Spohr Ornaments: practice tips

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    alexander-rider on #146935

    How do YOU play the turns on p.4 of the Spohr Fantasie c-moll (Salvi edition, ed.H. Zingel)? And more importantly, how do you practise them? This is such

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #146936

    A turn can be as few as four notes. I would definitely begin the ornaments always on the beat, all of them, especially appoggiaturas. You can choose a turn that is rhythmically comfortable.

    carl-swanson on #146937

    Alex- I don’t have the Spohr Fantasie so I don’t know what the turns look like. Can you tell me what the notes are on a couple of them and how many notes are in the turn?

    Renie, in her methode book, suggests for learning turns and one handed trills, to start with just 3 notes, starting both on the lower note and on the upper note, and practice them right up to tempo. When that becomes solid, then add one note, and when that becomes comfortable, add another, etc. But always practice these things up to full tempo. That’s the only way you can learn the movements that will work at that tempo, and develop the muscle memory needed.

    paulina-porazinska on #146938


    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #146939

    Most, if not all, harpists play the ornaments as published, the appoggiaturas beginning before the beat. This is not correct to Spohr’s period. Music publishers in the 19th century are notorious for changing the ornaments or writing them incorrectly. The on-the-beat ornament is far more expressive, which is its purpose. The turns in the fast passages can be played 1232, which flows into the following notes without repeating the first note which you would be doing if you played 21231, and that doesn’t flow.

    To practice ornaments, play a series of them slowly, many times and/or up and down the harp, then play them as part of the line. They must be very clear, very facile, and very melodic as well as rhythmic. The trills definitely must start on the upper auxiliary, in my opinion, and that way they finish rhythmically and lead right into the following melody. I mostly play them as 64th notes, is that hemi-demi-semi-quavers? I have yet to hear another harpist play this piece with “correct” ornamentation. It is not romantic music, it is very classical, just like a Mozart Fantaisie or earlier composers. Spohr was not a radical composer. I have done a lot of study of ornamentation.

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