The third movement of
Brahms' Fourth Symphony is marked allegro
And I had a colleague in the Chicago
Symphony, a bass player actually,
who said he always laughed every time we
got to this movement.
Looking at the allegro giocoso,
which would mean joyful because he
imagined the absolute pounding that
this movement would usually take at the
hands of an orchestra.
And that pounding usually comes right on
Just an accent on every beat.
And that has no charm or character.
It is marked fortissimo, but remember, it
should be joyful.
And so, you want the shape to lead to the
The second time it leads
one bar further all the way to the
the character has to inform all the
strokes that you play in this movement.
The dots that you see, I do like to play
off the string.
I think that gives lightness and
This is, this is a scherzo movement in
Those would be as opposed to
dots in other movements even in
the same symphony where I prefer
to play them on the string.
These are a little quicker, and they
should be lighter in character.
If you look now at rehearsal A, that is
usually given a big accent,
which is convenient, because it comes on a
And it's near the lower half of the bow,
and you're going to a piano right after.
But that should not get a really big
Find a way to play that simply forte and
then blend into the piano.
So it's really that first note,
the first two or three notes, let's say,
the open G and
the others that you need to relax with the
bow into the piano.
The running sixteenths that go on after
that need a lot of patience.
I've heard many people get into trouble in
this excerpt besides the,
the character, which you don't want to be
frantic, the tempo also can't speed up for
So I, I hear people get into trouble.
That makes it more difficult to navigate.
You've got string crossings there.
So you need to sit back on those.
Give yourself the best chance possible and
maintain the nice character that you've
Speaking of those crossings and navigating
let's talk about a couple fingerings in
Starting at A, you want to leave fingers
down when you can.
So that includes that very first,
That's an example
where you're in third position.
You move back to second temporarily, and
then you come right back to third.
So there's no point in moving the thumb,
moving the hand around.
If you'll look now at the,
the end of this excerpt right before
there's a fingering you can use that makes
I think, a little easier to play in tune,
Now, to shift up with the one,
shift up in the fifth position and you
just stay there for the rest.
There is a little bit of
reaching back, but.
So the Ds and
the Gs are with the second finger, and
you end the passage on the third finger.