Warmup/technique – SI exercises; SA exercises = P4-M2 leading with both inside and outside mallets, up and down keyboard; DV exercises
5s (hands separate) – worked both RH/LH (separately) at 62-73bpm; decided on a few sticking changes (!!!!!) that includes more reliance on the inner mallets – needed for the faster tempo due to the striking angle needed for hands together; I also toyed with the idea (early on in determining stickings, and again this week) of using alternating 3434 or 1212 sticking, but the volume and accuracy is extremely difficult at the needed tempo (and I am assuming that I can get the whole piece to at least 80bpm, even though the composer calls for 100bpm!); so, the resulting stickings for the 5s are unison SI strokes played mostly with the inner mallets… it is a workout, for sure, but at the moment this seems like the best solution. BUT, as we know, solutions to problems change over the course of learning a piece (especially learning a piece that has never been played before), so the ending solution may yet to be determined. 😉
5s (hands together-with new sticking) – worked together without metronome, but around 35-40bpm (only measure still giving me trouble at this tempo is m. 58, beats 2-5)
FYI – 5s hands together is totally memorized!!
40-end – hands separate at 70bpm, playing unmetered SA rolls throughout. Both hands were a bit fatigued (from the constant rolling) by the end of this exercise, so endurance is still an issue – at tempo it won’t take as long, but the issue will likely still be present, so it is good to play through slowly for now. I am also (intentionally) practicing with slightly softer mallets today, which makes it harder to get the high notes to resonant with a full sound. Practicing a instrument is very similar to coordinating a good workout routine… push a little here and there, work different muscle groups, sometimes push a lot for short bursts, sometimes take it easy for long bursts, etc.)
QUESTION FOR MICHAEL: Sometimes you indicate (same, or differing) dynamics for treble and bass clef parts; sometimes you indicate dynamics only under the treble clef part; twice there are parenthetical reminders under the bass clef part that indicate it either does or does not follow the treble clef dynamics (mm. 66-does not, and 132-does). So, the question is… are the dynamics for each clef completely isolated, to be played as indicated below each staff? Or, are there instances (such as mm. 62-64, 80-84, 100-107, 131-136) that I should apply the dynamics to both clefs?
40-end (hands together) – 70bpm; really good…. I am leaning towards playing mostly SA rolls, but utilizing ripple rolls (especially in the longer rolls) when the volume needs to be pushed to enhance/vary the textures. (I am curious about Michael’s preference… he has indicated that he definitely has preference for one of the versions I sent him, but has not yet told me which he prefers. I have a feeling that we are probably on the same page, but not sure, so I look forward to hearing from him!) Also, it is great to note that playing with two hands is actually much less taxing than playing through each hand separately… likely the hands don’t have to work so hard when they are together, so the fatigue I mentioned earlier isn’t really a problem.
To end this session, I did a final run of 40-end with the soundscape field recording of China Lake that Michael sent me last week… I like the result, both sounds are so beautiful. I’m afraid, though, that one would distract from the other. One idea I had was to have the recording fade in as the marimba part reaches forte in the last few measures, and remain softly in the distance until maybe 20-30 seconds after the last note is played.
Worked on problem measures identified two days ago (hands separate and together at 90-100bpm). It seems that these measures are much easier to play when taken out of context and played alone. I think the issue is more with mental visual focus in these more dense and constantly changing sections of the piece. However, I think working them isolated is helpful to make my brain and arms think they are easy. 😉