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Brahms Symphony #2 D maj.

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by jaff, Dec 14, 2011.


  1. jaff

    jaff

    Jun 7, 2006
    Arizona
    Probably a dumb question but I'm a relative beginner working on this piece and wonder if any of you more experienced folks have any comments to make about learning the various parts of this symphony. I keep listening to it and keep practicing the riffs and phrases but have trouble getting it to flow. Getting up to speed on the scalar passages is difficult for me so far. Probably another 500 hours of practice will help..
     
  2. dtosky

    dtosky

    Jan 4, 2010
    The obvious answer is old-fashioned slow practice, but I'm sure you already knew that. Something that really helped me polish and develop "flow" for the slurred eighth note runs in the 4th movement was the practice technique of "skeletonizing." As in deconstructing it so you really understand what notes fall on the strong beats and learning to hear the actual harmonic underpinning. Start by reducing it to two half notes (only playing the first note of each group of four) and then to four quarter notes (playing the first of each 2, and the quarters as written.) In my experience sometimes playing only quarter notes can be more challenging than what is actually printed! It certainly requires more mental focus than simply turning up the metronome slowly but I think it will help you truly learn the notes and achieve what you are looking for. And that is just one of many, many practice techniques. As for the first movement... subdivide the rhythms very accurately!
     
  3. This is kind of silly, but I normally prepare orchestra music by playing along with a recording once I have the notes and rhythm basically figured out. This wouldn't work for an audition, but it really helps you get the flow of the piece and learn everyone else's part, so you can become more of a leader. It works for me... (not to mention it is amazing when you have some sweet surround sound hooked up)
     
  4. jaff

    jaff

    Jun 7, 2006
    Arizona
    dtosky: Thank you very much for some great ('deconstructive') advice! I've started to do that on all of the 8th note riffs and it is helping me to calm down as I 'get' this piece up to some kind of speed.
    AClark: Also thank you...I've been doing a lot of listening but am not yet up to speed for the music to accompany me. Hopefully I'll get there soon.
     
  5. ifg

    ifg Supporting Member

    May 4, 2011
    brooklyn, ny
    the first time i worked up brahms 2, i did so using the bowings from the zimmerman book and it was nothing short of a revelation. it really opened up the part for me and illustrated the genius of brahms. at first glance, there are a few weird decisions he seems to have made, but if you stick with it you'll realize how great the part feels in your right hand; the whole thing flows. last i checked, these bowings are readily available online.

    that said, a few excerpts in the 4th movement, especially the slurred passages midway through, are a real bitch. get it right at half speed, and just keep clicking the metronome up a few clicks every week or so. i generally start at 45 bpm; then in week 2, i do it at 45 and at 60; week 3, 45 & 75; week 4, 45 & 90; etc, until I get it up to speed. do the same fingerings each time. i don't know why it works exactly, but i've found that keeping the slow pace every week (i.e., maintaining a rehearsal speed of 45 throughout, even as i'm speeding it up) really keeps me on top of the part. but you need to keep the same fingering each time.
     

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