Evva Mizerska - cello expert

Spiccato, marcato, and short marcato slurs: Study op. 76 no 5 by D. Popper

Learn how to approach the fifth etude of Popper's Op. 76

In this first video, Evva teaches you how to study and practice the fifth Etude Op. 76 by Popper, focusing on spiccato, marcato, and short marcato slurs.

Released on March 2, 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 again. Today we are going to discuss study number 5 by Popper Etude from the same book as the one from the previous month, it's Op. 76, band 1, and it's very different. The last month's study, it was for legato long slurs string crossing. This one is for detached notes and there is a variety of the articulations here. There are some staccato, spiccato notes were clearly marked with the dots and they are also those without, there are also short slurs. So I think the articulation is supposed to be slightly varied. Some of the notes clearly shorter, but I think none of them really heavy on the strings. So even the detaché, I think it's best to be played with a little bit of a detachment sort of like marcato without taking the bow off, but still sort of preparing your notes each time.

So the study really teaches about preparation technique for the short notes. And first we should start looking at the notes on one string, really, and let's remind ourselves what spiccato or marcato is about. Although, they always look very much off the string when we observe the performance. The truth is that they are really well prepared on the strings. So, the technique for it is that you place your bow on the string before you actually have to play it. So that sort of landing, preparation technique before your next note is very important. In practice. It looks like that, if we let's say half four semiquavers. In slow motion, they would look this way. Prepare, bite, take off. The next one. Prepare, bite, and take off. So I'm now really exaggerating that preparation, but I think this is the way you really need to practice it first for this to become a habit that stays in your hand, and then you can do it faster and it will still stay.

If you don't do that, if you don't prepare the notes, it will, they will just sound a little bit weak and they will never be properly controlled. So you can never rely on being really on the right string on the right time and having a clear beginning. So, I'm going to play now the first four bars of the study in slow motion so that you can see how I would like you to practice it. So prepare. So you could see that I'm really landing before every note it's particularly important in those staccatos where you actually have to take the bow off the string, let it ring in between, but even in those without the dots, like for example from bar 5 onwards with the upbeat.

Again, having that moment of preparation is just going to make it a lot clearer. Again, I'm practicing without vibrato most of the time, because we want to hear what the bow is doing. So don't worry if your practice sounds a little bit dull at the beginning, and I can assure you that if you really take time and practice it really slowly, preparing each note a few times over. Let's say a week or so, it is going to become much more natural and you are going to be really in control of your articulation.

Now, another interesting point in this study is your short slurs. So we are used to sustaining the slurs and it's certainly true in longer slurs and in different sort of pieces, but in the marcato slurs, short slurs in a piece that is very upbeat in character, very often those short slurs, we kind of play marcato. So if you think of your right hand, it should really be programmed to play almost one note. So when you play the first short slur, let's say in bar 2. You don't need to play with sustained. But. So for the left hand it's two notes, but for the right hand. Just articulate it a little bit and let go, as you would do in the marcato. So not prepare and sustain, but prepare and let go while staying on the string. So that's the difference between this and staccato where you would take-off. Now, if you go to the end of the study, you will have lots of those short slurs in a row. And I think he meant it as a work-out, specifically for it.

So if you are a beginner, that study is quite long and it may be a little bit too much for you. If you are intermediate player, I recommend you learn it all and look at the ending in particular for your articulation practice. So let's have a look at bars starting from 67 here. We have all short slurs to the end. So you... And so on. So, we, if you're trying to practice it really sustained. It's just going to sound really heavy. And I don't think this is meant to do at all. So I'll give you an example if I sustained more. And so on, it just sounds not very nice, really, really heavy. So, especially as you go from bar 70 frame.

And also it's piano and pianissimo. So the only way to really achieve it and be comfortable and not get very tired in your right hand is to play them a little bit marcato. So you are going to do. Yes?

Now there are two types of fingerings here. One is just pretty much purely in the first position. And the other alternative model is going to different position just mainly second and third, I would recommend the second one, because it's going to be easier for your right hand. For example, if you go to bar 76 at the end, if you don't. It's quite uncomfortable to those short slurs over two strings. Also, they are not going to sound very nice because you change the color just on, on a short slurs when you can avoid it by going to, let's say second position. So whenever you have those short slurs, we really avoid changing the strings. Also, it's actually going to be really harder for your bow, you only have two notes to play and. Not very nice. Sounds much better.

So I will always give you two fingerings for those of you who really yet struggle with position changes, you can stay with first position, be aware that it's going to be harder for your bow. And those of you who feel comfortable going up and down, or are a little bit more comfortable than really, really go for the bottom fingerings.

Okay. So I do hope that was useful and this sort of articulation will really serve you very well in sonatas of Vivaldi or Marcello. When you play the first moments, they usually use this sort of bowing. You will have it all the time, so that the study is really a preparation for that, so happy practice.
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Halina * VSM MEMBER * on March 3, 2022 @9:22 am PST
Thank you so much for the excellent class, it's great to hear and study along with the sheet music that you kindly publish with all bow notes.
Evva - host, on March 3, 2022 @1:42 pm PST
Thank you very much, Halina, for your kind comment. I am glad it has been useful! Warm regards, Evva
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