fiddlerman be so kind as to edit them with explicit bowing? If I listen to it more closely, will my questions be answered?

Andrew

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AndrewH
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March 22, 2020 - 4:21 am
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My best guess is that the larger slurs are in fact bowing marks, and the smaller slurs and staccato marks under them indicate articulation within the longer bow. The main difference between the two lines seems to be tempo rather than phrasing. Also, think in longer phrases; on p. 3 it looks like a 3-bar phrase, and on p. 4 it looks like 5 bars.

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Gordon Shumway
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AndrewH said
My best guess is that the larger slurs are in fact bowing marks, and the smaller slurs and staccato marks under them indicate articulation within the longer bow.

Yes, I like that. But it means I'm forced to attempt down-bow staccato as well as up-bow. I suppose that day had to come!fainting-1344

Andrew

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AndrewH
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March 22, 2020 - 4:51 am
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It's not fast enough that it would be a real staccato, I think, and it needs to flow more anyway. Just put a little space between the notes, which can be done either up or down bow.

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Gordon Shumway
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And there's the last line of p.6 too. I want to end on an up bow to play the fortissimo on the down bow.

Andrew

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AndrewH
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FWIW, I don't think there's anything wrong with taking liberties with bowing, unless the composer is looking for a very specific effect. I don't see anything so specific here.

I can name at least two examples of world-class players ignoring printed bowings off the top of my head, in pieces I've worked on.

This week I'm playing violin instead of viola due to a shoulder injury, and I've been working on the Brahms F-A-E scherzo. The first YouTube hit for that piece (at least for me) is Vengerov playing it. I notice he does literally none of the up-bow staccato that the score calls for, and simply plays all those notes as separate bows.

In the fast middle section of the first movement of the Walton viola concerto, I notice that not a single performer I've seen on YouTube plays both the printed bowing and the suggested metronome mark. The ones who play the printed slurs play it noticeably slower; the ones who take the metronome mark ignore the printed slurs and play all separate bows. There's another passage earlier in the movement where most people seem to break up marked slurs, probably in order to use more bow and project over the orchestra.

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Gordon Shumway
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March 22, 2020 - 6:56 am
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The Bach double concerto is an interesting one. I've looked at Suzuki, Baerenreiter and the video of Menuhin+Oistrakh, and there's some bowing I need to work out. As far as I can think, Suzuki, Menuhin, Oistrakh seemed right; Baerenreiter wrong. I say this because Baerenreiter don't normally do bowing or fingering, so I wouldn't have remarked on it if it had been good. I wouldn't trust my memory if I were you. Anyway, my teacher is knowledgeable about baroque bowing, so I'll work on it with her some time soon, Corona volente.

 

P.S.

It's not fast enough that it would be a real staccato

good point - I was maybe confusing it with a couple of other faster things in the piece.

Andrew

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AndrewH
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March 22, 2020 - 8:19 am
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I'm reminded of a memorable rehearsal quote from Michael Morgan when he was guest-conducting my orchestra:

"I have long maintained that everybody who prints music for a living... should be killed."

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Gordon Shumway
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AndrewH said
Michael Morgan...: "I have long maintained that everybody who prints music for a living... should be killed." 

In the case of guitar, this is a self-evident truth.

On the piano I don't recall ever seeing more than one typo.

Violin is maybe trickier. Recently I've been looking at Kreutzers #4 and #17. (#4 and #16 in Fiddlerman's version)

Clearly Singer (for Schirmer) is wrong about #4. If you play the first note of every bar staccato, you'll never be anywhere near the tip to do all those up-bow staccatos. What purports to be a first edition in IMSLP simply has them marked in a manner that can be interpreted as just martelé (I discovered this morning), with, presumably, the player choosing how long the note lasts. Interestingly, that martelé marking is used by pianists to mean "as short as possible", so I wonder if a non-violinist has been involved in editing Schirmer's publication.

I'd like to see an exhaustive catalogue of all violin notation marks. Is there one on this site, @Fiddlerman? You'd think one would be readily to hand, but I can't think where to find them. I'll Google it. meanwhile, I'm relying on Galamian. I'll check Fischer's books some time.

And I've seen 3 different interpretations of Kreutzer #17, so I suppose the one in IMSLP and Fiddlerman's #16 are right.

I have a Polish pdf of Kreutzer, where the problems with #4 have clearly been noted and resolved with ordinary downbowing, so I uploaded it to @Fiddlerman last night for safe keeping. But I now realise that Fiddlerman's version has the martelé in it. The Polish version came from theviolinsite.com, which is now defunct, and I can't trace its ultimate origin yet.

Andrew

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Fiddlerman
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March 25, 2020 - 3:10 pm
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Gordon Shumway said
Should I provide photos of the measures in question? Would @Fiddlerman be so kind as to edit them with explicit bowing? If I listen to it more closely, will my questions be answered?

Yes I will gladly do that for you.

Gordon Shumway said 
I have a Polish pdf of Kreutzer, where the problems with #4 have clearly been noted and resolved with ordinary downbowing, so I uploaded it to @Fiddlerman last night for safe keeping. But I now realise that Fiddlerman's version has the martelé in it. The Polish version came from theviolinsite.com, which is now defunct, and I can't trace its ultimate origin yet.

I didn't post it because I couldn't remove the link. Don't want to share a file with that link on it. I'll see if I can get a different version of the same one that you sent to me.

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

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Gordon Shumway
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@Fiddlerman  Thanks for the offer, but maybe we can hold fire on both those things. I didn't realise that pdf had a link - it doesn't show up as a blue-underlined hyperlink - it only shows as a link if I hover my mouse over it. Also, I am happy with your version and its martelé.

As to the Ives, my queries change from day to day. Currently my biggest question is whether to bother with the up-bow staccato in measure 21 or rephrase something in the previous bars in order to avoid it. That little jiggle is repeated twice, on that page and the next, neither time with a tie, and the up-bowed staccato is merely dictated by the previous bowing, and not by any musical idea, it seems, and it's unnecessarily tricky at the moment (lol). One possibility is to tie measure 19 into measure 20. Or even the basic theme as illustrated in measures 4/5 doesn't seem to me to be much affected by how many bowings you use (I know my view on that will change, but I think it's only a minor point).

Of course if you wanted to play through it and offer your own bowings, I'd be very grateful, especially wherever there's double stopping.

And now the youtube link is broken. Ain't that great!

h**ps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2uOK6qdfO8

Andrew

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