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The bridge between two f-holes

Lesson 137 - A flaky cello technique is like an alcoholic wingman

2016-08-03 17:15:16
We spoke at length about my progress since last week.

The Feuillard exercises has helped establish shifts and hand positions in both neck and upper registers, training my ear for intonation quirks. It seems I'm overly flat on the former and sharp in the latter and this could all be down to my extra long middle finger. Still, knowing this is half the battle won says Deryn.

The one thing I did and am still learning is that there is no rush in learning. So I'm taking it slow and not being too hard on myself for this.

I've mostly been slowing down in all aspects of my life it seems eversince Nyai passed. Like, things that seemed urgently necessary before suddenly doesn't seem to matter anymore. I know I'm still mourning and in a way it's refreshing to put on the brakes - possibly liberating. Or maybe this is just my mourning hat talking.

Anyways, we discussed further about patterns in music including 'one cool trick' to remembering the key signature of Flat Major scales.

Flats in major keys - The key is always the second last to total flats found in it.


B♭ major = B♭, E♭
G♭ major = B♭, E♭, A♭, D♭, G♭, C♭

I looked further into this and found other patterns that should hopefully help me remember. I'll be using semitones for consistency.

Sharps in major keys - The final sharp is always a semitone down from the key.


D major = F♯, C♯
F♯ major = F♯, C♯, G♯, D♯, A♯, E♯

Flats in minor keys - The final flat is always four semitones down from the key.


G minor = B♭, E♭
E♭ minor = B♭, E♭, A♭, D♭, G♭, C♭

Sharps in minor keys - The final sharp is always two semitones up from the key.


B minor = F♯, C♯
D♯ minor = F♯, C♯, G♯, D♯, A♯, E♯

Relative keys are always a minor third or 3 semitones apart


D major = B minor
F♯ major = D♯ minor

B♭ major = G minor
G♭ major = E♭ minor

With the piano, there are no hidden keys; the entire map is available to you from a glance. This is the exact opposite with fretless instruments like the cello where only through playing that the mapping of the fingerboard becomes familiar.

Deryn says my one prevailing weakness is knowing what note I'm playing, at any given time and that one cannot depend on flaky cello technique as a beam of support. I liken it to a wingman who's an alcoholic - we both gigled at the analogy.

Aiming for scales and cello techniques to be second nature is all well and good but one should never forget to have fun - we learn to play after all :}

We spoke further about Bach being cerebral music, less heart wheras his contemporaries Mozart and Vivaldi were more heart and fireworks.

Deryn let me borrow her copy of The New Guide to Classical Music by Jan Swafford, a recommended reading by her as its less dry than most of its contemporaries. Surprisingly, this is such an old copy that you're only able to get one if you replaced New with Vintage during searches.

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Learning the cello as an adult started as a dare but has now turned into an ongoing love affair; I hope to one day make her sing to her full potential. In the meantime, all spare time and moments are dedicated to this wonderful instrument as I am unable to think about anything else, much to the dismay of my other half :}

This is an attempt to remember the classes I have taken so that I don't forget.

My wonderful teacher, Deryn ~ http://cellostudio.info/