1. Welcome, to Weissenborn study #21. I am Terry Ewell.
This is a very challenging study in many aspects. Rhythmically the study is difficult for students to perform. Take, for instance, the first measure. This is best mastered with eighth note subdivisions. You must subdivide the dotted quarter note in order to perform it accurately.
Example 1. Performance of m. 1 with subdivisions indicated.
2. Notice how I arrange my marks for eighth notes. The longer marks indicate the beats and the shorter marks indicate the middle of beats. I find that this helps me better keep track of the rhythm.
3. The turn in measure 3 of the first line is another place that needs to be subdivided. I will first tongue eighth notes and then play it as written.
Example 2. Performance of m. 3 with subdivisions indicated.
4. Be sure to study the written out 32nds Weissenborn has supplied with measure 3.
5. Weissenborn does not provide written notations for the turns in line 2, the last measure. I play this as a sixteenth, triplet 32nds, and two sixteenths:
Example 3: performance and written notation.
6. One of the other difficult measures for correct rhythmic performance is found in line 6, the 1st measure. The eighth note subdivisions again help with accuracy.
Example 4: performance and written notation.
7. Once the notes are mastered, however, there is still more practice to be done! Weissenborn marks the beginning cantabile and the recapitulation con espressione. Thus, the music needs to be “sung” and with expression. This is best done by feeling quarter note beats and moving the music forward to musical goals and relaxing the music after those goals are reached. Please consider my discussion in Bassoon Digital Professor #100 about how motion is made in music.
8. I will be discussing more completely how to practice trills in Study #37. However, here in line 2, measure 1 consider how to create a long trill that is musically shaped by increasing in speed. Don’t play it in a totally metronomic fashion like this:
Example 5 poor.
9. Instead practice shaping the trill in different ways.
Example 5 good.
10. Last of all I use the alternative fingerings for Gb2 and Ab2 in line 6. In the music I mark alternative fingerings with an upside down “A.”
11. Let’s look at some of the fingerings for trills and mordents in this study. For the first trill in line 2, measure 1 we use the normal fingerings. Start C4 with the flick key and then trill between C and D. In line 2 we have the first occurrence of mordents in the Weissenborn studies. The fingerings for these mordents are also the standard fingerings. So for E4 to F4 use your standard E to F, and for C4 to D4 use your standard C to D fingerings.
12. However, let’s discuss the mordent a little bit. In the Baroque period and the contemporary use of the German term “mordent” has a downward motion. You can observe this in the German editions of the Weissenborn Bassoon School. However, in the English language the term “mordent” means an upward motion. The Germans call this a short trill or a pralltriller. This can be confusing for English speakers because mordent in English is an upward motion whereas in the Baroque period and the contemporary German usage it is downward. Mordents are played at differing speeds. You can see in the upper example there are triplet 16ths and in the bottom example there are even faster notes.
13. In line 3, measure 1 the trill here is from Bb3 to C4. This is a trill that needs to be made by moving the ring fingering in the left hand. And in line 6, measure 3 we have a trill from C to Db. You have two choices here. The one I favor is trilling the D key and the C# key. This, however, can be a little more awkward. The second choice is to use the C# trill key that is on the instrument. This is of course a very easy trill to execute. However, I find the interval, the distance between C4 and Db4 to be a little too narrow. For that reason I choose the first alternative.