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Does anyone have any suggestions for making simple Christmas music (just simple melody harmony parts for things such as The First Noel etc.) sound more beautiful? I tried hairpins and vibrato but it's still sounding rather one dimensional. If someone could point me to some good videos, or give me some pointers on what I can do to improve simple Christmas pieces that would be great. I think I'm forgetting something!
6 Responses
Posted: December 4, 2018
Last Comment: December 9, 2018

Barb Wimmer
Posted: December 9, 2018
Good information- I understand mordants and am try to be able to think about notes and improvising at same time challenge. If I know the song so well and memorized improvising easier. 

Posted: December 6, 2018
Thank you all for your suggestions. They are very helpful.

I have 2 hours of these to play tomorrow night. There will be 3-4 parts for each, but these are vocal pieces, and I find those are always hard to add texture and color to, and the Violin I part stands out. However, last night I watched a video of Anne Akiko Meyers performing the Bach Ave Maria, not a vocal piece but very similar in its continuous bowings, and I noticed that she used bow speed, and lots of wide vibrato, so much so that it was very sweet sounding. The bow speed gave the inflections she was looking for. This is probably what I will shoot for. I just hope I catch my vibrato on a good night, because I have been remiss to practice it, and only use it in performance lately because I am swamped. After Christmas I am going to get back to this. Funny thing is, I get so inspired sometimes that the vibrato takes off, and is loose and wide, and I can start sculpting it. This is a result of performing with others. I see and hear a vibrato in my stand partner, and the vibrato in my hand starts to work. How, I don't know, but the exercises I have done must still be in reserve. But sometimes the vibrato is tight, and that is because it has not been exercised enough, and I am holding tension somewhere in the arm/shoulder/back.

Posted: December 5, 2018
You could try starting in the lowest octave, then move up at least one octave and back down for the close. You could also change the key part-way through and then back again. You could even try raising or lowering the melody a major second or something like that) just before reverting to the main melody for the close. 

Anyway, just some ideas. :)

Posted: December 5, 2018

BRB, need to listen to it ...

Barbara Habel
Posted: December 5, 2018
Dear Dianne

You could do double stops with the adjacent open string.

Posted: December 4, 2018
You could try adding trills or mordants.  Or play the first phrase at a slightly slower tempo, have it fade out and then then play as normal.  Then at the finish fade it out again and then play the last half of the initial phrase? Just some initial thoughts.