Wednesday, December 23, 2009



As we drift through another dreary winter solstice, once again I find myself struggling against Seasonal Affect Disorder. It's not enough that the days are so short, but every year it seems to coincide with a two or three week period of clouds and snow or rain: long dark starless nights and short gray sunless days.

The concerts are all done and I've put away my Christmas music for the next ten months. This year, for the first time, I realized that I don't remember a lot of performance details from the two concerts. I knew the music well enough to be relaxed about the notes and the tempos. We'd rehearsed them enough that we were pretty solid. After the first concert some of my fellow musicians were commenting about missing this measure or losing track at that point, but I couldn't recall making any obvious mistakes at all. I knew I successfully got through the handful of stumble points that I'd been working on, but I don't think I missed any notes, and I know I did not get lost or skip any repeats.

A few household issues came up this weekend that caused me to miss several days of practice, but today's session went really well. In fact the Bach "Minuets" went far better than before. I've been concentrating a lot on the 'B' part of "Chanson Triste". This is going so well, that I'm a little suspicious. Playing in tenor clef has not been a problem, and those sixth-position Bbs are spot on.

I'm trying to fit in a few minutes each day playing on the erhu. For now I'm concentrating on the D-major scale, getting used to the "violin" style of fingering. The odd bow hold is hard on my thumb and wrist, so I'm not pushing it. I'm studying a lot of YouTube videos to look for improvements. The bowing technique is probably the toughest challenge. The unique sound produced by the erhu has led me to improvise a few basic melodies that seem to go well with this instrument.

hi keith, i wonder if sometime....if we all have the time....we should try to play some string quartets? i would play viola and we surely could snag a couple violinists? with you and mary not having a third cello, we could maybe do a quintet, but playing quartet music. what do you think? xooxx mla

happy holidays and -- groan -- yes i feel the same way about this warmish dreary weather.
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