Monday, March 9, 2015

Practice Tips for Chorus from Judas Macabeus, Suzuki Book 2

     Welcome to Book 2! This book will continue to help us develop a beautiful tone and also explore playing at the tip, frog and even whole bow.  Speaking about using whole bow, the very first piece is a theme from George Friedrich Handel's opera, Judas Maccabeus, which is the first opportunity to play everything whole bow. Here are some things to keep in mind along the way.

This piece is comprised of two main parts. Part 1 (section A) is lines 1 and 2. Part 2 (section B) is lines 3 and 4. Part 1 (section A) is lines 5-6.

Whole Bow.
As we progressed through book 1, the pieces called for more and more bow. Now in Book 2, we are going to focus on playing notes, slurs, and hook bows with the whole bow. One of our goals with this piece is to play all the way to the end with the whole bow. This will take time so do not get discouraged if it does not happen in the first month of working on book 2.

Hook Bow.
We have played hook bow with staccato dots on top or underneath the notes in Minuet No. 1, Minuet No. 2, Minuet No. 3, Happy Farmer, and Gavotte in Book 1. Now we have the tenuto dashes, which indicate to sustain each note. This means that as you play these hook bows use half of the bow for each note.

Dotted-Quarter-Eighth-Note Slur.
In Book 1 we encountered this combination of notes in Happy Farmer but with a hook bow. It is easy to rush the dotted-quarter note, so we need to count carefully that it is held for 1.5 beats. And since the notes are slurred it is the left hand that will execute the rhythm, so we need to be firm and exact with our fingers.

This word, rallentando (rall.) pops up at the end of the song. Rall. conveys the same idea as ritardando, slow down. We can start slowing and broadening the note where the rall. is placed or even earlier in the line, it is a matter of artistic expression.

1. Practice the bow exercises with whole bow. 
2. Clap and say the note names to work on the rhythm. Make sure to take your time so that you can really become comfortable with the notes and rhythms.
3. Play all the slurs as hook bow, stopping between each note. This will help you make sure that each note gets enough bow. It's all about bow distribution here, we do not want to give too much of the bow to the first 2 notes.
4. Practice each line 3-4 times stopping between each note, slur or hook bow making sure you used the whole bow.
5. Practice the D2 (F#) at the end of the 3rd line getting to the A4 (E) and High 3 (D#) by stopping to prepare each note.
6. Play the last line and slow down in different spots at the end to learn flexibility to the rallentando. 

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