Variation 15

ID 5255

This elegant variation needs musical thought and offers opportunities to take time and let the music breathe. For instance try taking some time with the semiquavers in bar 16 before the return of the theme at bar 17. In bars 9 to 16, examine the chord structure and contours of the melodic line to add musical phrasing.

From a technical perspective we need to have a fluid control over these two bow strokes – sautillé and spiccato.

Ševčík’s place in the bow directions indicate that the spiccato stays in the middle so for the repeated up bows the stroke we use is standing spiccato. However you can move through the bow to some extent to shape the phrase.

To begin, practice both these strokes separately on open strings. At bars 1 and 9, we can start with the bow either on or off the string, however for every other bar the bow will start from the air.

Think about the number of technical impulses that the bow arm uses in each phrase. Just as the musical impulse comes from the first beat of the bar the first three notes of the bar come from one technical impulse. The first note is active and the second and third notes are more passive. Make sure therefore that the first note has enough energy to flow through to make the 2nd and 3rd notes ring.

Feel free to add fingerings to help the musical line, for instance if you go into 3rd position for the last two notes of bar 4 it saves crossing two strings and helps you end the phrase with a diminuendo. Similarly, think about when to use open strings or 4th fingers to help the bow make a fluid string-crossing action.

Standing spiccato