February 3, 2011 – Preparing for Kreutzer Vol. II

Volume II of Preparing for Kreutzer by Harvey Whistler takes student through a great number of techniques needed to move on to Kreutzer.

Like Volume I, Volume II begins with a Developing Bowing variation page for a first position etude. Many of the bowings are the same as ones in the Volume I. Next is a Developing Trilling page. This is also intended for daily practice. These exercises are particularly nasty when you get to the fourth finger tirllls. Particularly appalling is the suggesting to practice the trill for sixteen beats. There is no suggestion for measuring them as sixteenth or thirty-second notes. There is another daily practice page called Developing Fingerboard Facility that cycles through several key signatures. Several etudes follow to support these techniques.

Eventually, Whistler includes “Artistry” studies including the Kayser Etude number 10 for arpeggio artistry. Following that, a few etudes that have string crossings that skip strings are included.

Position playing is reviewed to prepare for runs in cadenzas. Triplets, quadruplets in scalar and other patterns are covered. Whistler creates some mock cadenzas from a Dancla etude. I consider this very creative, if not useful.

Next, “cross-fingereing” is covered. I can only assume this means playing a note with a different fingering than it would normally be played. For instance, instead of playing a D# on the A string as a third finger, you can play it with fourth finger. Many finger substitutions can be made without shifting positions.

Up bow staccato is also covered using several etudes. I think the Kayser staccato etude is enough to prepare students for the Kreutzer Number 4. Whistler includes a preparation etude that goes up the C major scale (by De Beriot) and includes two other up bow staccato etudes. More than one should not be necessary if the first is done correctly. Slurring arpeggiated passages is covered in two etudes, including one of the hardest Kayser (in my opinion). As he continues, there are more and more Kayser etudes to practice shifting and perpetual motion of the fingers of the left hand.

Following that, more material is included for “Daily Practice” including scales and exercises in thirds, sixths and octaves. Some of the Dont Opus 37 exercises are included for practice on these. Double stop exercises are what is missing from the Kayser etude book.

Chromatic fingerings are covered. I feel that the fingering for an ascending chromatic scale of 0-1-1-2-2-3-4 is too clunky. I think the same is true for 4-3-2-2-1-1-0 for descending chromatic scales. This is only good for developing basic understanding of the chromatic scale. By this point in playing, a different pattern should be used in my opinion.

Comical is the “Four Minute” Sostenuto etude by Casatori. Upon setting your metronome to 30 beats per minute, you should be able to play 32 counts in one bow. I have not yet tried it, but I imagine I would have great difficulty in producing quality tone at such slow speeds.

The dynamic playing exercises seem useful. They are reminiscent of the Sevcik School of Bowing exercies for variation in weight, speed and contact point to create the desired tone.

Finally, several “Concert Caprices” are included. These are all sufficiently challenging and review many of the concepts introduced in the two volumes.

Although I don’t agree with everything in these two volumes, I can agree that the Kayser etudes do neglect some of the trill and double stopping necessary for the Kreutzer Etudes. A plan to move into a few Dont Opus 37 etudes would be good before moving on to Kreutzer.

 

 

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