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Next piece to learn...any ideas?


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#1 Dharma

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 13:45

I've been learning violin now for coming on six months.

 

I'm and adult learner, and I'm not intending to take grades. A few months ago I started learning Pachelbels Canon, and I pretty have this in my fingers now, at least to the point where my teacher expects it will only be a few more weeks before this moves from the 'learning' bucket to the 'polishing' bucket...so I need something to replace it in the 'learning' bucket.

 

The problem is, whilst I love listening to classical music in general, and violin in particular, everything I listen to is WAY beyond my ability, so I'm struggling to come up with ideas of what to do next. My teacher is going to come up with some suggestions, but has also said it would be a good idea to think about this myself as well.

 

He's also suggested we avoid the key of D, as that's the key of Canon, and we've done a lot of work in that key over the last couple of months.

 

Sadly, everything I know (Jesu Joy of Mans Desiring, Air on a G String etc) is in the key of D, or - as I said -  WAY beyond my abilities. I've spent a couple of days digging around, but am struggling.

 

Can anyone suggest any pieces that are not in D Maj or (B Min), are of a similar or slightly greater difficulty as Canon, and maybe include something a bit exciting to provide a stretch (maybe with shifts other than to 3rd position - but please not 12th :) , or with interesting bow techniques)?

 

Many thanks for your thoughts.


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#2 cestrian

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 17:34

You don't have to 'do' the grades to follow the grade syllabus. I'm an inveterate exam taker so it was an easy decision for me but the grades have been a godsend when it comes to 'what to do next'. I'm already getting anxious as to what I'll do when 8 is done.


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#3 fsharpminor

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 17:37

You don't have to 'do' the grades to follow the grade syllabus. I'm an inveterate exam taker so it was an easy decision for me but the grades have been a godsend when it comes to 'what to do next'. I'm already getting anxious as to what I'll do when 8 is done.

A Diploma of course !


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#4 Dharma

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 18:15

I've had a quick look at the grade material, but you can only hear 15 seconds of each piece on the board site, so it's hard for me to judge what would be playable for me, what might be boring, and what might be too much to take on.

I don't really know what level to be looking at. I did get the grade one book a while ago, but now the pieces in that are not too enticing. A couple are quite pretty of course, and it's always possible to work on the musicality of even the simplest piece, but I want something that's going to challenge me a bit more than Canon. So grade two, grade three?

I guess maybe I'll just get those two books and see what has something in it that I fancy.
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#5 cestrian

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 19:17

Sorry to make this a conversation rather than just keeping it simple but I'm bemused you're struggling with this. There are so many ABRSM publications you could look at. My daughter had 'ABRSM violin star' books for between grades and you have the fortune to be a learning an instrument where ABRSM have exam collections. They cost a fiver a pop, and come with CD versions. If you choose badly you've not lost much.

 

Six months in, I had enough music to fill a red lorry and a yellow lorry.


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#6 cestrian

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 19:20

 

You don't have to 'do' the grades to follow the grade syllabus. I'm an inveterate exam taker so it was an easy decision for me but the grades have been a godsend when it comes to 'what to do next'. I'm already getting anxious as to what I'll do when 8 is done.

A Diploma of course !

 

 

I've been having recurring dreams of jacking in career and going to Music College!


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#7 Dharma

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 19:27

Sorry to make this a conversation rather than just keeping it simple but I'm bemused you're struggling with this. There are so many ABRSM publications you could look at. My daughter had 'ABRSM violin star' books for between grades and you have the fortune to be a learning an instrument where ABRSM have exam collections. They cost a fiver a pop, and come with CD versions. If you choose badly you've not lost much.
 
Six months in, I had enough music to fill a red lorry and a yellow lorry.


Fair enough. I have a lot of books, but they are all scales and studies. I haven't really looked much at the board stuff, and so am not really familiar with what goes on there. The only music I know is what I have on CD, and most of that is years away yet.

Rather than relying on the wisdom of people here, I'll just go out and spend a load of money on a load of books, and bin the ones that turn out to be useless.

Thanks for the help.
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#8 polkadot

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 21:17

I recommend exploring charity shops for secondhand sheet music.  Over this side of the Pennines, Oxfam seems to have the most sheet music in stock, but not necessarily in all the branches.  Sometimes the smaller Oxfam shops send all their sheet music to a larger shop where they've made a speciality of stocking secondhand sheet music, particularly if it happens to be in the vicinity of some private schools.

 

I used to buy loads of easy song sheets, which had a vocal line and a piano accompaniment.  I bought the song music so that I could play the vocal (ie single line) part on my clarinet.  Since I wasn't playing with the accompaniment, it didn't matter that the music was written in the "wrong" key for the clarinet.  I don't know enough about the violin to know whether song music could be played on the violin, but it would be worth looking into and at least it would be in the right key!

 

Have you explored the ABRSM shop?  The AB publishes lots of books that aren't studies or exam pieces.  A quick look, for instance, throws up "First and Second Violin", which are aimed at different levels. http://shop.abrsm.or...ond-Violin/1015 .  There are lots of other non-exam books that have interesting repertoire pieces in them.  You can always look for the books on ebay so that you can build up a library without spending a fortune (and some may be in the aforementioned charity shops).

 

PS.  Sacrilege to bin books!  Sell them on ebay if you don't want them or give them to charity!


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#9 BadStrad

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 00:18

There is a Bach Cello Suite piece in one of the early Suzuki books. It is on IMSLP I think so you wouldn't need the book. You might like that. I'll look it out if you think you'd like it. Oh mio Babbino Caro is very pretty and you can really get some emotion into it, but I can't recall the key off hand. Then again, if something isn't in the key I want I just transpose it.
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#10 LoneM

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 11:54

Elgar's Chanson de Nuit and Chanson de Matin are available on Imslp. Elgar taught violin and wrote these very attractive pieces for his pupils - they are both in G.


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#11 Bremmer

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 08:22

Have you learned the whole of Pachelbel's Canon, or is it a shorter or simplified version ? I'm just wondering, because the demisemiquavers take quite a bit of agility at the correct speed, and if you can accomplish these well after a mere 6 months learning, you are doing very well and would probably be around Grade 5 level. This is not to suggest that you take exams, merely to establish about where you would be regarding what to play next.

 

As others have said, there is a wealth of music to choose from, and much of what you might like to try can be found with a search on YouTube. Can I suggest you put Grade 5 violin into YouTube search and wade through a few performances to see if there is anything you really like. As a teacher for over 30 years, I have always bought either the current or back dated versions of the ABRSM exam books for pupils, whether or not they want to take exams, as a ready and comparatively cheap way of getting 9 very varied pieces of a similar standard. If you have someone who can play the piano with you, so much the better, as much of the violin repertoire at any level is so much more interesting to play if you can play it with someone else. This helps with your timing and also to learn to play more expressively if you are aware of where the give and take needs to be with the accompaniment.

 

Failing that, the recent ABRSM books can come with a CD accompaniment, or there are accompaniments available online. 

 

Most important in order to know what to play next, is to know roughly what actual standard you are, which takes us back to my first question.

 

The three Elgar pieces, Salut D'Amour, Chanson de Nuit and Chanson de Matin are excellent, though many versions of Salut D'Amour are also in D major.

Fiocco Allegro, lots of semiquavers, may be too difficult ?

Handel Sonatas, accompaniments are available to purchase here ( if I am allowed to show the link ? ) http://www.piano-acc...repertoire.html

I'd suggest you go into a music shop and have a look at the ABRSM books for the grades 3 to 5. If you think you could play grade 5 without problem, buy the grade 5, or go and listen to the pieces on YouTube first to decide. Otherwise get a lower grade, there is bound to be something you will enjoy, and there will certainly be stuff that isn't in D major. Better still, buy the music and learn them by sight reading them, which in my opinion is a much better and a more genuine way of learning a piece than already knowing what it should sound like. Many adult learners struggle with sight reading, and there is only one way to cure this, by doing lots of it !

 

Can I also suggest, if you don't already, that even if you don't want to do grades, you learn the scales and arpeggios as if you were going to do so. They really are the base of music and so important for gaining understanding and facility around the violin.  

 

Good luck !


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#12 Dharma

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 15:06

Many thanks everyone, lots of good ideas there. I didn't realise ABRSM published stuff other than the grade books, so I'll have a look into them, and the other pieces mentioned here.

@Bremmer, yes it's the full Canon, and the four bars of demisemiquavers is the last bit I'm working on. I haven't fully "grocked" the rest of the piece after these bars, ut I've run through them a few times and I hope to get the whole piece together quite soon after getting the tricky bit dealt with.

I'm playing along with a quartet on my iPad in a application called "sit-ins". They've recorded several pieces with each instrument on a different channel, so you can adjust the levels independently. I start with the second violin, viola and cello turned down low, and 1st violin right up, so I can clearly hear that part to make sure I'm getting good intonation and timing etc. Then I turn up the other instruments and gradually turn down the 1st violin until I'm basically taking that part.

A nice thing is that you can also reduce the playback speed down to 90, 80 or 70%. For the dsq's, I'm just about holding onto my hat at 70%. But then six weeks ago, I was in the same position on the semiquavers, so I'm hoping I can gradually build up to 100%.

In terms of progress, I'm cheating, because I played a lot of guitar some years back, and fortunately I seem to have retained a fair bit of dexterity, or at least am recovering it quite quickly.

In terms of scales etc, I'm slowly (slowly!) working through parts of Flesch and Sevcik under the guidance of my teacher, so that should hopefully cover things!

@LoneM, Chanson de Nuit looks interesting, and can definitely go into the possibilities pile...Chanson de Matin has some terrifyingly high notes, and may have to come later :)
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