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Violin Lessons: Vivaldi - Winter

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>> Vivaldi's Four Seasons are some of the
most beloved and popular pieces for
the violin.
They've been played for, well, hundreds of
And this middle movement of Winter,
the largo is one of the most beautiful
melodies to be found in The Seasons.
And what it's going to test is your
ability to, to be expressive in higher
positions and, again, in a flat key,
which, I don't know why that is,
but sometimes we violinists like to creep
up a little bit in flat keys.
And you'll, if you can keep the pitch
down, really settled,
you'll be rewarded with a warmer sound.
Ironically, that's what we want for this
movement of Winter.
And your intonation will be more
consistent when you maintain
a great frame to the hand.
This movement can also sound a little bit
repetitive, the rhythms are so simple.
And the accompaniment is so
constant that you actually have to fight
against that a little.
So even though it's actually a tranquil
movement and
a tranquil melody, so your sound needs to
be relaxed,
you do need to plan some shapes that,
that make sense and that, that avoid that
re, repetition, that squareness.
I should mention that these pieces have
been through, yeah,
I was gonna say the washing machine or the
ringer or whatever.
Everybody has their own arrangement of, of
these pieces and different bowings and
So my opinion is that in a movement like
this, the slurs are really up to you,
whatever is going to help you get your
shape across.
I choose to play most of this movement
with separate bows and
then I slur just a couple things, as
you'll see.
And when I do that I have to make sure
that the bows still connect so
both right and left hands connecting quite
a bit.
So in the, those last two notes for
example, I could slur them,
it might be natural.
So since I'm going to play separate bows I
want that same shape.
And a very smooth connection.
And, remember, to make a smooth connection
between bows,
you want the same sound at the end of one
bow as you have the beginning of the next.
So that, that's going to have to do mostly
with bow speed in this movement.
In the, at letter A, I like to stay on the
A string for two whole bars.
Except for that note.
[LAUGH] I mean that I don't go on the E
And finally here, I'll go over to the E,
and I'm going to shape within each little,
segment of this, in each repetition, I'm
going to go to the middle.
But not the last time.
That's because, as usual,
three times the same shape in a row starts
to sound a little, a little much.
So at B, I have two figures where I go to
the middle.
And then for the third one, I go all the
way up for the third one and then down for
the fourth one.
Now at letter D we've got the same melody
as in the opening, but
it's a different key slightly lower
So you've got to make a choice about what
kind of
a different sound you're going to use.
This, to me, feels a bit more confident
something about the lower,
lower register, so I choose to play that
As opposed to the very opening.
Which starts out pretty gentle.
Now at E, that's very similar to B, of
course, and
so I don't wanna do exactly the same
shapes there.
I'm gonna shape the first two from the
beginning of the figaro.
And of course the third one's something
slightly different.
Taking care not to accent the last note,
cuz it's the end of, the end of a phrase.
At F most people
do some kind of an echo when they play the
same thing twice and I'm no exception.
I'm a sucker for the, the classics, I
So since I'm doing an echo, I go up on the
A string there for the different sound.
And finally, after the echo, back to the E
Since this trill is such a long trill,
I don't want to just start it
right away.
It's a, this is a pretty relaxed movement,
so I'm going to ease into the trill and
make it faster as I go.
And maybe just slow it up right before the
last note that doesn't have a trill,
otherwise that trill sounds like it's just
running into a brick wall.
So, this is a pretty short, beautiful, but
deceptively difficult movement,
mostly because of the desire to make those
smooth shapes with some subtle pitch.
So, enjoy.