Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Somehow the title that makes me think about Storm Troopers with violas. Hmm…

I’m reminded today how important brainstorming, experimenting and flexibility are in string playing and practice.

Today’s menu: Unaccompanied works for viola.
1. Bach: Courante from first cello sonata. Peter’s Edition.
2. Telemann: 3rd movement from Fantasia X, originally for the violin. McGinnis and Marx.
3. Reger: 3rd movement from the 2nd Suite, actually an original viola work, hoo-hah! G. Henle Verlag.

I spent most of my time with the Reger. And yes, I know the second one looks like something from Akademi Fantasia, good gosh.

1. Refreshed: The angle of the bow to the string can be flexible. Primrose reaffirmed the concept of not playing with the bow entirely perpendicular to the string i.e. with a completely “straight” bow, when changing notes. But even during notes, the same factor can perhaps be used to alter tone colors.

2. Learned: The use of the right “middle” finger is useful for tone production, transferring weight from the index finger. This is a cello thing actually. Pressing with the index is common for the violin, and the fact that it is useful at times, sometimes fools us into using it far too often. Can’t get away with it on the viola though. The problem is focusing on the bowgrip and also remembering arm weight and back muscles is a challenge.

3. For further study: There’s this rather quick shift from 1st to 2nd position. Slurred. And with double stops (minor thirds). I get a feeling that getting it in tune has something to do with actually keeping some pressure with the left fingers during the shift, plus how much pressure exactly, and whether there’s a different amount of pressure for one finger compared the other. Basically since one finger has to move more than the other, pressure slows down one finger. Hmm… I hope to ask Mr Lim about it in Singapore.

4. Also noted: Drinking too much sugared tea when practicing can give me a headache.

No comments: