Instrumentation: Violin, piano
Publisher: Originally published by Leeds Music. Now available from Canadian Music Centre, Toronto
Musical Characteristics: Marked lento and espressivo with a quarter = 50, Quiet Song contains several tempo changes. There are four ritenutos, at bars 8, 18, 28, and 36, with the first three ritenutos followed by an a tempo. The time signature is 4/4. Quarter notes are used frequently, with some eighth notes and rests and a few half, dotted half, and whole notes. The rhythmic patterns are fairly constant throughout. Form is ABAC, with an exact repetition of A. Section A lasts for eight bars, and section B lasts for twelve bars. After a repeat of the A section, a new section C, which is ten bars long, closes the piece. Although there is no key signature, various accidentals are present; at times the accidentals signal a-, but for the most part the piece seems to modulate frequently. The melody consists of some step-wise scale motion, and some leaps, including larger leaps of a sixth, seventh, and octave. Bars 9 to 12 are repeated in a sequence one string higher in bars 13 to 16.
Technical Challenges: Finger patterns change quite frequently due to the many accidentals. The first bar uses a low second finger, the second bar uses a low first finger, the third bar uses high first, second, and third fingers, and the fourth bar uses low second and third fingers. This is only one example of the frequency of the changing patterns; there is little time for the student to adjust to each new pattern. Some of the changes involve chromatic alterations, with a quarter note in between to prepare the change (e.g., bars 3 and 4, G# to A to G-natural). Most of the alterations affect the second and third fingers; there is no alteration for the fourth finger. Bow distribution is relatively consistent; a full bow is used over a half note duration, with less bow on the quarter notes. A slower bow speed is needed on the ritardandos, and in the last four bars on the tied E. The slow tempo makes control of bow speed and pressure particularly important. The pressure of the bow varies according to the dynamics. Bars 11 and 12 have a crescendo marking; more bow pressure is needed here. In bar 13, less pressure is needed on the p. Dynamics range from p to f, and dynamics are marked relatively frequently. The changes are obvious, with no markings between p and f. Crescendos and decrescendos are also marked relatively frequently, leading up to the dynamic changes, and there is a six-bar decrescendo at the end. The composition remains in first position throughout. The speed of finger changes is slow and therefore there is time to prepare them. Depending on whether the fourth finger is used, there may or may not be fingered string crossings. Bowing is very smooth and legato, with a mixture of detache and slurred notes. The number of slurred notes varies; generally the slurs are over two beats, such as in the first bar, but there are also slurs over a lesser number of beats (e.g., bar 31), and a greater number of beats (e.g., bars 32 and 33). Ties are present in bars 10 and 11, and 14 and 15, and i the last four bars of the piece. String crossings are frequent, and involve adjacent strings only. The use of an open string is necessary at times for an adjacent string crossing (e.g., bar 2). There is the option of avoiding a string crossing in instances such as the first bar, where the first note may be played using the fourth finger. The slow tempo makes string crossings easier. Co-ordination between left and right hands is generally not difficult, but it can be tricky in places such as bar 5, where a string crossing is combined with a finger change. Much of the time, however, an open string makes string crossing easier (e.g., bars 7 and 8, bar 9). The piano part is considerably more difficult technically than the violin part. It consists of eighth notes for the most part, slowing down to half notes and tied notes near the end. There is the occasional bar of rest. Since the piano part provides an ongoing eighth note pulse, ensemble co-ordination is not difficult; the piano part aids in maintaining a steady tempo in the violin part.
Pedagogical Value: There are various finger patterns for the student to practise, with frequent alterations in the finger patterns. Chromatic alteration of notes is also introduced at a slow tempo, and with time to prepare. This piece provides opportunities to work on bow distribution, speed, and pressure at a slow tempo. A concentrated effort is needed on these aspects for an even, sustained tone. Gradual, even crescendos and decrescendos are a challenge at such a slow tempo; bow pressure is a relevant factor here.
"JOYOUS" from TWELVE MINIATURES FOR VIOLIN AND PIANO
Instrumentation: Violin, piano
Publisher: Waterloo Music
Musical Characteristics: This fast-paced, strongly rhythmical composition is marked Vivace, leggiero with an eighth = 152 in 4/8 metre. The tempo is unchanging, with the exception of a ritenuto in the final three bars. The composition is made up of sixteenth notes for the most part, with some eighth notes, and occasional half and dotted quarter notes. Varying combinations of eighth and sixteenth notes make up the rhythmic patterns. The piece is divided into three phrases. The first phrase is nine bars long; the second phrase is ten bars long; the third phrase is six bars long. There is no key signature and there are no accidentals except for an F# in bar 13 of the piano part. The Phrygian scale on E provides the harmonic basis of the piece. The melody moves in step-wise motion with occasional disjunct motion. Descending scale passages are an important part of the melody, as are repeated notes ranging from two to eight notes in a row.
Technical Challenges: The speed of finger changes is fairly quick, with no time to prepare. There is a mixture of fingered and open string crossings. There is some use of 2-note chords on open strings in bars 14, 15, and 24, and a 3-note open string chord in bar 25. These chords require good bow control, especially since there is a string crossing involved from the D string to the A and E strings. There is no preparation time before chords, which are played at a f and ff dynamic level, except in bar 15, where the chord is played p. A third finger eighth note on the A string between the two chords in bars 24 and 25 makes bow control more difficult due to the change from a 2-note chord to a single note, and then to a 3-note chord. Co-ordination between hands is also moderately difficult here. Most of the articulation is spiccato, with some legato bowing (e.g., bars 5, 6, and 7, and bars 14 and 15). There are also a few 2-note slurs. Bow control is moderately difficult when alternating between on- and off-string bowing. In bars 18 and 19, the last note of the slur comes off the string. A longer bow and more pressure are needed in the final three bars and in bar 14. The finger pattern uses a low second finger. String crossings are relatively infrequent, and are to adjacent strings only. There are some difficult string crossings which require good bow control for a quick crossing (e.g., bars 10, 14, and 15). The dynamic range is from p to ff, with crescendos and decrescendos. Some of the dynamic changes are moderately difficult, such as at the end of bar 13, where there is a decrescendo to mf followed by a sudden f, combined with a change in bow articulation and rhythmic pattern. Bars 14 and 15 are also difficult dynamically because a sudden contrast is needed from f in bar 14 to p in bar 15. The rapid speed of finger changes combined with spiccato bowing makes co-ordination challenging, especially on the descending scale passages where there are no repeated notes. Co-ordination at bar 18 is moderaely difficult due to changing bow articulation as well as changing fingering. The piano part alternates between eighth, quarter, and half note movement. Ensemble co-ordination is not difficult as long as a steady tempo is maintained in both parts. The fact that both instruments play on the beat throughout aids ensemble co-ordination. There is also the option of playing the piece as a violin solo, without any accompaniment.
Pedagogical Value: This piece provides an opportunity to develop left hand dexterity through the speed of the finger changes. It also presents opportunities to improve bow control with on- and off-string bowings, bow retakes, and 2- and 3-note chords. This is also a useful study in co-ordination between hands, especially on the descending scale passages and where changing fingers are combined with various bow articulations. It provides an interesting introduction to the Phrygian mode on E.
"MARCHING ALONG" from TWELVE MINIATURES FOR VIOLIN AND PIANO
Instrumentation: Violin, piano
Publisher: Waterloo Music
Musical Characteristics: The rhythm and quarter note pulse of "Marching Along" appropriately express the march style of this piece. It is marked Allegretto with a quarter = 132, in 4/4 metre. Various note values are used, from half notes down to sixteenth notes and rests. There is frequent use of dotted rhythms. Archer uses chromatic alteration and dissonance in this piece. The form consists of an eight-bar phrase, a four-bar phrase, and a seven-bar phrase. Melodically, it mainly moves in small leaps, with some conjunct movement. Some of the leaps are of a seventh or an octave, usually involving an open string.
Technical Challenges: Finger patterns change fairly frequently; the placement of each finger is altered at least once. It is difficult to adjust to the new position because the hand does not stay in any one position for very long. The speed of finger changes is relatively quick, especially on the sixteenth and eighth notes. There are several fingered string crossings. In the last bar, there are three 3-note chords on the three lowest open strings. They are played at a ff dynamic level, on an up-bow as well as on down-bows. There are string crossing challenges. Good bow control is important, especially on the sixteenth note open A before the last chord. Co-ordination in general throughout the piece is moderately difficult due to the quick tempo combined with string crossings and finger changes. Legato and detached bowings are used. The spiccato at bars 11 and 12 makes co-ordination difficult due to the combination of short bows, played off the string near the frog, and rapidly changing fingers. The dynamic range is quite narrow, ranging from mf to ff, and changes are relatively infrequent. There are some short, subtle changes, such as in bar 5, where there are two short diminuendos, each over two beats. String crossings are moderate in number and are to adjacent strings only. No time is given to prepare for these string crossings. The piano part has staccato eighth notes in bars 15 and 16, but the remainder of the piano accompaniment consists of chords. The pattern of notes and rests in the piano part changes frequently; sometimes the chords are on beats one and three (e.g., bars 3 and 4) and sometimes they are off the main beats (e.g., bars 5-7). Since the piano rhythmic pattern is not consistent throughout the composition, ensemble co-ordination is moderately difficult.
Pedagogical Value: This piece provides opportunities to work on various styles of bowing. The 3-note chords present a special challenge in bow control because they are played on up-bows as well as down-bows. The moderately subtle dynamics and short crescendos and diminuendos may be a challenge also. The piece also presents opportunities to work on dotted rhythms and on changing finger patterns.
"A WHIM" from TWELVE MINIATURES FOR VIOLIN AND PIANO
Instrumentation: Violin, piano
Publisher: Waterloo Music
Musical Characteristics: This piece features some special effects (e.g., glissando, pizzicato, tremolo, and 2- and 4-note chords). The melody is fragmented, with rests interrupting the melodic line. There is some chromaticism and conjunct motion, and some disjunct motion. The rhythm involves durations ranging from sixteenth to half notes, and rests ranging from eighth to whole rests, with entire and partial bars of rest. There is a variety of rhythmic patterns, including on- and off-beat placement of notes, and changing rhythmic durations. Accents are used frequently. This piece is marked Largo molto with a quarter = 48 in 4/4 metre. There is a poco a poco accelerando in bar 7 followed by an a tempo in bar 9. There is no key signature, but there are many sharps and flats in both the violin and piano parts. There is no clear tonal centre.
Technical Challenges: Violin glissandos occur in bars 1 and 11. They are played at a fairly slow speed, and are open-ended. The student does not slide to any specified note, but to the highest note possible. The two glissandos in the first bar involve a change of finger. The student slides upwards on the second finger on the G string and slides downwards on the first finger on the D string. Bar 11 involves two upward glissandos using the second finger on the A string then the E string. Pizzicato occurs in bars 3, 7, 8, 18, and 19. The pizzicato notes are eighths, with an eighth rest between each note for preparation time. There is also a bar of rest to prepare for each alternation between pizzicato and arco. Tremolo is used in bars 12 and 13. The first tremolo note is f and accented. In the following bar, there is a diminuendo to p. Therefore, the tremolo should move closer to the tip of the bow, and bow pressure should be decreased. In both bars, good bow control is essential. Other technical aspects of this piece are the 2- and 4-note chords. The 2-note chords occur frequently throughout the piece, and involve one open string, while the 4-note chord is played on four open strings. The 2-note chords are moderately difficult because they involve changes in finger patterns, including a shift into half position several times. Bow control is important in bars 5 and 6 because each chord involves a string crossing. It is also important in bars 12 and 13, where the 2-note chords are played tremolo, and in bar 15, where there is a crossing onto two different strings, from the G and D strings to the A and E strings. There are, however, one-and-a-half beats of preparation time here. In some cases, such as bars 12, 15, and 18, there is an eighth rest of preparation time between the chords. Accents and changing dynamics on most of the chords contribute to their difficulty. The finger patterns change frequently, and there is frequent chromatic alteration (e.g., bars 7 and 8). There is generally some peparation time for the alterations, and, in places such as bars 12 to 14, there is time for the student to adjust to the new finger pattern. The speed of finger changes is generally slow, except in bar 14, where there are sixteenth notes. Bowing is detache for the most part, with two slurs over eighth note durations in bar 14. Bow distribution, speed, and pressure vary, depending on the length of each note, and whether or not it is accented. In bar 5, the accented ff half notes are played with more bow and pressure. Dynamic changes are fairly frequent, and cover a wide range from pp to ff. There are a few crescendos and decrescendos, but most of the dynamic changes are sudden. String crossings are fairly frequent, with little or no preparation time. There are some instances of moderately difficult co-ordination between left and right hands, such as in bar 1, where the two glissandos involve a change of string as well as a change of finger. Many of the 2-note chords also involve a change of at least one string combined with a finger change. Ensemble co-ordination is moderately difficult. There is imitation between the violin and piano parts in bars 2 and 3. Both parts are quite independent of each other and have frequent rests. The rests, as well as the changing rhythmic patterns, make careful counting essential in both parts.
Pedagogical Value: This piece is a useful study in special effects (glissandos, pizzicato, tremolo, and chords). It provides opportunities to develop bow control and co-ordination between left and right hands, and to work on changing finger patterns. It is excellent for ensemble development because of the rhythmic independence of the violin and piano parts.
ON THE MARCH
Instrumentation: Violin, piano
Publisher: Berandol Music
Musical Characteristics: The nature of this piece as a caricature of a conventional march is evident in the marking "Tempo di marcia allegro giocoso" found at the beginning. The meter is 2/2 and is unchanging throughout, as is the tempo. The tempo is moderately fast, and the pulse is steady and march-like. Dotted eighth and sixteenth note figures and triplet eighth notes present a challenge to the student, especially when these figures follow one another. The form is very simple. Following a 2-bar piano introduction, section A enters for 13 bars, followed by a 12-bar B section. The piece ends with a slight variation of section A, which is 19 bars long. In the final 4 bars, there is the rhythmic effect of a trumpet and a snare drum fading into the distance, with a surprise sforzando ending, which relates to the giocoso marking at the beginning. Polytonality is employed, as well as some modality. The melody includes some simple ornamentation in the violin part, and is mainly made up of leaps, with some conjunct motion and chromatic alteration.
Technical Challenges: The finger patterns in this piece are relatively complex and they change rapidly, especially in the middle section. Extensive use of chromatic alteration complicates the finger patterns and makes tuning difficult because some of the harmonic changes are unexpected. Third position is used, and in most cases there is no preparation time for the shift to third position. As well, there are some awkward shifts, such as the shift from F# to G# on the D string, in bar 18. Generally, the piece remains in third position long enough for the student to be able to set the frame of the hand. A moderate amount of left hand finger dexterity is needed, especially with the chromatic alterations. There are some fairly wide leaps across strings, and rapid fingered string crossings. Most of the string crossings are to adjacent strings; however, some leaps cross 3 or 4 strings. This piece requires considerable variation in bow distribution, pressure, and speed. There is some use of short slurs, but detache bowing is used most of the time. The triplet eighth notes are marked "ben marcato," and therefore should be played slightly detached. The marcato bowing should be short and in the middle of the bow, while the quarter and slurred eighth notes require a greater amount of bow. In bar 6, the up-bow eighth note followed by an eighth rest comes off the string. There are optional harmonics here, as well as in bar 31. There are not many dynamic changes, but there are some subtle changes ranging from mf to f. There are also some short crescendos over one note, and a "diminuendo poco a poco al fine." Co-ordination between left and right hands is quite difficult in places, especially where there is chromatic alteration and quick finger changes combined with string crossings and marcato bowing. The accents require good bow control, and the triplet eighth and dotted rhythmic figures require quick bow changes. There is some use of 2-note chords on open strings, combined with large leaps, shorter note vales, and accented notes. The piece ends with a glissando to a harmonic on the G string. Ensemble co-ordination is challenging due to the thirty-second notes in the piano part and the rhythmic precision and counting needed in the violin part.
Pedagogical Value: Left hand dexterity can be improved through work on changing finger patterns and chromatic alterations. This piece is also excellent for developing rhythmic precision and for the aural training of hearing and tuning unusual harmonies. There is opportunity for improved co-ordination between the left and right hands through the combination of different bowing styles with changing left hand patterns. There are also opportunities for students to work on large leaps to different fingers on different strings, and to work on third position, 2-note chords, and dynamic changes.
A QUIET AFTERNOON
Instrumentation: Violin, piano
Publisher: Berandol Music
Musical Characteristics: "Lento tranquillo" and "dolce" are appropriate markings to express the mood of A Quiet Afternoon. The final six bars of the piece have an additional marking of "Lento and con sord." The time signature is 4/8, with some tempo changes, including a poco accelerando at bar 29, a ritardando poco a poco at bar 32, and an a tempo at bar 34. Several fermatas are also present. Rhythmically, various durations and patterns are used, from thirty-second notes to half notes, as well as occasional rests. There are some dotted rhythms and some syncopations. A repeating pattern such as the one which occurs in bars 38 and 39 is rare; often the pattern changes from bar to bar. Ties complicate the rhythm at times (e.g., bar 15). The form is ABA'. A 20-bar piano introduction leads into the 11-bar A section. A key change indicates the beginning of section B which goes from bar 14 to bar 34, where section A' begins. The piece begins and ends with a key signature of four sharps; section B is written in two flats. The piece moves through a variety of keys. It begins in c#-; section B begins in g- and moves to b-flat minor, and the piece ends in E+. The melody involves a mixture of conjunct and disjunct motion. Most of the leaps are fairly small, with some larger leaps between phrases. There is minimal melodic repetition in this piece; occasional fragments are repeated. There is a timbre change in the last five bars where the violin uses a mute.
Technical Challenges: First to third positions are used, with changes in position occurring relatively frequently. Shifts are usually quick, with little or no preparation time. The hand generally remains in position long enough to establish the position under the fingers, as is evident in the first and second phrases. Where a position is used only briefly, there is a rest either preceding or following the shift (e.g., bar 33). Finger patterns change frequently, although there is usually time to adjust to the new pattern. Accidentals are present in two phrases (bars 9 to 13, and bars 20 to 27), as keys and finger patterns change. The speed of finger changes is slow to moderate. The wide leaps which occur at bars 24 and 25, bars 40 to 42, and bars 46 to 48 take place between phrases, with at least an eighth rest to prepare the hand. Trills occur on longer note durations and are sometimes combined with a fermata. Trills are played using first, second, and third fingers, and occur in various positions. Most of the bowing is legato, which contributes to the tranquil feeling of the piece. Portato is indicated in bar 45, and there are occasional stress markings. Slurring is frequent, and generally occurs over the duration of a quarter note, with two slurs in a bar. Detached bowing is indicated on the sixteenth notes in section B, from bars 27 to 32. In section B, the slurring is not as consistent, and there is more detached bowing, which contributes to the free, soloistic style evident in the violin part. While bow distribution is fairly constant in sections A and A', especially on the slurs, the fermatas in section B require variety in bow speed and bow distribution. The dynamics range from pp to mf. The piece begins p and gradually builds to the dynamic climax of mf at bars 29 to 34, where section A' begins. The dynamic level decreases towards the end, where it is pp and marked "morendo a finis." String crossings are not overly difficult, and are to adjacent strings only. Fingered string crossingsare moderate to frequent in number. At bar 30, there is a string crossing on the thirty-second notes, but this is an isolated difficulty. Co-ordination between left and right hands is more difficult here. There is a rapid finger change in addition to the string crossing. In general, section B presents more co-ordination challenges than section A. Changes in bowing and articulation in section B, as well as changing rhythmic patterns in the latter part of this section, add to co-ordination difficulties. For example, bars 29 to 33 combine changes of articulation with faster rhythm, changing fingers, and string crossings. In contrast, the bowing and articulation in section A are relatively consistent, and the rhythm is not as difficult. The last five bars of this composition require use of a mute, but the two bars of rest prior to this section provide enough time to prepare. The piano accompaniment moves in steady eighth notes, with the melody in the left hand much of the time. The piano eighth note pulse aids in maintaining a steady tempo. The piano has rests during the cadenza-like section in the violin part (bars 27 to 33), which is where the tempo changes occur.
Pedagogical Value: This piece provides valuable rhythmic challenges. The piece also provides opportunities to work on tempo changes, and to develop bow control on changing articulations and on various slurred groupings. There are also opportunities to develop improved co-ordination between left and right hands.
Instrumentation: Violin, piano
Publisher: Berandol Music
Musical Characteristics: The title, Little Sombrero, provides the first hint of the Mexican nature of this piece, but it is the accents and syncopated rhythms that convey the Mexican style. The rhythm consists mainly of eighth notes, with some quarter and dotted quarter notes. The time signature is 6/8 and tempo is approximately a dotted quarter = 92. The piano part is marked vivo. Rhythm is moderately complex. Syncopations and ties complicate the rhythm in the latter part of the piece. Accents are placed both on and off the main beat in each bar. Section A begins after a four-and-a-half bar piano introduction and, following the 3 eight-bar phrases which comprise section A, section B begins at bar 29 and lasts until the end of the piece. Minimal repetition within the piece makes the form moderately complex. A variation of the first eight-bar phrase occurs at bar 21, but the remainder of the piece consists of new material. There is no key signature, but the composition moves through a variety of keys. Section A, from bar 5 to bar 29, is in d-. From bar 30 to bar 38, the piano part has the melody in G+, and from bar 38 to bar 46 the melody repeats in the violin part in A+. The piece ends in D+. The melody moves mainly by step and small leaps. There are some leaps of a sixth, usually preceded by an eighth rest of preparation time.
Technical Challenges: The alternation of left-hand pizzicato and arco in bars 29 to 37 is moderately difficult. The pizzicato is played with the fourth finger of the left hand, and no time is given for preparation before or during this section. Bow control is difficult because the bow must come off the string after each eighth note to enable the pizzicato notes to sound properly. Up-bows and down-bows alternate here, further complicating bow control. There are 2-note chords using two open strings (e.g., bars 29-37), one open string (e.g., bar 25), and no open strings, using two fingers (e.g., bar 23). There is one 4-note G+ chord in first position, using an easy finger pattern, and a more difficult 3-note D+ chord in third position at a dynamic marking of ff in the final bar. Co-ordination between the left and right hands is difficult when playing the 3- and 4-note chords, and also when co-ordinating the detached bows with the fingered eighth notes. The ties and changing finger patterns also make co-ordination more complex. Third position is used from bar 57 to the end of the piece. There is no time to prepare for the shift, but the hand remains in third position long enough to establish the new position. Simple finger patterns change infrequently from the beginning until bar 38, and then change more frequently from bar 38 until the end, usually with time for the fingers to adjust to the change in pattern. The speed of finger changes is moderately fast, with one chromatic alteration involving the slide of a finger. There are a moderate number of fairly quick fingered string crossings to adjacent strings, with no preparation time. Bowing is mainly detache, with frequent accents and some martele bowing, starting in bar 38. Bow speed and distribution vary according to the articulation and rhythmic duration of notes. A short stroke in the middle of the bow is needed for the eighth notes, with extra speed and pressure on accented notes. Dynamics range from p to ff, with some sudden dynamic changes (e.., bars 57-59 are marked p >f subito) which are moderately difficult to control. It is difficult to keep a consistent dynamic level in bars 29 to 37 where pizzicato and arco alternate. The piano part consists mainly of eighth notes and at times has melodic material. Changes in rhythmic patterns and a quick tempo make ensemble co-ordination moderately difficult.
Pedagogical Value: Rhythmic complexities pose the biggest challenge in this piece. The rhythmic patterns change frequently, and the ties and syncopations require careful counting. This piece provides opportunities to practise maintaining a steady tempo, avoiding the tendency to slow down during the rhythmic pattern in bar 7, and during the alternation of pizzicato and arco. The alternating pizzicato and arco in bars 29 to 37 provide opportunities to improve co-ordination between the left and right hands, and to improve bow control. Opportunities to improve co-ordination between the piano and the violin are available also because there is a moderate amount of independence between the two parts.
"MOTORCYCLES" from A LA JEUNESSE, Book 1
Instrumentation: Violin, piano
Publisher: Waterloo Music
Musical Characteristics: "Motorcycles" is a quick-paced composition which suits its title. Described as "adventurous" and "exciting" by the composer, it is marked "Allegro con brio." Metre is 4/4. The rhythmic durations are generally quick, consisting of thirty-second notes for the most part, with occasional sixteenth, eighth, dotted eighth, and half notes. The rhythmic patterns are repetitive, in a "moto perpetuo" style. The piece consists of two short phrases, each four bars in length. The eighth bar functions as a coda. The tonality is G+, but there are dissonances in the piano part. The melody features repetition of pitches and movement by step with occasional leaps.
Technical Challenges: Bow control and distribution are two challenging aspects of this piece. Bowing is detache throughout, with the exception of a short slur in bar 2. A short bow stroke in the middle of the bow is required on the thirty-second notes. The rapid speed of bow changes makes bow control difficult. The string crossings which occur in bars 5 to 8 require good bow control because the crossings are quick. String crossings involve adjacent strings only, with the exception of bars 7-8, where a crossing from the A string to the G string occurs. Bow distribution varies the most in bars 1 and 8, where half notes occur. In preparation for the half note, the student should move closer to the frog of the bow while playing the thirty-second notes. Concentrated bow pressure and speed are needed to maintain the loud dynamic level on the half notes. In general, as the dynamics increase, a longer bow stroke and more pressure are needed. Dynamic contrast is important for interest. The range is mp to ff, with several crescendos marked. There are sudden dynamic changes in bar 4 (f to p) and bar 6 (f to mp). These changes are difficult because they are so dramatic, with little or no time to prepare. Left hand technique in this piece is also challenging. The speed of finger changes is rapid, and there are fingered string crossings, with no time to prepare. First position is used throughout. The finger patterns are simple using high and low second finger on the D string and low second finger on the A and E strings. Co-ordination between left and right hands is a challenge due to the quick speed of bow and finger changes, combined with string crossings. The piano part consists of quarter, eighth, and sixteenth notes, with considerable imitation of the violin part. There is a fair bit of independence between the violin and piano parts; this contributes to ensemble difficulties. Precise counting and a good rhythmic sense are necessary to maintain a steady tempo.
Pedagogical Value: "Motorcycles" is valuable for developing left hand dexterity, bow control, co-ordination between left and right hands, and ensemble skills. The piece provides opportunities to work on gradual and sudden dynamic changes, and on rhythmic precision.
"'WRONG NOTE' CAPRICE" from A LA JEUNESSE, Book 2
Instrumentation: Violin, piano
Publisher: Waterloo Music
Musical Characteristics: The marking "Humorously" and the title are two obvious indications of the nature of this piece as a musical joke. Metre is 2/4, and tempo is steady throughout. Note durations ranging from sixteenth notes to quarter notes are used, along with eighth rests. The rhythmic patterns are moderately difficult. The piece is through-composed. A 2-bar piano introduction begins the piece. This is followed by four 4-bar phrases for violin and piano. Sharp dissonances are essential to the character of this piece as a musical joke. There is no key signature and there is no consistent tonal centre. There are frequent accidentals in the piano and the violin parts. Dissonant tone clusters occur in the second last bar of the piano part. The texture in the piano part is thin (1 note) in the left hand and thicker (2-3 notes) in the right hand. The melody moves mainly by step. Wide leaps of a sixth, ninth, and eleventh occur between phrases and bars (e.g., bars 6-7, bars 10-11). There are also smaller leaps of a third and fourth which occur within the last three phrases.
Technical Challenges: Bowing is legato throughout. Slurs occur in bars 3, 4, 8, and 12, but most of the bowing is detache. The slurs occur over the duration of a quarter note beat. There is some variety in bow distribution. For example, in bars 3 and 4, a good deal of bow is used over one beat in 2/4 metre. However, in bars 5 and 6, detache sixteenth notes occur, and a short stroke in the middle of the bow is required. Firm bow pressure and quick speed are needed to maintain the "robust" nature of the piece and the loud dynamic level. The violin part is marked f throughout. Bow control is challenging due to the quick speed of bow changes (e.g., bars 5, 9, etc.) and the rapid speed of string crossings (e.g., bar 16). Some of the string crossings skip over strings (e.g., bars 6-7, 10-11). There are eighth rests or longer note durations to prepare for the move to a non-adjacent string. The remaining string crossings are to adjacent strings. The composition is played in first position throughout. The finger patterns use high and low second finger, with movement between C-natural and C# on the A string occurring frequently as part of the musical joke. These chromatic alterations do not occur consecutively, but usually in different bars. The speed of finger changes is quick on the sixteenth notes, and good finger dexterity is needed during these passages. There are some fingered string crossings (e.g., bars 4-5, 6-7). Many of the string crossings, however, take advantage of the open A and E strings. Wide leaps occur between bars 3 and 4, 6 and 7, and 10 and 11. Some of these leaps involve crossing over to a non-adjacent string. The leaps are preceded by either a quarter note or an eighth rest of preparation time. Co-ordination between left and right hands is challenging. Bow and finger changes are rapid on the sixteenth notes, and there are frequent alterations to the finger pattern. The variety of rhythmic patterns necessitates careful counting in the violin part. The piano part consists of baic quarter and eighth notes, with the left hand moving frequently in fifths. Ensemble co-ordination is not overly difficult due to the rhythmic simplicity of the piano part.
Pedagogical Value: This piece is valuable for developing bow control, left hand finger dexterity, and co-ordination between left and right hands. It provides opportunities to practise alterations in finger pattern and changes in bow distribution.
Instrumentation: Violin, piano
Publisher: Berandol Music
Musical Characteristics: The 2/4 metre contributes to the peaceful, rocking motion of this lullaby. An ABA form is evident through tempo changes, dynamics, harmony, and style markings. Section A is marked "Larghetto espressivo" with a quarter = 54. After a 4-bar piano introduction, the violin enters and begins section A, which is sixteen bars long and is marked "con sordino" and "con tenerezza." The beginning of section B is indicated by the marking "un poco piu mosso" with a quarter = 72. It begins with an 8-bar piano interlude, followed by sixteen bars of violin, marked "senza sordino" and "animato." Section A repeats at bar 45, which is marked "Tempo primo (Larghetto espressivo)." There is another 4-bar piano interlude, and then sixteen bars of piano and violin. The violin part is marked "con sordino" and "con tenerezza" again. Aside from the tempo changes already mentioned, there are two rallentandos; the first is at bar 43, and lasts for two bars, and the second is two bars before the end. Rhythmic patterns consist of sixteenth, eighth, and quarter notes, as well as occasional eighth rests. In section A, the predominant key is a-, with accidentals of F# and G#. Section B has a key signature of one flat, and begins in the key of F+. Many different accidentals are added, and there is quite a bit of chromatic alteration, causing the tonal centre to shift frequently. The return to section A involves the return of a-. Melodically, the piece is a mixture of conjunct motion and disjunct motion with small leaps. Use of a mute creates timbre changes between the contrasting sections.
Technical Challenges: Some shifting is required. Bars 19 and 63 call for second or third position to reach C on the E string. Between bars 37 and 44, second position is used. There is no preparation time given for any of the shifts, but the hand remains in position long enough to establish the frame of the hand. From bars 5 to 21, the finger patterns alternate between low second finger and high second and third fingers, with time to adjust to the changes. Bars 29 to 45 involve many changes in finger patterns, some of them awkward. Most of the chromatic alteration occurs in section B, from bars 35 to 45, but bars 18 and 63 also contain chromatic alteration. The speed of finger changes is generally slow to moderate; the sixteenth notes move more quickly, but they are infrequent, and move by step. There is a mixture of fingered and unfingered string crossings. Bowing is legato, with extensive use of slurs over the duration of one beat, and portato on repeated, slurred notes (e.g., bars 7 and 11). Bar 20 and the last bar have stress markings over the two quarter notes; a little vibrato is needed here for a slight emphasis. Bow distribution is generally constant, with one bow over a quarter note beat. The exception is the eighth note pick-up at bars 30, 32, 34, 38, 40 and 42. The bow must be saved on the preceding quarter note so that the eighth note is started in the middle of the bow. Careful counting is needed so that the preceding quarter note does not swallow the eighth rest. There is a change of bow speed and pressure in the middle section; the quicker tempo and the animato marking, as well as a louder dynamic marking, dictate the need for a faster bow speed and more bow pressure. A slower speed is needed at the rallentando markings. Dynamics are infrequently marked, and are basically unchanging within each section. Section A is marked p, with a crescendo and diminuendo in bars 17 to 20. Section B is marked mf, with a crescendo in bars 43 to 44. String crossings are to adjacent strings ony, and are more frequent in the middle section (e.g., bars 35, 36, 39, 41, and 43). Co-ordination between hands is not difficult; the consistent bowing makes it easier. The piano part uses many of the rhythmic patterns found in the violin part. The piano interludes provide time for the violinist to remove and place the mute between sections. The same steady pulse is maintained in both parts and therefore ensemble co-ordination is relatively straight-forward.
Pedagogical Value: This piece provides an opportunity to practise shifting to and playing in second and perhaps third position. Changing finger patterns provide opportunities for students to develop left hand finger dexterity and co-ordination. The changing tempos can be challenging and offer the opportunity to practise effective tempo changes.
Instrumentation: Violin, piano
Publisher: Berandol Music
Musical Characteristics: Daussila is a lively, spirited composition marked allegretto, with a dotted quarter = 56. Metre is 3/8. The rhythm is moderately complex, using mainly eighth notes, with some sixteenth notes and rests. There is a poco ritardando at the end of the first two sections, with a Tempo I following each. There are some leaps and skips in the melody, with preparation time given for large leaps, but for the most part the melody moves in step-wise motion. The piece begins and ends in a-, and makes use of modal harmony in the middle section. It is in ABA form, with section A being 28 bars long and ending with a poco ritardando. Section B begins Tempo I and is 34 bars long, ending with a poco ritardando, and section A returns in Tempo I. There is a fair amount of independence of parts; the piano part helps maintain an eighth note pulse and reflects the modal tonalities and dissonances of the piece.
Technical Challenges: Rhythm presents a challenge in this piece; the sixteenth and eighth note rests and the syncopations can be difficult to feel and play. There is a good deal of variety in bow distribution and speed. The slurring causes uneven bow distribution, and there is a retaking of the bow with one beat of preparation time. The sixteenth note groups are played using a short stroke in the middle of the bow. There are some shifting challenges (e.g., shifting into third position with no preparation time, and shifting into fourth position with two-and-a-half bars of preparation time). The melody remains in each position long enough to establish the frame of the hand. String crossings are to adjacent strings only. When crossing to the G string, a bar is given to prepare. There is also time to prepare for wide leaps. This composition has simple finger patterns of low first or second finger, or high second finger. Finger patterns usually last a few bars, so students have time to grasp each new finger pattern. 2-note chords involve only open strings. There are occasional demanding techniques in both hands simultaneously (e.g., when there are uneven slur groupings on eighth note passages, and when there are sixteenth notes bowed on different pitches). Dynamics are fairly explicitly marked, and consist mainly of mf, f, and ff, with some short, subtle crescendos and frequent accents.
Pedagogical Value: Daussila presents many rhythmic challenges to the student. The quick tempo makes the sixteenth and accented eighth note syncopations tricky to play. Shifting and playing in first, third, and fourth positions, and varying finger patterns and accidentals are stressed. There is opportunity to develop dexterity in the left hand, and to develop control of a variety of dynamics and tempi. Precise counting on the sixteenth notes is necessary for good co-ordination with the accompaniment.
Instrumentation: Violin, piano
Publisher: Cantus Publishing Co.
"Allemande," MOVEMENT I
Musical Characteristics: "Allemande" is marked Allegro with a quarter = 160. The metre alternates frequently between 5/4 and 3/4, in a pattern consisting of three bars of 5/4 and six bars 3/4. A basic quarter note pulse is maintained throughout. Rhythmic values consist of quarter and eighth notes, with occasional half notes and eighth and quarter rests. The rhythmic patterns are straight-forward, and occasionally extend over the bar-line in the 3/4 sections (e.g., bars 4 and 5), with an accent indicating the beginning of the bar. There is a rallentando at bar 36, with an a tempo at bar 37, and there is a ritardando at the end. The form is ABA'. Section A is 18 bars long, and consists of two almost identical phrases. After a double bar line and a key signature change at bar 19, section B begins, lasting for 18 bars. Section A' begins at bar 37, following another double bar line and a return to the original key signature of two sharps. This section is only five bars long, with the first two bars being identical to the first two bars of section A. Harmonically, the piece begins in D+, with a key signature of two sharps. Section B is in d-, with a key signature of one flat, and a Cs accidental. The piece ends in D+. The melody is a mixture of conjunct and disjunct motion, with some wider leaps of a sixth and an octave.
Technical Challenges: Bow control is a challenge in this movement. Bowing articulation changes frequently, often with no time to prepare for the change. There is quite a variety of bow articulations marked on the eighth note passages. Spiccato occurs frequently. These passages are played off the string, with a short bow stroke (e.g., bars 1 and 2). Some of the eighth note passages have stress markings (e.g., bars 4 and 5). These passages can be played on the string, with extra bow emphasis, more bow pressure, and a longer bow stroke. There are occasional slurs in the "Allemande." Sometimes there is a dot on the last note of a group of slurred notes (e.g., bars 8 and 10). The bow comes off the string on these dotted notes. Less bow pressure is needed here. Quarter notes are also articulated in several different ways. The marking of a line and a dot indicates a spiccato brush stroke, using a longer bow stroke. Quarter notes which are marked with a dot only are played spiccato, with a shorter stroke (e.g., bars 6 and 7). Occasionally, there are legato markings on quarter notes. There is a retake of the bow in the third bar which requires added bow control. Bow control is also difficult between bars 16 and 17 because there is a change from spiccato to legato, with no preparation time. In general, not much bow is needed. However, more bow is needed on accented notes, and in passages which have stress markings (e.g., bars 4 and 5). Lighter bow pressure is needed on the spiccato sections, and bow speed overall is quick. First position is used throughout, and the speed of finger changes is quick, especially during the eighth note passages (e.g., bars 4 and 5). At times, there are open strings or repeated notes which provide time to prepare the finger change. There are fingered and unfingered string crossings, with occasional open strings as preparation time. Pizzicato occurs in bars 39 and 40. It is played at a moderate speed, with a ritardando marking as well. Rests provide time to prepare for the hange to pizzicato, and then back to arco. Finger patterns in this composition are simple and rarely change, except from a high to a low second finger. In section B, finger patterns of low first and second, and high third finger are used. Dynamics are marked infrequently, and range from p to f, with a crescendo in bar 16. The dynamic changes are fairly obvious in sections A and A'. The dynamics in section B are more subtle. String crossings are moderate in number, and involve adjacent strings only. For some of the string crossings, there is preparation time in the form of a rest (e.g., bars 19 and 20), but generally the crossings are quick. Co-ordination between left and right hands is quite challenging, especially when string crossings are combined with quick bow and finger changes. The piano part maintains a steady quarter note pulse, with some eighth note movement. The frequent metre changes add to difficulties in ensemble co-ordination. Careful counting in both parts is required.
Pedagogical Value: There are excellent opportunities in this composition to work on a variety of styles of bowing and to improve bow control. It is a useful study in metre changes. It also provides opportunities to work on pizzicato at a soft dynamic level, and to develop left hand finger dexterity and co-ordination between left and right hands.
"Menuet I," MOVEMENT II
Musical Characteristics: Although this dance begins in a typical 3/4 minuet metre, it is unusual in that it changes to 2/4 metre twice. It is marked moderato, with a quarter = 144. Eighth, quarter, and half notes make up the rhythmic patterns, with quarter and eighth rests occurring frequently as well. The rhythmic patterns are straight-forward, with no ties or syncopations. There is a ritardando in bars 22 and 23, with an a tempo following, and a rallentando 2 bars before the end. The form is ABA. Section A lasts for 11 bars, and section B lasts for 12 bars. Following a double bar line and a ritardando, section A returns. The tonal centre of this dance is C+. Section B has some interesting harmonic changes, with an F# accidental in the violin part, and F#, C#, and B-flat accidentals in the piano part. The melody often moves by step, and sometimes by small leaps.
Technical Challenges: This movement is playable throughout in first position, but the printed fingering indicates the use of third position for the first 2 bars, returning to first position in bar 3. This shift occurs again when section A repeats. The use of third position avoids string crossings. There is no time to prepare for the shift back to first position. Bow articulation varies throughout the movement. Slurred, spiccato, and portato bowings are used. Slurs occur fairly frequently throughout (e.g., bar 13), and require a longer bow stroke. Spiccato also occurs frequently. The portato markings indicate a slight separation between notes (e.g., bar 10). Extra emphasis is needed on notes with stress markings (e.g., bars 3 and 4). A longer bow stroke and more pressure are necessary on these notes. Portato is marked on quarter and half notes only, whereas spiccato is marked on eighth notes for the most part. Notes with accents require more bow speed and pressure. Pizzicato is used twice in section B, with rests each time to prepare the change from arco to pizzicato, and back to arco. In general, section A requires a bright, crisp sound, at a mf dynamic level. In comparison, section B is marked mp and uses some legato bowing. In first position, the finger patterns are straight-forward, with the only alteration occurring as the first finger moves between high and low placement. In third position, second and third fingers are placed a semitone apart. The speed of finger changes is slow to moderate. There are some fingered string crossings, none of them difficult. The dynamics change infrequently. Section A is mf, and section B is mp. The number of string crossings is moderate, with crossings involving adjacent strings only. Co-ordination between left and right hands is straight-forward, due to the simple bowing and the few changes of finger pattern. The piano part helps keep a basic quarter note pulse throughout. The piano also has some eighth note passages. The violinist must count rest carefully. The ritardando and the rallentando, where the violin and piano parts have the same rhythmic durations, require sensitive listening.
Pedagogical Value: This is a useful study in changing bowing styles and in shifting. The piece also provides opportunities to practise pizzicato and to work on changes from arco to pizzicato and back again. It is also valuable for rhythmic and ensemble development.
"Sarabande," MOVEMENT III
Musical Characteristics: The tranquil, meditative nature of this dance acts as a contrast to the liveliness of the preceding two dances of the Concertino Grosso. The dance is marked andantino, with an eighth = 102. The metre is 7/8 for the most part, with occasional changes to 5/8 (bar 4) and 8/8 (bar 11). Rhythmic patterns contain sixteenth, eighth, quarter, and dotted quarter notes, with occasional eighth, quarter, and whole rests. The rhythmic patterns are fairly consistent throughout, and are moderately complex due to the use of ties and the 7/8 metre. There is a ritardando marked at bar 12, with an a tempo in the following bar, and there is a fermata on the last note. Otherwise, the tempo is steady throughout. Form is ABA'. Section A is eight bars long, section B is four bars long, and a 4-bar modified section A ends the movement. There is no key signature. An F# accidental occurs throughout in both the violin and piano parts. Harmonically, "Sarabande" centres on e-. The legato melody moves in step-wise motion for the most part, with few leaps. Timbre is altered through the use of a mute, and the use of harmonics.
Technical Challenges: Fingering printed in the violin part suggests the use of first, second, and third positions. The shifts are fairly straight-forward, with occasional rests to prepare (e.g., bars 4 and 5, bars 8 and 9). The movement begins in third position. The shift from third to second position in bars 3 and 7 involves a change of finger on the G. This is moderately difficult because the pitch must be identical after the shift occurs. The shift between bars 13 and 14 is awkward because a change of string is involved in the shift from first to third position, with no time to prepare. This is also the case in bar 15, where there is a shift from third position on the A string to first position on the E string, with no preparation time. The hand remains in position for at least a bar following each shift, providing time to establish a basic hand frame. Harmonics on the D, A, and E strings occur several times. Bar 14 involves a stretch of the fourth finger from third position to the half-string harmonic. The last bar of the movement involves a shift from first position up to the half-string harmonic, which may be tricky to find. Careful counting is required due to the use of several uncommon metres (5/8, 7/8, 8/8), and the frequent use of ties. Although the finger patterns change with each shift, the speed of finger changes is relatively slow. The finger changes are not difficult, involving mainly step-wise changes. There are few fingered string crossings. The bowing is fairly consistent, with slurs occurring over no more than three eighth note beats. The bowing is legato for the most part, with some use of portato (e.g., bar 1, bar 9). The bow distribution, speed, and pressure are fairly consistent throughout. A fairly slow bow speed is needed, without much bow pressure because of the generally soft dynamic level. Dynamics are infrequently marked, with a range from p to mf. There are no sudden dynamic changes. String crossings are more frequent towards the end. There is no time to prepar for the string crossings, but they involve adjacent strings only, and occur at a slow tempo. Co-ordination between left and right hands is not difficult, but it is a little more challenging where the harmonics are involved. The piano part maintains an eighth note pulse for the most part, with occasional sixteenth note movement. Ensemble co-ordination is moderately difficult due to the uncommon and changing metres. The ritardando in bar 12 complicates co-ordination between the two parts, especially since both parts are moving in eighth notes here. Bars 8 to 12 are the most difficult for ensemble co-ordination because this is where the piano part deviates from its steady eighth note movement.
Pedagogical Value: This dance is useful for developing a well controlled legato bow stroke with smooth bow changes. It is a valuable study in harmonics and in shifting, and it provides opportunities for rhythmic and ensemble development.
"Menuet II," MOVEMENT IV
Musical Characteristics: This minuet is in 3/4 metre, with a quarter = 144. It is marked moderato, and uses eighth, quarter, and half notes, and quarter rests. The rhythmic patterns are simple and very consistent. Triplet eighth notes occur in bar 5. The form is AB. Section A is eight bars long, marked with a repeat. Section B is ten bars long, with a first and second ending, and a fermata on the last note. This dance has G as its tonal centre. The melody is a mixture of conjunct and disjunct motion with leaps as large as a sixth.
Technical Challenges: Various styles of bow articulation are used in this dance. Detached and slurred bowings occur, with slurs extending over one beat. The eighth and quarter notes which are marked with a dot can be played on or off the string. The quarter notes in bars 1 to 4 which are marked with a line indicate a longer, on-the-string bow stroke, with extra emphasis. Half notes are also marked with a line. More bow is needed on the quarter and half notes marked with lines, and also on the slurred notes. Bow control is moderately difficult due to the rapid alternation of the various articulations, especially in bars 13 and 14, where slurred and detached strokes alternate rapidly. Second position is marked in bars 9 to 12. An open string in bar 9 and a rest in bar 12 provide time to prepare the changes of position. The hand remains in second position for four bars. This is long enough to establish a basic hand frame. The finger pattern in first position is easy and does not change. In second position, there is a different finger pattern using low fourth finger. The speed of finger changes is quick, with no time to prepare. Fingered string crossings are quite frequent. The dynamics range from p to f, with a crescendo also. These changes are infrequent and there is ample time to prepare. String crossings are quite frequent and rapid. Good bow control is needed. The string crossings involve adjacent strings only. Co-ordination between left and right hands is challenging due to the frequent string crossings combined with the quick speed of finger changes and the constantly changing bow articulations. The piano part maintains a steady quarter note pulse throughout. This makes ensemble co-ordination more straight-forward. The piano part uses quite a bit of eighth note movement, as well as one triplet eighth note grouping in imitation of the violin part.
Pedagogical Value: This dance is useful for developing bow control on the rapid string crossings and on varying styles of articulation. The quick speed of finger changes provides opportunities to improve co-ordination between left and right hands.
"Gigue," MOVEMENT V
Musical Characteristics: The final movement of the Concertino Grosso is in 3/4 throughout, marked Allegro with a dotted half note = 69. The tempo is steady throughout. Movement is mainly in eighth notes, with a dotted half note tied to a quarter note at the end of each section. Eighth, quarter, and whole rests are used. The form is AB, and is symmetrical. Section A is 22 bars long, marked with a repeat, and section B is also 22 bars long, marked with a repeat. Harmonically, "Gigue" moves between a- and C+. The melody is a mixture of step-wise, scale-like motion and disjunct motion involving leaps of no more than a sixth.
Technical Challenges: The biggest challenge in this movement is the rapid speed of finger changes, and the changing finger patterns. There are some tricky chromatic changes from G# to G-natural on the E string which affect the second finger. These changes sometimes occur within a single bar (e.g., bars 1 and 2). Fingered string crossings occur often, and are especially tricky when the same finger is used consecutively on adjacent strings (e.g., bar 3). This is a challenge to co-ordination between left and right hands because the bow and the finger must change strings at the same time. Bow control is another challenging aspect of this composition. The bowing is detache throughout, and the speed of bow changes is rapid. String crossings occur relatively frequently and rapidly. These require good bow control, especially in bars 4 and 6, where there is a string crossing from the E string to an eighth note on the A string, and then a return to the E string. There is no time to prepare this crossing. Bow distribution is very consistent. A short stroke in the middle of the bow is needed. Quick bow speed is required, with the exception of the tied notes in bars 21 and 22, and 43 and 44, where a slower bow speed aids in saving the bow. More bow pressure and speed are needed during the loud sections from bar 37 to the end. The accented notes require increased bow pressure. Accents occur in bars 7 and 8 and bars 17 to 20. The feeling in those bars is of two beats per bar rather than three. This alternation between two and three main beats in a bar can be tricky. Co-ordination between left and right hands is challenging due to the rapid speed of finger changes combined with the quick bow strokes. 2-note chords occur from bars 29 to 35. Bars 29 and 35 are especially difficult because the same pitch is required on two different strings, played with a fourth finger and an open string. Intonation is challenging here because the pitches must match exactly. The remaining 2-note chords consist of two open strngs (bars 31 and 33), or one fingered note and one open string (bars 30 and 34). The speed of finger changes here is twice as slow as in the rest of the composition, but bow control is more challenging since an even sound is needed on both strings. The dynamic range is from mp to f, with two crescendos. Dynamic changes are infrequent, with plenty of time to prepare. First position is used throughout. Rests in the violin part must be carefully counted. Some violin entries occur on the off-beat as a result of rests (e.g., bars 10, 15, 39, and 40). The piano does not enter till bar 9, but from bar 9 on, the piano keeps a steady quarter note pulse, except at the ends of the sections where there are two beats of rest, and during the eighth note passage in the 6-bar piano interlude at the beginning of section B. The piano eighth notes in bars 23 to 26 are accented in groups of four, creating a feeling of three bars of 2/4 rather than two bars of 3/4. In bar 27, the eighths are accented in groups of three. Careful counting is needed here. Ensemble co-ordination is fairly straight-forward, as long as both players maintain a steady tempo and count carefully.
Pedagogical Value: This dance provides opportunities to improve left hand finger dexterity, to work on changes in the finger pattern, and to develop rhythmic skills. There are also opportunities to work on bow control and co-ordination between left and right hands.
"Dance II" from TWO DANCES FOR VIOLIN AND PIANO
Instrumentation: Violin, piano
Publisher: Cantus Publishing Co.
Musical Characteristics: The slow, expressive nature of this dance is an appropriate contrast to the quick style of the first dance. The metre is 3/8, with occasional changes to 4/8. An eighth note pulse is constant throughout, with an eighth = 104. The dance is marked andante and espressivo, with morendo in the last bar. Rhythmic values range from sixteenth notes to dotted quarter notes, with two eighth beats of rest at the end of each phrase. The rhythmic patterns are fairly simple and consistent. The form is ABA'. Following a 2-bar piano introduction, section A begins. It is 30 bars long. Following a double bar line after bar 32, an 8-bar piano interlude begins section B. This is followed by an 8-bar phrase for the violin and piano. Section A' begins at bar 49. The violin melody which began section A is played here an octave higher, with a different piano part. The tonal centre is G, with effective movement back and forth between the major and minor modes. Melodically, there is step-wise and disjunct motion, with some leaps of a seventh. The piano shares some melodic material with the violin. For example, between numbers 1 and 2, melodic interest passes back and forth between piano and violin. Texturally, the piano part is thicker in section B, with 2- and 3-note chords in both hands, as opposed to the single notes in each hands which occur in section A.
Technical Challenges: While Dance I is played entirely in first position, Dance II uses second, third, and fourth positions. Care is needed in bar 15, where a shift to third position occurs during a sixteenth note passage with several accidentals. The shift involves the interval of a semitone. There is no preparation time, but the hand remains in third position for long enough to establish a basic frame. Between bars 10 and 11, the open D provides an opportunity to shift to second position until bar 13, thus avoiding an awkward string crossing. Fourth position can be used for several bars, beginning in bar 22 and returning to first position in bar 25. At bar 49, fourth position occurs again, this time with the shift occurring over a large interval. There is a backwards stretch of the first finger at bar 52, and a shift to first position can be done in bar 56. String crossings occur frequently, and sometimes fairly quickly (e.g., bar 15). They involve adjacent strings only. The finger patterns are fairly consistent, with most of the alterations affecting the second finger, and occurring in the bars where there are added accidentals (e.g., bars 5 and 6 require lowered first and second fingers). Intonation requires careful work, especially in passages where there are added accidentals (e.g., between bars 14 and 15, bar 30, and bars 50-52). The speed of finger changes is slow to moderate, with fingered string crossings occurring frequently. Bowing is legato throughout, with extensive use of slurs and ties. Slurs commonly extend over an entire bar. Bow distribution is relatively consistent on the slurs and ties, with long, sustained bowing needed. Bow speed is quite slow due to the slow tempo and the need for a sustained sound. A fairly light bow pressure is needed much of the time due to the soft dynamic level. The dynamics range from pp to mf; changes are marked infrequently and tend to be subtle. There are two decrescendos near the end. Co-ordination between hands is moderately difficult. Bowarticulation and finger patterns are relatively consistent, but there are frequent string crossings combined with finger changes. Bar 15 is particularly tricky. The shift, combined with quick finger changes and string crossings, is a challenge to co-ordination. The piano part aids in maintaining a steady pulse. Good balance between melody and accompaniment is needed as melodic material passes between violin and piano. Overall, ensemble co-ordination is straight-forward.
Pedagogical Value: The metre changes, ties, and 8-bar rest in the violin part require careful counting. There are opportunities to practise shifting to and playing in second, third, and fourth positions. This is a useful intonation study. The generally subtle dynamic range is challenging for bow control.