Beginning, middle, etc etc

About playing the cello: something I read a while ago gave me the idea that a note is not, as I had previously thought, a dot on a page with a lot of other dots, but rather that one can break it down further upon closer examination, into a beginning, a middle, and an end. Since then, when playing, I think about that occasionally.
It doesn’t actually help, or it hasn’t so far, but it does make me think about my bowing, and I find it somehow encouraging to take this micro-view of each note and have the feeling that it will end up helping.
Most of the time, though, when I play, I’m still all, For god’s sake, look at all these notes! And I’m always like that in orchestra rehearsals.
I mentioned this micro-view of notes to my cello teacher and I had the feeling he wasn’t deeply impressed by it. He seems to tend more in the other direction, seeing a piece as phrases and arcs of music instead of individual notes, which also totally makes sense to me.
I wonder whether I’m just screwing myself up with this note anatomy thing.

3 responses to “Beginning, middle, etc etc

  1. I remember when I was briefly in a youth orchestra the conductor talking about this in relation to the different kinds of accents – how you can keep the same emphasis through the whole note, or gently push and pull off so that there’s a little crescendo and decrescendo in each note. It can be very satisfying to concentrate on crafting each note like that, though you’re right, you wouldn’t want to do it all the time.

  2. hi mig, no, your micro vision is exactly right and one of the great beauties of playing. as sandor vegh would have said, every note is curved. every note has a beginning, a middle and an end. it is coming from somewhere and going somewhere and in the middle it has a wee lull or a new impulse….that’s why the bow is bow shaped and not straight. as vegh would have said (again) everything in nature is curved. nothing is straight except concrete. notes are like wavelets. keep up your exploration. it’s what it’s all about.

  3. mig

    thanks, guys.