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valse miniature

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by dragonetti11, Jun 20, 2002.

  1. dragonetti11


    Jun 20, 2002
    Hi, Im 16 and have been working at valse miniature for about a month. does anyone have tips on this piece? mostly wit the first part or anything else. its not that im not ready for it just i cant make the song sing?

  2. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Listen to recordings of the Valse. It will help you to clarify your musical goals.

    See if you can get someone to make a tape of the accompaniment.

    It's not an easy piece. Making it sing is what it's all about, too.
  3. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    One way to make it easier to get a recital piece to sing is to make your practice excercises, even scales, sing.
  4. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    That is some of the best advice I've ever seen on TB. It's really easy to forget to make MUSIC when you're in your room alone with the bass and a metronome. Thanks for the reminder, Don.
  5. Joe Taylor

    Joe Taylor

    Dec 20, 2001
    Tracy CA
    Make it sing -- I like that!

    I can't do this but by wife can she sings her parts before she plays them so she has a real good idea of what they sound like before she ever sets a bow to a string.

    I will play any song all pizz once or twice to the the left hand thinking right then set the bow to it seem to help with me.

    Make it sing -- I still like that!

  6. My bass teacher in high school made me sing everything at my lesson before I even unpacked the bass. I hated it (singing's for choir geeks!), but it made me understand phrasing a lot better. Later, I made my own students do it (and they hated it).
  7. kontri

    kontri Guest

    Oct 5, 2002
    of all the bits from this piece. F.x. play very slowly g-major and e-minor broken chords alowing every note enough time ti sing and vibrato, pay attention to your sound.

    And play scales thinking only about sound every day

    That's it, the rest will come by it self

    I'm sorry, there's only one way to become a good player, the basics must be practised every day!!!
  8. Shlomobaruch


    Dec 31, 2002
    Boise, ID
    Right... back to the topic at hand...

    Remember foremost that it's a Valse (Waltz). Which means the downbeat is everything. The other two beats are frosting for the next downbeat. So make your shifts and string crossings butter smooth and let the stuff after each downbeat kind of roll into the next one. This can be difficult, especially in places like measures 9 and 10 (the first four measures are rests, remember) where there's a climactic note way off beat. Without a pulse and dead-on intonation, those measures sound like noodling and it's very frustrating when you're trying to make it flow. A good way to emphasize the downbeats besides dynamics is to make the initial vibrato very wide right on the beat, and then immediately relax it. Especially on the half and dotted half notes.

    Also, try this in practice, but not in performance: overplay it. Meaning, *really* emphasize the beats, do crazy thick vibrato, slide on up to the high notes like those in measures 7, 15 and 16, put a giant fermata on that high quarter note in measure 28 (or even the other lead-in notes, like measure 32), like you have all the time in the world - play it like a drunk Italian tenor would sing it (but in tune). Playing along those lines was actually performance practice in Koussevitsky's day, and you can see how this piece lends itself to that kind of schmaltz. Modern performance finds such playing sloppy (which it is), so don't learn it that way, but giving it a whirl at tempo could inform your performance and help it sing.

    Speaking of tempo, never play it any faster than you can play it smoothly. It's easier to get it smooth at, say, quarter note=92 and increase the speed from there rather than learn how hit all the notes at tempo and try to smooth them out afterwards. This is true for all music, but especially for a piece like this whose entire charm is its ability to flow like melted butter. Good luck.
  9. George F. Schmidtt

    George F. Schmidtt

    Dec 21, 1999
    Great Advice!!! This is the type of information that 'drag was probably looking for in his original post, ans something that all of us can think about as we dig out our copy of Valse Miniature this evening to try out your advice. A CD was recently issued of an remastered recording of Serge performing this piece himself. The recording didn't offer too much to start with but the performance of Valse Miniture is quite different that what we're used to hearing - is the term "portamento?"

    Anyway this is the type of information I was thinking others might appreciate in the "solo if the month" topic if anyone is STILL interested. From 'drag's other posts it appears he would be interested in hearing how others approach fingerings, bowings, and other technique development issues other than having all of us old timers say "practice, practice, practice." Not that we should adopt any particular single bowing or fingering for a piece but it might be interesting for others to understand why we opt to change the fingerings that Drfew or Sankey include on their editions and go for a shift or a harmonic at a certain point (and the reason is usually more than just artistic license.)
  10. James S

    James S

    Apr 17, 2002
    New Hampshire
    I agree, Excellent specific advice.

    These are the types of practice /performance techniques I learned from my teachers.
  11. Shlomobaruch


    Dec 31, 2002
    Boise, ID
    Thank you both. I just remember what it's like listening to Levinson float through this like a summer breeze and having no idea how to make such simple notes flow like that. It's very hard in that aspect. Speaking of which, I pulled out my copy myself, both after thinking about the above and as a quick and dirty solo for auditions. Fingering question - the dotted halfs, E to D for measures 11 and 12... I always played those on the G string without question, but after retrying it, it seemed smoother for the lick in measure 10 to stay in thumb and shift to a 3rd finger E on the D string into measure 11. I'm also questioning now Zimmerman's fingering for the cadence F#-G in measures 55-56. The edition I have doesn't list a fingering *there* but in other places where that phrase occurs it too is played on the G string, but it seems quite possible to play both notes on the D string. It seems smoother than trying to do that half-step backwards shift in (or getting out of) thumb position, and sounds more mellow.

    Any thoughts on either of those fingering ideas? Is this how normal people have been doing it for years and I just figured it out?
  12. Young Bassist 1

    Young Bassist 1

    Nov 14, 2009
    I am sorry to brag but I am 12 AND THIS PIECE IS EASY FOR ME
  13. Young Bassist 1

    Young Bassist 1

    Nov 14, 2009
    Oh, Does some one have any advice for reading treble clef, I dont know how
  14. futurebass77


    Aug 2, 2007
    learn it.
  15. jcavazos32


    Dec 11, 2009
    You don't see treble clef in this piece. What you do see, however, is tenor clef. In tenor clef, the line at the middle of the symbol (at the 4th line) is C. The lines in tenor clef are D-F-A-C-E. You can think of the word "deface", but be sure not to do that to your music. The spaces are E-G-B-D.

    Anyway, the treble clef is the one most heard about in elementary school music classes. You may have heard that the lines are an anagram for Every Good Boy Does Fine and that the spaces spell F-A-C-E.
  16. Pat Harris

    Pat Harris Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Wow, that's very constructive and positive. :scowl:

    There is a lot of good advice happening in this thread. Regarding fingerings and editions (International, Liben, etc): Fingerings and bowings are really a guide more than anything else in my experience. It's great to play the articulations and fingerings exactly as they are on the page, but you have to realize that it's also just one bassist's way of playing a certain passage. For proof of this, check out 4 different versions of the "Valse" on YouTube and you'll see 4 different ways of playing the piece. Sometimes it's the best way, but sometimes there are equally valid but different ways to finger a select passage. At some point you (or with a teacher) should make an informed judgement call as to what you are going to do.

  17. koricancowboy

    koricancowboy Ausberto Acevedo Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2003
    When you grow up you'll realize that this is about as unclassy a post as you get. Btw, being able to play the notes is equal to .0000001% of actually playing music. Perhaps you can play the heck out of this with a beautiful singing tone and appropriate phrasing, I don't know, either way, the point is, thinking of music in terms of easy and hard is doing a disservice to yourself; as music is not a sport. Music is art and should be viewed as such.

    Back to the OP. Don's advice is great make everything sing all the time. As far as listening to recordings, I would have to disagree with the advice stated above. I think it is good for Jazz and Orchestral music, but for solo classical literature, remembering to be authentic in your voice and discovering the phrasing on your own is part of the learning process so I would say try to hash that out on your own rather than copying someone else's interpretation.

    Treble clef is just like bass clef. You don't know it until you learn it, so as with everything in music, practice, practice, practice. Same for tenor clef. Anyhow that's it. This is a really fun piece so have fun with it. BTW, Pete Tambroni has an arrangement of this with orchestra accompaniment. Take care and enjoy.
  18. OldGregg94


    Jan 30, 2009
    I am currently working on this piece as well. Tough one, innit?
  19. 1) Your immaturity is remarkable, even for a 12 year old.

    2) This piece is not easy for you. It's not really an "easy" piece for anyone. If music is "easy" it means you are not trying hard enough or you are disconnected to what you actually sound like.

    3) You're not bragging, you're just a dumbass.

    4) Why would you create a profile just to reply to a perfectly fine musical discussion with 2 posts that make you look like a dumbass?
  20. Does anyone know who publishes an orchestral piano part (ie, in G, not in A for solo tuning) before I make one myself?

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