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Hi Beth!

My violin teacher started her holidays and gave me "a little something to do meanwhile".

A bunch of etudes on string crossings and slurs (by some russian guy, can't remember who) and finger agility (Schradieck)...and a song: Allegro by Fiocco.
She asked me: do you think this is too difficult? I take a brief look...sure, seems more difficult than anything I have played before, but sure I can give it a try.

Well, I go home and find some reference performances on youtube...OMG! So I took a closer look at the sheet..

It's FAST, well...allegro, thats what it suggests...
There's shifting, not too much but still, I haven't used shifting in a real song yet.
Mordent is also a new symbol for me. It doesn't seem too difficult to execute, though.
And in the end there's also triple and quadruple stops.

I also found out that this piece is in suzuki material as well....in BOOK 6!! (I'm half way in book 2)

I don't know why she gave me a piece this advanced (or does it only appear that way?). As a test what I can do with it? Or just by mistake.

Anyway, Beth, if this piece is familiar enough to you, any good tips will be highly appreciated. I am going to give my best shot at it, mistakenly given task or not. Very nice piece and I'd be happy to be able to play it.

After studying the sheet, it's quite clear why she gave me those etudes as well :)

Here's one quite nice performance of Allegro by Fiocco: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tkk6DtawbWQ

18 Responses
Posted: April 26, 2011
Last Comment: June 28, 2011

Posted: June 28, 2011
I highly recommend SPEEDSHIFTER from the ABRSM, you can download it for free here:


Posted: June 28, 2011
Morining Tomi, you can also access a free version on your laptop if you have Windows media player. When you have media player up click on now playing. Then click on enhancements and lastly click on player speed settings. You are able to speed the song up or down (which is of course great for learning a new piece) and there are other settings like adjusting the equilizer. Enjoy. :)

Posted: June 27, 2011
Actually I have downloaded two free ones.
"Slow Down Music Player" and "Slow notes". App store search will find them :) Maybe paid apps would be better but these do a decent job too.

Beth Blackerby
Posted: June 27, 2011
You mentioned a slow-down app? What is it? I'd like to check it out.

Posted: June 27, 2011

Thanks, great advice again! :)

I only a little time to play this weekend so I concentrated only on these issues.

The first shift, now that you said it, it really seems to make more sense to play as written. Maybe because this shift was the first one ever I encountered in a real piece, it felt so difficult. But now that I've practiced shifting in real context for some time now, it doesn't feel that hard anymore :)

Great tips for the ending. I had figured that part right that it has to do with right arm position, but for some reason never got it right. Seems that I've left it a bit too high and tried to compensate with wrist/hand.
Also one contributing factor is that I usually play in our basement when others are already sleeping. Problem is that if I play loud I can be heard and may wake others up, so I have to play relatively softly, so as you say it may make it harder to hit those strings equally.
But main cause is the arm, because I do hit G&D pretty consistently.

Don, great! Let us know how you progress with this piece.
I also got piano accompaniment . That kopikostar guy in youtube who I've linked in this thread earlier has made a re-shot of his allegro performance and has filmed also piano accompaniment only. So I just converted the video into mp3 and play with a slowdown tool in my iphone.

I don't know how long you have been playing but for me and my skills this piece has been quite difficult. But that makes it more fun to learn. At least I get "the kicks" from doing something almost too difficult. Note the word "almost". Too difficult would just lead to frustration and that will ruin the fun :)

....maybe that's why I chose violin out of the all possible instruments to begin with...almost too difficult ;)

Beth Blackerby
Posted: June 24, 2011
This discussion includes members-only video content

And some tips for the shifting after an open string.

Beth Blackerby
Posted: June 24, 2011
This discussion includes members-only video content

Tommi,Here's a little help for the quadruple stop.

Posted: June 23, 2011
BTW Tom thanks for this piece. I was looking for something to play inbetween teachers. I managed to download the sheet music free from IMSLP and even downloaded the piano accompaniment from the site Beth recommends.. now, like you, I just have to get it up to speed :) Don

Beth Blackerby
Posted: June 23, 2011
Hi Tomi. All good questions. The second is the easiest, and yes that is a mistake in the part. The line is printed to far. You're not missing anything.

As for your other questions, I'll be shooting video today. I'm working on Gwen's sautille video. I'll address your question about shifting after an open string.

Now for the first question. The printed shift is what I would do, because the shift coordinates with a string crossing, which makes for a nice disguise. That is, the shift occurs as you make the string crossing and it is not as audible.

However, since you are crossing strings, that makes the coordination aspect trickier. So I see why you prefer the second. The problem with the second one, is that it is difficult to "hide" the shift. You would have to play the notes relevantly short to make a clean sounding shift. You don't really want to hear a 3rd finger slurp there. Having said that, it can still be done and executed cleanly, but in my opinion it's harder to make clean.

Posted: June 23, 2011

Having some progress with the playing consistency, but still, that is and will be the biggest problem. Well, all it takes is hard work :)

Now, there's a couple of places that I'd like to as about:

About shifting...how important it is to shift as suggested? Or can I modify as I please? See the first shift in the piece:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

I find the "played" version of the shift much easier to execute.

Second question is about another shift:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

First, how do you hold 1st finger down while shifting to 3rd position, or is that "hold" line mistakenly drawn too long? Or don't I just understand something? :)

Second, I don't recall any tips on any video how to shift when there is no "old finger". Here the shift is from open A to #F in 3rd position.

And next is the ending:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Any good tips for that "quadruple" stop? My biggest problem is when crossing from G & D strings to A & E. Somehow it feels a lot more difficult to hit A and E equally than it is to hit G and D. Not only in this context but also when practicing on two adjacent strings (or tuning). Right arm position maybe? I haven't found the main cause yet. I just keep missing either of the strings usually :(

So, that it this time. Maybe I'll think of some more questions later :)

islam dodeen
Posted: May 25, 2011
Hi Tomi, sounds like you are enjoying yourself! Probably it occurred to you, too, but, anyway, here is an idea: After working on two neighbouring small sections, try if you can play just these two in a row. If it doesn't work, create a new smaller section at the border between the two, practice this overlap section and then put them together. This way you can create larger and larger patches until you have covered the whole piece.

Posted: May 25, 2011
I'll post a short update on my progress just to let you know I haven't given up ;)

It's been a month now since I started on this piece. I've had about 30-60 minutes per day time to practice but I've been working on other pieces too so progress hasn't been as fast as it could have been.

Status at the moment is, that I have now memorized the whole piece, notes and bowings. Next I'll be adding dynamics and then just endless repetitions :)

There are a couple of places that I might ask about later but in general the piece doesn't seem that difficult. Only the tempo it should be played at makes it difficult :)
I can play most of it in decent speed if I isolate the parts but when attempting to go all the way, sooner or later (usually sooner) I'll trip on my fingers :)
What really surprised me was that shifts feel quite easy! I thought they would be the biggest obstacle because I had not practiced shifting much before this "project".

Now just hours and hours of practice and maybe it'll sound nice some day :)

islam dodeen
Posted: April 27, 2011

Hi Tomi,

there is a further technique that works with fast passages: Select a small passage, say one or two measures. Then play the first note and repeat in sixteens rhythm. Then play the first two and repeat the last, once more in a sixteens rhythm, then the first three, repeating the last and so on, until you can play the whole passge. It doesn't have to be super-fast, but in some kind of allegro (moderato) tempo. You do this with overlapping small segments, then stitch them together.

Then there is the looping technique: Play a small segment and, without breaking the rhythm, play it backwards, then forward again and so on, in a loop.

Finally, passages that alternate strings, note by note, such as a-e-a-f-a-g-a-a-a-h on A and E strings, can be practiced in double stops. (I am just guessing that this piece has something like it, since I have never played it.)

Let us know how it goes, and, as Eileen said, have fun!

Posted: April 27, 2011
Jojo, I got it :) That's the way I've practiced so far with other pieces too.

I'm not quite sure, but I think I remember Beth talking about practicing fast passages in one of the videos. It was something like multiplying the notes. I mean, play every note in a fast passage four times, then two and finally one, so basically bow would always move in desired tempo, while the piece advances slower.
Anyone remember this, or have I seen or read about this elsewhere?
(In my dreams perhaps, LOL)

Anyway, this kind of practice should propably be applied after the "snail speed" phase when it's time to bump up the tempo, right?

Posted: April 27, 2011
Tomi, the speed factor, or the fact that we said to play it slower than snail's speed, is not because we think you cannot 'handle it', it's because that is the right and best way to practice that piece and any piece which ultimately needs to be played fast at the end. Even the 'masters' practice these pieces this way in the beginning my teacher tells me :)

Posted: April 26, 2011
Thanks for the tips!
I totally agree with the speed. There is no way I'll be able to play that in tempo any time soon :)

Beth, I sure hope it's potential she sees...or maybe she's trying to scare me away ;)
But let's see what I can do with it in a couple of weeks and I'll get back to you if (WHEN!) I encounter problems.

Jojo, yes, that girl really nailed it! :)

Posted: April 26, 2011
Hi Tomi, if you are 'half way' through suzuki book 2 then yes, I think Allegro by Fiocco is a bit of a high jump....BUT, having said that, it is not a 'virtuoso' piece and it can be enjoyable played at a slow tempo too! I have done this 6 months ago with my teacher when we wanted something not difficult for me to do as a break and also something not 'slow' as I tend to like/prefer slow piece LOL When you offered the link to a performance you thought was nice of this piece I immediately thought: 'Let's see which one he chose as I am quite adamant I have found one performance which I believe it is one of the best on youtube and I thought my choice was going to be better than yours LOL, well..... YOU PICKED THE SAME ONE I HAVE LOL LOL LOL I totally agree with Beth, this piece you have to tackle EXTREMELY SLOWLY, and I have to UNDERLINE TO YOU: VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY SLOWLY, so slow you think you will almost grind to a halt! do it slower than a snail every day for at least 2 weeks!!! honestly! you will go so slow you think it's a joke but you have to! to give you an idea probably metronome mark 40 and that is for EACH NOTE!!! honest! full long very loud good tone for each note, don't do any slurs or any dynamics at first just concentrate on intonation. Only like this your fingers will learn really well where to go at speed :)

Beth Blackerby
Posted: April 26, 2011
Hi Tomi, Either your teacher really believes in your potential, or she is a little over-zealous. I personally believe in a more linear and sequential progression of repertoire. In any case, remember than anything can be played at a slow enough tempo (even if you have to play whole notes!). If you are going to seriously tackle that piece, then you'll have to work at a VERY slow tempo, increasing speed when you've reach some level of comfort. Same goes for the etudes as well. There's certainly merit in practicing etudes, which at fast tempi are impossible, but at a slow tempi will give the hand and bow arm a nice work out.

I can help you with the Fiocco Allegro. Give it a couple of weeks of earnest practice, then let me know what your specific trouble spots are. Good Luck!!!!!