Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848)
Arranged by Paul Edmund-Davies
At the start of a practice session, a slow, long, sustained melody such as this, is a highly useful method for ensuring that lungs, lips, fingers and focus are instantly engaged.Although the movement between notes is moderately subdued in this exercise, consummate control of fingers will be required, to avoid lumps and bumps as keys are opened and closed. As the melodic line here is of a highly legato nature,it follows that fingers will need to mirror this in their operation.
With almost hymn like lines, this exercise is designed to encourage players to focus on the crucially vital moments which occur between notes, in particular when phrases are required to be played as legato as possible.Whether in scale or arpeggio format, to mask the inherent weaknesses within the instrument and to avoid unevenness in the melodic line, it will be necessary to commit physically to the all-important transition from one note to the next.
With a combination of slowly transitioning intervals and gently rolling scale passages, ardent care and intense focus will be required, in order to move from one note to the next as seamlessly as possible. Basically, the wider the interval, the sooner we are required to plan in advance. It will help immensely if, prior to arriving at the second note in every bar of the main theme, you are already hearing the pitch of that new note in your head. In order to maintain and nourish tone throughout every four bar phrase, it will be necessary to plan breathing carefully.
When it comes to the daily task of warming up, focus and concentration are two fundamental elements of the process that many of us struggle with. By definition, a warm up exercise needs to not be overcomplicated, allowing us that crucial extra space with which to gradually tone everything up, exploring and refining detail as we progress. However, invariably the components involved in this almost ritual process can be so simple and repetitive that our minds will inevitably wander, thus diluting much of the benefit to be gained. In this series of Progressive Warm Ups, whilst the concept is that themes are initially basic and of a simple nature, with a series of variations on the initial melody, demands on ability are steadily increased.As a result, with every new idea,we are stretched that extra little bit further.As we are increasingly challenged throughout each additional turn of the exercise, there can be little opportunity for our minds to wander. Passing through all keys and working on one key at a time, or continuously from start to finish through all, the exercise provides more than adequate material for warming up lungs, lips, fingers, tongue and perhaps most important of all, the brain.