A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO TWENTIETH-CENTURY VIOLIN ETUDES guide to twentieth-century...  then progress

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    A Monograph

    Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Louisiana State University and

    Agricultural and Mechanical College In partial fulfillment of the

    Requirements for the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts


    The School of Music

    by Aaron M. Farrell

    B. M., Eastman School of Music, 1994 M.M., Louisiana State University, 1996

    August 2004

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    To all of the teachers in my life

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    I would like to thank my mentor, Kevork Mardirossian, for all that he has done

    for me since 1995. A great deal of what is expressed in this paper about violin playing,

    technique, practicing and musicianship is derived from what I learned in my lessons with

    Kevork. He has been an inspiration as a teacher and a performer, and I am eternally

    grateful for having had the opportunity to work with him.

    I would like to thank other members of the LSU faculty, as well. Thank you, Dr.

    Robert Peck, for agreeing to be my theory advisor and for your help with the writing and

    editing of this monograph. In particular, I am grateful for the information about historical

    and theoretical terminology, as well as the advice about writing and the use of very

    specific language. I also appreciate your generous gift of time throughout this project.

    Thank you, Lee Philips, for your advice about terminology and for your many years of

    support and friendship. I am extremely grateful for the musical support, responsiveness

    and inspiration, which added so much to my performing life. Thanks, Dennis Parker, for

    your chamber music lessons, your love of twentieth-century music, and the inspiration as

    a musician and a teacher that you provided over the years. My inclusion of biographical

    material about each composer was, in many ways, modeled after your string literature

    class. I offer many thanks to Dinos Constantinides for his time and for our conversation

    about his collection of studies and his background. Our talk was beneficial, informative,

    and interesting. I am grateful to Dr. Jeffrey Perry for his assistance with the information

    about John Harbison and maximalism and for our prior work on twentieth-century theory.

    Thank you so much, Stephanie Young! Your typing and computer wizardry were

    both time-saving and mind-saving. You are the Picasso of the paint program, and the

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    graphic examples in Denisov and Petri are testament to this fact. Thanks to Vini (Carlo

    Vincetti Frizzo) for the library assistance and, most of all, for our collaboration on your

    compositions (which played a vital role in the genesis of this project). Thanks, also to

    Tommy (Thomas) Oswald and Hanna Kim for the Sibelius assistance and the many


    I am grateful to the publishers who allowed me to reprint musical excerpts in this

    document. Those publishers include Breitkopf and Hrtel and C. F. Peters. In addition,

    the excerpts from the collections of Hindemith and Henze are used by permission of

    European American Music Distributors LLC, sole US and Canadian agent for Schott

    Musik International.

    Thank you to all of my friends and family, who supported me throughout this

    timeeven those who never thought I would finish. My friends Craig and Stephanie,

    Thomas and Le Khin, Charles, and Cason provided, inspiration, guidance and moral (or

    shall I say empathetic) support through these trying times. To mom, dad, and Frank,

    thank you for encouraging me to get it done and for your support. Mostly, thanks for

    my life and the part you have played in it. Like most of the people on this list, you must

    realize that you are very much a part of the papers dedication To all the teachers in my


    Lastly, but certainly not least of all, I come to my wife, Borislava. Of course, I

    must tell you first how much I appreciate your help with the examples and the advice

    about violin playing, technique and practicing. I learn and draw inspiration from you each

    day. Thank you also for your patience during this long, all-consuming process. You are

    my partner, my friend, and my love.

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    The twentieth century is now behind us, yet todays violinist does not possess, or

    is not aware of, a canon of etudes that relate specifically to the literature of this time

    period. Violinists learn and perfect (as much as possible) the core of studies by

    eighteenth- and nineteenth- century pedagogues/composers. Even the progression of

    study, in terms of development and level of difficulty, is fairly well established. Students

    generally begin with scales and simple studies by Otakar evik and Henry Schradieck,

    then progress to longer etudes by Rudolphe Kreutzer, Pierre Rode, Jacob Dont, Pierre

    Gavinis, Federigo Fiorillo, and culminate with the more difficult studies of Henri

    Wienawski, Nicolo Paganini and Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst. Naturally, these studies are

    designed to address technical and musical issues of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century

    repertoire and are written using a similar language and style. The violinist then relies on

    this core of studies to stay in shape and improve mastery over technical issues for

    repertoire of all time periods throughout his/her career.

    The problem inherent in this approach is that music of the twentieth century does

    not adhere to nineteenth-century principals, forms, aesthetics, and so on. The use of

    tonality as a musical language changes beyond recognition, and even disappears, in the

    twentieth century (except, to a certain extent, with regard to the neo-classical, neo-

    Baroque and neo-Romantic repertoire of certain composers). Along with a complete

    change of the musical language comes a reevaluation of the sonic possibilities for each

    instrument. For further information on this topic, see The Contemporary Violin:

    Extended Performance Techniques by Patricia Strange and Alan Strange (2001). This

    book contains information and examples on a vast array of techniques, timbres and

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    effects for the violin, and includes an extensive bibliography, discography, and repertoire

    list on this topic. Not surprisingly, the technical and musical challenges that one faces in

    this repertoire have little or nothing to do with the core of studies by the above-mentioned

    eighteenth- and nineteenth-century authors.

    Until now, a violinist would be forced to meet new challenges in the twentieth-

    century repertory itself. Overcoming technical problems while attempting to learn new

    music can be frustrating. The player must solve a technical problem while contending

    with unfamiliar notation, unconventional sounds and musical language, and (possibly)

    limited rehearsal time. My reason for writing this paper relates to my own feeling of

    exacerbation from precisely this issue.

    It first occurred while learning George Crumbs eclectic masterpiece Black

    Angels (1970), for electric string quartet, and has recurred several times since then in my

    young career. In Black Angels players are forced to play the (electrified and amplified)

    instruments in unconventional ways to produce unfamiliar timbres and sounds, chant and

    speak in several different languages, and play various percussion instruments throughout

    the piece. The quantity, difficulty and unfamiliarity of the tasks makes the performers

    feel overwhelmed during the learning process.

    On another occasion, while learning Carlo Vincetti Frizzos Celestial Horizons

    for string trio (2 vlns., vla., unpublished), I distinctly remember wishing that I could work

    on a study for octatonic scales and collections to help my ears and hands become

    accustomed to their idiosyncratic nature. The piece uses exclusively the three different

    transpositions of the octatonic collection. This collection (and other synthetic scales) are

    strange and unpredictable to the ear and cause problems for the left hand, since the hand

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    position is often extended beyond the normal octave framework. Consequently, the

    appearance of such collections in solo, chamber, and orchestral literature can confuse and

    frustrate the unprepared violinist. Studies that set forth problems of the type described in

    the above-mentioned literature do exist, but until now, a violinist would find it almost

    impossible to locate one to suit a particular purposesomething akin to finding a needle

    in a haystack (or a book stack).

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    ANALYSIS OF COMPOSERS AND STUDIES..15 Hindemith, Paul: bungen fr Geiger (Studies for Violinists, 1926)...15 Ysae, Eugne: Dix Preludes, op.35 (1928? Published post.)...31 Bartolozzi, Bruno: Due studi per violino (1952)...36 Rochberg, George: Caprice Variations for Unaccompanied Violin (1970)..40 Constantinides, Dinos: Twentieth-Century Studies for Two Violins, Bk. 1 (1970) Bk. 2 (1979).47 Henze, Hans Werner: tude philharmonique fr Violine Solo (1979)....102 Kim, Earl: 12 Caprices for Solo Violin (1980)....108 Cage, John: Freeman Etudes, Book