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Dianne


When you come across divisi in music, do you find it easier to play the bottom or the top notes? Or does it matter? This example passage shows what I am attempting to play at 116bpm. The divisi is scattered throughout the piece. When I used to play in other ensembles, the more experienced stand partner played the bottom notes, if the piece was lightening fast. I think this is opposite of the outside/inside seating adaptation. But stand partners are usually paired closely. What are your thoughts on which notes to play if you had a choice?
Dianne
5 Responses
Posted: October 6, 2017
Last Comment: October 9, 2017
Replies

Dianne
Posted: October 9, 2017
Hi Katja, exactly! It's like a whole new skill reading some of those bottom notes I think!

Katja
Posted: October 9, 2017
We have a lot of Divisi in our orchestra music and what i find most difficult is to read the lower note when the notes are under the staff (sorry I don't know the right named in English). Today I actually had to write G on the note in order not to play accidentally a B flat. Then my stand partner asked if we could use her sheet music instead as she had some fingering issues, so I kept saying to myself the whole time remember those are G:s not B flats :)

Dianne
Posted: October 7, 2017
After much thought and comparison to divisi passages in other more advanced orchestral excerpts, I have figured out why I am having difficulty sight reading music with the combined divisi- the absence of the staff line. It is only on the notes that are adjacent, and the staff line not really visible, that my eye looks for the staff line and does not see it. So this is just another area to be developed- sight reading divisi and training to not be dependent upon seeing the staff line, but to look around the notes in context, and to be able to recognize and play the notes at fast tempos. Can anyone suggest some intermediate level music that contains lots of divisi passages that I can use for daily exercise work?

Dianne
Posted: October 7, 2017
Karen you are right- I have another piece that does shift on the upper divisi. I forgot about that. I personally find it very hard to read the bottom divisi notes quickly. I always defer to reading the top notes, shifting and all. I have to prepare both in all my pieces because I don't know where I will be assigned yet. I find the bottom notes to look muddy. I'm not sure if it's the stem placements or not, in which case some of the bottom notes would appear clearer at fast tempos in that case. I am so looking forward to your and others input on this (thank you for your response). I was unable to find anything on the difficulty of reading divisi on the blog or anywhere else I looked. There was only explanation of stand partner assignments, but does that mean everyone thinks they are equally hard or easy to read? I don't for some reason. Top=easy. Bottom=challenging. At fast tempos only- slow tempos are equally easy for me.

KarenJ
Posted: October 6, 2017
Typically, in our orchestra, the outside player is the stronger player and plays the upper divisi.  the inside player plays the lower and also turns the pages. (so that when the page turner stops playing to turn, the stronger player can still play without breaking)  The upper divisi usually does more shifting in my experience.