Evva Mizerska - cello expert

How to approach Etude Op. 113 No. 9 by Sebastian Lee

Learn Etude Op. 113 No. 9 by Lee for cello solo

In this video, Prof. Mizerska teaches you how to study and practice the Etude Op. 113 No. 9 by Sebastian Lee which helps to develop left-hand action in fast and slow legato passages.

Released on July 6, 2022

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hello, and welcome to study challenge number six. Today we are looking at study Opus 113 number nine, by Sebastian Lee, again. So this book, Opus 113, has 12 studies, and they are all melodic. But the reason why I chose the particular one today, is because I wanted to talk about the left hand in melodic passages, in legato slurs. So concentrating, today, on the finger action in various types of passages, the slower and faster ones, and how the action of the fingers will be different. This study book has a progression from slightly easier ones, to a little bit harder ones, and this number nine includes faster passages as well, and I thought it would be interesting to look at them as well.

So first of all, the first challenge of that study is that it's in A Major, and it means that we have to extend quite a lot, and also string crossing, and be legato at the same time. So, that's the first challenge. Looking at the first few bars, we start the very first passage. A, extend it to C sharp, followed by E, and then A. So, a couple of things. First of all, because it's allegro, but we need to always think of what happens later, we have triplets, and...

So, of course, this will affect the choice of the tempo at the beginning. So it starts... It's allegro, but it feels a little bit slower, because of the different rhythm at the beginning. So, you need to be quite gentle with the left hand here. We extend, not jump, both ways, and you should feel that your hand is quite flexible, and to do that, to have that sort of feeling of walking from one finger to another, shifting the weight of the arm, from finger to finger. You need to make sure that your thumb, underneath, is quite flexible. As I said before, in those slower passages, you will need to have quite a gentle, and sustained, left hand finger action.

For example... Of course, continuously vibrating, although, first it might be easier to practice that all without vibrato, as we go on. Generally, in those first three lines, or so, you will have quite a gentle, but sustained, and preparing the string changes, left hand action. So no sort of percussive motion at all, but more like gentle, but shifting the weight from one finger to another. Let's look at... For example, bars from 13 onwards, so that we don't always look at the same fragment. Make sure that when you start on the fourth finger, you really feel that, although all the fingers are on the string. You need to feel that the weight is really on the fourth finger. So the weight of the arm, it comes there, with the fourth finger, then it will give you a better sound.

And then shifts to the third, but the third has to be prepared earlier, so the third has to be there already. That's why it's so important to keep all the fingers on the string, rather than just the fourth. Because, first, it gives you more reliable intonation. You can prepare the whole position in advance, and obviously, as you know, the space between fingers will vary from one position to another. So four fingers together, in the fourth position, will be more narrowly together than first position finger spacing. So practicing, always, with all the fingers on the strings, will make sure that you will know what really your position should feel like, because you will learn by experience.

You will. If you prepared them in advance, and they are out of tune, you will know next time that they need to be either wider, or more narrowly together. So shifting the weight from fingers, to finger... Again, we have the subject of slides here, like we did in study number five, from the same book. Let's concentrate on the finger arching, so... Generally speaking, vibrato, once you get the intonation ready, vibrato does help to feel that weight. So once you have practiced without it, I'm not against at all, helping yourself with vibrato, to feel that weight shifting, and so on.

Now, let's look at what's happening later. So after part 21, where I finished my first presentation, you have again, similar melody, but octave lower. But then the faster passage start, so... And so on. It's really, again, quite an operatic study, so it's really quite rewarding to practice, even though it's not very easy. So I just wanted to say that, from bar 30, and actually indeed, and also in a couple of places earlier, like bar 17, 18, for example, when you have the triplets. The action of the left hand is changing. So when you have long slurs, and fast passages, it's very different from slower passages. So left hand now needs to keep the clarity to the notes. They are changing quite quickly. So this sort of gentle action won't quite work the same way as it did in connecting the slower melodies. So you have to be a little bit more percussive, and all that will still allow some legato, because you will play with long slurs, and the left hand has to be quite strong, especially when you play piano.

The general rule is, that in legato, when you play piano, the left hand has to be even stronger then, in forte, because if you play the same thing forte, let's say... Which it isn't, but if you were, the bow gives a little bit more support, and say, it helps with the clarity. But if you play it quietly, as you should, it says con eleganza, so we don't know whether it means loud, or quiet, but I assume that it's not loud. I think it's like, where it's sort of obvious, with elegance. So certain charm, but doesn't mean being loud and obnoxious.

So the left hand has to be compensating for the lightness of the right hand. So I wanted to give you a way to practice it. It would be really to hear your left hand. So you need to have a strong hammer-like action of the left hand on the string, and when you go down... So it's easy on the way up, actually, because you just add them on the way up, and you will hear them, if you make sure that they are strong, and hammer-like, you'll always shift the weight from one finger to another. That rule remains, but with much stronger action. But on the way down, you cannot do the same thing, and what you do instead is this slight pizzicato movement.

Like a left hand pizzicato, so of course, you cannot exaggerate. Now I'm just making it a little bit more obvious. It will be gently so. But practicing it loudly is not a bad thing, so then you take the third finger off the string, and stay with the first. Then as we change the positions, then we won't hear it as much. But the same thing in, let's say, where it gets still a little bit easier, from bar 38, so you can pluck it. You won't do it when you play, but just to practice, you can pluck the A, and then...

So from G, take it off sideways, to get to F, and sort of pizzicato. As you go to D, it's simply a hammer movement. There is not anymore of the pizzicato movement, because you changed the position. You'll take the fingers sideways. So, yes. Other than that, it's similar material afterwards. This study is really useful if you want to practice various types of legato, in your left hand, and I hope you find it useful, and enjoy practicing it. I will see you next month with our new study challenge. Thank you.
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Halina * VSM MEMBER * on July 6, 2022 @11:04 am PST
Dear Evva, thank you so much for the outstanding class you gave. As always this is a wonderful material to study. All the best!
Evva - host, on July 6, 2022 @2:33 pm PST
Dear Halina, thank you so much for your kind comments, I'm so glad you found the classes useful! All the very best with your playing, Evva
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