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Cello Lessons: “Minuet in C Major” by Bach

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Now we're gonna
learn Bach's minuet in C.
A minuet is a baroque dance that I don't
know the steps to, but it's in three.
We're gonna start,
fourth finger on the D string.
And the first couple notes go like this.
we're just doing a scale walk up from C,
back to G.
Four, four, one, two, four.
Let's play that together.
One, two, three.
We're gonna add two notes to that.
C, C.
Let's play that together.
Two, three.
You'll notice I'm phrasing to bar two.
I'm kind of crescendoing,
getting louder right here is where I land.
And these last two Cs
are kind of in parentheses.
They're just kind of placeholders for
the harmony and for the rhythm.
Now, we're going to sequence that
pattern up, we're going to start on A.
C, C.
We're gonna do the same
little C is in parenthesis.
So this second phrase is two,
four, one, two, C, C.
Let's play that together.
One, two, three.
I'm phrasing to the second
bar of this phrase as well.
Landing here.
Good, let's play both of
these phrases together.
One, two, three.
I'm kind of vibrating a little bit,
and we're gonna enter kind of a new
sound world with this piece.
Because it's a really
beautiful Baroque piece,
we wanna have as much resonance and
like lift in our sound.
For like a bluegrass tune, or
Cluck Old Hen that you learned before,
we're kind of getting.
We're kind of getting down and dirty, but
for a classical Baroque minuet,
we wanna lift a little more.
See if you can hear the note resonate
after my bow leaves the string.
The whole, we talked about this before,
where you want your bow to leave
the string while it's still moving in
order to get that resonance.
[SOUND] In order to do that you kind of
have lift a little bit with the arm and
kind of hold the bow a little
more intently with the fingers.
Otherwise, obviously, it'll drop.
So, if you're lifting,
you might have to sort of push
the pinky in a little bit, so
that the bow is kind of stable.
And I'm kind of lifting like
after pretty much every bow
lift lift, lift.
Lift, lift, lift.
Let's lift on all the places,
together, where I'm saying it.
Cuz it will really add to
the style of this piece.
One, two, three.
lift, lift, lift, lift
lift, lift.
If we combine those lifts with
phrasing to the second bar, and
then the fourth bar, we'll have this
really nice shape to the melody,
where we're kind of digging in and
out of the string.
And we'll have a nice
texture to our sound.
Listen once more to that.
Let's play
it together.
One, two, three.
Land here, lift, lift.
Land here, lift, lift.
Good, let's keep learning the melody.
We're gonna take the same rhythm, but
we're gonna put a different
shape to the next phrase.
two, four, two, one, 0, one.
Let's play that, one, two, three.
Then we're actually gonna sequence that
pattern, we're gonna play
the same pattern starting from E,
first finger, and it sounds like this.
Except we're gonna walk all
the way down to the B.
One, two, one, 0,
four, three, let's play that.
So let's play what we have so far.
Now we're gonna
do a cadence here.
It's actually a fancy word,
it's called a half cadence, which
means we're ending on the five chord.
And all you really need to know about
that, is it's gonna sound unresolved.
It'll sound like we need to keep going.
So let me show you what that sounds like.
We have this.
We end on that D,
which is part of the five chord, G.
So, it's gonna prompt us to keep moving.
Let's learn that half cadence.
Three, four.
Yes, we start on B.
Three, three four, O, one,
four, one, two, one, O.
We've got a little ornament there.
It's a little turn, we're kind of going
up to the second finger before
we head down to the D string.
Listen once more, sing along,
and then we'll play it together.
Ready, and.
For a lot of these phrases,
you'll notice that there's a lot
of upbow slurs of two notes.
And then that's a down slur there.
We're gonna slur through that term.
Let me start from the downward sequence.
Sing along from the F.
Up, down, up, down, up, down,
up, down, up, down, down.
Let's play that together.
One, two, three.
Good, so
these are the first two big
phrases of the piece.
We're actually halfway through.
Let's play phrase one and phrase two
starting from all of our lifting.
One, two, three.
As we're talking about lifting, lifting
is a dangerous word to think about,
because I don't want you to be
lifting your shoulders ever.
When I say lift,
it's really just the hand,
and maybe the arm a little bit.
Just giving the bow a little bit of space.
But I don't want you to send your
video submission looking like this.
Lift, lift, lift.
You don't wanna exaggerate.
It's really a subtle thing.
Cuz all we need to do is lift the bow like
half a centimeter in order
to get it off the string.
Let's move on through the melody.
The third big phrase is exactly
the same as the first big phrase.
And now, the final phrase,
the fourth phrase also starts
the same as the second phrase,
but we're gonna have a full cadence.
We're gonna end with what
will feel more final.
It will feel like an answer to
the question that was the half cadence.
So, hear what that sounds like.
The only new notes
are the last part of the sequence,
starting on the D string.
O, one, O, four, three,
four, let's play that.
One, two, three.
That's the only new part.
So I'll play the whole fourth
phrase with the new ending,
the full cadence at the end.
Sing along the first time, and
then we'll play together the second time.
And so
the bowing is the same.
Down, up, down, up, down, up, down,
up, down, up, down, up, down.
Let's play it together.
One, two, three.
The repetition in that
phrase it feels really nice when
my right wrist is really loose.
I get this kind of like
paintbrush type look to my arm.
Again, you don't wanna ever lock this.
And stop the bow between every note.
Even when we're lifting,
we want the bow to always be moving.
Let's try the whole
piece one more time.
I'll be calling out a couple lifts, and
a couple of places to lean, and then
you can play along with the backing track,
and with my performance track as well.
From the top, minuet in C.
One, two, three, lift and lean,
lift, lift, lift, and lean,
lift, lift, really smooth bows.
Half cadence and
lean, lift, lift.
Lean, lift, lift.
Smooth bows,
I feel like a ballet instructor saying,
lift, lean, but it's very appropriate,
cuz the minuet is a dance,
and so you wanna feel like
dancing when you play it.
And I hope you enjoy minuet in C.