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Autor: Alison Stephens
Para: Mandolina sola
Nivel: Intermedio plus
Información:This book is the fourth and final book in the series following on from Six Episodes, Six Excursions and Six Adventures. The book is aimed at the higher Intermediate student and contains many different challenges in the way of musical ideas and styles, and various techniques for both hands.
The aim of this series of books is to gradually develop the various techniques required when playing the mandolin as a solo instrument. Six Challenges continues to explore both standard and extended techniques including chromatics, chords, more complex two-part writing, R.H. pizzicato, L.H. pizzicato, tremolo over chords, arpeggio technique, duo-style and extensive use of positions.
Each piece is both a stand alone solo piece of interest to players and audiences alike, and also a study piece aiming to take the player to a higher level.
Contentment: This is a chord based piece which consists of a melody and accompaniment. In most instances each whole bar can be played by holding one L.H. chord shape. Make sure the melody notes are as legato as possible and that the melody comes out strongly. There are a few tricky fingerings in this piece which need to be as clean as possible. Bar 18 is of special interest as the fingering here is very unusual but enables the player to play from bar 17 to bar 18 without completely changing their hand shape.
Idyll: This piece is really a study for duo-style in disguise. The basic technique contained in this piece is how duo-style works. The faster and lighter this piece is played, the more like duo-style it will sound. The repeated semi-quavers should sound as much like a continuous unbroken line as possible. The student should start practising just the first few lines slowly and carefully and gradually build up the speed. The “+” sign in the second section is standard notation to mean L.H. pizzicato. Use a finger not involved in fretting to pluck the open string indicated whilst keeping the tremolo smooth and continuous.
Chromatica: As the name suggests; this piece focuses on the use of chromatics. There are two fundamental fingering systems for chromatic scales: sliding fingers (e.g. 1-1, 2-2-, 3-3, 4) or consecutive fingers as marked in bar 7 and 8. Both are extremely valuable skills to master and can both be used in different types of passage to great effect. The student should be very careful in passages like bars 11 -16 to keep their fingers down on the held note and to ensure it continues to ring (e.g. a D in bar 11) whilst playing the semi-quavers underneath.
Pharaoh’s Dance: This piece is based on a riff I heard in an Egyptian pop song whilst doing fitness classes on the beach in Egypt! In bar 1 and similar bars, if possible, the student needs to start with a 1st finger barré held down and continue to hold it for the whole bar. This will make these bars sound smooth and full. The grace notes in this piece sound most effective if fully plucked (rather than hammered) but the grace notes in bars 15 and 16 should be executed using a sliding finger and one stroke for both notes (similar to a bluegrassy type effect). The cadenza uses very unusual harmonies so be very careful of the accidentals in this section. The final run (bar 47) is a whole-tone scale which is a relatively unusual scale on the mandolin and will need a lot of practice to get fluent.
Mac the Dog: Students who have already studied “6 Adventures” will have played the piece “Ferris the Cat”. I felt it was only fair to write a piece about our rather eccentric dog as well! Mac is a greyhound and although capable of running very fast generally trots about at a fairly gentle pace sniffing as he goes. This is the feel of most of the piece. The sections from bars 27-40 and 76-78 represent his constant changes in direction whilst out on a walk. Mac has an endearing habit of stopping dead in his tracks when he sees another dog coming. He then “stalks” the dog until he’s decided if it’s friendly or not. This habit is represented by the duo-style type passage from bar 50.
Piccola Danza: Raffaele Calace wrote many charming and graceful solo pieces for mandolin. They nearly all have an extended duo-style passage in them. I decided to replace that with a tremolo section with L.H. pizzicato as denoted by “+” (see notes on Idyll). The fretted notes (e.g. bar 10) can still be plucked with a spare L.H. finger but if the student is comfortable with duo-style, they can also be achieved that way instead. The arpeggio technique section (from bar 17) should be quiet, light and carefully controlled. The fingering suggested in the minor section (from bar 32) is a very good, clean way to get round some challenging note combinations but this section can be achieved using other fingering systems.