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Andersen Etude no.2 op.15

The 2nd étude from Andersen’s op.15 contrasts the 1st in key, character and articulation. I try to think how a violinist or pianist would play this.    


The compound melody found in bar 1 and other similar bars are easily played on the piano (Bach’s keyboard works spring to mind), where repeated notes and two parts can be clearly heard and voiced.  In bars 5-7, I think of a  violin where the melody jumps from high strings to low strings with bouncy articulation in a spiccato or sautille  fashion (off the string bowing). The sustained legato sections (e.g. bar 2) are like one long bow stroke on the string with a rich and resonant sound.


The notes of the melodic line (or “the skeleton” ) need some resonance and bounce so that they can be clearly heard with suitable weight.    So, first practise the outline:


Try to get a good attack and reaction on the notes in bar 1.  In bar 2, sustain through the A to reach B in bar 3.    In bar 5, use the markings to help make a nice phrase shape.  Use the quavers (1/8 notes) to take the phrase to the next bar.


Next, try this exercise, based on Moyse’s Sonority exercise, helpful for finding clarity on middle E!



Practise slowly and make sure the A is louder than the notes that follow it.    Practising it slurred first will help to place the semiquavers (1/16 notes), so that when it comes to tonguing both semiquavers, muscle memory will help your lips to be in the right place.

For the big jumps, practise it like above, chromatically down (or up) by step, so that the large interval has the same ease as the semitone.  For leaps down, release the tension in the jaw rather than forcing out the low notes.


This method of practise can be applied to the whole étude.  Make sure you show the changes in harmonic rhythm –  you can write out the skeleton for the whole étude on your music.   In the last 8 bars, play the bass line by itself and enjoy where the harmony takes you.  This section often reminds me of works for violin by composers such as Mendelssohn or Bruch.    Think about how long it takes a violin to jump from its lowest string to its highest string – this should give you an idea of the tempo.  In other words, don’t rush –  you won’t get as much benefit from it.  Like eating something delicious, savour every mouthful- don’t just scoff it down!


Thanks for reading and happy fluting!

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