Friday, February 07, 2014

3. Practising Musical Line - Tartini Andante

Dear Flute Lovers,
Well thank you for your patience! I've been doing so many flute-related things I can barely blog! ha ha!
I've been arranging scores of scores into glorious flute trios, for my students, and of course, working on inputting into Sibelius all the flutey warmups and exercises for my book (which is still not anywhere near close to ready, so don't hold your breath....) (...breathe, all means BREATHE :>)

But here is another installment of the "musical line" series, and I'm using a piece I love: the slow movement of ' The Tartini G Major Concerto'. (Schirmer published sheetmusic here.)

You can love it as much as I do by listening to James Galway play it on his CD of Italian Baroque Concerti (listen to his breath choices in the slow mvmt! Brilliant "catch up breaths" to prepare for long phrases), and you can play the simplified outline to show how it works using this pdf:

One of the things that happens with intermediate flute students is that they become introduced gradually to more and more complex written music, and they continue on as they did as beginners, by trying to read every single little trill and grace note and fast 32nd, painstakingly hammering them out at very slow speeds.

However with intermediate and more advanced flute solos, this can lead to very choppy, very breathless, very stumble-filled interpretations at their next lesson; all of which then has to be UN-learned.

So the trick is to not learn the piece the wrong way first (saving you having to UN-learn it a week later.)

You instead simplify the complex-looking piece of music, line by line, into the bare-bones of a simple musical line. You eliminate all the trills, all the grace notes, all the passing and neighbouring tones, and just leave the outline. 

This outline can be practiced with:

a) great centered tone
b) tone colours (as needed)
c) dynamics
d) realistic breathing
e) musical line and direction
f) gorgeous phrasing and meaning

Then you put the tiny extra-decorative notes back in and the outline underneathe is still perfect and beautiful.

Hugely recommended.
See all this happen in the one page practice Jen Tartini pdf here.

For a more complete view of how to create musical line, I highly highly recommend this book:

by David McGill

The above book by McGill is wonderful; easy to read, and absolutely comprehensive. It explains oboist Tabuteau's numbering system, it explains all the ins and outs of how to play simply and beautifully. It's not about tens of thousands of hours of pracitising, it's about seeing inside the music and allowing the simplicity (or complexity) to be easily understood.
Then you weave your way through it with easy fingers, easy breathing, and the direction of the musical lines are far more easy to work out in practise than any amount of complicated practising.

Try it out and send feedback (use comment button below.)

Hope this inspires!

Best, Jen