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Cello Lessons: “Dies Irae”

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[MUSIC]
Now we're gonna
learn Dies Irae.
Dies Irae is a very famous melody
that has roots as a hymn in
the Latin mass rituals of
the Roman Catholic Church.
There was a lot of text from the Bible
that would be chanted with melody.
And it was Pope Gregory that instructed
that these melodies finally get notated.
So this is some of the earliest
music that was ever notated,
and we call it Gregorian Chant.
Dies irae translates to Day of Wrath.
And is a big part of the Mass of the Dead,
from the Roman Catholic Mass.
Writing, setting masses to music Is
a long tradition in classical music.
And so there are even some
classical composers in the 18th and
19th century, and even in the 20th
century that are still setting
to music parts from
the Roman Catholic Mass.
Mozart and Giuseppe Verdi and
even Hector Berlioz.
They've all written very famous
classical pieces that use
this melody that we're learning.
The one thing that this melody is gonna
introduce for us that's new is that,
even though we're using all
the notes from the D major scale,
we're gonna be doing
it with the root of E.
The second scale degree
is gonna be our root.
And that's the note that you're
gonna hear in the drone.
It won't change anything that
you're doing on the instrument.
We're gonna be using all the same
fingers and all the same pitches.
But when we make the root of the scale,
a different note,
then it becomes a different
mode of the scale.
Each scale degree, can become the root,
and each has a different name.
When the second scale degree is the mode,
it becomes the Dorian mode,
instead of the major scale.
So this tune dies irae,
we're going to play it in edorian.
But it uses the same
exact notes as D major.
Let's learn it phrase by phrase.
The first note is gonna start on
the fourth finger of the D string.
That is the pitch G.
Let's find that.
[MUSIC]
You can actually check the intonation
of this note with your
open G string next to it.
[MUSIC]
Make sure they resonate well together.
You don't want any
[MUSIC]
weird dissonance can make your face go
like this.
[MUSIC]
You want them to sound
in a perfect octave.
So, I'm gonna play the first phrase, and
then we'll learn the fingerings for it.
[MUSIC]
The numbers I'm using are four,
three, four, one,
three, one.
Let's sing that a couple times together.
Ready, sing.
Four, three, four, one, three, one.
Again.
Four, three, four, one, three, one.
Last time.
Four, three, four, one, three, one.
Let's pizz those notes
with the right hand.
So we don't need the bow, and we're just
gonna pull the string until it releases,
in order to hear the pitch.
Let's do it at the same tempo, pizzicato.
Ready, and.
Four, three, four, one, three, one.
Again.
Four, three, four, one, three, one.
Good.
Let's pick up the bow now and
we'll bow each note.
Ready.
Play.
Four, three, four,
one, three, one.
Good.
We're actually gonna add
one more E at the end,
so it'll sound like this.
[MUSIC]
And that last E is extra long,
cuz that's our cadence note.
That's where the phrase ends.
Let's play that together,
with an extra long cadence note.
Ready, and.
[MUSIC]
Good.
Now we're gonna introduce something new.
It's called slurring.
We're gonna play this phrase with slurs.
What slurs mean is when I'm
doing more than one note,
in a continuous bow direction.
So, I was to slur two notes,
the first two notes of this melody,
it would look and sound like this.
[MUSIC]
Notice I didn't stop the bow at all.
I played both fourth and
third finger in one down bow.
Let's try that together.
[MUSIC]
Let's do a bow circle back to the frog,
and we'll do it, the same thing again.
[MUSIC]
Good.
We're actually gonna be slurring two notes
per bow, for this whole first phrase.
So I'll be slurring on an up bow too.
The next two phases of the melody
will be on that up bow.
And that will be fourth finger and
first finger.
Watch me and then we'll we do it together.
[MUSIC]
So do a bow circle.
Start the bow at the tip and then we'll
do a up bow on fourth and first finger.
[MUSIC]
Good.
Let's put our slurs,
from down-bow and up-bow, together.
And we'll do the whole first four notes.
Ready, and.
[MUSIC]
Good.
We're gonna do one more slur
on the next down bow and
that's on the third finger and the open D.
[MUSIC]
Let's do that together.
Third finger open D on a down bow.
Start at the frog.
[MUSIC]
Good.
Let's do all three slurs in a row now,
ready?
Play.
[MUSIC]
And we have two more notes, and
we wanna end this long
cadence note on a down bow,
so we're gonna do these two separate and
so, we have two E notes.
The first one up, and then down.
[MUSIC]
>> Let's play that together.
To start up bow, you need to
put the bow towards the tip and
then we can do it together.
Ready?
Up, down and we hold the down bow longer.
Good.
I'm gonna play the whole first phrase
with these three slurs, ending up down and
then I want you to do it with me.
[MUSIC]
Ready.
Play.
[MUSIC]
Good.
Now we're gonna learn the other
two phrases of this melody.
But I'm gonna teach them
to you with the slurs.
So pay good attention
to when I'm slurring.
Okay?
The next phrase starts down bow as well.
[MUSIC]
[SOUND] We're going
to end at another long down
bow for the cadence.
The first note is, G, again,
just like the first phrase.
And, it's just one note on that bow.
[SOUND] Then,
I'm going to add to that with an up slur.
[MUSIC]
This is the first time we've slurred while
doing a string change.
We're slurring from the fourth finger
on the D string to open A on an up bow.
So place your bow in the upper half,
near the tip.
And play fourth finger and then open A.
[MUSIC]
Let's do the first three notes.
So we've got G, fourth finger down,
and then the slur.
[MUSIC]
Let's do that
together, and
[MUSIC],
good.
The next four notes are slurred two to
a bow again, and they sound like this.
[MUSIC]
It's just a downward scale from G to D.
Two notes per bow.
We've got down, up.
Let's try that.
Ready, and.
[MUSIC]
Good.
Let's go back.
We'll put it all together.
I'll play everything up till now and
then you'll play it with me.
Starting down bow.
[MUSIC]
Slur
[MUSIC]
Slur
[MUSIC]
Slur
[MUSIC]
Ready, play.
[MUSIC]
Good.
There are three more notes in this phrase,
and they sound like this.
[MUSIC]
The fingering is three,
four, three, one.
And the bowing is gonna be down, up, down.
Let's air bow while singing
those bow directions.
Ready, Down, up, down.
Now let's play those notes.
Ready?
Play.
[MUSIC]
I'll play the whole
second phase with
those ending notes and
then you'll play it with me.
[MUSIC]
Ready, play.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
Before we learn the last phrase,
let's play both the first two phrases and
we're gonna sing the finger numbers.
And I'll play it as well.
And then the second time through,
we'll play it together.
Okay?
So,
the first note of the first phrase is G,
fourth finger on the D string.
Let's sing the numbers,
and then we'll play.
Ready, sing.
Four, three, four,
one, three, O, one, one.
Four, four, O, four,
three, one, O, three,
four, three, one.
Let's play it together
with all of our slurs.
Ready and down,
up, down,
up, down.
Down, down, wait.
Down, up, down, up,
down, up, down.
Good, let's learn the third phrase.
This starts on the G string, third finger.
Let's find that note.
[MUSIC]
So, I'm gonna play the first couple notes,
and then I want you to sing
the finger numbers back with me.
Three, O, one, one, O.
Let's sing that.
Three, O, one, one, O.
One more more time.
Three, O, one, one, O.
Now let's finish it, it ends the same way
that the second phrase ends actually.
Three, four, three, one.
[MUSIC]
Let's put that together.
Let's sing the numbers together.
[MUSIC]
Three, O, one, one,
O, three, four, three, one.
Good.
Let's pizz that third phrase, and we can
even keep singing the finger numbers.
Three, [SOUND] O, [SOUND] one,
[SOUND] one, [SOUND] O,
[SOUND] three, [SOUND] four,
[SOUND] three, [SOUND] one.
[SOUND] Good.
Let's pick the bow back up, and
let's just play as it comes.
Each note will get a separate bow.
Ready, play.
[MUSIC]
Now, we're
gonna add the slurs to
the third phrase.
The first note will be separate,
and then we'll have an up slur.
It goes like this
[MUSIC]
down, up.
Let's play that together, and down, up.
One more time.
Ready and, down, up.
And then we're gonna have a down slur, and
an up slur again on these notes.
[MUSIC]
There's a three note slur there.
That's the first time
we've slurred three notes.
So, we've got a two notes
[SOUND] on a down bow, and
then three notes on the up bow.
[MUSIC]
So, we've gotta have a slow bow.
So we don't run out of a bow.
Let's try the two note down bow slur.
On one, O.
Ready, play, one, O.
Good, now let's do three
notes on the up bow.
Three, four, three.
And three, four, three.
[SOUND] Good.
Let's do that up bow one more time.
Ready, so get the bow's placed
near the tip for up bow.
And three, four, three and
then we'll end with a long
[SOUND] one on a down bow.
[SOUND] That's our final cadence note.
Let's sing the bow directions for
this whole last phrase.
You can air bow.
Down, up, down,
up, down.
Let's do it again.
Down, up, down,
up, down.
Good.
Let's try and play that.
Ready, and down,
up, down, up, down.
One more time and
down, up, down,
up, down.
Good, I think we're ready to
play the whole piece now.
It's all three phrases.
Let's sing the finger letters first.
You can even pizz along while
I play it with the bow, and
then we'll play it with the bow together.
So, from the top, Dies Irae.
Ready and four, three, four,
one, three, O, one, one.
Both circle to the frog.
Four, four, O, four, three,
one, one, three, four, three, one.
Another bow circle to the frog.
This time we start on the G string.
Three, O, one, one, O,
three, four, three, one.
[SOUND] Let's play it together.
Ready and down,
up, down,
up, down.
Down, up,
down, up, down,
up, down.
Down, up, down,
up, down.
[SOUND] You can use the E drone
backing track to practice this song,
and you can work on your intonation.
Make sure you're always
listening to the drone.
And also now that you're slurring,
try and keep your bow arm smooth so
that all your bow direction changes,
they have a continuous sound.
You don't want it to sound like this.
[MUSIC]
You don't want there to be breaks
when you change the bow.
You want it to be really smooth.
[MUSIC]
I hope you enjoy this day of
wrath as a nice antidote to all of the Ode
to Joy practice you had recently.
And I look forward to hearing
you in your video submission.
[MUSIC]