What exactly is phrasing?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by cantplaytrumpet, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. Pete Anderson

    Pete Anderson Pianissimo User

    Feb 27, 2008
    This is what made it click for me:

    Try to play the Bach Partida 2 Allemande. Here is the music: http://erato.uvt.nl/files/imglnks/usimg/d/dc/IMSLP01307-BWV1004.pdf

    You will notice that it's pretty much nonstop 16th notes. Where do we breathe? That's where phrasing comes in... If you try to just jump in and play the notes without thinking about phrasing, it will sound like garbage as you gasp for breaths randomly.

    Listen to this Alison Balsom recording and mark where she takes breaths: Alison Balsom - Bach, Allemande from Partita II - YouTube

    There you go, you just marked out the phrases. Now go play it again.

    So you tried that and it sounds a bit better now. Planning out your breaths makes it seem like not just a bunch of machine gun notes. Now you need to also take note of what notes are important, what you should emphasize or not emphasize, where to add tiny rits or accels, etc.

    You're not done yet. Print out another copy of the music, listen to some more recordings and use a highlighter or something to mark their phrases:

    Bach Partita n. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004, I. Allemande - YouTube
    Itzhak Perlman - Bach Partita NÂș 2, BWV 1004 - YouTube

    It's tempting to say, "well hey, string players don't have to breathe!" But you will notice that in fact they do "breathe" and create phrases.

    Now go through and mark out yourself how YOU think it should go. If you can make this piece sound good you're in great shape. It's harder than you'd think.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2013
  2. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    Yeah, and Itzhak plays, or has played, a genuine Antonio Stradivarius violin, and one could buy two or more Monettes for the value of some single bows he owns. I've heard he has a violin that he only has life rights to play, but doesn't own it, but wow can he play and I had the great pleasure to hear him live.

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