Tag Archives: Edvard Grieg

Repeating figures, counting, and waltzes

It’s been a week, and I haven’t even tried to write anything more. However, I’ve been really good about trying to learn the orchestra music for our next concert. Since I figured out that I didn’t have to practice everything at once, and that if I can carve out at least four practice days a week, it is not that hard to at least play every note once between rehearsals. I’m even practicing the counting (not the long rests, only to feel where in the measure my notes fall, and the figures within the measures I play).

There are many times in orchestra when you’re given a ton of notes to play repeatedly. You get a figure that has three, or six, or four notes to it. There is this one part of the Saint-Saens Harp concerto that I was working on, where we play in 3/8 meter, and you have to feel three to a beat. It’s not bad to practice that feel. I think it will get easier the more I do it, and since I don’t have that many years of orchestra practice, I try to make up for it in my practice room. In the Grieg piano concerto, there are parts where you have to feel six or four to a beat, and it switches every now and then. (Here’s a link if you’re interested in going to TSO’s next concert!)

Six is a little bit tricky. I like to think one-and-two-and-three-and, etc., because it is fast enough that if I can count every other one, I feel like that is better. My brain can’t count fast enough otherwise.

I do have a few minutes to write today, and I am thinking about whether I should incorporate a repeat somehow, or if I want it to be more rhapsodic. Seeing as it is a waltz, and how repetitive they usually are, I am leaning towards finding a good spot to repeat. When I was warming up for practice yesterday, I was playing my old Vals från Rundvik, and I was reminded of how important the repeating figure was to the success of the piece.

It’s not that hard to keep writing in the same style, and I find that the viola part flows into place with not much effort. I have found some gestures that I rewrite in different ways. I similarly add in the cello part, and in some strange way find that 37 measures marks the repeat point. I doubt anybody can do a dance that works out great to that kind of prime number. Seriously. But maybe it’s not a dance piece, even though it pretends to be.

Let me know, if you’re a dancer, how it works if it doesn’t add up to a good number, how does the dancing turn out? I always thought it should add up to 8 or 16 or something like that. And here I am. If I have to, I suppose I could try and fix it so it adds to 40 before the repeat. I don’t think it will go down to 32.