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Violin Lessons: Bach - E Gavotte

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The Gavotte from Bach's E major
partida of course is a dance movement.
And it's a rather lively dance, and it's
also a repetitive one.
The challenges here are pure double stops,
pure in sound and intonation.
And giving a variety of directions, or, or
a variety of phrasings and phrase lengths.
You also have to fine-tune the lengths of
your notes.
How long are these quarters going to be,
how long are the halves going to be?
Most of the longer notes, the quarters and
halves benefit from a little bit of taper.
If they sound a little bit like speech.
Spoken words.
And then the eighth notes can
generally be on the string.
And they, they show more obvious
When I speak about the phrasing,
too, I want to avoid what I would call
squareness, repetitiveness.
Part of that is about being aware of where
the downbeat actually is.
A lot of people play this as though the
downbeat were the very first note.
And what that does is it starts
you off kind of beat-y.
[LAUGH] A lot of beats, a lot of
And it gets heavy.
Instead, if you remember that the two
first notes are pickups.
Then you can go to the dissonance.
And then you already have
a longer line right from the start.
There are repeats, both written out
repeats, and
repeat signs in this movement, and those
give you options.
You, you can do a different shape the
second time as you did the first time.
So, since this is a gavotte and rondo.
Rondo means that the opening tune repeats
a whole bunch
of times with different material in the
So looking at the pick up to bar nine.
If the beginning is pretty simple, which I
think it should be.
Hear the pick up to bar nine,
the sound now, the harmony's not as
So I might give just a little bit
more expression with the left hand.
Maybe a little more length to the notes.
Maybe a more
obvious shape.
And in fact, in these eighth note section,
you can vary the length, vary the
So you have lighter and heavier eighths,
depending on how much sound you want
to make and what the character is.
The pick up to bar 25, I think of this as
a very stately,
aristocratic character and so I put more
articulation in.
Now those quarters,
I'm not sustaining them
through both eighth notes.
Like that.
I'm taking off,
I'm getting rid of the quarter that during
the second eighth note.
That's because if I were just playing
the quarter notes, I'd play them short.
I want them to sound the same way when
they're with the accompaniment.
And that will happen a lot in,
in Bach's solo violin music.
The pickup to bar 49, this section to me
is it's searching,
searching for a key, searching for a
sound, so the articulation reflects that.
So it's, it's looser,
it's less decisive.
If you'll look at bar 58, this is a,
[LAUGH] this is an excellent place to have
a good plan for the fingering.
I like to reach.
And at this point,
I really am leaving that three down on the
Cuz I wanna leave it down for that.
And even through there.
And it's a little bit strange, but
I go immediately to first position on that
I find there's time to do that there.
Into 64,
I think that's a great opportunity to
actually crescendo into the theme.
Most of the other times we've been closing
out the other material, and
then the theme starts anew.
Because of how it's written.
With an extra note in the first pickup.
I think that, those two sections meld
I think that's
a nice way to join them.
The pickup to 73, that section, I, I
think, very joyful,
it's straight double stops, so you make
good sound.
And then that note, the B sharp,
that's the surprise and so it stops being
joyful right there.
And then you have to find your
way back to E major again after
some strange harmonic visits.
So during that time take time for clarity,
that you can get the notes and the strange
harmonies out.
That's not a time to rush through it.
82, this section where you're alternating.
Put down that second finger
very solidly over two strings.
When you put down the four,
cover the two strings with the second
finger as well.
And then 89.
The second finger
is on that C double sharp.
Go ahead and tuck the one right
underneath it because the next bar.
Otherwise that's a dangerous bar.
You're kind of crawling in between
You don't want to do that, so.
playing it slowly,
I start crawling.
[LAUGH] So if you tuck that one right up
underneath then it's gonna be in
the right place on the A string.
Now the end, I think this is a great one
just to end simply.
There are enough other movements in this
piece that end big.
I think this one is fine, so.
>> And cut.