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Timothy Smith
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This is the first real Classical song I have attempted to play on the violin. The song "Gavotte In G Minor".
I made a backing track to play it to that has a more baroque period feel at a slower tempo. The backing track is available at my SC link if you click "more" you will see a downloads button. Feel free to download it and play to it if you want to. I added flute and lute to the piano I played on that track. I have a link to that here.

In the video I made I can tell my intonation and bow control are still suffering. Any other suggestions are welcome. Thanks!
Timothy Smith
8 Responses
Posted: June 9, 2019
Last Comment: June 11, 2019

Timothy Smith
Posted: June 11, 2019
Thanks to every one of you for the advice! Much appreciated. What a wonderful crowd we have here at Violin Lab!
 I know I'll need to read over this info a few times to totally retain all of it. I need to  sit down with my violin, go through the video and refer to the places you mentioned Elke along with the comments of others.. Thank you for such an in depth and timely analysis! I  I will go over it all in further detail. I feel blessed to have such advice.

Beth, Thank you for giving this helpful direction on finger placement timing, also for the direction as to which videos will be most be helpful. I had never looked at it quite that way so this was a revelation of sorts. Can't say how appreciative I am here. By all means, feel free to download and use the backing track in any way you wish. 

Posted: June 11, 2019
Congrats on the plunge into classical! I have little "fiddle" experience so I can't compare the two styles. But it always amazes me just how tricky a so-called easy classical piece can turn out to be. I guess that's why we love it -- it's deceptively difficult.

Anyway, you did a great job on this -- I don't have much to add to what the others have said. (Nice accompaniment BTW!) Your timing is particularly consistent, so way to go -- I still struggle getting from one end of a piece to the other (since I tend to stop and correct). But I am actually convinced that this is how we progress the fastest, so it is something I am trying to fix.

For your sound, I would maybe try using more bow, especially on the slurs, as well as bowing harder plus closer to the bridge. Recently I've been practicing with a mute and really bearing down on the bow, and it's really helped my sound quality.

Posted: June 10, 2019
What a great idea to use shifting to loosen the hand and thumb. I remember when I started shifting, it completely helped me to relax the hand and get a better sense of what was required to put fingers down. I had been grabbing and didn't even know it because it was subtle. But shifting doesn't allow any unnecessary friction at all. I would definitely suggest a few shifts from 1st to third and back, without necessarily playing anything, just some slow shifts up and back, as warmups, to see what happens to the feeling of security in the hand.

Beth Blackerby
Posted: June 10, 2019
Hi Timothy, that backing track is so cool and I love the Celtic vibe. With your permission I'd like to put it on the tutorial for that piece to give others the opportunity of playing with it.

In addition to what others have noticed, what jumps out at me is your finger action. Particularly, the idea of when and how to lift fingers that have just been played. You're subscribing to the idea of the simultaneous lift/drop combination. That actually never happens (at least an exception to that rule is not popping in my head yet.) For instance in the opening of the piece the 1st and 2nd fingers stay down on the string as you go up the scale, because you go right back down the scale immediately, and efficiency demands we keep the fingers down. I have a few videos about that: #165-166, and there are two other videos in the Practice Course: #5, #39

Fabiano Formiga de Carvalho
Posted: June 10, 2019
Welcome to the classical world, Timothy!

I enjoyed listening to you.

Posted: June 10, 2019
Congratulations Timothy on first classical piece! Sounds good and love the backing track which I will revisit in the distant future when I eventually get to that piece :). As a beginner I don't have much to say on technique etc. - but I am about to use Elke's post/ your video as a learning tool in observation/ critical awareness/ focused practice and as something to aspire to :)

Elke Meier
Posted: June 10, 2019
What a brilliant idea with this accompaniment! Thanks for sharing it with us! 

About the violin part in it I would second Dianne's observation. The whole hand needs to kind of roll down to reach the E-string when the thumb has the neck gripped. Instead, the hand should be able to disengage itself from the neck. If it is stuck it will make shifting complicated. Watch what happens at 1:03. You even loosen the thumb a bit a second before but when you switch to the E-string it is firmly back in place, making it impossible to disengage your hand from the neck and allowing any space between the neck and the hand. I know that you said in an earlier post that this is just what your thumb normally does and that is IS relaxed. But it is hard to perceive relaxation from this angle of the recording. 

Also, watch your first finger in the flat key. To my ears you don't have a big problem with intonation - it is just a first finger that is generally too high for the flat key. And since there are so many B flats (and then later the F naturals) the sharp pitch is repeated more often than you like it... :).

And one comment about the piece: There were a few places where you slightly changed the notes: measure 3 and 11: you skipped the first fourth finger A; measure 7 and 15 - but I liked the trill you added instead :); measures 18 and 19: watch the rhythm - it looses if you take the sycoptic rhythm out; measure 33 - similar to measures 7 and 15, which makes me wonder whether you maybe have different sheet music from the standard one...

Now there was one thing I found very interesting. Watch 1:24 - This different recording angle shows something that I think is also a problem in your non-classical playing - even more so because your other pieces are generally much faster than the Gavotte. The rule is "first finger then bow". The left hand finger has to have the string completely stopped or completely cleared before the bow hits the string. In 1:24 you can even see the culprit for the unclean note: the second finger still lingers on the string after the third has already left it and the first finger is already on because it wants to be played. So the second finger should leave the string as soon as the third is being played and even before the first on is put down again. 

I have the same problem of left/right hand coordination. So on my sheet music I have many little marks: -2, +1, etc. to indicate which finger needs to prepare at what spot. I practice a lot with Schradieck, and even on this I have made the marks. Sometimes a finger can stay down (which I also mark) because it will be needed right away again, but often it needs to be up at a certain point in order not to get in the way. It really helps me to have these marks and do superslow practice with these marks (giving individual commands: "put down 3, lift 2, bow, put down 1, bow"). In the end my hope is that the body will eventually remember patterns and be able to adapt them to other pieces when I play them. And the hope seems to be justified. It is very slow going, but I can see changes.

Now I have something to look forward to this evening: I will surely try the Gavotte with your accompaniment :). Thanks again for sharing it!

Posted: June 10, 2019
That is so cool that you can play your own accompaniment. Great job on your first classical piece, it sounds really good. Just watch to relax the left thumb.