Dealing with rapid passages

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Despot, Jun 14, 2005.

  1. Despot

    Despot Member

    Hi All,

    Me and my mate on euph are having a bit of bother with the speed of some passages, and the MD is pushing for a faster and faster tempo.

    Any advice on how to deal with them?
  2. gaz

    gaz New Member

    correct rhythm & the right note at the begining of each group then just deny anything afterwards
  3. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    change the rhythms around so when you come to play it normally it's easier...
  4. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    ^A very good idea (you can also change articulation)
    For example if you have a slurred semiquaver run, you can play it
    - as dotted semiquaver/ hemi-semiquaver
    - as hemi-semiquaver/dotted semiquaver
    - all tongued
    - tongue them in pairs
    - tongue the first one, then the rest in pairs

    If it is a long run for example 70 or so semi-quavers in a row (cough, cough, HBB), you may want to practise playing the first four notes together at tempo, then skip the first note and play notes 2-5 together at temp, then 3-6, etc...
    once that is up to speed do notes 1-8 together, then 3-10 together, then 5-12 together
    once THAT is up to speed then 1-12 together, then 5-16 together, then 9-20 together, etc... until you've built up to the entire thing.
  5. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    Hehe... you wanted it Pat... :p
  6. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    I don't recall asking for 116 out of a possible 120 semiquavers in a row!!
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2005
  7. TuTuKu

    TuTuKu Active Member

    I play difficult things to a metronome, starting so slow, you don't have to think at all...n then just gradually increase the speed, but only gradually, 'til you can whizz thru it!
  8. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    Sometimes its not a bad idea to practise above the mark on the metronome either as when you slow it back down its easier!

    (In case you can't all tell, I've been doing alotof this lately)
  9. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    You mean you're dropping a whole 4 semis?! :eek:, shocking!
  10. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member gave me 1 crochet in the middle (I assume to sneak a breath) :p
  11. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    Oh yea.. of course (!)

    (Anyway, better get back on topic before the mods get irate..)
  12. Rach_Horn

    Rach_Horn Member

    start slow, when it feels ok speed up a little and so on, until it's at the speedyou want/need it. You'll know when it feels right.
  13. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    As a number of the good folk have already said, practice it slowly.

    One of my old teachers used to say that "...If you can't play it slowly, you'll never play it quickly".

    When you play it slowly, use 'positive' fingering, and still play rhythmically. Exaggerate the rhythmic pulse and keep repeating it a bit at a time, so that your finger muscles learn what to do. Half the trick of fast playing is patterning. If your fingers know what to do already, all your brain has to do is to tell them to do it.

    Another thing, if your MD is putting you under pressure, tell him/her to get lost. That kind of pressure will only slow you down.

    Another thing that will help your coordination is to keep your tongue light. Play it quietly, whatever the dynamic - while you are practising. Get your tongue into the habit of playing lightly. Fast passages often need delicacy of control, rather than brute force. That's something that a lot of bandsmen forget.

    Finally, if all else fails, you could always resort to codeine phosphate. ;)

  14. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    I will join the league of people who are giving the "work at it slowly" advice.

    Use a metronome and be brutal with yourself about being EXACTLY in time with the metronome. Only one it is absolutely perfect at a slower speed (including dynamics, style, articulation, everything) are you allowed to turn the metronome up a notch. Again, work at it to perfection (not to "I can play this correctly" but to "this won't go wrong"), then up the tempo again.

    Always work something up beyond the speed that is required, be prepared for an MD to get a dose of adrenalin on the day and suddenly conduct it faster than you have yet rehearsed it (this happens more than it should).
  15. BbBill

    BbBill Supporting Member


    Sorry! (thats what I do, ......sometimes!) giving away some bass player's tricks there! ;)

    Seriously, just follow what all has been said already, and you should be there, good luck!
  16. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    yup.. not rocket science here I'm afraid...
    Slow it down.... and practise it in small groups... for instance.... u have semi-quaver passage lasting a bar in 4/4.... practise the LAST 5 semis first.... (this is, the 4th beat and assuming there's a first beat in the next bar....) then take 3rd beat semi's and first semi in 4th beat.... then practise beat 3 and 4, into next bar..... then 2nd beat into 3rd.... 2nd, 3rd and 4th into next bar... and so on..... the pattern goes on.... eventually you'll have the whole bar under your fingers at a steady tempo.... then just build the tempo up slowly and it'll get there eventually :)

    If needed, ask the MD to slow it down in rehearsal.... which, he/she should have done anyway tbh to help you out! :p

    Good luck... I'm sure it'll be fine :)
  17. Big Gav

    Big Gav Member

    Break the passage up into smaller sections and learn each section before you continue. Then try joining a couple of sections together and build it up like that.
    Went to Detroit with White River Brass in May and picked up some interesting tips from Owen Farr (solo horn Buy As You View Band). He practices technical passages very slowly but slams the valves down strongly, and also lifts the fingers off the valve caps when not needed. When he then plays the passage up to speed, and with the fingers on the valve caps, it is considerably easier to manage.
    I remember preparing Jazz(Wilby) for the Area contest whilst at Faireys with Howard Snell conducting. We played the opening section at slower than half tempo for a few rehearsals and Mr Snell would not budge with the tempo. You can imagine the reaction of some of the players when we were still playing the piece at half tempo a few days before the contest! When we finally came to play the piece at the proper tempo it was amazing, with all the parts fitting correctly. We then went to Blackpool and won the contest.

    Gavin Saynor

    * Get hold of Howard Snells book "The Trumpet:Its Practice and Performance". The book contains sections specifically on how to tackle technical passages.
  18. uncle eric

    uncle eric Member

    wow! that quick from a Bb bass player????????

    the minims must have flown by


    uncle eric
  19. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Yeah as has been said - slow and sure to start then speed up gradually. Another tip I find (somtimes) useful is to work backwards...start with getting the last group right first so you're always moving into familair territory.
  20. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    ... wot's the piece? (3rd mvt. of The Dragon?)