Thursday, April 28, 2011

Viola and misc.

Intonation is a bitch.

Pure thirds, fifths, octaves sound so beautiful.  This is what I found to be the most beautiful aspect of a string instrument yet.  I'm convinced of this after listening to a descending third passage of Paganini's caprice.  It just sounded so pure, so beautiful, so perfect.

So what makes the piano stand out?  I've identified one aspect of what make the violin/viola stands out.

I think of the color when the pedal is depressed, like in Ravel's music.  The lightness in French music, the etherealness of those music.

And the sound you can make on a piano that imitates bells.  It truly reverberates and you are free to imagine anything that you want to associate with it.

Those are special effects.

Polyphony is another thing you pretty can only do on the piano.  You can immerse yourself in your playing; but I'm not sure if listeners will be immersed as much.

Percussive passages are also quite effective--I think of Prokofiev's war sonatas.

I'm sure other things will come to mind given time.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Viola

So as it turns out, I did end up renting a viola.

Kind of fun.  But as my Stewart shows me exercises beginner violinists do, it reminds me of exercises I did as a child.

Needless to say, I do not want to go through those kind of exercises again!

I'll try not to take shortcuts, but I'll probably end up doing just that... oh well.

It's been fun learning the viola.  I am using Cavallini's viola method downloaded from IMSLP.  My fingers on the C string always seem to be touching the G string, which is a problem.  I end up having to twist my arm quite a bit.

But I'm no where close to playing anything real.  Vibrato seems to a long way away.  And I don't even know how to shift positions yet.

Oh yeah, I haven't even figured out how to be in tune yet.  In root position (1st position?).

A loooong way away.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Learning the Viola?

A while ago I read that Horowitz tried to imitate how string players play scales.  And that was the first time the idea of learning a string instrument came to mind.

Then the other day, I read that Mozart and Beethoven both played the viola at times in an ensemble.  And I thought, maybe I should pick up the viola!

What other reasons are there?  Plenty.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Chopin Polonaise, Op. 53, Part III

Finally, I can play all the notes without mistake.  Well, not in the same run through.  So, I suppose, I mean for the purpose of recording studios, I can play the piece hitting all the right notes.  For performance purposes, not close.  For one, I haven't even memorized it yet.  But my memorization has definitely improved--even though I haven't played too much piano the past couple of weeks due to hand pain.  Which reminds me, I should make a post on "Retraining" and what I'm paying attention to in my "retraining".

Anyhow, now that notes are basically there, interpretation now takes precedence.  I've actually played this piece for Julie twice in the past 2 weeks, and she certainly had some pretty useful things to say.