Joe's Blog

Practice Technique Number 19: Achieving a Long Line

April 4, 2017

The simplest and most direct way of sustaining a long phrase, and retaining all the proper relationships among its parts, is based on the observation that a group of notes played more rapidly tends to hang together better than the same group of notes played much more slowly.

For example, if we need to create one long phrase out of 8 measures of 4/4 time, in an Andante tempo or slower, the simplest way to achieve this is first speed the beats way up and play it so that the entire 8 measures transpires in the time normally taken by just one of those measures.

One side effect of doing this is that something that sounds profound or solemn in the slower tempo sounds trite and foolish in a much faster tempo.  This is actually fine for our purposes because it gives a very different view of the phrase.

Then we start slowing down the tempo bit by bit.  And as we do we will find that the notes gradually go from sounding sillier to sounding profounder.  More importantly the glue that held the notes together in the faster tempo seems to still hold the notes together at the slower, and slower tempo.

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