Senior CMS Honors / Western Regional Orchestra 2019 / 2020: Cello

Senior CMS Honors / Western Regional Orchestra 2019 / 2020: Cello


Hello. I’m Dr. Mira Frisch from the
University of North Carolina at Charlotte and I will be playing for you
the Bourees from Bach’s third cello suite Hello. I’m dr. Meera Frisch from the
University of North Carolina at Charlotte and in this video I’m going to
demonstrate at a slow tempo so that hopefully this will help you the NCMEA all
senior regional cello solo the Bourees from Bach’s suite three. The version of sheet
music that I recommend for this piece is actually located in the Suzuki cello
book seven. I would highly recommend that you go ahead and purchase the book and find
the Bourees in that book because it will provide for you really wonderful
fingerings and bowings that you won’t have to chase down elsewhere. This is the
version that I used to perform so most of my fingerings and bowings come
directly from that version and you should be able to follow along really
well. So now that you’ve heard me play the piece through at a slow tempo, I’m
going to talk you through some suggestions for how to play the piece
better yourself. The first thing to think about for the Bouree one, is that the
character is very joyful so you want to try to play with some detachment in your
bow strokes. Specifically in the quarter notes. So we
want to give a breathe a little life into the piece by playing non-legato in
the quarter notes but I would suggest playing legato in the eighth notes. If we
play legato everywhere that sort of knocks the joy out of the
piece. One thing that’s really tricky about the first bouree is in measure five
with the bowing that a lot of people do which is the one I did in the Suzuki
books. If you’re not careful you have three down bows slurred together and one
up bow and several times in a row, three times in a row in fact, if you’re not
careful you will run out of bow. Uh oh! You wouldn’t want to have to finish the
phrase like that, so what we’re going to do is conserve bow on the down bows
and zip to the frog in the up bows so we can end that section closer to the frog
where we want to be. The next thing I want to talk to you about
begins in measure thirteen and goes on to fourteen and all similar places in the bouree
one, where there are some pretty tricky string crossings and if we’re not
careful those can be very clunky sounding so my suggestion to you is when you’re transitioning from the A to the D string,
keep your elbow, your right elbow and your bow arm at the height of the A string
the whole time and allow the lower part of your arm to hit the D string. That
will help you to be smooth in all of your string crossings. You need to have a
familiarity for both of these bourees more so the second bouree than the
first bouree, in terms of all of your positions from 1st through 4th position.
So, really briefly, I’m gonna assume that you’re all comfortable with 1st
position. 2nd position is going to be whenever we scooch the hand, including
the thumb, downward either a half step or a whole step. So when one replaces fingers
two and three we are in 2nd position. When one replaces the fourth finger and
another half step above that we are in 3rd position. When the thumb falls all the
way into the saddle and one’s across from thumb, were in fourth position. It’s
going to be really important for you to be familiar with all of these positions
so that you’re thinking positions and not fingers. Here’s an example of that
from the first bouree in measure 10. If you just read the notes using fingerings
that you may have played with some of these pitches before you may get
something like this. That’s just me sort of staying in 1st
position reading the notes and hoping for the best that my pinkie can find the
higher pitches. That’s not going to work so well. So instead in measure ten we need
to shift to the upper form of 2nd position so second finger replace four
onto that G natural. Additionally we need a backwards extension here.
We are solidly in Upper 2nd position with the backwards extension to complete
all of those notes. So in both bourees there are going to be several sections
where it’s really important for you to be thinking in a position rather than
each note being found by one finger at a time. So really pay close attention to
the video I made. I did it on purpose slowly, so hopefully you can figure
out what position I’m in and you can really try to model that.
The whole hand will be there for you with all the notes available to you, that
you need for an individual section. So I did a section like that measure ten of
the first bouree. Here’s another example from the second bouree, where if I tried
to just read the notes. I’ll play in measure thirty-four of the second bouree. I would
get something a little clunky again particularly coming down the scale. My B flat and my A flat would be really tricky to play if I’m not thinking in a
position. So instead, even though it’s a little harder to learn initially, we need
to be in 1st position with the backwards extension to start this
section for three notes then shift to 3rd position, so one on the G natural
for three notes shift backward a whole step to 2nd position on the A string until B flat. Forward a whole step to
3rd position on the D string. It seems like a lot of work to be
thinking about where all those positions are, but it’s actually a lot easier than
hoping that you can find each note with whatever finger you think you might be
able to grab it with. So that’s gonna be a major component of learning both of
these bourees. The next thing I want to talk to you about is that for both of
these bourees or really anytime we play solo Bach, Bach is so much about bringing
out the natural resonance of the instrument. So one of the most important
things we can do when we play solo Bach is to stop and make sure we are always
matching the pitch of our open strings anytime we play A, D, G or C. So for
example the third note of the piece, that G should be so in tune that it’s exactly
the same pitch as my open G I can stop and check and if I find that I’m wrong and I can learn from my mistake and aim
higher next time. Every single A, D, G and C that you play as a stopped note on any
of your strings. If they’re truly in tune they will make the corresponding open
string ring along with them as in a sympathetic vibration. I like to call
those notes bell tones. So if you can see I’ll play a G natural on my D string but
my open G is ringing like crazy as if I’m bowing that string, which I’m not. Another
example you might be able to see better on a video, it’s not from this piece but
you can understand the concept if I play a low D. First finger on my C string and
it’s truly in tune and I have a nice full sound. My open D is gonna ring along
with this one sympathetically. Hopefully you can see that on the video. There are
so many A’s, D’s, G’s and C’s in both of these bourees and we want to work so hard to
bring out the natural resonance of our instrument by making sure we are always
matching the sound the pitch of our open strings. Also it’s really hard to do that
if your cello is out of tune so make sure that you take the time to tune your
instrument properly and I would suggest if you’re not really comfortable with
tuning on your own, that you use a tuner. There are apps for your phone that would
be free and I would recommend that you tune every single note to the tuner to
make sure that you’re practicing on an instrument that’s very in tune. So I
mentioned that the character for the first bouree is very joyful and buoyant. I
interpret the character for the second bouree to be a little bit more lyrical and
somber so that’s why most people tend to play it slower. And you’ve got all these
beautiful long bows that you can really make use of. So four note slurs. I would
give yourself the opportunity to play really full bows and really work to
bring out very smooth bow changes and lyrical, legato playing. So best of luck
practicing these bourees. These are one of the best and most important pieces in
our repertoire and I hope you really enjoy working on them. Again I’m Dr.
Mira Frisch from University of North Carolina at Charlotte and I wish you the best of luck
preparing for your audition

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