Robert Pracht Violin Etude 13

Robert Pracht Opus 15 nr 13

I’m happy to be able to share an other etude I’ve learned. The notes were not hard to read, it actually looks pretty simple. But there are several challenges with this etude, like using low 1st and 2nd finger, slurring notes, add dynamics, … Let me first share my recording of the etude. The recording is after playing the violin for a little more than seven months.

F Major Scale

F Major scaleThis violin etude is great if you’re a beginner violinist because the notes are really not hard to read and it’s slow. But the first challenge is the key it’s in: F Major. Here you can download the F Major scale in one octave. The F Major has B flat, so you’ll have a low first finger on the A string. On the E string you also play a low first finger for F natural. And both on the D and A string you play low second finger for F and C natural. Lot’s of low fingers and that makes intonation harder. After playing low 1st and 2nd finger we tend to play all other notes flat too and that’s not good of course.

The rhythm

The rhythm is easy, there are only fourth notes and half notes. Every measure has the same structure: a half note followed by two slurred quarter notes. So, you can use a whole bow for the half note and then a whole bow for the next two notes. Bow speed is the same throughout the entire etude.

How to slur notes on the violin

When I started learning the violin, I noticed slurring notes is easy “in theory”, just play several notes without moving the bow direction. Easier said than done. Instead of having one note flow into the next one smoothly, it’s common to have squeaky sound between each two notes. To prevent this I heard tips mostly about the bow hand. Our bow hand should of course be relaxed and keep bowing as if we don’t change notes. I did try that really hard but kept having problems with squeaky sounds… until I figured out an other secret. I haven’t heard many teachers talk about it, or maybe I just didn’t focus on it at the time. Anyway, it’s important to change notes fast with the left hand to have a smooth slur. My natural way was to change the notes slow since I wanted the slur to go slow, but in that instant that I was removing my fingers to slow from the string to go on to the next note, you get an unclean sound. So, very important is to lift the fingers of the left hand real fast while slurring to prevent squeaky sounds. Hope I’m doing it good now. At least, I’m pretty pleased with my slurs now.

Add vibrato and improve dynamics

My video has only been online for one day, but somebody already commented! I was very glad to receive a comment and it has been filled with great suggestions:

  • Add vibrato to this piece
    It’s a slow piece and it would be great to practice my vibrato with it. I really became to like the melody of this etude and I’m sure with vibrato it will make the etude sound more beautiful.
  • Improve dynamics
    This is indeed something that I have to improve. I do feel the emotions when I play but it seems I can’t express them with my violin. In the beginning I tried and it sounded horrible because my bow started to bounce. Then I noticed that when I play everything at the same level, so without piano or forte, my tone production is much better. That’s why until now I didn’t try dynamics anymore because I was so focused on tone quality and preventing scratchy and squeaky sounds. But I think I’m ready to start with dynamics now. I’m very glad I’ve received this feedback and I’m very enthusiastic to start working to improve it!!

All comments and suggestions about this etude are really welcome.

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