Basics of Baroque String Playing
Instructor: Alan Choo (Artistic Director, Red Dot Baroque)
Duration: 6 x 90-min session
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This is a beginner’s guide into the world of baroque performance style with baroque violinist Alan Choo, geared for performers, teachers and music students. Commonly-encountered issues such as tempo and meter, bowings and fingerings, phrasing and ornamentation will be covered on a topical basis every week, together with case studies and musical examples which the entire class will try out together. The course ends with a chance to individually workshop a baroque piece of choice with the instructor to consolidate all the learning points from the course.
Week 1: Introduction
- What does it mean to take a historically informed approach?
- What does it mean in relation to modern instruments?
- Understanding the baroque violin and bow, and its impact on baroque playing
- Case study: “John Come Kiss” exercise – Text and music – Beat hierachy – Divisions
Week 2: Historical fingerings and bowings
- Case study: Practise putting in historical fingerings and bowings and playing them
Week 3: Articulation; consonants and vowels
- Slurs and separate bows
- Usage of bow
- Brief look at manuscript sources and editions
- Case studies
- *By this week, all participants should have chosen their final presentation piece
Week 4: Phrasing, rhetoric and gesture
- Doctrine of the affections
Week 5:Basic ornamentation
- Basic dance movements and their characteristics
- Case studies
Week 6: Final presentation
Every student performs his or her chosen piece incorporating all the ideas from this course, and we discuss as a class. Scores to be disseminated to all participants beforehand.
Singaporean violinist Alan Choo has established himself on the global stage as a leading soloist, chamber musician and historical specialist. He made his solo debut at the Tanglewood and Ravinia Music Festivals 2017 with Apollo’s Fire, the Grammy Award-winning baroque orchestra in the United States with which he currently serves as Artistic Leadership Fellow and takes on soloist, concertmaster and guest director roles. He is also Founder and Artistic Director of Red Dot Baroque, Singapore’s first professional period ensemble, which has enjoyed multiple sold-out concerts and critical acclaim since their formation in August 2018. In May 2019 he was invited as guest concertmaster and soloist with the Shanghai Camerata, and has conducted masterclasses and workshops at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Baldwin-Wallace College, Bowling Green State University and Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, his alma mater.
There will be a practical element each week where the instructor provides participants with case studies and musical examples to try out the topics covered. At the last session of the course, each participant has the chance to workshop a baroque piece of his/her choice with the instructor, incorporating all the ideas covered in the past five sessions.
Please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions page for answers to any queries you might have.