February 2, 2011 – Dvorak Sonatina Op. 100

The Dvorak Sonatina Op. 100 1st Movement can be found in the Barbara Barber collection of Solos for Young Violinists Volume 2. The complete work has four movements and can be purchased as a complete work. The Sonatina can also be found on the Petrucci Music Library.

Here, I will examine the first movement for specific teachable elements. The first thing I discovered when studying this piece is that it has a variety of bow techniques  in a very compact amount of time.

Students must be able to accomplish the following with the bow hand:

  • Accents
  • Staccato
  • Legato
  • Off the String
  • Uneven bow distributions
  • Crescendos and decrescendos
  • Variety of tone colors
  • Variety of dynamics

In order to gain all of the bow control necessary, students will need to start with a well set up bow hand that has flexibility in all parts. I would suggest either using some tone building exercises that help student have smooth bow changes. I think an etude like Wohlfahrt Foundation Study Book 1, number two or Kayser number two would be excellent choices for doing this. I might also recommend Kayser Number 1 with the bowing exercises in the Whistler Preparing for Kreutzer book.

Rhythmically the piece is challenging for the following reasons:

  • Sixteenth note pick up notes
  • Transitions between duple and triple

The attack on these sixteenth notes can be practiced using a variation of Kayser Etude Number 1. The transitions between triple and duple can also be done using a variation. The first six eighth notes in the measure can be played as triplets and the last two as duple. You can even add the bowing of m. 51 to really drive the point home.

For the left hand it presents the following challenges:

  • A low third position spot in m. 84
  • Shifting to third position throughout
  • 4th finger harmonics (extended from third position)
  • Tricky flat section in m. 106
  • Second position in m. 142

For the flat section in m. 106, I would do finger pattern number 1 in starting with a low first finger. Another tricky spot is m. 84’s shift to third position with a D-flat on the A string.

 

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