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Violin Lessons: Kreutzer 1

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[MUSIC]
Kreutzer number one is a perfect example
of why a so called basic etude is not
really so basic after all.
This is an etude that's very versatile and
it can go from pretty
easy to very difficult, almost completely
dependent on the tempo.
Because this etude, unlike a lot of other
ones, is a lot tougher the slower it goes.
It sounds
basically like
this
[MUSIC].
So the challenges here are maintaining a
smooth sound, distributing the bow,
and playing dynamics that don't always
agree with the bow direction.
So called reverse dynamics,
in other words crescendoing on a downbow,
doing a diminuendo on an up bow.
So in order to make these dynamics work,
you have to distribute the bow,
and you have to use the three variables in
sound production.
That's bow speed, bow pressure, and
sounding point.
So for example if I just wanted to
maintain
a slow bow with no dynamics
[MUSIC]
I'd pick a spot fairly close to the bridge
because it's hard to play a slow bow with
a good tone further away from the bridge.
So, I'd pick a spot pretty near the bridge
and then, I just draw the bow smoothly.
So, to make a crescendo, however, I have
to both distribute the bow differently.
I need to save a lot more bow for that
second measure and
I have to change some of my variables to
make the crescendo.
So, the first part is saving the bow in
the first half.
That means even a little
closer to the bridge
[MUSIC].
See with that placement, I could hold the
bow basically forever.
Then in the second bar where there's a
crescendo, I increase the bow speed and
because I'm near the bridge, I have to
increase the bow pressure, as well.
You remember what happens if you try and
increase the speed without the pressure
[MUSIC].
You get that ponticello sound, that glassy
sound.
So if I increase both speed and
pressure
[MUSIC],
I get my crescendo.
So, the reverse is true for the diminuendo
on the upbow.
I start out with that same fast speed and
pressure and I gradually decrease
the speed and pressure
[MUSIC].
So as I said, this is easier when it's
faster.
So let's put on the metronome and see how
it feels to play it with a strict pulse.
The metronome helps us check our pulse but
eventually, we need to develop that
internal pulse that we can count long
notes very accurately.
I'll set the metronome
to 120 [SOUND] for
the quarter note.
One,
two,
three
[MUSIC].
So you saw towards the end of the bars
that I just played,
they were bars with just a, there were
bows with just one bar in them.
For those we can use a faster bow, that
also means that because we're
playing piano, we need to stay further
away from the bridge.
Again, if we tried to play fast bow piano
at the same
sounding point that we had
[MUSIC].
So instead
[MUSIC].
So it may seem like [COUGH] a lot of
variables at once, but if you go back
to the lesson on sound production you can
get used to changing them one at a time.
Here you must do them in combination to
get the dynamics.
Let's get the metronome a little bit
slower.
I'll set it now to 92, that's actually a
good bit slower.
[SOUND] now the good news is that
i get to make my changes more slowly,
the bad news is that I have to
make them more slowly and
the bow last longer
[MUSIC].
So you see, part of my challenge there is
really saving the bow in that
first bar and then being willing to spend
it at the very end.
Then, keeping that same fast speed as I
start the up-bow.
Now let's do it on 60 to the quarter note.
[SOUND] At this
point I'm really
having to save in
that first bar but
if I choose a good
sounding point
it's not that,
not that bad
[MUSIC].
Now if you have a smartphone, because this
metronome has its limits.
It can only go down so slow, the tempo.
So if you have a smartphone, you can put
the metronome on really low numbers,
like 30 or even 20 and instead of playing
with a quarter note pulse,
which does a lot of the work for you.
You can play with the half note pulse,
[COUGH] even a whole note pulse if you're
very bold.
This way you really get that practice
counting the big beats and
you get to see if your internal pulse
matches up with the metronome.
It's such great practice for
all the excerpts where you have to count
long notes under pressure.
You'll never have to count notes quite
this long, so this,
this is making it even harder for you.
Now, for the bow changes, you can go back
to the lesson on bow changes, but
remember that basically, in a good bow
change, nothing really has to happen.
As long as you keep the sound the same at
the end of one bow
as at the beginning of the next, it won't
sound as much like a bow change.
There's your smooth bow change, you don't
need any trickery at the frog.
One thing that will help with the frog,
remember, is that you have,
you feel like your arm and your hand are
floating they're all on the same level.
You don't have a drooping wrist, you've
picked up the bow, nicely, into the hand,
and your arm, instead of hanging down,
basically matches the level of your hand.
That gives you that floating
feeling at the frog
[MUSIC].
The changes at the frog much harder than
the changes at the tip.
Now for the last step, although it's great
to
practice this without vibrato just to
isolate the bow problems.
You can practice it with vibrato, varying
your vibrato with the dynamic.
In other words, getting a little wider,
perhaps a little faster as the dynamic
goes up and
listening to make sure that
it's continuous
[MUSIC].
There you built the habit that the vibrato
matches the sound.
This is a grade etude, very versatile,
basic in a way, but something that all
the greats practice all the time
[MUSIC].