Practicing dynamics - Robert Pracht Etude 46

Robert Pracht Etude 46: dynamics

I loved to play this violin etude by Robert Pracht from the very first time I’ve tried it. I think it’s because of the minor key it’s in: G minor. I always love pieces in minor key. And I think this etude just sounds gorgeous. I think intonation was pretty good for this etude but I’m really struggling with the dynamics. I tried to add dynamics to the etude but I can’t hear them in the recording. :-( I did two crescendos and the last part of the etude should actually sound as double forte!! Which is not the case at all… So, if anybody has some suggestions for me of how I can improve on playing crescendo and forte, please comment. I would be glad to hear about it. :-)

Now I’ll share my recording with you. Hope you like it.

And oh, there is one funny detail. ;-) In the end there is a personal note and if you listen carefully you can hear the rain. It was raining all day long, a pretty dark day… But it didn’t matter to me. I especially dressed up with a colorful dress to not let the rain ruin my day. Playing the violin makes the sun shine inside even if it rains outside. :-)

8 thoughts on “Beginner violin etudes: Pracht Op 15 #46

  1. Hi Mariko, it’s slowly getting late and there is so many posts that I want to respond that I will probably sit on them tomorrow, but now I would like to give you short advice on the dynamics.
    At the beginning when you start working on dynamics, your dynamic range is quite narrow, so you need to really exaggerate to make the dynamic differences clearly hearable. Getting it in my case it was a click (it happened when I were listening to duo played by MikoĊ‚aj (my current partner) and Weronika – they were playing Waltz by Brahms and he played the dynamic differences so clearly) and then it came much easier.
    One more thing, don’t be discouraged by the recording also, becouse the microphone is equalizing the recording in some way. It may sound strange, but ask your family members to evaluate if you play with dynamics or not. I need to say that listening to real life music and recordings (of one performance) is two totally different things. Last week mum of a girl that were also playing on the competition gave me CD with the recordings of people from our school and I need to say that listening to them on life and on computer is not comparable.
    I need to say that you should be very proud of your achievements – you’re doing very well and pieces played by you sound really good (better then some violin students of my teacher that play longer than you). Just keep practicing and I think after some time you will catch it.

    1. Thanks Emma for your encouraging comment!! :-) I am going to ask my husband about the dynamics. That’s really a good idea because I really think that the dynamics I do are more than what can be heard in the recording. But still, I really do have a lot to work on to improve my dynamics. I’ll be especially working on dynamics next month and try to exaggerate them. Let’s see how that works out. ;-)

  2. Dynamics are difficult, it’s something I’m not actively working on even though I probably should. When I get familiar with the Komarowski concerto no 2 I’ll work very hard on the dynamics in there! (Well actually I am a bit already.. there is one part which suddenly has you play a note with the 4th finger in 3rd position which is soo hard to get clean sounding so I’m really concentrating on that one part to make sure I play louder there).

    So I don’t know how much you know about dynamics so I’m just going to put down what I know.
    piano:
    -play closer to the fingerboard, almost on it
    -tinier bowstrokes
    -very little bow pressure
    -play at the tip of the bow

    forte:
    -play close to the fingerboard (as close as you can get without getting the scratchy sound, it’s hard)
    -longer bowstrokes
    -more bow pressure (but keeping it even as not to produce scratchiness)
    -play in the middle/at the frog of the bow

    You can’t always use all of these things in a piece, it depends on what is surrounding it. For example If you want to play forte but the rhythm doesn’t let you do long bowstrokes you mostly need to create the forte through pressure.

    Try playing open strings dynamics to pay attention to all these things.
    For Crescendo you have to gradually move the bow nearer to the bridge while increasing bow length and pressure.

    Maybe that helps? Now I want to practice too XDD Talking about the violin always gets me motivated to try out things…. Time for lunch now though!

    1. Haha, I’m glad you want to practice now. I feel like that too. Whenever I read about the violin, think about it, or read all the tips I’m receiving here and on Youtube, I want to practice. There is just not enough time to practice everything! Anyway, I hope your practice session yesterday went good!

      Thanks for the tips about dynamics. I’m going to work hard on that next month and I hope the difference will be significant!

  3. Oh and you did a great job with the intonation in this piece as well! How many sharps/flats are in G minor? I don’t really know which minor key is which very well…

  4. And another thing I forgot:
    I forgot to mention the speed for dynamics which is really important!

    For piano: slow bow speed
    For Forte: faster bow speed
    Even with the same amount of bow pressure there will be a hearable difference, just try it~

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