Lora Staples - beginning violin and fiddle expert

How to Play the Gigue by Pachelbel

Discover the often neglected Gigue by Pachelbel

In this video, Lora talks about the lesser-known Gigue by Pachelbel, companion to the famous Canon, by giving you practical studying tips.

Released on July 1, 2015

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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

Hi, I'm Lora with Red Desert Violin and I'm here today for Virtual Sheet Music to talk about the Gigue that goes with the canon, the Pachelbel Canon. This piece is always ignored and I'm so glad that Virtual Sheet Music has paired them together because it's a great little tune, and it has the same benefits as the Pachelbel Canon. It can strengthen your understanding of rhythm, and it gives you great practice in third position.

So first off, look at the meter is 12/8. That freaks a lot of people out. But if you can count to 12, you can count in 12/8 time. All that means it's like having 2-6/8 bars glued together. So instead of 6-eighth notes, there's 12/eighth notes per bar. No big deal. They tend to be grouped in groups of three, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12. So there's four big beats and 12 little beats. All right. So let's take a look at this. We have to learn to nail that high D if you're playing violin one.

Oh how do we nail that note? It's so scary. It's really not scary if you learn to find your anchor even without finger tapes. We're all very familiar with that first finger anchor, that ringy spot on our instrument.

And then I would just practice a few "Here Comes The Bride." Find your ringy one. Eventually you skip the first note and you can just nail that fourth finger. Beginners tend to be sharp on that note because they envision that it's so high that they stretch for it. It's really not a high note. It kind of feels like a low four to me. All right. Actually I would do that exercise on all four strings. Find the ringy note. Do you hear my D string ringing? It's ringing like crazy, and then play "Here Comes the Bride."

That's the interval for a perfect fourth and when we play first finger to fourth finger. In most settings, it's a perfect fourth and it's a big gap. You've got two fingers are missing. It's easy to overshoot that or play that out of tune. So that's worth practicing bum-bum-bu-bum on every string, all four strings. All right. And then that will help you to nail that top note.

All right. Now we're in the key of D major. So if I were you and if you're just beginning and you're just learning third position, I'd play a major scale in D major in third position. The more time you spend in third position, the more comfortable you'll be. Obviously, right? So you find it that ringy third finger which is now first finger on your A string.

I would play a major scale. That just gets your hand in the right frame. And then we have to figure out a fingering. So it's D to C sharp. So it's a nice high three, and I'm shifting down on the downbeat of bar four, watch. Right there.

Okay. Now this is a dance. So let's talk about the style a little bit. It's like little tiny one, two, three, one, two, three, one, two, three steps in every single beat. One, two, three, one, two, three, one, two, three, one, two, three. Okay. So you got to have a heavy beat and then heavy, light, light, heavy, light, light. The technique aspect of this piece is you've got two notes slurred, and one note single over and over and over again.

If you don't plan ahead what you're going to do with your bow distribution, you're going to end up stuck at the tip and you'll be trapped. So you have to do kind of a slow bow, and then fast, slow, fast, slow, fast, slow. Slow, fast, slow, fast, slow. So your goal is to play that whole thing in the area of the middle and don't use too much bow on the slur.

All right. So we give a heavy slur, and then you've got to be careful not to whack the single note. So be heavy on the slur, heavy, light, heavy, light, heavy, heavy, heavy, light, heavy, light, heavy, light. And that's a real trick learning to do heavy, light, heavy, light, and getting your bow lengths just right but you're going to see this figure all the time in Handel, in all baroque music. So if you spend the time to learn this gesture, this bow style, it will pay off big time.

All right. And then toward the end, there are some more third position opportunities. The downbeat of bar 18, I would shift. So you just played third finger in the bar before. Then match that note and play it with the first finger. That's a pretty easy shift. And then three, four, three, four, three, four. It's lovely.

Thanks for watching. Write your questions below, and I'll respond and I'll see you next time.
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Bridget Risemberg * VSM MEMBER * on December 17, 2020 @1:39 pm PST
I'm sure it will. I should have said START to learn the fiddle. I need a bow. Any suggestions? Just adequate not expensive.
Loralyn - host, on December 18, 2020 @2:44 pm PST
Bows: that is not an easy topic at all. You should first decide what your budget is, and what your "seriousness" is with fiddle. If you really want to make a go of becoming a competent violinist/fiddler, then I would advise you not to spend less than $400. If you just want a solid reliable bow that will not hold you back, but don't want to spend $400, you can still get something decent, but it will have tonal and technical limitations.
Then, decide if you want wood or carbon fiber. (I am old fashioned and I have prejudices against carbon fiber....so if you ask me, get wood.
Pernambuco is the BEST. But it's expensive. (that's why you would have to spend minimum of $400)
Next in line, is Brazilwood. You can get decent brazilwood bows for $20.
I highly recommend SOUTHWEST STRINGS in Arizona. They have a bow guy who will talk to you and help you find something that suits your needs.
Tell them Red Desert Violin sent you. I"m hoping they will eventually give my referrals a discount!
Good luck!!!
Bridget Risemberg * VSM MEMBER * on December 16, 2020 @10:35 am PST
What a great lesson. I have guitar trio and we love the gigue. I teach my students how to tune with Here comes the Bride. : ) On my break I would like to learn how to fiddle.
Loralyn - host, on December 17, 2020 @9:59 am PST
Bridget, I bet the Gigue sounds AWESOME with a guitar trio. I am a fan of guitar, and love the John McLaughlin guitar trio! Learning to fiddle might take you longer than just your break.....but it will definitely go faster for you, because you already have the left hand development from playing guitar. Good luck!
Jesus Hernandez on May 2, 2016 @6:43 pm PST
How do you add the music to the bottom of your videos!?
Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, on May 3, 2016 @3:02 pm PST
Jesus, we add those examples to the clean videos provided by our Music Experts. We do that by using several different techniques. Please, contact us by email if you with to learn more about that:


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