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Cello Lessons: “Theme from Ode to Joy” by Beethoven

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Beethoven's theme from Ode to
Joy is one of the most famous
pieces in classical music.
It's the main theme of
the fourth movement,
the final movement of
Beethoven's final symphony,
his Symphony number nine,
that he wrote in 1824.
The piece as a whole has a big journey,
and it gets really dissonant and
it gets really complex right before
the Ode to Joy theme appears.
And right before Ode to Joy appears,
the male singer solo,
the soloist says, [FOREIGN],
which is German for
friends, not these sounds.
And then they jump right in to the most
joyous melody ever, Ode to Joy.
It's actually a melody that Beethoven
wrote to a poem that already existed.
Frederick Schiller wrote
the poem Ode to Joy in 1785.
And he set it to music as the big
triumphant climax to his ninth symphony.
Let's learn it.
This is actually gonna be simpler than
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, I think.
But it's gonna be a good opportunity for
us to work on a new bow stroke
called the Martele stroke.
Which sounds like this.
It's really strong and it kinda goes
all the way from the frog to the tip.
[SOUND] Do this with me on open D.
[SOUND] When I get to the end of the bow,
I keep the bow in the string.
I let all my weight relax into the string.
I'm not lifting the bow like this.
That can get hard to control.
At the end of each bow, I'm leaving the
bow on the string and relaxing my weight.
This Martele stroke,
I actually like to refer
to as a rocket bow
because you kind of shoot off from one
end [SOUND] all the way to the other end.
[SOUND] So I also like
the feeling of the word rocket.
Anyway, you can call it Martele bows.
[SOUND] Or if you wanna make me happy
in your video submission [SOUND],
you can say, check out my rocket bows.
Anyway, let's learn the melody for
the left hand.
Let's do this call and response.
Repeat after me.
We're gonna start on third
finger on the D string.
So I can even give you a heads up,
that you're gonna wanna do a little
walk up to find third finger.
[SOUND] Now, repeat after me.
I'm gonna keep adding to it,
a couple of notes at a time, so
listen and then play again.
Ready, play.
Now we're going to add
a couple more notes.
If you're keeping track at home,
the fingering is three, three, four,
four, three, one.
Let's sing that together.
Three, three, four, four, three, one.
Now let's play it with the bow.
Ready, play.
now we're gonna add
a little tag to that and
it sounds like this.
Before I have you play it,
let's sing the fingerings.
One, three, three, one, one.
Let's sing it together.
One, three, three, one, one.
Let's play it with
the bow starting up bow.
So that means it's a start up bow,
you wanna start towards the tip and
then we'll do our up bow.
Ready, play.
we have a new technique.
We're doing two down-bows in a row.
We haven't done that yet.
We've always played our
bowing as it comes.
Look at my bowing.
I'm going up, down, up, down, down, up.
We're ending down, down, up.
Let's sing the pitches of the melody
with the bow direction, together.
Ready, and, up, down, up down, down, up.
One more time.
Up, down, up, down, down, up.
Let's play it.
Ready, play.
Let's put everything together,
all the first part of the melody and
the tag.
Let's play it, yeah, just together.
down, up.
Now, the second half of
this part of the melody,
this is actually
the A section of the melody.
The second half of the A section
is all the same as the first half,
except we're gonna end
with a different ending.
See if you can hear which
notes are different.
This is the second
half of the A section.
If you said the last two, slash three,
notes are the only ones different,
you are correct.
That tag that we played,
sounds like this in the first half.
And in the second half,
it sounds like this.
So the fingering for
the second half is one,
three, one.
Let's sing that together.
And one, three, one.
The tag of the second half,
even though it has different notes,
is going to have the same special
bowing of two downs in a row.
Up, down, up, down, down, up, okay?
I'm gonna play the whole
second half of the A section,
and then I want you to play it with me.
Ready, second half.
Now I'm gonna play the whole A section,
and I want you to finger and sing along.
Like, three, three, four, and so on.
Sing it and finger it with me and
then we'll play it together.
Ready, go.
down, up.
down, up.
Let's play it all together.
The A section to Ode to Joy.
One, two, ready, go.
Very good.
Now, we'll move on to the B section.
Now we're gonna learn
the B section to Ode to Joy.
This starts on first
finger of the D string.
[SOUND] Listen first,
then repeat after me.
That's the first phrase.
It's one, one, three.
Let's play that together.
Ready, go.
I'll add a couple notes to that.
Let's try that,
let's sing the finger numbers.
I'll sing it first then you join me.
One, one, three, O,
one, three, four, three O.
Sing it together.
One, one, three O,
one three, four, three O.
Now play it together.
Three and.
The special bowing part
about this phrase is we're gonna
do two ups in a row in this phrase.
Look at my bowing again, and see if
you can figure out where that happens.
It goes where
the bum up, up down up.
Let's sing the whole phrase one more time,
with the bowing directions.
So it will sound like this down.
Down, up, down, up,
down, up, up, down, up.
Let's sing that together.
Ready, and, down, up, down,
up, down, up, up, down, up.
Now let's put it on the instrument again.
Ready, play.
up, down.
The next phrase is going to
repeat the second phrase.
This one.
So we're just going to play that twice.
Let's play all first of the three phrases,
second phrase is repeated.
One and
[SOUND] It's actually one
note difference at the end.
Often times even when we repeat phrases,
just the last note will change.
So let me show you that.
It ends on a first finger.
Let's sing that.
Now let's play it.
Ready, and.
Now, we're gonna add three more notes,
and then we're done.
And the last three notes are open
D [SOUND], first finger [SOUND],
and then first finger on
the G string [SOUND].
We're playing on the G string now for
the first time, and
it's just gonna be first finger.
Find the first finger on the G string.
[SOUND] Match it to my pitch.
Can you guess what note that is?
What pitch name?
You would think if it was one
higher than G, it would be H.
But you'd be wrong.
It is actually A again.
Our pitch names only go up to G and
then they recycle.
So we have a low A here and you can check
the intonation to see if it's in tune by
matching it with your open A string,
one octave above.
Let's put the melody all together now.
I'm gonna play it once, and I want you
to sing along with the finger numbers.
And you can even finger
along on the instrument.
And then the second time through,
we'll play it together.
Ready, and.
One, one, three, O.
One, three, four, three, O.
One, three, four, three,
one, O, one, one.
Good, let's play it together.
Ready, and.
One, one, three o, One, three,
four, three o, one, three,
four, three, one o, one, one.
Very nice.
Let's actually,
this piece is gonna happen twice.
So, we're just gonna
play it through twice and
we're gonna add what's
called a connecting note.
And, the connecting note
is gonna be actually,
the same note that the melody starts on.
It'll sort of anticipate the second
time we play the B section.
So it's gonna be a third
finger on the A section.
Sorry, third finger on the D string and
it'll sound like this at the end.
And it's kind
of a pick up to the A section melody
that is gonna be showing up as well.
[SOUND] Let's play what we have so far.
[SOUND] Let's do it together.
Ready, and.
Now we
go back to
the A section.
The B section includes
the entire A section melody,
so you already know that
part which is great.
Let me play the whole B section.
Before we move on, why don't you sing
along with the finger numbers again?
So I'll be starting first
finger on the D string.
Ready, and.
One, one, three, O.
One, three, four, three, O.
One, three, four, three, one,
O, one, one, three, three,
three, four, O, O, four, three,
one, O, O, one, three, one.
One, O,O.
Let's play it together.
Ready, play.
One, one, three, O.
One, three, four, three, O.
One, three, four, three.
One, o, one, one.
Three, three, three, four,
o, o, four, three, one, o,
o, one, three, one, o, o.
Very good.
[SOUND] So the B section as we've seen,
has this new melody.
And then it ends with the same
melody from the A section.
And then that whole chunk
is actually repeated again.
And that's actually the entire
theme to Ode to Joy.
Let's play the B section two times
through, which includes the A section so
it will review all of
the notes that we've learned.
Let's do it together, starting from B
section, first finger on the D string.
Ready Play.
One, one, three, O.
One, three, four, three, O.
One, three, four, three, one, one, one.
Three, three, three, four,
O, O, four, three, one, O,
O, one, three, one, O, O.
The whole thing again.
we've finished
with running
the whole melody
Let's just have a reminder that we're
using Martele, rocket bow strokes.
So they're really strong bows,
really almost from the frog to the tip.
And you'll stop in between each one.
Do a couple of these with me again.
See if you can keep
your bow straight,
from the frog to the tip.
while we're doing the martele bow stroke,
remember there's a couple down downs and
a couple up ups in this melody that will
allow our bowing to stay on the down up
grid which is gonna be really important.
We wanna start every melody,
every phrase down bow if at all possible.
So let's play it all
the way through together.
The A section and
two B sections of Ode to Joy.
One, two, ready, play.
Down,down, up.
B section.
up, up,
B section again.
Up, up.
Up, up.
down, up.
Very good.
You can play along with the backing track,
with me and
without me, and
I hope you enjoy playing, Ode to Joy.