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#Classical Music
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so i always see a bunch of advice for how to write or at least be productive as a writer when you don’t have motivation

so here’s some things that help me when i don’t want to/don’t have motivation to practice (some specifically violin, some more general. i’m not a professional, just a girl who really loves the violin, so help me out—please add!!!)

  • get out a stand. any step is a first step.
  • open your case. yeah i know it sounds lame but legit opening my case and actually looking at my instrument works like 90% of the time. it makes me start thinking about all the things i could work on, and reminds me how much i love my instrument.
  • play something you don’t need music for. legit, sometimes getting music out is so hard for me. if i start with a polished piece that i can play memorized, or even a scale or etude i know without a book, it makes it so much easier to dive into practicing.
  • just finger along to the piece. maybe you don’t have the energy to play. that’s fine. finger along to it, focus on just one part of playing. and even if you don’t eventually get to fully playing, you were still in the music.
  • just do scales. i know scales are super important, and the way you practice them is important, but if all you can muster is a mindless scale, start there. see where it takes you.
  • listen to recordings of pieces you’re currently working on. choose a favorite, look for things they did that you loved, allow yourself to appreciate the music for what it is before you try to make it your own.
  • get out your music and mark in things you want to work in. write yourself notes, go through some parts mentally, and really look for the parts you could improve. maybe specifically look for intonation related parts, or for parts you want to change your phrasing. seriously, looking at sheet music almost always leads to me playing.
  • watch twoset. no, i’m not joking. watch like one ten minute classical music video and look for something that’s inspiring, something that reminds you how much you like to play. and then practice. don’t watch for like 6 hours, but allow yourself a related break.
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Gasparo Visconti (1683-1731) - Sonata No. 6 in F-Major for Violin and Basso continuo, IV. Allegro. Performed by Andrea Rognoni (baroque violin), Marco Frezzato (cello), Diego Cantalupi (theorbo), and Marco Ruggeri (spinet), on period instruments.

Not much is known about Gasparo Visconti. He was an Italian Baroque composer and violinist who was probably a student of the great Arcangelo Corelli. Aside from his seven sonatas for violin and continuo, his oeuvre also includes small, separate collections of miscellaneous pieces for flute, preludes and a method study for violin, and a small collection of string concertos. 

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Let me tell you about one of history’s forgotten black geniuses, a man long overdue for his roses.

Last semester I wrapped up a class on theories of black musicality and blues studies, and I’ve been thinking a lot about one particular black musician who predates the earliest blues by about a century.

This…

image

… is George Bridgetower.

He was an extraordinarily talented biracial violin prodigy, though in his lifetime biracial wasn’t really a concept yet. Born in Poland, he lived most of his life in England, where as a young boy he became a patron of the Prince Regent, the man who would eventually become George IV. At the Prince’s direction, he studied under master musicians and performed all over England.

In 1803, at the age of 24, Bridgetower visited Vienna, where he met up with one Ludwig van Beethoven. Dazzled by Bridgetower’s talent, the composer wrote a violin sonata specifically for the young musician — Violin Sonata No. 9 in A Major — dedicating it to the violinist with a note that read “composta per il mulatto Brischdauer, gran pazzo e compositore mulattico.” Composed for the mulatto Bridgetower, the great lunatic mulatto composer. 

The story goes that Beethoven, having only finished the piece just before he and Bridgetower were set to perform it, printed a single copy, ink still drying as he propped it upon the pianoforte. Bridgetower had to sight-read the piece over Beethoven’s shoulder, even improvising at one point, to Beethoven’s great delight. 

Not long after the performance, the pair fell out. Bridgetower had insulted a woman Beethoven knew. The irate composer ultimately withdrew his dedication of Sonata No. 9, dedicating it instead to a violinist named Rudolphe Kreutzer. Kreutzer, upon receiving the music, declared it “outrageously unintelligible” and indeed, he never once played the piece. Yet it lives on, often referred to as the Kreutzer Sonata. Bridgetower, meanwhile, returned to England, where he taught music for the rest of his life and died fairly poor, his greatest accomplishment all but erased.

George Bridgetower. Remember this story.

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Me: whines that I don’t have any chunky thick romantic repertoire to work on

Professor: gives me a shit ton of chunky thick romantic repertoire to work on

Me: complains about said chunkiness of chunky thick romantic repertoire that I have to work on

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