Bach Double Violin Concerto

Goal: learn the Bach Double Violin Concerto in D minor
Source: Suzuki Book 4 (violin 2 part) and Suzuki Book 5 (violin 1 part)
Participants: Emma (violin 1) and Mariko (violin 2)

We will soon get started but I don’t know when we will be ready to make a recording or how fast we will play it. But I’m very excited to learn this concerto. I find it very motivating to not have to do this alone.

Here is a video series about this concerto (especially focused on violin part 2, but most of the tips should be helpful for violin part 1 as well)

I also enjoyed this recording by violinist Jenny Yun very much. I think it’s a wonderful example for us.

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16 thoughts on “BACH Double Project

  1. Hi Mariko :)
    I am very excited about this project. I really wanted to play this concerto so I talked with our pianist about it and he was also very excited about it, but I have no idea why my teacher was unsure about playing it, so I am really glad to play it with you :yahoo: When I made proposition I thought we will play for example some Bartok duos, but your proposition was much better :heart:
    I haven’t watched those classes about Bach yet, but in a free time I surely will :good: This recording by Jenny Yun is really good. I really enjoy Menuhin/Oistrakh recording and Steinbacher/Suwanai recording on youtube and Nigel Kenedy recording on Spotify.
    I think a good goal is to finish this project at the beginning of September or if we won’t manage to complete it by then to give it one more month. ;-)
    I think it will be nice to play it about 160=eight note or maybe faster, but we will see how fast we will manage to play. I am thinking about making orchestral mdi file, since this piece is already in public domain, but it may take a long time to make.
    Currently I am working on it in slow tempo – 100=eight note, but I am trying also to play faster and it starts to sound well. :-) I hope that you have good time with Bach like i do :heart:

  2. Hi Emma, that’s wonderful! I’m so happy to that you’re excited to play this concerto. :-)
    I looked up the recordings you talked about. I really liked this one:
    Thanks for sharing!

    I’m still just starting with my part. I can play the first 25% of the piece at about 140 bpm but it doesn’t sound good yet. But then it starts to get more difficult: more shifting, and string crossings. So it will take me some time to figure all that out. :scratch: I also still have to watch all the parts of the video tutorial. :whistle: Lost of things to do! That’s great. :-) I think it will be possible to finish by the beginning of September. But we will know better in the next weeks how it goes. I think next week I can start dedicating more time to this concerto. I will keep you posted!

    I read you’re thinking of making a midi file. I believe that will be much work indeed!! If you really want to do that, that would be wonderful. But if you can’t, for me that’s no problem. I would totally understand, I wouldn’t even expect you to do all that work. It sounds very nice too just the 2 violins. So, don’t feel any obligation to do that. ;-)

    Till next time! I’ll keep you posted. :-)

  3. That’s great that you’re coming closer to the tempo. I’ve already reached 160 bpm marks with few intonation problems and minor mistakes, but I still try to play it in slow tempo to correct as much as I can. This few days I dedicated less time to violin and more time to reading books. It’s my last week of practics in hospital, so I wanted to learn more things about that. When I will finish I will start to work on mdi. I wanted to make it, since it’s much easier to keep good intonation playing with a piano than alone. The recording may seem ok on individual track, but together it may not sound so well.
    I hope you are doing well :)

  4. Hi Emma, I hope your week in hospital was good!
    Wanted to let you know that I’m now able to dedicate more time on the Bach Double. :-) I had a wonderful practice session yesterday.

    First I watched the entire tutorial series I had found on YouTube (the one I mentioned in my first post). It’s very helpful, especially to know more about the bowings. I hadn’t thought of it: things as where to lift the bow and start at the frog, bow planning, … It was really helpful for me.

    I also signed up yesterday for the ArtistWorks Violin School with Nathan Cole. I have been wanting to sign up for quite some time, but now was the right moment. It’s a school to learn via video exchange and I think it will be perfect for my circumstances. Nathan Cole also has a lesson about this concerto so I watched that too. Very interesting as well. And when I practice the piece a little more, then I will send him my video to receive feedback and improve my playing. I’m very excited about that! So I believe it will go very well with this piece and I think it will be ready by the beginning of September as you proposed.

    Something else. I was looking on musescore to see if there is a midi already for the Bach Double, so you would have less work. Is this something you could work with? Maybe change some of the instruments to piano? Or at least to not have to start from scratch?

    Hope you have a nice weekend!

  5. Hi Mariko
    I’ve just came back from holidays. I’ve brought my violin with me, so I were able to practice the piece for our project. It’s so much fun to practice this violin concerto. There are still some spots that I want to improve, but anyway I’m happy with my results :) How are you doing with Bach. Are we able to finalize our project at the beginning of September or do you want some more time to practice?
    As it comes to those lessons, I’ve not signed up for the Nathan Cole school yet. I am starting my lessons after summer break again in September, so I will concentrate now on working with my teacher :-) At the beginning of September I will get my repertoire for December concert :heart:, so I will have something new to work on (probably something by Kreisler). In May/June this year I am thinking about applying to other music school (that is more prestigious that I attend), where students have more violin lessons, theory lessons and orchestra. I wish I will be able to get in. I stil need to discuss it with my teacher though.
    This midi file is really nice. I removed 1st violin out of it, set it to 140 as we planned and I am practicing along (it’s much more satisfying than playing with metronome :heart: ). Do you want mdi file with 2nd violin removed? I can send you :yes:
    Have a nice weekend :heart:

  6. Hi Emma,

    That’s wonderful!! Your message about the concerto is very motivating! I am having a really hard time with the concerto… for the last week I didn’t practice it anymore because I feel I’m not making any progress with it and it’s so difficult!! :cry: :wacko: I can’t make it to sound good and there are still several passages that I can’t get the shifts right.

    BUT now I read you set the speed at 140. That’s such a relief because I thought I had to get it up to 160! I can manage to polish it at 140 when I have 2 or 3 more weeks. And yes it would be wonderful if you could send me the midi file. :heart: Can you send me the complete midi file ( I would like to be able to also hear the 2nd violin.

    You must be so looking forward to start your lessons again in September! And I truly hope you will be able to attend the other music school later on. I wish you good luck with it!! Have a great weekend too! :bye:

  7. Hi Mariko ;)
    I’ve written accidentally wrong number. I meant 160, but if you want to slow it down to 140, it’s ok :heart: . Tempo 160 is very intensive, so we can play the piece at 140 or even slower :good: I understand your relief, when I played in duo in my second year I had problems with keeping up with the tempo.
    Don’t worry with the time, I am starting my med school in October, so we still have one more month to work on this piece ;-)
    I am super excited about my violin lessons ;-) Can’t wait what my teacher prepared for me this year :heart: I will send you mdi files in a minute :good: Have a nice day!

  8. Yeah it is really a relief to not have to play it that fast. Maybe I will get it faster than 140 but I can’t promise. Anyway today I had a wonderful practice session!! Today I got my first feedback from Nathan Cole about playing this piece! I’m very excited and extremely motivated now to practice hard to make it sound better. I received some awesome tips and when I tried them today it immediately made a huge difference. :yahoo: :yahoo:

    I hope you will be able to play some beautiful pieces this year. I imagine you must be very excited indeed! :-)

  9. Hi Emma, I hope you’re well! I have some great news!! :yahoo: Obviously, the tips I’ve received from Nathan Cole were very helpful, because I can now play my part at 160. :yahoo: :yes:

    So is it OK for you to record the duet at 160? If so, could you send me the mdi file for 160? And is it possible to add 3 or 4 empty measures before the piece starts with just quarter notes in them? That way I will have time to get my violin ready after I press the “play” button and I can get started at the correct speed.

    My goal is to have my recording ready by the end of this week. How is the Bach going for you?

  10. Hi Mariko
    I’m sorry for not responding so long. Yesterday I did a recording in 140 bpm to send it to you today, but I just read your previous post. Fortunately I haven’t moved my desk from my filming setup to the normal setup back after recording, so I was able to record 160 today. I will send you both 140 and 160 files on your email adres in a while. I’m now uploading 160 to my google drive and 140 is already uploaded :good: I am also sending those mdi files that you requested. I’ve added 4 measures with a before the actual music ;)
    That’s great that you received awesome feedback from Nathan Cole. :heart: He’s really good player himself and I’ve recently seen some of his youtube videos. I can imagine that his tips were really helpful. It’s like having a lesson with teacher.
    I am really excited about our final result :yahoo: I will probably perform this concerto at competition in March (our pianist insist on my teacher to play it), but this time I will play 2nd violin. Playing 1st is really nice, but I feel much safer (that my mistakes aren’t as noticeable) when I play 2nd.
    My teacher gave me today Romance by Drdla, but neither I nor her haven’t found recording on the internet. I don’t know how it sounds, since I played only 2 lines during my lesson. It has a lot of shifting and playing in high positions, so it’s a challenge for me :heart: I am also playing Kreutzer 37 and it’s really tough, since it’s in f minor. I am also working on sightreading during my lessons – I’m playing duos with other students before or after me. It’s real fun :yahoo:
    What are you planning to play in next months? I am really curious :-)
    Have a nice time with recording ;-)

  11. Hi Emma,

    That’s awesome! I just listened to your recording and you really play it very beautifully!! Your vibrato sounds very nice! I’m afraid my vibrato is not very well on the ling notes in this piece. I’m having trouble to have those long notes sound strong but I will keep trying to improve. I hope to play my part equally good so it will sound nice together. :-)
    Shall I mix the 2 recordings with the backing track into one video? I have Audacity now to help with the mixing. I’m very excited too for the final result! :yes: :yes:

    I’m very grateful you made a new recording today at 160. I;m sorry for the extra work, I didn’t know you had recorded already…
    The new midi file with intro measures is great! I will try playing along tomorrow.

    Yes, the video exchange with Nathan Cole really feels like having a violin lesson. I’m very happy about it! :-) So for the next months I don’t have specific pieces in mind yet. I will go through the lessons that are available in the program and choose some pieces from there. For now I will be focusing on different bow strokes, double stops etc. I also would like to learn the Seitz Concertos that are in Suzuki book 4. They sound awesome! After that, I don’t know yet. ;-)

    You will have a lot of experience playing duos, that is very good! I hope you will like your new piece and that it goes well with the sight-reading. I will have to search for a recording of Kreutzer 37 to know what it sounds like. Does it sound nice?

    I hope you have a wonderful evening and I will soon let you know about my progress with the Bach Double. :bye:

  12. Thanks :yahoo: I am still working on vibrato (since it’s not perfect yet), but I made some progress learning it. I realized that I am pressing strings too much with my left hand (while playing Wolfahrt no.1 – I was speeding it up as much as I can) and I hold my left hand too close to my body. I am still working on correcting that and my too straight little finger in the bow hand.
    Yes ;) Two parts mixed with backing track will sound really good. The backing track is’t perfect – it has strange articulation, but will fill the missing gaps in the music. It will sound much better.
    That’s not a problem that I had to record one more time. This time it was easier, because I had some experience from yesterday. I were recording earlier today, so I had better light – on my left side there is a window ;-) I wish I will have a possibility to gain some more experience with future projects (it would be really nice to make something together once more).
    I really like those Seitz concertos ;-) Try to look at the other movements too, since they are also really beautiful. 2nd movements are really good vibrato study – they are slow and I really enjoyed playing them. I worked through whole 2nd and 5th concerto on my own to practice sightreading and some other easier concertos during this summer holidays.
    Kreutzer 37 as any other Kreutzer study is a challenge for me, but most of Kreutzer etudes have beautiful melodies that are really captivating. 37th is one of easier doublestops study by Kreutzer (but anyway it’s not easy).
    I am waiting for Bach double news :heart: Can’t wait for the final result ;-)

  13. I’ve been practicing a lot this week with the backing track. I’m used to playing with the backing track now. :-)
    But I’m still making many mistakes… Seems that now with the backing track I notice my mistakes more!! And there are several measures I can’t keep up the tempo or I play the wrong notes. I made a trial recording yesterday and it was pretty bad. :-(
    So I’ve decided to not record this week but next week. I wouldn’t be happy with my current way of playing it (I now even more appreciate your recording, you did really very well!!!). For the next days I will focus very much on the correct articulation, not hitting other strings, and having better vibrato for the long notes. I’m going to try very hard to get it to a higher level in the next days. Hope you can wait an other week ;-)

    I’m thinking of learning the Seitz concerto 2. It sounds really beautiful and I could work on some different bow strokes.

    I listened to Kreutzer 37 and it is very nice indeed! I’m working on Kreutzer 4, it’s also very nice but still pretty difficult for me. I wish you good luck with the double stops in your etude!

  14. I really like practicing with piano. It’s really changing the way that you play the music, when you realize when piano solo is and you are accompaniament to piano, but also make you realize your intonation mistakes.
    Don’t worry if something isn’t perfect on your recording – I’m not 100% satisfied with mine and I can hear tons of mistakes in my playing, but on the other hand you are your own worst critic. Don’t worry that much about mistakes. I made several takes before and most times made an significant error somewhere in the middle.
    Seitz 2 is a really nice pick :heart: It’s nice showpiece and 2nd movement is really beautiful.
    Kreutzer 4 was my first Kreutzer ever ;-) I didn’t like it at first since it was really tough (my teacher gave me it after 1 year of lessons). I picked it up again this summer and finished it. It’s really fun indeed :yahoo: Good luck with this one :good: I am also working through some Wolfahrt etudes on my own right now – 27th is really nice for string changes, 28th is doublestops etude (there is tricky chord in the b section) and 29th is an arpeggio study. ;-) Nice things to work on. I almost finished whole book 1.
    Good luck with Bach Double :good:

  15. Thanks Emma for your patience. I’m almost there with my recording. ;-) Hoping for a nice result!!

    It’s awesome that you almost finished the Wohlfahrt book 1 of etudes. I’m sure you learned a lot with it. I’m still working on Kreutzer 4 and after I finish it I will choose an other Kreutzer etude.

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