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Joanna Borrett

Play by Ear on the Cello

By string teaching No Comments

One way to boost your confidence and sense of relaxation with your instrument is learn to play by ear on the cello. This should seem obvious, but it’s surprising the number of cellists who are unable to do this and it is not part of traditional classical training.
play by ear on the celloThe freedom of playing by ear
I became especially aware of this a couple of years ago when I was spending New Year with friends in Ireland. At a small  gathering around an open fire people were telling ghost stories and one of the men started playing simple folk tunes on the banjo by heart very evocatively. He had only been learning the banjo  for a year and was able to do this in a relaxed way -and it struck me that so many classical musicians who had been learning for maybe decades and perhaps practising for hundreds of hours during that time would not be able to do the same.I don’t mean that the disciplined side of classical music, with its technical and musical demands, is unimportant; just that also being able to play by ear on the cello – any tune you love – can give a wonderful sense of freedom.

How to start
The easiest tunes are folk , nursery rhymes, hymns or carols. Many of these lie within one octave and have simple structures with repeats. Choose an easy cello key – C, G or D major – and start trying to work it out by ear and practise until you can remember the finger patterns.  Baa Baa Black Sheep, Row, Row, Row Your Boat, Frere Jacques, Humpty Dumpty, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Kum-ba-ya, Au Clair de la Lune, Tallis Canon,To Be a Pilgrim, Jerusalem, Scarborough Fair, Morning Has Broken, Lavender’s Blue, Good King Wenceslas, The Holly and the Ivy,O Come All Ye Faithful, Pop Goes the Weasel, Old Macdonald  and Lilliburlero all begin on the first note of the scale so are a good place to start.

You can find out more about our cello duet version of Lilliburlero here:

https://www.fedorastrings.com/product/lilliburlero-cello-duet/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Carols for String Duet

By sheet music sales No Comments

 Christmas Carols for String Duet

Yes, it’s December and the latest addition to our online shop is a Christmas carol for string duet – Variations on a Christmas Carol – and Christmas carols for string duetthere is  both a cello duet and a violin and cello duet version.

It’s not just a carol!
If you have already heard more than enough Christmas carols this year I sympathise and can reassure you that although this new work is based on Ding Dong Merrily on High that is just the starting point, and the music has three very different variations which are not at all carol-like in mood.

Variation Form
Some wonderful music has been written in variation form: Britten’s Variations on a theme of Frank Bridge, Arensky’s Varations on a theme of Tchaikovsky, and Rachmaninoff’s Variations on a theme of Paganini  are the first three that come to my mind. It is surprising how easy it is to totally vary the mood by changing the key, time signature, rhythm or texture. And sometimes you get miraculous melodies that are unforgettable, as below:

 

Intermediate and Advanced Violin and Cello Duet Albums

By intermediate and advanced violin and cello duets, sheet music sales No Comments

We are now selling four intermediate and advanced violin and cello duet albums of our best selling music divided into four categories. These are: Six Great Baroque Tunes, Six Great Romantic Tunes, Six Great Folk Songs and Six Great Broadway Songs. Each album contains six works – all complete with individual parts and score.
String duet albums

While it is true that music of different styles has different characteristics  – the different styles also have many things in common.

Why categories?

It seems to be a human need to categorise things. I once read a very funny short story by Garrison Keillor  about a journalist who obsessively wrote articles based on lists.  Our categories though are intended to offer good value. And the chance to explore some wonderful music at a bargain price.