Thursday, January 28, 2010

Stirrer in C#

Earlier today I sat down to practice the next Telemann Fantasia in my recording project (more on that in a moment). Every time I hit C# right above the bass clef staff I'd hear a suspicious rattle. Something in the room was vibrating. Often I'll let that kind of thing go for a little bit. It's a common enough ailment with brass players--we play these booming instruments that set the whole room vibrating.

I checked all the nearby likely suspects--pencils on the stand, a tuner leaning up against a metronome, other music stands, my trombones. None of the above. Now, it's much easier to find the source of the noise if you have a helper--one person plays the guilty note while the other hunts around the room for the stray vibration. Unfortunately, no one else was around, so I started marching around the room, blasting C#'s over and over, trying to follow the buzzing noise. Every time I thought I was getting warmer, the trail would grow cold. My studio is up in the attic and so it has an A shaped ceiling--as I moved step by step around the room, C#...C#...C#... the rattle would come and go--it would be right in front of me and then suddenly right behind me. The slope of the ceiling was playing tricks on my ears. After what must have been 20 minutes, I finally found the culprit--a wooden paint stirrer--you know, those sticks you get at Lowe's when you buy a gallon of paint. It was behind a book case, leaning up against the baseboard molding. I remember that I had unplugged something from a nearby outlet the other day--the stirrer must have shifted and was suddenly all-too-responsive to C# just above the bass clef staff.

The next Fantasia on tap for me is number 1. Telemann wrote this one in A Major. Alan Raph's edition also has this one in A Major (the only one in the set where Raph keeps Telemann's original key); however, Raph's is published in tenor clef. For this one I'll be using my own transcription, which is in D Major (don't worry, I'll dig into that discussion in another post).

I'm particularly excited about this one. I'll discuss it in more depth over the coming days--hopefully post some video too. Suffice it to say that in this piece Telemann uses some neat compositional tricks, and the second movement (adagio) contains a section that's just stunningly beautiful.

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