Friday, January 13, 2006


Cello Technique Videos

(Z made this in school!)

Eric Edberg a professor of music at DePauw University in Indiana, put together a series of cello technique videos for his students that he has recently posted online for anyone to use. He talks about how to use the plane of the hand, the angle of the fingers, and the height and weight of the forearm to help hold the fingers against the strings, rather than squeezing them against the fingerboard with the thumb. Not only is it much more relaxing, this lets me shift the part of my forefinger away from the tip of the bone, so I can play without the finger cot. He's made 5 videos, although the second one mostly answers a few comments about his first video. He plans more.

I found them pretty useful, so I recommended them to the viewers of Cello Heaven.

Today I played for 3 1/2 hours, my regular workout this morning and then an extra round this evening after supper. I mostly worked on bowing tonite, but I also tried fingering using Edberg's suggestions. That's how I found that I could twist my forefinger just enough to get away from the tip of the bone, so I could play without it hurting.

On nights like this I get sounds out of my cello that I don't hear on any recordings - that's because the formal music world would probably find it an abomination, although I think a really loose alternative-jazz setting might appreciate it, if I can ever get deliberate control over it. So far it just flows out of my right hand and arm without much direction from my brain. For a little while tonite, my two hands coordinated themselves as if they were bypassing my control center (my brain). My fingers danced from note to note at the same time my bow stroked, tapped, and slapped at the strings with an almost pizzicato-type sound, and with changing rhythms and intonation.

Every time I find myself in this groove, I get so energized about the cello.

I was watching Judith Glyde's Cello Teaching Videos in slow motion and was fascinated by her fingers moving from note to note. Clearly it will take a lot of practice to ever do anything like that, but it also makes believe that I could learn to do it too. My long term goal is to learn to play "The Swan" by Camille Saint-Saens.

The Augustine Volcano has been erupting (sort of) for the past two days. Small eruptions, not the big one. But some ash dusting in and around Homer. Fortunately the winds have been off-track and not blowing from the ssw up the inlet like more normal winters. Instead they are blowing to the east, causing a fog to roll in off the inlet that coats all the trees with a thick fuzzy layer of ice crystals. It makes the world look like an ice crystal fairy land. We're keeping our fingers crossed, but sooner or later, we're going to get dusted if that damn mountain keeps rumbling.

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