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Violin Lessons: Dvořák - Humoresque

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Humoresque by Dvorak is one
of the most charming pieces we have.
And to arrange it, we who better could we
ask than Fritz Kreisler,
who's playing exuded charm?
And, that's probably the first violinist
you think of if you look back in
the last 100 years for absolute grace and
But, the piece is in G-flat major,
which is not a key that we're used to
playing in.
So that's one challenge.
And, another challenge is, how do you
create that charm?
Do you do it by staying exactly with the
Probably not.
Therefore, in our piano accompaniment, we
recreate some pretty significant rubato.
And so, you can use that as kind of a
You can listen to the piano track by
see where the piano taking time and how
you might be able to fill that time.
And of course, there's as many notes as
there are in the piece.
There are a hundred different ways to play
them and
a hundred different ways to take time.
But, it's useful to hear this timing, by
the way, was Heifetz's timing.
It's useful to hear how he took time, and
where and how much.
And, to see if you can fill that time with
great play.
So, there's a lot of freedom to the
We've also got some double stops near the
end that we'll talk about.
So, this key by now you're comfortable
playing in flats,
and you can just remember that the sound
generally tends to be warmer
when you can sink down into the pitch.
So, this G flat
Very close to how you would play an F.
So, we have a grace note written there and
rather than playing,
which sounds not vocal and
a little artificial.
You can use that as a guide to your slide.
You're gonna slide with the second finger.
So, the E flat is where the finger goes
down first, but then there's definitely
going to be a slide into that.
In bar nine, here we have an octave shift,
I do like the shifting on the new finger,
which is the more vocal one.
And so,
remember that you will hear a shift more,
the slower your bow speed remains.
So, if you speed up the bow during this
it is a certain kind of very effective
shift, but it has an energy toward the
And, you hear a little bit less of this
So, you want to use that sometimes, and
then other times keep the bow speed slow.
So, this piece is all about
mixing, mixing those up.
In bar 25, the middle section, there you
want a very full sound on the G string.
So the string is pretty short at that
And so, when you shift down and
suddenly the string gets a lot longer,
make sure that you adjust your sound point
as well.
To get that really throaty sound,
you do wanna stay close to the bridge when
you can.
But, when the string suddenly gets longer,
the bow needs to follow the hand, the,
the left hand a little bit, and move away.
And then, back as you shift up,
back closer to the bridge.
Let's look at these double stops, starting
in 37.
So, you'll definitely want to cover
the fifth right away, even though here,
it's written as a grace note.
You don't want to be moving your second
finger, so cover the fifth.
And, that will help you play that cleanly
and focus more on the, the right arm using
lots of bow,
being very expressive in the right arm.
At 52, oh, let's back up two bars to the
49 where the double stops start.
There you want to have just as in the
octaves in Ave Maria,
you want a very easy left hand where both
fingers can vibrate.
And the shifts, the speed of
the shifts should match the speed and
the character of what you're playing.
So, the very opposite of mechanical and
fast shifts,
as, as if the finger board were covered in
Bar 53.
That looks like a big shift, and maybe it
But let's not call it a big shift.
There's a great passage in Simon Fisher's
book Basics that talks
about such big shifts and how great
soloists can be confident of hitting them.
And, the idea is that you cover most of
the space of a shift right away.
In other words, you just kinda throw your
hand up close to the top.
And, the very last part of it,
you make your fine adjustments up into the
note, slowly.
So, for this shift,
I'm going to get very close really fast.
And then, at very end,
I'll ease up into the note.
If you ever go past the note,
that's a good sign that your ear wasn't
really tuned in to your destination.
Because if it were, you would've stopped
your hand before it went past the note.
You would've stopped it right on the note.
So that slow adjustment right into it has
been a part of accurate and
expressive violin playing for generations,
so make it work for you.
And then the very end of the piece, I like
to end on the D string.
Like that great sound
of the D string up high.