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Violin Lessons: Bartok - Concerto for Orchestra, 5th Mvt (2nd Violin) mm. 265 - 317

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In this excerpt, the Bartok Concerto for
Orchestra fifth movement, this is a second
violin excerpt,
and in fact, only half the second violin
section plays it, eight people.
So what the committee is looking for is to
see how you handle pretty simple rhythms,
but under pressure because in the, in the
actual performance situation,
this is a tumultuous movement, and when we
reach this point in the movement,
everyone else drops out, and it's
basically those eight players carrying
the load for a good 10 or 15 seconds.
So although the rhythms are pretty simple
you have to handle them extremely
This pulse has to remain constant through
the whole excerpt.
People run into trouble sometimes when
you're switching between quarters,
eighths, triplets, and sixteenths.
So that's why it's a great idea to check
this one with the metronome to,
to do all those conversions very
In the very beginning, you need to set
your pulse with quarter notes, and
you want a, a moderate sound.
It's marked forte so
it should sound strong, but you need to
leave yourself some cushion.
So you do that by choosing a, a sounding
point that's not too close to the bridge,
not too far away.
Just a nice, a nice, strong sound.
And as soon as you play that second
quarter note, you've set your pulse for
the excerpt.
So as with a lot of other excerpts, it's
nice to think ahead,
maybe to the bar with eighth notes.
So now you've got your eighth notes.
You can think of those when you're
This first long note is
an easy one to rush the count.
So you've gotta make dead sure that you're
counting all the way through the long note
and cutting it off accurately.
Then your cutoff leads directly into the
sixteenths that come right after.
Those eighth notes with the grace notes,
they need to be well articulated with,
with the fingers.
And that way you're fitting the grace
notes in, as close to the, the main notes
as you can, and
you use accolay stroke, to, to get those
eighth notes off the string.
Eh, next, look at the glissandos, those
are, real glissandos,
you should hear the top note clearly, you
should hear the arrival note clearly,
and, and you shouldn't try to hide the
slide with the bow at all,
keep the good bow pressure in there
That way, you hear the top and
the bottom notes well.
The first bit that you play is, is marked
forte, and that's a,
a fugue subject, cuz this gets a lot more
complex later on, but
you don't have to worry about that in this
So when you're playing the subject,
everything that's forte, that has the, the
strong, leading sound.
When it's marked down to mezzo forte,
even though it's not that big a difference
forte to mezzo forte, you should show
the committee that you understand that's
where you go into accompaniment mode.
So may not be a huge difference
dynamically but character-wise,
you want to show that now you're
So whatever articulation you had before,
dial it down a little bit.
Yes, it will be softer, but also the
articulation will be less.
You can use a lighter bow.
It may sound something like this.
The leading sound
and now the accompanying sound.
So it's still off the string,
still has articulation, but you're showing
that you understand the difference there.
Look with me at converting from quarter
note to
eighth notes to triplets to sixteenths.
A common thing that committees here is
that eighth notes, straight eighths,
or duples, end up sounding much different
than the triplets.
In other words, the eighth notes sound too
The triplets sound too fast.
So if you look at bar 292
you have duple eighths in the first part.
The, the pulse, the quarter pulse has to
remain the same.
So not too slow on the duples, not too
fast or rushing on the triplets.
Near the end of the excerpt,
it drops down to piano.
There you use even lighter bow and less
bow and then a sudden subito,
change back to mezzo forte to end.
So all those dynamic changes you make with
amount of bow and bow pressure,
and then when you start, that's when you
remember that you're leading.
So that has the most articulation of all.