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Quarantine Practice, Ep. 16 - Ysaÿe Solo Sonata no. 3


Back to Ysaÿe’s Solo Sonata no. 3 - final section to mull over is the very opening - at its deepest, it is a meditative monologue it seems. It’s marked “lento molto sostenuto”, the character of which seems to manifest itself in our smallest joints, starting from the fingers. Sustaining the tone requires sensitivity in feeling the contact between the bow hair and the string (lower half) and the fingers “massaging” the bow stick (upper half).

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But, what for me is a bit trickier is the left hand - in order to help the bow sustain, the left hand must maneuver between double stops seamlessly, anticipating a bow change or a string crossing. The inherent springiness of the suspended strings help with feeling the different pressure gradients the fingers have against the fingerboard.

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I decided to apply some of Dounis’ rhythmic variants on such double stops, as they help target not only lateral movement but also transverse movement (across the fingerboard).

Rhythms are found on page 177 in the Dounis collection.

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PS - excuse my bemused expression at the end of the first clip... my bow knocked against the wall slightly 😅

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