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Monarcheon

Masterclass: ORCH 101 - Basic Cello Writing

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@Ranger, some comments and things to think about...

  • m. 1, is that an up bow (the flipped caret)? It probably should be so all the bowings work out for the next few measures. A crescendo couldn't hurt either, to make that clear.
  • m. 8, that should be a G#, not an Ab.
  • mm. 11-13, the sixteenth notes should not start on an up bow, since it's a weaker bow. The measures before it were pretty good. The player could do a retake, from the previous note (i.e. m. 11 starts down, then the next note is also down). That might help with the bowings for the next few measures as well, by keeping the strong bow on strong beats.
  • m. 13, the tied over sixteenth note beat (beat 4) is a little strange. It's awkward to start up bow since it's a strong beat with in between assets, and it's awkward to start down bow since it ends on a held up bow. Getting rid of the tie and adding a decrescendo might help.
  • mm. 27-28, better to mark each of these phrases with down bows to keep the strong beats strong.
  • mm. 28-30, kind of a bowing mess. No easy way to do that, especially with the prescribed dynamics. Not impossible, of course, but definitely a little awkward and looks like you don't really know how the bowings work.
  • Side note: pizz. and arco should be lower case, and pizz should have a period after it, since it's an abbreviation for "pizzicato".

I didn't see any note problems, though it was kind of all stuck in one range. I would branch out on that more.
The bowings and the notes are symbiotic and need to be looked at a bit more here. Players of any instrument like to see when the composer gives them specialized instruction, and string players like to see bowings from the composer since it a. eliminates uncertainty for the player, and b. instills confidence that the composer knows what they're doing. The effects of each bow are important.

Cheers!

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BRODE - Cello Exercise.pdf

I'm sorry I'm late! I had become completely swamped with things to do over the past couple days, but I just managed to find an hour or so to write this just now after I saw your comment. I understand if it's too late to give a detailed review. I tried to get a few of your pointers in there, but I may not have touched on all of them. Thanks!

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The first section was done well. It almost fits everything into one position and the bowings are nice and parallel. I would just mark the beginning of measure 9 with a down bow to make that transition clearer. In addition, and this isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the way it all kind of fits in one hand makes this first section feel a bit like an etude. Again, not bad but could have branched out a little more.

The second section you might want to mark a few more down bows at the start of every measure, since otherwise the bowings would be unintuitive at the beginning of each subsequent measure. When long phrases are divided (i.e. quarters to eighths, eights to sixteenths), it's nice to start the beginning of those duples on a down bow. Likewise, the lead in to measure 13 shouldn't be down bow if the next bow is also down.

Measure 17 is rough. If you're going specifically for the kind of glide-y, swampy feel, then make sure to mark that, otherwise it looks like poor writing. 

Is the mm. 18-25 section all in tremolo? It's better to use the three hash markings on every note rather than having them be marked as such with a long slur. However, I think most players would know to keep tremelo-ing if you put the slur in there (provided you have the more typical 3 hash marking), so maybe it can be used as such in this context. 

Hope this helps!

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Hi @Monarcheon,

I composed a small piece for the Messiaen masterclass and wanted to apply the things I learned in this Cello writing masterclass.
@Luis Hernández had doubts about the open G string and melody above (m.9, m.12-13). He was not sure if this is possible and I wasn't sure either.

Could you please take a look at the score and tell us / me if it is possible or not.

M.Bauer - Messiaen Exercise Solo Cello.pdf

Maarten

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Measure 9 is fine, since the G can be played open with fingered notes. This is technically the same with mm. 12-13, but it's a lot more annoying and would better if it was not written so high on C string.

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Just now, Monarcheon said:

Measure 9 is fine, since the G can be played open with fingered notes. This is technically the same with mm. 12-13, but it's a lot more annoying and would better if it was not written so high on C string.

 

Thank you for your quick response.

I am glad to here measure 9 is fine. Measure 12 - 13 are still possible?

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