Sarabande on SoundCloud (1979 Hours)

First SoundCloud Upload!

I wanted to upload my current rendition of the Sarabande from the first Bach Suite to mark my progress and share what I have been working on for the last 4 months.  Oddly, I found the record button to be a bit more stressful than playing before a live audience, and this version was on my 3rd take.  I think I need to log more hours with a mic recording me so that I get used to that unique kind of pressure.  It starts off perhaps a bit rougher than my recital performance, but I imagine this was generally how I sounded last Sunday.    I hope you like it, but if not, rest assured, I am working hard to improve every aspect of technique of which I am currently aware.

More About This Recording:

The fingering and bowing was apparently from a Fournier edition.  It is quite a bit more challenging than the Barenreiter edition, in my opinion which has somewhat easier bowings without much of the left & right hand acrobatics required in this version.  It was a great learning experience though, and the increased difficulty only caused me to be more aware of the processes involved in cleaner shifts and string crossings.

At this point, my bow hair and strings pretty are both a little worn out and in need of  replacement, and hopefully once I do, my tone will warm up and smooth out a bit, particularly on the upper strings which are year-old Larsen mediums.  The lowers are both Evah Pirazzi medium non-soloist, and are holding up a bit better than the Larsens even though the EPs are almost a year older.  I am thinking about trying a full set of the new Magnacore strings, but they are quite expensive, and I am not sure if they will last as long as an EP set, though they are designed to last longer than the standard Larsen strings.

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10 thoughts on “Sarabande on SoundCloud (1979 Hours)

  1. Martha Doran says:

    Ah ha! After reading your beautiful, thoughtful, generous and poetic post yesterday I wanted to ask if you had a recording of your Sarabande performance. Thank you so much for your detailed and inspiring write-up, and even more so for recording and posting yourself playing it again, and with all the pressures that entails. You did a beautiful job! Very good intonation and expression, nice and gentle on the phrase endings….really nice full, rich and mellow tone. Beautiful playing, and very nice recording quality also. Liked the just-right amount of vibrato as well. Very few people with 2 years’ experience (I think it is?) could even attempt this piece much less play it this well. I have started recording a few things for my own benefit here and there, albeit using much less sophisticated equipment (an ipad mini running Tempo SlowMo app) and wow, every little foible seems magnified to huge proportions. So I applaud your hard work, your beautiful cello-y tone, and that you share with us. Kudos and thank you.

    • Thank you very much Martha! I definitely felt like I should post a recording after talking about it so extensively. I’m glad you like my tone. I’ve worked pretty hard on it this past year and it’s nice to hear positive feedback especially since I can only hear the flaws most of the time.

      I’m glad to hear that you’re recording yourself. Any equipment is going to give you useful information, but if you ever decide you want to get the whole picture you’ll eventually want to add something with a condenser mic like an apogee MiC (iOS compatible) to the iPad mini. Not to knock the mics on the latest mobile devices which can be surprisingly good.

  2. Pascal says:

    Great recording & playing, your progress is impressive!

  3. Martha Doran says:

    Thank you for the detail on the apogee mic. When I am brave enough to hear myself in greater detail, that will be my choice. Right now, the ipad recordings are scary enough!
    Thanks again for the sharing.

    • Pascal says:

      Your recordings might be less scary with a good mic Martha. I nearly stopped playing the cello after recording myself with the iPad’s internal mic. I then purchased an Apogee mic hoping for a miracle, and I was surprisingly pleased with the sound. It actually sounds better than what I hear when I play. Okay, I’m only speaking of the sound of the cello, I also noticed my clumsy vibrato, bad intonation, poor tonalization, lack of proper articulation, hesitant shifts, improper rhythm and incorrect dynamics: I knew I was on the right path, so I continued 🙂

  4. Sarah says:

    I just ran across your blog. It’s encouraging to hear what can evolve over a few years of good practice, I started learning the cello 3 months ago and I’m 35, I find being an adult beginner frustrating at times, but it’s something I’m determined to stick with!

    • Thank you, and congratulations & welcome to the cello, Sarah! Being a beginner string player is rough. For some reason, this blog doesn’t show how I sounded in the first 3 months 😉 If anyone survived a concert then, It might have been described as a deaf and blind gorilla trying to saw metal in half. So don’t beat yourself up about how you sound now. The only important thing at this stage is to know what there is to practice and how to practice it.

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