February 23, 2011 – Salut D’Amour by Elgar

The Salut D’Amour by Edward Elgar, from his opus 12, is a piece written for violin. It has virtuosic lines and very delicate articulations that make it a good piece for student working on more advanced shifting and bow distribution to play. The key signature of the edition I am analyzing is E major.  Tuning for this can be very tricky. The piece is a great recital piece and is quick to learn.

The piece contains a difficult bow distribution at the beginning that is repeated several times. Other challenges with the bow include crescendos, decrescendos, fermatas and other expressive changing of the tempo. These require a confident use of the bow weight, speed, and contact point.

Shifting and harmonics are the other challenge of this piece. Although the first theme could be played in first and third positions, expressive shifts, finger replacements, and shifts can be used to create a more artistic effect. The second theme and the transition after it go higher into position. The highest position used in the piece is seventh.

There are some melodic intervals that are challenging, so these parts should be figured out using guide notes for shifting and by listening to a performance of the piece. I found Sarah Chang’s performance (from her youth) to be absolutely charming.

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