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Rhythmic & Chordal Playing
30 Day Challenge
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Cello Lessons: Practice Tips: Phrasing Between Notes

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In melodic music, like classical music,
a lot of your expressive attention
is gonna go between
the spaces between notes.
How do you get from one note to another?
This is different than in
groove-based music, like jazz or
bluegrass, where you're focusing,
on the attacks of notes as your primary,
expressive moment.
But in The Swan, we want our
sound to be constantly evolving.
You can't play two notes the same way,
You can't just sustain for
the sake of sustaining
You know once you learn how to play with
a nice sound and a nice vibrato, you can't
just stamp a whole set of notes with
it and say here is a beautiful melody.
No we have to really be intentional about
how we're getting from note to note.
And this means our vibrato
is always gonna be evolving.
Our vibrato's always speeding up or
always slowing down.
It's getting wide or it's getting narrow.
And our bow, our bow is the same thing.
Our bow is always speeding up or
slowing down.
We never wanna just [SOUND].
We never want a laser tone where
the bow speed is not evolving.
So let me play this opening phrase
two times, and I'm not gonna evolve.
The first time I'm gonna play
it sort of very stiff, and
I'm not gonna be phrasing between notes.
Now, let me try and
really focus on the transitions between
notes as opportunities to change my
vibrato and change my bow speed.
Notice that on
those long notes,
the long notes always have
to end in a different place
than where they started.
If a long note starts strong,
the character is changing within one note.
It's a lot to happen to change from
passionate to relaxed within one note but
that's the kind of thing we need
to do in a melody like this.
That wasn't the best example but
you get the idea,
especially in the long notes.
There needs to be an evolution
of character within the notes.
One way to sort of start to isolate
how these notes should evolve
is to artificially add
subdivisions in the bow so
that each subdivision is sort of
like a pixelation of the melody.
And with each subdivision, you can track,
am I growing or am falling?
Am I getting more intense with my vibrato,
or not?
And so I'll show you what I mean.
I'm gonna try and express this
melody as naturally as possible,
while filling in
the subdivisions with my bow.
By sort of cutting
up all of these notes,
you can really try and aim for
specific moments of goal posts and
really make sure that you're
constantly evolving.
Cuz that is the essence of
powerful expressiveness in
these classical melodies,
is doing a lot of evolving and
a lot of expression in between the notes.