Friday, December 16, 2011

Practice Guide for Keith Snell's Rondo Capriccio

This piece is the 2011-2012 North Carolina Middle School Honor Band flute audition piece.

Let's get started!

First, it is helpful to know what the title Rondo Capriccio means…

A capriccio is an instrumental piece in a lively tempo and brilliant style. Oh no—it’s going to be fast!;-)

In rondo form, a main theme (I’ll call it “A”) alternates with one or more contrasting themes. The number of themes can vary in a rondo and the recurring sections are often changed or shortened.

Rondo form of Keith Snell Rondo Capriccio:
A becomes Coda

So now you can relax a little-- the “A” music repeats a lot, so there is less music to learn!

Before trying to play the piece all the way through, I suggest practicing all the “A” materials, carefully comparing them for differences. Then practice “B/B1,” “C,” “D,” and the Coda.

The “A”, or returning section:
• Pickup to m 9- m 14
• Pickups to 33-m 40 --ends with a variation of the first statement, so we’ll call it “A1”
• Pickup to m 57- m 72
• Pickups to 105-112
“B” section : m 25-32
“B1” section: m 113-128 slight variation of the music in section “B”
“C” section m 49-56
“D” m 88-104
Coda: Pickup to m 129 begins as “A”, but then extends using the pattern from the “B” section.

Tips to improve your performance:

In the tempo of the piece, count out several measures in the piece in your mind and begin on the “+ of2” so your entrance makes rhythmic sense.

Make clear staccato notes, but be sure to phrase the notes in four or two measure units.

Breathe before the pickups to each occurrence of the “A’ or “A1” sections. This will help the listener to hear the structure of the piece.

Perfect the f3-e and e-f3 fingerings to eliminate any “blips’ between the notes. Also be careful to observe the g#’s in m 94. 95, 102. (G# is fingered the same way as A-flat)

Play beautiful high E’s. Use the wet inside parts of your lips together with your tongue to create fast air to keep from pinching or shrieking the high E’s.

Work for lovely vibrato and connected notes in the “D” section.

Double check that your quarter note pulse matches between each section.

Be sure to practice the coda a lot. Don’t just keep practicing the “A” section that seems so familiar by now! Make a big crescendo to the end and finish with a full tone and vibrato.

Other dynamics to be especially observant of:
Crescendo to F in m 32, 57, and 128
Subito p in m 126

Good luck on your audition!


Anamarie Gundersen said...

Hey there!
Tomorrow I have the honor of playing Rondo Capriccio for the Middle School North Carolina All District. I'm not sure if that is the same thing as Honor's Band, but I'm excited just the same. Your videos always help and motivate me to play and practice, but the Rondo Capriccio video and 'tutorial' really helped!
I know it's odd, but the place where I have the most trouble is measures 13-16. There is something about a transition to an F# from an E that I can't do. Maybe my pointer and middle fingers on my right hand don't pick up at the same time when the ring finger goes down, but it's been sounding...'funky'.
My audition is Saturaday. I don't know if you can, or if you even WANT to, but any tips and/or pointers would be magnificent.
A devoted fan,

Catherine said...

I'm glad you have found the video useful. Try leading with the middle finger of the right hand to correct the "funky" sound between E and F#. Good luck on your audition!

Anamarie Gundersen said...

Thank you so much, I will certainly try this as soon as possible! Auditions are tomorrow...is it normal to be completely scared out of my mind?

Catherine said...

It is normal to be excited, even anxious, before an audition or concert. Be sure to get a lot of sleep, avoid caffeine and sugar, breathe deeply, focus on what YOU are doing, not what on what everyone else is doing. Take time to think BEFORE you play. Know you can do it! Own the moment.