Week 5

Elfin Waltz (Banjo 1)

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I confess. I jumped ahead and started playing through Elfin Waltz this week, both parts, and I like it. It feels more musical than some of the other pieces and the second banjo part takes my fancy.

One challenge will be to follow the right hand fingering in the second part of measures 2 and 4. It's easy for me to move a string using middle-index, but it's much harder for me to do it using index-middle. I see the logic, though. The third note in measure 4 is on the second string which is much easier to catch with the index finger in that situation. I suspect paying attention to these little things will pay off down the road.

Last night I downloaded a number of easy pieces from the Music Library and I was pleased to realize that I can now read through some parts of them in a comfortable way. It makes for some very enjoyable porch time.

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Comment by Jody Stecher on June 30, 2018 at 5:55

I see what you mean about measures 2 and 4 in the Second Banjo part.  Here's what I did to trick my brain, and therefore my fingers, into being cooperative. Measure 4 has a total of 4 notes.  A long C, E and D each half the duration of the C and then C an octave higher the same length as the first notes. Stringwise it is four one/one two.

The natural thing to do is to divide this into three sections. But when I do that I want to play the E with the middle finger as in measure 2. After all the home of the middle finger is the first string.  So I tricked my brain. I divided the measure into 2.  The first section is Thumb and index.  Strings 4 and 1. Then next section is middle and index. Strings 1 and 2. Each of those two note sections is easy to play with that right hand fingering. Then I practiced the transition from E to D, both on the first string, using first index and then middle. After that it was easy to play the measure smoothly using the indicated fingering. Really all I needed was Thumb followed by index. The next two notes pretty much played themselves.

Comment by Jody Stecher on July 2, 2018 at 22:47

Starting midweek I  will be away for a week with limited internet access. So the absence of any Weidt Words from me on Friday July 6th merely indicates a lack of connectivity not a loss of interest.

Comment by Cyndy Richardson on July 2, 2018 at 23:05

Ah, thanks for letting me know!

Comment by Cyndy Richardson on July 17, 2018 at 4:53

I recorded Elfin Waltz this evening and it's a good indication of where I'm at. Sometimes I play it a tiny bit better and sometimes it's a whole lot worse! :)

One big challenge -- which I suspect will remain for years and maybe someday disappear, if I keep at it long enough -- is to keep the rhythm steady as I try to change dynamics. It seems like the attack is different and sometimes my fingers get caught on the strings.

The other challenge, is the fingering on both hands. I'm so used to fretting a C chord with index-ring that it's challenging to remember to fret it index-middle when I'm in need of moving up the frets on the first string. Sometimes it happens--but it's still a conscious thing.

And then there's tone but maybe it's not time to worry about that. I'm away from home and the 5th string broke yesterday (out of the blue -- I wasn't even playing) so I'm playing with a steel replacement until I get back. It works.

I've enjoyed this tune, but I'm ready to move on. I stumbled on a copy of Sunflower Dance that I printed out a while back and I've been pleased to discover that it's a lot more comfortable than it was a few months ago. I've figured out what the 2PB and 2P and 5P markings are telling me to do so that feels like a triumphant leap forward. :)

The Weidt exercises have been well worth the time and effort that I've put into them. No regrets. It's proven to be a very satisfying first step.

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