Saturday, January 07, 2023

old dogs and new tricks

Two months into the experience of learning to play my aunt's ancient violin I am tempted to say: If I had known that it was so easy, I would have started 50 years earlier. I'll admit, however, that 20 years of obsessing about cello playing (first the young musician's, more recently my own) has helped to make it appear easy. Firstly, the skills are more transferable than I thought, and also I have been exposed to quite a bit of violin advice eg in string classes at the Oxford Music Festival. Moreover, seven years of folk sessions have taught me that you don't have to be Paganini to get some music out of a fiddle.

Oh and I realised that the top three strings of the fiddle are essentially a D whistle. Anything I can play on a D whistle I can also play on the fiddle - which is handy because two years ago I made a list of tunes to practice on the whistle, I can just transfer that. In a broader sense, this covers most of the Slow Session repertoire, anything with one or two sharps. I am not attempting anything with flats yet.

So, anyhow, here's my two-month video playing the Handlarens Vals and messing up the B part a bit. I am really pleased I can sort of play it though, because this lovely Scandi tune doesn't really work on the flute. And it fits the fiddle range just perfectly. Give me another month and I might even be able to play it a bit faster.

On the cello front, I am very slowly approaching the tail end of the first bourree in Eb major (4th suite), so watch this space.

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