Monday, December 08, 2008

is she cheating?

Classical music fans, please weigh in. Am I seeing this wrong, or is Sarah Chang absolutely NOT playing Air on the G String on the G String at all?!?!? I love Sarah, and I want to believe she's NOT playing on the A string.

22 comments:

Jill Corcoran said...

Moonie,
I don't know anything about anything when it comes to the violin but I sent the link to YA author and violin extaordinair Paul Yoo for the answer. http://www.myspace.com/paulayooviolin

Miriam S.Forster said...

I also am woefully ignorant of the violin, though I like classical music.

:-(

sarah said...

so not playing on the g string. it looks like the arrangement she is playing has been up by at least an octave (I played violin for fives years, viola for two. Never played the piece - but I would think that it would be easier to play it on one string on a cello... just my thought.

My orchestra teacher in junior high told me one that there was this one violinist who would sabatage his d, a and e strings so they would break during a performance just os that he would have to perform with playing only on the g-string.

And I thought being one string down durning rehearsal was bad!

Conduit said...

She is indeed playing on the A. However, Air on the G String is a later arrangement of Bach's piece, which was originally in D, so she could be playing in that key (without an instrument to hand I can't tell if that's so).

By the way, I didn't get any of this off Wikipedia.

Honest.

Crimogenic said...

Heck, it sounds great though! At least for we simple folks. :)

moonrat said...

conduit--care to explain?

Conduit said...

Moonrat: The piece is originally from Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major (thanks, Wikipedia!), but the version most people know as Air on the G String was a later arrangement by another musician. The piece was transposed to C, plus the melody was dropped a further octave so that it could be played entirely on the G string (standard violin tuning, high to low, being E-A-D-G).

Using my nice new Ibanez guitar, I was able to confirm that in the video you linked to, she is not only in the key of D, but also in a higher octave, thus matching Bach's original. I don't know if the piano part is as per Bach's original, or if this is a mash-up between the original and the later arrangement.

See, and you thought I was all about the dodgy old classic rock! For the record, my classical faves are Beethoven's Eroica Symphony, Mozart's 40th in G Minor, Orff's Carmina Burana (despite the whole Nazi thing, and it being 20th C rather than strict classical) and Bach's Toccata et Fugue (and again, stricly speaking, old J.S. was Baroque, not classical).

There, I'm done being a big fat know-it-all now! :)

JES said...

Conduit: that was an AMAZING comment. Seriously.

What are you, some kind of Renaissance man or something?!? :)

moonrat said...

you guys make me happy.

i'm reading a book about a violinist right now. it's called THE PASSION OF TASHA DARSKY. it's got me doing things like searching for videos of my favorite violinists on youtube. i even went so far as to break out my own violin after more than a year of not even touching it. it took me twenty minutes just to tune it, and by the time that was over i felt like i'd run a race and put it back in the case.

my favorite of all time is the Bruch. i think it's a phenomenal concerto.

Andromeda Romano-Lax said...

Oh rat-poop. I lost my last comment. Anyway, there is also a cello version on youtube by Julian Lloyd Webber, and he also plays it on the A string (highest cello string) which seems to be the conventional way -- though I would love to hear it played on that low, growly cello G string! (As Conduit explained, that was just an arrangement introduced by a post-Bach violinist.)

Moonrat -- you took out your violin. Hooray! Is a Ratty Editorial Quartet in the making? (A classical version of the Rock Bottom Remainders?)I'm sure there are lots of us out here who play scratchy instruments from our youth and wish we had a reason to practice more. (Or at all....)

green ray said...

Hey Conduit, last night in the restaurant where I work, they were playing a rock version of Mozart's 40th. I recognized it right away. One of the waitresses said, "I thought it was Tchaicovsky." "No," I said, "it's Mozart's 40th." She's going home to check it, but I know I'm right.

moonrat said...

Andromeda--ha! We have a guitarist, a cellist, and a violinist, albeit in different continents. We need a pianist, right? And a piece of music. Any suggestions?

Stuart Neville said...

An all-strings version of The Beatles' Paperback Writer, of course!

Ebony McKenna. said...

oh,
there I was thinking the You Tube piece was a frame out of synch, but what would I know?

pfffft!

Andromeda Romano-Lax said...

And after "Paperback Writer," we could soothe the souls of editors and writers with the Beatles' song "It's Getting Better All the Time." Maybe in the time it would take us all to learn our parts, it WOULD be getting better in publishing.

Kaytie M. Lee said...

How about a ukulele? It's a string instrument. You need a rhythm instrument in your classical ensemble!

No?

Sigh.

OMG. My word verification is "amamess."

Why, yes. Yes I am a mess.

JES said...

Re: the Moonrat International String Chamber Ensemble or whatever you're, er, editorial-assembling...

You know about NPR's national caroling party, no? Seems to me that'd be a fun way to do what you're talking about: start with one instrument's part already recorded, then use that as the background while you each play (and record) your part. Send 'em all to somebody who knows what they're doing in a studio and overlay it into a single long-distance multi-track recording.

I smell instant platinum!

moonrat said...

all right. who here knows about recording equipment?!

RedHawk said...

To complicate things a little, I believe that violins have changed, and modern instruments are tuned higher, have a longer neck, a heaver neck, and early instruments (including Stradivari) needed to be modified to play the modern violin music with the modern pitch.

writtenwyrdd said...

Wow, who knew so many people who stopped by here knew so much about stringed instruments. I. Know. Absolutely. Nothing.

JES said...

Hmm... Hard to believe not a single reader here "knows about recording equipment"!

Maree A. said...

I'm with Ebony...I thought the vid was a touch out of synch with actual bowing and fingering - hubby and I thought they might have overlaid the 'perfect' recording over the vid at some later stage. Boy, do I feel dumb....but reading all these smart bloggers' comments, I sho' learned a thing or three about the history of the piece :-).

Regardless of all the controversy on YouTube comments about the performance, it's evocative enough to make me seriously consider cutting my fingernails and digging out my old violin....except I get the feeling I'd be just like Moonie - tune it, try it, sigh deeply and put it away again.