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Peter and the Wolf - pizz grace note question

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by Poparad, Sep 11, 2018.


  1. Poparad

    Poparad

    Jan 18, 2002
    I'm playing Peter and the Wolf in an upcoming concert and just got the music for it. There are a couple of pizz passages with grace notes that don't make a lot of mechanical sense on the instrument. Do any of you have some graceful solutions (haha, sorry) for interpreting this?
     

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  2. neilG

    neilG

    Jun 15, 2003
    Ventura, CA
    Nothing makes mechanical sense on the bass. The solution is fast hands. The octave Eb is easy. The Eb to A is possible, but awkward. You can't really hear the grace notes either in live concerts or on recordings.
     
  3. wathaet

    wathaet

    May 27, 2007
    Thumb on Eb, third on A.
    I have done it a few times in a section where the first stand takes one note each. This way, with half the players, it gets a lot clearer and more powerful.
     
  4. Andy Mopley

    Andy Mopley

    Sep 24, 2011
    "You can't really hear the grace notes either in live concerts or on recordings."

    May I ask...what is a composer *actually thinking* when writing something like this, does he/she think the actual notes would be heard??
     
  5. neilG

    neilG

    Jun 15, 2003
    Ventura, CA
    It's a good question for which I have no answer. I've played any number of licks that, at least in my estimation, amount to nothing in the overall mix. There's stuff in Beethoven you never really hear. An argument could be made that the interpretation needs to be adjusted to accommodate these passages, making them more audible.
     
  6. Can’t speak for any composer specifically, but very often they were composing at a piano and thinking like a pianist. There’s plenty of parts that would make perfect sense on a piano and don’t function at all on a bass.

    More recently, composers are working on a computer and write something that sounds good with midi playback. Same fundamental problem, but even more problematic.
     
    wathaet and neilG like this.
  7. neilG

    neilG

    Jun 15, 2003
    Ventura, CA
    ^^I've played entire shows printed from midi tracks. That's what you get when the composer learned piano and orchestration from courses purchased from late-night infomercials.
     
    Sam Sherry and Carl Hillman like this.
  8. I think Prokofiev only watched daytime television.
     
  9. neilG

    neilG

    Jun 15, 2003
    Ventura, CA
    I can't imagine what early Russian TV was like.
     
  10. Andy Mopley

    Andy Mopley

    Sep 24, 2011
    Thanks Paul..but even so, once the work is performed, or even better, when it is being rehearsed, why not make the change??
     
  11. It happens, sometimes. But the composer would have to notice a problem, or have it pointed out, and then be willing or able to make a correction.

    One big takeaway I’ve had from premiering so many new pieces is that the notated music is often not exactly what the composer was expecting. Dynamics, articulations, and tempo get adjusted all the time. It’s not enough to play precisely what’s on the page — you have to find the intent and purpose behind it.
     
  12. Poparad

    Poparad

    Jan 18, 2002
    Thanks everyone! I think I'm going to try it all as written first. The new principal joined is last week and she had the same "***?" look as me at that point. I mentioned the idea of splitting the notes, which we might try if the first approach doesn't work out.
     

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