Do you want to learn more about practicing the violin excerpt from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 movement 1? In this blog post, we’ll share more about specific ways for you to approach the piece and nail your violin auditions.
If you’d like to see the lesson this blog post is based on, click here to watch it for free — otherwise, read on!
The Scherzo of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, “Eroica,” is a common audition requirement as it tests the violinist’s dynamic control from pianissimo through a sudden crescendo to forte.
Use bigger muscles in the bow arm for sautillé and ensure the spiccato rings out. Aim to keep the music peppy yet elegant.
David Kim, who teaches the associated free tonebase lesson, considers the first three measures to be a kind of introductory vamp, with the true beginning of the movement in measure 4.
He finds that a double pick-up helps stabilize his entry into this excerpt. Allow the dotted half notes in measures 10 and 11 to decay naturally with a little vibrato at the start.
Approaching rehearsal letter A (measure 92), try to keep a quiet body, like an athlete.
As the fortissimo arrives, pay attention to the point of contact on the string. In measures 121 and 122, Beethoven has not notated any staccato or accented notes.
This seems to have been a deliberate decision, so make sure this change is heard. Other places, such as measures 115 to 117, where Beethoven fastidiously marks the sforzandos, are details essential to his language: beyond the Classical Era, but not yet in the Romantic Era.
The issue of pianissimo in an audition can be a challenge.
The level of pianissimo is not necessarily the same within a full orchestra as in an exposed excerpt. Try to play with a pianissimo tone, but with a little more substance and weight behind the sound.
Again, bigger muscles can help control this dynamic level under pressure. Smaller muscles are less dependable and can betray nerves. Use a slightly tighter grip on the bow with the fingers spread slightly further apart, and feel the motion of the stroke through the whole arm.
Take some time to experiment with bow placement and violin position to find the best tone. This will likely be different for every player.
One of the overriding points to consider is that your audition must persuade the judging panel that your playing can contribute to the overall sound of the orchestra. An overly literal interpretation of pianissimo will probably not give that impression.
Now that we’ve gone over these tips, you should be ready to handle your audition with the Beethoven Symphony No. 3 violin excerpt with ease.
If you’d like to watch the lesson on this topic for free, just click here.
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