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Violin Lessons: Mahler - Symphony #10, Reh. 21 - 23

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Here in Mahler's tenth incomplete symphony
we have only the adagio movement, and it's
a, it's a beautiful movement,
but it really pushes the, the bounds of
traditional harmony,
and this is an excerpt that represents
There are a lot of accidentals,
lot of enharmonic spellings that all need
to sound, they need to sound good.
They need to sound in tune.
They need to sound like they make sense.
So this is another one where a recording
is, is really an essential.
Or, or looking at the score and being able
to hear the whole piece,
because by itself this excerpt can sound a
little strange.
What you're after is a graceful sound, a,
a totally smooth sound that's,
that's expressive without getting hung up
on any of the details.
So you have to decide
how much articulation you want for
the separate notes.
I like to, my, my word for this is spoken,
the notes need to be spoken when they're
not slurred.
So it's not rather than thinking of a bow
think of syllables articulating with, with
speech, and
I think that's a good way to think of
those separate notes.
It's worth thinking about how you choose
your fingerings for something like this.
As you know there are basically two types
of shifts, the expressive kind and
the transportation kind.
So the transportation kind you don't want
to hear.
The expressive kind you do want to hear
and you want to make you,
you wanna make people understanding why
you chose and expressive fingering.
In other words,
there's no use in hearing it shift if
you're not taking full advantage if it.
So, for example, my very first shift, I
don't really like to hear.
If I wanted to hear it,
then I would really wanna take advantage
of it.
But I find that it's too early in this
passage to, to, to get that expressive,
to get that obvious, especially for a
whole section, doing it.
At the first fortissimo that we get, I
don't mind hearing this shift down.
Or the shift back up.
I think those are big intervals that, that
deserve a little time and a little,
a little time with the hand and, and a
nice expressive shift.
Now we're later in the excerpt and your
dynamic is fortissimo so
there's a lot more room for that kind of
So that's an example of how I would decide
when to have an expressive and
when a transportation shift.
Keep in mind too that this has a lot of
intervals going up and down and
it's usually not in great taste to have
audible shifts up and
down in really close proximity.
It, it depends on the tempo, but you
wanna, you wanna pick your moments and
get around the instrument in a way that's
pleasing to the ear, so
recording yourself and playing it back can
help you decide whether that's true.
Just a final word about why this one is
asked when you listen to the recording,
the recording, you'll hear that this is a
very exposed passage.
It's basically the first violins carrying
the show for,
for quite a long time and so it, it, it's
a heart-fluttering moment in performance.
There's been a lot of big playing and now
we get to this very tender beginning.
So, so that's how you begin.
It's a contrast.
And that vulnerable sound goes for,
for anything that's in the lower
dynamics in this excerpt.