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Thread: Tidbit (another one ;-)

  1. #1

    Default Tidbit (another one ;-)

    Dear mando-friends,

    as I was following another thread elsewhere on the Café, I was reminded how strained and choppy chord-playing on the mandolin can sound— and I do NOT mean intentional chop, but, well... that other kind. You know... the strings are awfully close to each other, pressing down 6 - 8 strings is naturally more strenuous than pressing down only one, two-string course, etc. Time and again, as I listen to my practice, I must grudgingly admit that my own chord-playing sounds less than music and more like breaking twigs.

    With that in mind, I sat down yesterday afternoon and "composed" —I use the term VERY loosely, and hope that such looseness will be pardoned— a little chordal study for the mandolin, after a violin-study by famed Belgian violinist and pedagogue Charles de Bériot; I titled my spur-of-the-moment critter simply Après de Bériot, as it IS, after all, after HIS etude.

    Ever-generous Jim Garber agreed to post it amidst my other tidbits for solo mandolin:

    http://www.paperclipdesign.com/vk/

    Some obvious disclaimers are due: this is decidedly not "original", less yet "modern" music, nor is it stage-worthy as a performance-piece. The point of the exercise is that, as this is hardly a hard thing to play, one can play it with some degree of comfort, keeping the fingers down, letting the strings ring, and listening carefully as the various voices inside the chords connect. As in any and all music, voice-leading should ALWAYS sound cogent, coherent.

    I hope my latest tidbit is a valuable exercise in chopping out the unintentional choppiness.

    Enjoy!

    Cheers,

    Victor
    It is not man that lives but his work. (Ioannis Kapodistrias)

  2. #2
    Registered User Alex Timmerman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tidbit (another one ;-)

    Hello Victor,

    Thanks a million for sharing yet again a gem under the new studies for our instrument. This one of yours is indeed very useful for voice ánd chord playing. Smooth an very legato it shall by studied by us all overhere!


    Cheers,

    Alex

  3. #3

    Default Re: Tidbit (another one ;-)

    You are very welcome!

    In fact, I have always wanted to write a few more of these, study-like mandolin pieces; perhaps this summer...

    For example, I would like to write one in three-voice texture (you know, Alex... like the first two movements of Mimose), with the "main" melody on one of the middle courses (i.e. D and/or A), a discrete bass-line on the G-course, and some sort of light filigree or descant on the E-course. The skill to be developed would be both independence of the fingers, but also (and most importantly) multi-layer voice-leading. Guitarists, of course, do this sort of thing day in, day out; mandolinists less so. Perhaps such a little piece would challenge us to do so...

    OK. Back to work!

    Cheers,

    Victor
    It is not man that lives but his work. (Ioannis Kapodistrias)

  4. #4
    Registered User MLT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tidbit (another one ;-)

    Thank you Victor for the exercise and Jim for providing the conduit of getting information to all of us.

    Speaking for myself you are both a great wealth of encouragement and information.
    MLT
    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    Oregon Mandolin Orchestra
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Tidbit (another one ;-)

    You're welcome! I am most grateful to Jim for hosting these tidbits. I hope to take further shameless advantage of his generosity in the future...

    As for study-material, I somehow suspect that it all originated pretty much the same way: an instrumentalist was at home, trying to get his fingers to do the right thing, so that the right sound would come out of the instrument. We have all lived through this experience. Once in a while, we all stumble, put the instrument down for a moment, and simply stand there, puzzled, wondering, "Why the heck doesn't this >)(#()&$%#%#$)**#*^^ thing sound right?"

    The choices are few: you give up (which you NEVER do!), you throw the instrument out the window (ditto), you accept unacceptable sound (ditto #2), or... you compose an etude! So, without claiming to be "channeling" Monsieur de Beriot, I suspect that he became dissatisfied with the way chords (often) sound on the violin. So, thorough pedagogue that he was, he wrote a little study to remedy that.

    I have simply followed in his footsteps.

    Cheers,

    Victor
    It is not man that lives but his work. (Ioannis Kapodistrias)

  6. #6
    Registered User Alex Timmerman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tidbit (another one ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by vkioulaphides View Post
    You are very welcome!

    In fact, I have always wanted to write a few more of these, study-like mandolin pieces; perhaps this summer...

    For example, I would like to write one in three-voice texture (you know, Alex... like the first two movements of Mimose), with the "main" melody on one of the middle courses (i.e. D and/or A), a discrete bass-line on the G-course, and some sort of light filigree or descant on the E-course. The skill to be developed would be both independence of the fingers, but also (and most importantly) multi-layer voice-leading. Guitarists, of course, do this sort of thing day in, day out; mandolinists less so. Perhaps such a little piece would challenge us to do so...

    Cheers,

    Victor
    ========================================


    Hi Victor,

    That would be a very good idea indeed. What you describe above would really be very welcome in the solo mandolin music of today. Even if it is 'only' a study... And if you have time for it (this Summer perhaps...) be sure it is well appreciated!

    The "Mimose" three movement composition for solo guitar (Preludio, Aria e Toccata) is a beautiful composition, if I may say so! Absolutely a work that can be performed on stage, for it is very nice to listen to.
    If you have something in that style or similar in mind for solo mandolin, it would be simply great! What struck me most is that you are able to use the (technical) possibilities of the guitar so well and in such an excellent manner that the (your) music sounds and comes out so natural. It also gives the performer much 'finger pleasure' and joy to study!

    You mention only the two first movements for their voice writing that would also suit the mandolin. And that is of course the case but to finish with a rapid broken chord movement would really make it great!
    In the "Mimose" last movement 'Toccata' for instance you introduce some new combinations (at least that is what they are to me) of arpeggios which I find absolutely fantastic !


    Best greetings,

    Alex

  7. #7

    Default Re: Tidbit (another one ;-)

    With encouragement like that, how can I stop composing torrentially?

    Well, Alex... let me think about it...

    Cheers,

    Victor
    It is not man that lives but his work. (Ioannis Kapodistrias)

  8. #8
    Registered User Alex Timmerman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tidbit (another one ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by vkioulaphides View Post
    You are very welcome!

    I would like to write one in three-voice texture (you know, Alex... like the first two movements of Mimose), with the "main" melody on one of the middle courses (i.e. D and/or A), a discrete bass-line on the G-course, and some sort of light filigree or descant on the E-course. The skill to be developed would be both independence of the fingers, but also (and most importantly) multi-layer voice-leading. Guitarists, of course, do this sort of thing day in, day out; mandolinists less so. Perhaps such a little piece would challenge us to do so...

    Cheers,

    Victor
    Victor, this multi-layer voice-leading, as you call it, is exactly what I hear in your Diferencias. You remember, I think, I send you a completely fingered score of that piece. Not that this is the only way to go, but it is that important 'keeping the left-hand fingers down' idea to let ring on the basses and/or other important notes of secondary- or main voices of the composition. For me this is really what makes the difference! For those who are interested in this way of left-hand use, there is a video on YouTube with Victor's Diferencias out there somewhere. A good positioned left-hand and a well placed and trained 'picking' right-hand are what mandolinists need to work on most!


    Cheers for now,

    Alex

  9. #9
    Registered User Nick Royal's Avatar
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    Default Re: Apres de Beriot

    Victor,
    I liked your latest piece, with the French name, (what does Beriot mean/come from?), a lot. I am working on sight reading, and reading a staff of notes, vs. one note at a time, takes some work. So I am using the piece to help me in that area.
    Nick Royal
    Santa Cruz, CA

  10. #10

    Default Re: Tidbit (another one ;-)

    de Beriot was a celebrated violinist of the Paganini era... he was also the husband of Maria Malibran (much more famous singer). Like his Fiorilio parody, I assume we will soon have something in homage to Kreutzer, Rode, Dont but hopefully not Sevcik .

  11. #11

    Default Re: Tidbit (another one ;-)

    Thanks, Nick! You are, of course, too generous. I must admit that my latest tidbit hardly merits the term "piece", nor is it quite "mine"... After all, I have a daughter who plays violin so, sponge-like creature of the deep sea that I am, I have "absorbed" some of her practice materials-- more so SUBconsciously than consciously, more so by osmosis than by deliberate adoption. All the same, I am happy this little tidbit might be useful to my fellow mandolinists.

    Yes, Charles de Beriot was a Belgian violinist and violin-teacher, whose legacy includes a vast number of exercises-- violinist/teacher/publisher John Craton, a regular at the Cafe, might have a more comprehensive idea of de Beriot's work. I am just an admirer of his pedagogical works. Hey, you can't beat a little morsel, a page or two in length, that makes you a better player by the end of the day.

    Richard, as I trust that you are using the term "parody" in the original, ancient Greek sense meaning "sound-alike" (i.e. and not in the more modern sense of "spoof"), I must assure you that there will NOT be an "After Sevcik" work any time soon-- at least not by Yours Truly! I might, however, consider some vicious parody on Carl Flesch, something perhaps titled "The Spirit Is Willing, But..." Ah, yes... interminable, parallel intervals in Z-sharp major, modulating to Q-flat minor half-way...

    Cheers,

    Victor

    P.S. Considering the geographical tie-in, I recommend the perfectly appropriate accompaniment for my latest homage: Stella Artois.
    Last edited by vkioulaphides; Jun-22-2009 at 4:28pm.
    It is not man that lives but his work. (Ioannis Kapodistrias)

  12. #12

    Default Re: Tidbit (another one ;-)

    Well - the piece looks just fine. I agree that chord playing on the mandolin is a problem, and mandolins are today built for single-line playing, not chords. That is - in my opinion - too bad. When I started to compose for the mandolin, I wished to treat it more or less like a lute, but I soon found out that it was too heavy to play that way. Now I got a cremonese 4-string mandolin that is just perfect for chord-playing... If you wish more advanced challenges, why not try out the sonatas and partitas by Bach for violin solo. Much great chord-challenges there.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Tidbit (another one ;-)

    You are correct... by the way, it's a pity that all we remember of carl Flesch is that book of scale studies in the 24 keys... personally, this book and nearly every collection of scales with set fingerings is a waste of time and paper. It stifles lefthand creativity to a single minded mechanic. For those who don't understand what I'm talking about, have a look at Ricci's 2 books on left hand technique. With respects to study of the remote tonalities, one would do well to study all of the keys and you get it all in a neat package with Signore Munier.

    Quote (Viktor) : Richard, as I trust that you are using the term "parody" in the original, ancient Greek sense meaning "sound-alike" (i.e. and not in the more modern sense of "spoof"), I must assure you that there will NOT be an "After Sevcik" work any time soon-- at least not by Yours Truly! I might, however, consider some vicious parody on Carl Flesch, something perhaps titled "The Spirit Is Willing, But..." Ah, yes... interminable, parallel intervals in Z-sharp major, modulating to Q-flat minor half-way...

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