I think it’s the only way to manage it, but damn, it’s hard. You know that a piece is going to present you with some challenges when even playing it away from the piano results in errors. I need to find the path through the labyrinth on each separate part and then recall them at speed. The anti-parallel octaves are a rough part, as well as just hitting the chords evenly and without roll.
Again, one plays an instrument with the mind. That’s where the stumbles and failures to keep up will kill you.
Here’s the sheet, BTW.
On the good side, I have found that learning this thing, even imperfectly, has improved my ability to play my own stuff.
Apparently, I am still interested in playing viola despite my best efforts to not be. Of course, it was a three-day weekend.
My commute will be getting much better shortly, and I have resolved to mess around with it on my own in order to avoid the weekly or-else associated with lessons, for the moment. I’m self-directed enough to be able to do this at a low level, I think. However, if I can make the viola work with learning other people’s stuff on the piano as well as writing my own, I may-may-may contact my instructor again after the summer. Let’s face it, I’ll never manage double stops or shifts without hands-on advice. What I’ve learned so far is the basics of what to think about — the lay of the land — and how to manipulate the thing in a way that won’t cause pain and injury. Those are the very basics, and enough to give me room to mess around in, but more will be needed in the future.
We’ll see where it winds up, but for now, I will happily piffle aimlessly in the sandbox of the first six Fitzpatrick melodies and however far I can get in the Suzuki books before I run up against double stops and shifting. I think part of the stress of the viola lessons was that we were moving at a fairly breakneck pace, which I normally love, but I didn’t feel like I was getting my feet under me. I would rather have done six or seven exercises on each new skill acquired than to race through doing each one time and then adding a new one. And lessons every two weeks would have been more optimal.
When push comes to shove, I think I just want to go at my own pace.
And the mute stays on.
(Getting the fingerboard replaned and finding a new bow might still be in the cards, though … Just not for a while until I recuperate from the move financially.)
I would have interpreted it differently, perhaps a little more clipped and melodramatic on a viola. The lower register makes it a bit more of what one might call masculine, and hence I would prefer fewer slides between notes (which don’t work as well on a smokey viola) and maybe more self-centered melodrama. Violas can’t do squeaky-clean schmaltz like violins, so don’t ask them to.
There’s also a high note on the harp that sounds way off to me … unsurprising given that the harp is also tempered. But nevertheless … if you know it’s going to sound off, then go get an allen wrench and adjust it.
Still … gorgeous. Though it be blasphemy, I think it has the potential to be prettier than the violin version.
Wanna make something of it?
I am pleased to find that it’s not completely awkward. I’m nowhere near the Deity I once was *gazes heavenward in innocence* but it’s not horribly uncomfortable. I pressed “pause” on it, not “eject,” and I don’t want to get to the point where I’m picking the thing up and going, “What end do I blow into again?”
I’m moving much closer to work, so my plan for the moment is to keep plodding on the piano and composing, and see whether or not the far better commute enables me to fit enough viola into my schedule for it to be possible for me to:
1) learn other people’s music on the piano,
2) write my own, and
3) study viola.
Since I am a beginner at #2 and #3, I may not be able to do it well even with a shorter commute. Being a newbie at two things at once generally means that something is shortchanged, and composition means more to me at this time. But I will try it by myself for a few months, and then if I can make it work, I may contact my teacher again and see about starting up at a slower pace. (Provided I’m capable of not going crazy at a slower pace.)
*happy sigh* Back to this one again, and that annoying, gorgeous second theme that has me going cross-eyed with anti-parallel octave bounces. It’s so gorgeous … and only Joplin, the guy who could get from Barstow to Bb, can manage a graceful modulation from G to Bb. He can get from anywhere to Bb. He’s like a Bb homing pigeon. Happy to discover that I did not entirely make a fool of myself on it. It should shape up nicely with hard work.
Also happy to finally call done on the Fm, once and for all. It’s out of my hair, and I’m pleased with it.
Have started yet another thing, a study on more dissonant stuff, half-steps and so forth, and I’m happy with it even if it is short as anything. I think I’d like to leave this one short, and just develop three separate, related ideas as opposed to trying to develop one piece. That might be fun.
Another interesting article about that thorny subject, which I brought up a while ago
– are a huge pain for people like me who like to flip back and forth between relative major and minor. Sometimes, you’re in a key with flats in it, and the relative major is one that you think of as a sharp key.
And either way you wind up with stupid things like E# and Cb. I know it’s just how the notation winds up, and I just grit my teeth and soldier on, but it’s a pain. It’s what I get for screwing around on the black keys.
A cello’s just a voice, after all. And there’s plenty of percussive and other noises that can be made with the mouth to achieve a texturally interesting layering alongside a beautiful, classical sound. Bobby McFerrin would be a natural for this sort of thing, if he hasn’t done it already.
Singers, please do this.
Scowling jerks who look like they just made bail after a domestic violence arrest and porno.
Is the world of classical music really sure that’s what they want to model themselves off of?
I’ll stick with Martha Argerich and wrinkly, grey opera dudes, thanks. They had careers before hairplugs, implants, and auto-tune.