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hints and tips for playing Mozart?


M.Alice
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Hi everyone,

I am working on my first major Mozart piece-

a Duo in g-major for Violin and viola.

Question: what do I need to know and

to have mastered to play Mozart well?

I know that Mozart (and music of this kind)

has a special kind of articulation- certain

bowings are very important. (What, for example,

is the "brush stroke"?)

Does anyone have any more specific tips about

bowing? (how much bow, which half, ect.)

Anything special one MUST know to play Mozart

well? Of course I have a teacher, but I thought

I would ask for your valuble insights anyhow.

Thanks, Melinda

p.s. anyone else play this piece? I

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First of all, your violin is louder than you think, and nowhere is this more important than in playing Mozart's music.

Is this the K 423 that you are working on? Well, actually it doesn't matter as far as the stylistic questions you ask are concerned.

The brush stroke is an off-the-string stroke (a sort of spicatto stroke) in which the bow brushes the string more than it bounces on it. So the effect should not be a tricky (clicky sounding one) one like spicatto. WHile this is a very important stroke for playing Mozart, if you just can't do it at the required speed it can be faked reasonably (but without getting the slight after-ring of each note) by very careful on-string staccato bowing.

I think the most important aspect of bowing in Mozart is the ending of notes at phrases. 99 44/100% of the time the notes should end softly. This is most easily achieved by slowing the bow gradually and stopping it on the string. This will give the desired effect.

Remember that "fortes" (f) are not that loud and that accents are not to be played overly dramatically. You should never crush the string when playing Mozart. Get your louds and softs by varying the amount of bow you use.

Start trills from above rather than "on the note." Be careful not to "crash" that initial 4-note chord. Take your teacher's advice on that one, or try to listen to a recording of the piece and emulate the sound you hear.

Mozart is horribly demanding of proper intonation. Those abundant thirds in his harmonies require that there be no intonation clashes. Later composers, with lots of tolerant fourths in their harmonies, could tolerate some sloppiness, but not Mozart. That is one of the reasons you often hear that Mozart is hard to play, and yet you see these simple notes strung together in front of you. Well, it is this tight intonation requirement and the aspects of phrasing that make it hard to play, and if you don't play them right, it's not Mozart!

And have fun.

Andy

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Rhythmic precision is another element that is crucial to the simplicity, clarity, and structure of Mozart played well. So use a metronome as soon as you have the notes basically under control, and be honest with yourself about whether or not you're actually with the metronome.

Mozart is one of the most difficult composers to perform well, and also one of the most rewarding.

: First of all, your violin is louder than you think, and nowhere is this more important than in playing Mozart's music.

: Is this the K 423 that you are working on? Well, actually it doesn't matter as far as the stylistic questions you ask are concerned.

: The brush stroke is an off-the-string stroke (a sort of spicatto stroke) in which the bow brushes the string more than it bounces on it. So the effect should not be a tricky (clicky sounding one) one like spicatto. WHile this is a very important stroke for playing Mozart, if you just can't do it at the required speed it can be faked reasonably (but without getting the slight after-ring of each note) by very careful on-string staccato bowing.

: I think the most important aspect of bowing in Mozart is the ending of notes at phrases. 99 44/100% of the time the notes should end softly. This is most easily achieved by slowing the bow gradually and stopping it on the string. This will give the desired effect.

: Remember that "fortes" (f) are not that loud and that accents are not to be played overly dramatically. You should never crush the string when playing Mozart. Get your louds and softs by varying the amount of bow you use.

: Start trills from above rather than "on the note." Be careful not to "crash" that initial 4-note chord. Take your teacher's advice on that one, or try to listen to a recording of the piece and emulate the sound you hear.

: Mozart is horribly demanding of proper intonation. Those abundant thirds in his harmonies require that there be no intonation clashes. Later composers, with lots of tolerant fourths in their harmonies, could tolerate some sloppiness, but not Mozart. That is one of the reasons you often hear that Mozart is hard to play, and yet you see these simple notes strung together in front of you. Well, it is this tight intonation requirement and the aspects of phrasing that make it hard to play, and if you don't play them right, it's not Mozart!

: And have fun.

: Andy

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This is not a great place to get tips on how to stylize different composers. I read Andrews reply, and though I can read between the lines and understand what he means, someone who is just starting to try Mozart can be easily confused. First of all, in my opinion, you should not be playing the G major duo as a first Mozart piece. Perhaps a Mozart Sonate, or the Rondo, or better yet, the G Major concerto. All the things that make Mozart awkward for some players plus the other stuff that just makes it difficult are built into both of the duos, and it just isn't begginer stuff. (nothing personal, but if you have never studied any Mozart, you are a bit of a beginner, unless you have been avoiding it for other reasons)The brush stroke is very difficult to teach and explain, but not as hard to do as some might think. It certainly is not something that can be faked, I don't care what Mr. Victor thinks, but there must be an after ring on every note, and the greatest amount of pressure in a brush stroke occures in the approxiamate center of the stroke. I must caution that the term itself is really missleading because in reality it is a collection of similar strokes of various lengths and attacks that make up the brush stroke and the real skill is in how it is applied.

One thing that so many amateurs say when speaking of how to play Mozart is that you shouldn't play too loud. Holding back is what results and you end up with over cautious non-musical stuffy playing. Mozart played well is ringing, open and free. Certainly not romantic, but it can be played at any volume level you want as long as it sounds free and literally improvisitory. Remember, Mozart wrote as he heard it in his mind, the music is improvisitory in nature. Go to a good teacher, learn the music well, both in rhythm, and intonation. Know the melodic and harmonic content inside and out and don't try any shortcuts, there aren't any. It is better to work for four or five hours on four or five measures of music and learn them well than to spend four or five hours learning a whole piece as a buffoon stuffing his face with a whole pie at a sitting!

: Hi everyone,

: I am working on my first major Mozart piece-

: a Duo in g-major for Violin and viola.

: Question: what do I need to know and

: to have mastered to play Mozart well?

: I know that Mozart (and music of this kind)

: has a special kind of articulation- certain

: bowings are very important. (What, for example,

: is the "brush stroke"?)

: Does anyone have any more specific tips about

: bowing? (how much bow, which half, ect.)

: Anything special one MUST know to play Mozart

: well? Of course I have a teacher, but I thought

: I would ask for your valuble insights anyhow.

: Thanks, Melinda

: p.s. anyone else play this piece? I

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Adean,

I find it intriguing that you say the board is no place to get advice on

how to play Mozart, then you proceed in giving lots of advice on that

matter.  Also, Melinda said that this was her first MAJOR Mozart piece,

not her first one ever, so your criticisms and your assessment of her

experience are misplaced.

Victor

: This is not a great place to get tips on how to stylize different composers. I read Andrews reply, and though I can read between the lines and understand what he means, someone who is just starting to try Mozart can be easily confused. First of all, in my opinion, you should not be playing the G major duo as a first Mozart piece. Perhaps a Mozart Sonate, or the Rondo, or better yet, the G Major concerto. All the things that make Mozart awkward for some players plus the other stuff that just makes it difficult are built into both of the duos, and it just isn't begginer stuff. (nothing personal, but if you have never studied any Mozart, you are a bit of a beginner, unless you have been avoiding it for other reasons)The brush stroke is very difficult to teach and explain, but not as hard to do as some might think. It certainly is not something that can be faked, I don't care what Mr. Victor thinks, but there must be an after ring on every note, and the greatest amount of pressure in a brush stroke occures in the approxiamate center of the stroke. I must caution that the term itself is really missleading because in reality it is a collection of similar strokes of various lengths and attacks that make up the brush stroke and the real skill is in how it is applied.

: One thing that so many amateurs say when speaking of how to play Mozart is that you shouldn't play too loud. Holding back is what results and you end up with over cautious non-musical stuffy playing. Mozart played well is ringing, open and free. Certainly not romantic, but it can be played at any volume level you want as long as it sounds free and literally improvisitory. Remember, Mozart wrote as he heard it in his mind, the music is improvisitory in nature. Go to a good teacher, learn the music well, both in rhythm, and intonation. Know the melodic and harmonic content inside and out and don't try any shortcuts, there aren't any. It is better to work for four or five hours on four or five measures of music and learn them well than to spend four or five hours learning a whole piece as a buffoon stuffing his face with a whole pie at a sitting!

: : Hi everyone,

: : I am working on my first major Mozart piece-

: : a Duo in g-major for Violin and viola.

: : Question: what do I need to know and

: : to have mastered to play Mozart well?

: : I know that Mozart (and music of this kind)

: : has a special kind of articulation- certain

: : bowings are very important. (What, for example,

: : is the "brush stroke"?)

: : Does anyone have any more specific tips about

: : bowing? (how much bow, which half, ect.)

: : Anything special one MUST know to play Mozart

: : well? Of course I have a teacher, but I thought

: : I would ask for your valuble insights anyhow.

: : Thanks, Melinda

: : p.s. anyone else play this piece? I

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