A feedback from cello players would be appreciated.
 

A feedback from cello players would be appreciated.

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A feedback from cello players would be appreciated.    11:46 on Thursday, June 04, 2009 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

AmateurComposer
(85 points)

I am working now on a section of a trio where the cello plays the main theme. I would appreciate feedback from cello players regarding notation readability.

The highest pitch in this theme is 4B, i.e., the B immediately above the middle C. If this note is written under the bass clef it requires four leger lines. The lowest pitch is 3C, i.e., an octave below the middle C. Written under the tenor clef, this note is placed just below the bottom line of the staff.

Under which clef would the notation be easier for a cello player to read? Bass or tenor?


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Re: A feedback from cello players would be appreciated.    15:00 on Friday, June 05, 2009 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

heckno_techno
(8 points)

I would use tenor clef hands down. Ledger lines are a pain to read and take time to figure out what the note is. Most of the time if a piece I'm playing has that many ledger lines, I simply write in the name of the note or write in a fingering, but with tenor clef, notes become incredibly more simple to decipher.

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Re: A feedback from cello players would be appreciated.    11:10 on Sunday, June 07, 2009 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

AmateurComposer
(85 points)

Thank you very much for your response.

I am aware that leger lines create readability problems. On the other hand, in my efforts to understand music readability concerns of instrument players, I learned that viola players are comfortable with the treble clef only in high pitch notes, not when the pitch is low. I was concerned that cello players might have similar problems with the tenor clef.

Are you telling me that low pitch notes under tenor clef, such as 3C, pose no readability problems for cello players?


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Re: A feedback from cello players would be appreciated.    20:43 on Sunday, June 07, 2009 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

bobmrbassman
(59 points)

I am a little confused unless you are actually talking about the B four ledger lines ABOVE the bass clef. This would be two ledger lines above the tenor clef or the middle line of the treble clef.
Four ledger lines below the bass clef would be an F.
I play both Cello and trombone and with trombone I have always read this note (B above middle C) in bass clef but on cello I am comfortable in either tenor or in treble clef. Makes no difference to me. But above this note, I would prefer treble clef.
The lower note (C) you are talking about is the second space up from the bottom of the bass clef and is an octave above the bottom of the cello range which is C two octaves below the middle C. I am more at ease in bass clef there and I would venture to say so would most cellists.
Bob

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Re: A feedback from cello players would be appreciated.    01:21 on Monday, June 08, 2009 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

wecky
(126 points)

The secret cellists don't want anybody to know is that we suck at reading tenor clef.

I'd leave it in the bass clef for as long as possible and only change to tenor if you are staying in the 'nether-regions' for any long period of time!

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Re: A feedback from cello players would be appreciated.    08:06 on Monday, June 08, 2009 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

bobmrbassman
(59 points)

Hi Wecky, I had a problem with reading tenor clef for the longest time until my teacher let me in on her secret. She said just pretend your are reading bass clef and go up one string.
Bob

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Re: A feedback from cello players would be appreciated.    11:22 on Monday, June 08, 2009 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

AmateurComposer
(85 points)

Thank you both for your response.

You got it right, Bob, there is no confusion. The middle C is 4C (or C4, if you wish), the C at the bottom of the cello range is 2C, and 3C is the note I am concerned about. I agree that normally this note should be written under the bass clef, while 4B should be written under either the tenor clef or the treble clef. The reason I started this discussion is that in this case these two notes, 4B and 3C, are very close to each other. They reside in neighbouring measures, and the distance between them is about a measure. Since I agree with Wecky that frequent clef switching is not desirable, I prefer to place both notes under the same clef, realizing that some inconvenience is in the tradeoff. My question is which clef you will vote for under these circumstances, bass or tenor?

I sympathise, Wecky, with your difficulties in getting used to the tenor clef (I saw your posting elsewhere on this subject). Like it or not, since you chose to play the cello, you will have to become comfortable with all three clefs, plus the confusion regarding the treble clef being noted either as is or an octave above. My question to you is: since you hate so much the tenor clef, do you prefer four leger lines under the bass clef?



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Re: A feedback from cello players would be appreciated.    12:36 on Monday, June 08, 2009 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

bobmrbassman
(59 points)

Well, I have to admit I am not familiar with the numbers 2C, 3C, and 4C but the C that would be just below the tenor clef wouldn't be a problem for me if I was already reading the piece in tenor clef. I am looking at an example right now. It is the song "Vocalise" by Rachmaninoff. All except the last five measures are written in tenor clef and the high note is the B above middle C and the low is E just above the bottom line. Two notes lower wouldn't bother me. The last five measures are in treble and shift there when the song goes above the B above middle C. It starts at C above middle C and goes up to the E at the top space of the treble clef but when it comes down it stays on the treble clef until the end and ends on E at the bottom of the staff. Also the change to treble clef occurs on the after beat of first beat not at the beginning of the measure.

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Re: A feedback from cello players would be appreciated.    13:35 on Monday, June 08, 2009 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

AmateurComposer
(85 points)

Thank you very much, Bob. You answered my question. Now I know your preference.

I was puzzled by your confusion and I spent some time thinking about it. I believe that I now understand why you were confused. You interpreted my expression "under the clef" as if it means "below the staff" while it actually means "under the control of the clef."

Please let me clarify myself. The way I see it, a note can be placed below the staff or above the staff or somewhere within the staff, but its actual meaning is always under the control of some clef.

By the way, just in case you do not know, the ambiguity regarding cello treble clef requires some attention. Beethoven's treble clef notation for the cello is an octave above, so that performers play it an octave below the notation. Apparently this was the convention at the time. Today it is common to notate it as is. I do not know what convention did Rachmaninoff use. You might want to find out before you spend too much time practicing it. Before I knew this, I made this mistake by misinterpreting the notation of the solo celli in Rossini's William Tell overture.



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Re: A feedback from cello players would be appreciated.    15:53 on Monday, June 08, 2009 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

bobmrbassman
(59 points)

OK, this is the line that confused me, "If this note is written under the bass clef it requires four leger lines" so I thought you meant so many ledger lines under the staff but it sounded like you were talking out the other side of your mouth about a note that could be only four ledger lines above the bass staff. Clef was the key word instead of staff so I am glad that is cleared up.
The Vocalise I have listened to others play it, the first being my teacher who was the principle chair of the local symphony. Unfortunately she has passed away now from cancer so I no longer have her guiding me. I do like to take a song written in treble and play it an octave lower just for my own enjoyment especially before I could play it in the proper place.
I usually take a new song and try to find someone playing it so I can tell the proper phrasing, tempo,etc. I think my favorite right now is Miklos Perenyi but there are so many good masters it is hard to pick the best. I have an old teacher of mine that I write letters to that is 92 and he says always try to emulate others and watch how they do it. And that is good advice. So I do a lot of watching the old and new masters on you tube. That way I can look at their methods as well as listen.

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Re: A feedback from cello players would be appreciated.    17:32 on Monday, June 08, 2009 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

AmateurComposer
(85 points)

Bob,

I am very sorry to hear about your loss of your teacher to cancer.

I am in no position to offer you any advice regarding performance. Still, I would like to suggest that while it is OK for you to compare with contemporaries in the net, you are better off taking examples from the professionals. I am not familiar with the Vocalise by Sergei Rachmaninov, but I figured out that there might be some records of the piece. I did some search and found one recording of a cello performance of this piece, and I believe that more are available. The cello performer of the one I found is Elémér Lavotha, the title of the piece is "Songs (14), Op. 34: no 14, Vocalise by Sergei Rachmaninov" and the URL for the CD (which also contains other pieces for cello) is

http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/Drilldown?name_id1=9829&name_role1=1&comp_id=2365&bcorder=15&name_id=20460&name_role=2

at Arkiv Music, with which I have no business interest except that every now and then I order CDs from them. I do not know whether or not you will like this specific recording, but I felt that before I advise you to search I should do the first search myself. Well, it is all up to you. Good luck.




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Re: A feedback from cello players would be appreciated.    22:02 on Monday, June 08, 2009 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

bobmrbassman
(59 points)

The cellists I watch on you tube are all professionals and are masters of their trade dating from the early sixties to modern times. Thanks but I already have several CD's of cello music.


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Re: A feedback from cello players would be appreciated.    01:11 on Thursday, July 09, 2009 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

Scotch
(591 points)

You interpreted my expression "under the clef" as if it means "below the staff" while it actually means "under the control of the clef."

That's a very bizarre way to put it, and I'd have to say the preposition under is just plain wrong here. The correct preposition would be in.

As for the original question, there's really no way in hell you should write any pitch above A440 in the bass clef. Any cellist who has trouble reading the tenor clef would also have trouble playing a note above fourth position (which ends with the G directly below A440). If you're concerned about changing clefs too abruptly, simply put some of the surrounding notes in the tenor clef as well.

As for the nineteenth-century practice of witing notes an octave higher in the treble clef, you'll still find it occasionally in old scores, but you'll never find it in parts. Disregard it.


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Re: A feedback from cello players would be appreciated.    14:55 on Sunday, July 12, 2009 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

AmateurComposer
(85 points)


As for the nineteenth-century practice of witing notes an octave higher in the treble clef, you'll still find it occasionally in old scores, but you'll never find it in parts. Disregard it.


I am happy to read this. I am familiar with scores. I have not seen, as yet, any cello performance part. Performance parts of other instruments which I did see always agreed with the score, even in cases of confusing notation.



You interpreted my expression "under the clef" as if it means "below the staff" while it actually means "under the control of the clef."


That's a very bizarre way to put it, and I'd have to say the preposition under is just plain wrong here. The correct preposition would be in.


It depends on your point of view. It seems that you visualize the clef as a container, where every following note belongs to up until the next clef, the next container, and therefore you prefer the preposition IN. My problem with this point of view is it does not sit well with the common expression which I see here "over/under the clef" meaning above/below the staff.

My point of view is: the clef defines the staff, thus controlling the meaning of the following notes. The C clef defines which line represents the middle C, the G clef defines which line represents the G above the middle C, and the F clef defines which line represents the F below the middle C. Therefore, the notes are under the control of the preceding clef.

My visual difficulty with the preposition IN is the implication that the note is embedded in the body of the clef. Similarly, the commonly used expression here "over/under the clef" bothers me because it implies that the note is hanging over or dangling under the clef itself like the number 8 in the case of an octave shifted treble clef.

When I initially posted my query I was not aware of the possible misunderstanding. Now that I am aware of it, I intend to say explicitly "under the control of the ... clef." I hope that this will not cause any confusion.



As for the original question, there's really no way in hell you should write any pitch above A440 in the bass clef. Any cellist who has trouble reading the tenor clef would also have trouble playing a note above fourth position (which ends with the G directly below A440). If you're concerned about changing clefs too abruptly, simply put some of the surrounding notes in the tenor clef as well.



The secret cellists don't want anybody to know is that we suck at reading tenor clef.

I'd leave it in the bass clef for as long as possible and only change to tenor if you are staying in the 'nether-regions' for any long period of time!



I will leave it for you two to settle the matter. I hope that you can reach an agreement.

As for me, I have already set the tenor clef for eight measures including the two in question. It looks to me much better and clearer. I hope that the cello players will agree.

I am striving, as much as possible, to eliminate readability problems in my music. I am trying very hard to reach the point where players have no problems whatsoever reading my music and can exclusively concentrate on its performance.

To stress what I have already clarified, I was concerned about low pitch notes under the control of (or IN, if you wish) the tenor clef. I am very grateful to Bob for his response.


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Re: A feedback from cello players would be appreciated.    02:25 on Saturday, August 01, 2009 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

Scotch
(591 points)

It depends on your point of view.

No, it doesn't. It depends on knowing idiomatic English.

I will leave it for you two to settle the matter. I hope that you can reach an agreement.

There is really no contradiction here. As I explained, a cellist who "sucks at reading tenor clef" is necessarily a cellist who hasn't advanced very far, and a cellist who hasn't advanced very far is necessarily a cellist who isn't very adept at playing high notes. The tenor clef is for high notes (but don't be afraid to use it for lower notes as well to keep from changing clefs rapidly).

As for me, I have already set the tenor clef for eight measures including the two in question. It looks to me much better and clearer. I hope that the cello players will agree.

Eight measures might be a little much, but I'd have to see the part to say for sure.

I am striving, as much as possible, to eliminate readability problems in my music. I am trying very hard to reach the point where players have no problems whatsoever reading my music and can exclusively concentrate on its performance.

Reading is part of performing. Strive, rather, not to add superfluous difficulty.















   

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