Sunday, January 07, 2007


I'm getting close;

I can feel it. Each day I've been playing the three or four tough parts first, starting them slowly and coming up to speed after several repeats. Then I play through the whole piece. Finally - every so often - it has come out right! Nice. I started the Bach "Minuet No. 2" in March - almost ten months ago :0 I have to admit I had begun to worry that I'd never get it - those dang string crossings! Even that opening run came out perfectly (technically, at least). YES!! FINALLY!!!

Fortunately, it seldom takes anywhere near this long to get to this point on a new piece.

I've been working on all the scales that I can reach. This past week, I started playing the second octave of the F-Major scale. It came surprisingly easily. I had expected to have to spend weeks working on the third position shifts, but the Countdown Etude my teacher started me on last summer has paid off. My first finger finds the D pretty easily, and my third and fourth fingers seem to fall right where they're supposed to. I've also been working on the third position on the g-string, because the LeClerc piece (I sure wish I knew its name) has a sequence of eighth-note slurred pairs running from Eb down to G.

At least for part of my practice sessions, I'm trying real hard to not obsess about intonation, trying instead to attend to the rhythms; but it's way too soon to see if it is doing any good.

Tomorrow we restart orchestra after three weeks off. We'll be doing a concert in May. That with my teacher's recital at the end of March will keep me busy. Yeah, lots to fret about.

Since I might be half of a viola/cello duet doing the LeClerc piece, I've been trying to transpose it for the viola. I'm using Finale PrintMusic (I broke down and bought it a few weeks ago, I wanted more flexibility than Finale's free Notepad). In the setup wizard, I selected viola as the first instrument, and it opened up with the Tenor Alto Clef (oh well, I knew it would come up sooner or later). To transpose it, I just raised the cello melody part an octave for the viola, while keeping the cello harmony where it was. The playback sounded OK. Then I swapped it and gave the cello the melody and the viola the harmony. That also sounds pretty good.

So how do people normally decide who does melody and who does harmony when they agree to do a duet? Also, is there some rule that says you have to stay in your part all the way through? Why couldn't the cello and viola switch parts - on the repeats, for example?

Let me know how you like Finale Print Music. I've been thinking about ordering it. For about 6 or 7 years I used something called Midisoft Desktop Sheet Music for arranging little ditties for my piano students, but over the years it became less and less reliable so I never installed it on my Dell laptop. I really miss having something like that.
That's odd. PrintMusic gave you a tenor clef for the viola part? Are you sure that wasn't an alto clef (centered around the middle line)? Or did you mean that the second cello part ended up in tenor clef (centered around the fourth line up)? You may have inadvertently created a harmony part, since tenor and alto (viola) clef are a third apart.
You are right, GTGP, PrintMusic actually set up the Alto Clef (centered on the middle line) for the viola, which is what I used for transposing the melody cello part.

Cellodonna, if you haven't already downloaded it, you should consider trying out Notepad first (it's free). The PrintMusic version by Finale offers quite a bit more flexibility, but it still has a few limitations. I find that working with Notepad or PrintMusic helps me "get closer" to the music than simply playing it by reading it from the books.
OY! I asked Bruce if he attenede your concert. He said he wasn't invited.
Ed Asner interview mannana. Shw begins 3:45 yur time.
Can't quite get used to this new comment display format. I keep waiting for the pop-up. Uh, what was I going to say? Oh yeah, that crazy Bach sure loves the string crossings, doesn't he? I guess we should be grateful he's really making sure we get full use out of our instruments.

I have Finale SongWriter and it's just chock full-o-bugs. I finally learned how to avoid many of them by not trying certain things, but by now I've probably forgotten. I really regretted buying it. Dreadful quality product.
SongWriter falls between Finale's free version of NotePad and PrintMusic. Too bad you found so many bugs. You should demand an upgrade... :) I found their telephone contact people to be very polite and helpful.

I haven't run into any bugs with PrintMusic (yet), although if you're not careful, there do seem to be some non-reversible options that make a lot of changes. I have to add, too, that I find their help function somewhat lacking.

Still, like all programs, the more I use it, the easier it gets.
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