[How to Practice] Lully Gavotte (Suzuki Violin Book 2)

Today, we’ll start working on Lully Gavotte in the Suzuki Book 2.

Who is Lully?

Jean Baptist Lully (1632-1687) is a mid-Baroque composer.

He was born in Italy, but later became French.

He worked in the court of Louis XIV of France, served as a composer and as a dancer.

Lully Gavotte actually is not by Lully?

As I mentioned in the Toy Symphony article: https://www.dearviolinstudents.com/toy-symphony-minuetto-and-finale/1982/ , it is sometimes not clear who actually composed the work in Classical music. scholars are always researching, studying and updating the information.

In the Suzuki Book 2, it indicated this Gavotte was composed by Lully. However, it was discovered that this is Marin Marais’s Pieces for viole (viola da gamba), Book 1, no.24 Rondeau. In this case, when the German violinist, Willy Burmester arranged this piece for the violin, he mistakenly wrote it as Lully’s work.

Marai’s Rondeau

I found the video which introduces this work as Marin Marais’s Rondeau. Let me put the video here. The instruments evolved through history. Let’s listen to the performance by viola da gamba and chambalon feeling the time going back to then. Do you hear the melody you are going to play? Thank you for the video, Reka Nagy !!

What is a Gavotte?

Gavotte is one of the dances in the Baroque period, and it was very popular at the time of Lully. As you can see in the music, Gavotte can be in 2/2 or 4/4, not slow, not fast, a middle tempo dance. Another feature of Gavotte is, it starts auftact (middle of a measure).

Do you remember what you learned previously in the Suzuki Book 2 ?  It is also a Gavotte, by Thomas. In addition, I’d like you to know that many of you learned Minuet and Bouree (by different composes) which are also Baroque dances.

3 tricky sections of Lully Gavotte【Suzuki Violin Book 2】

Very often, students find some difficulties in these three sections.
・m.10-m.12 (section A)  
・m.20 – m.21 (section B)
・m.22-m.23 (section C)

Section A

Lully Gavotte

What is difficult here is the rhythm and the use of the bow.
At this level, I recommend imitating your teacher’s playing, but for sure feeling the pulse at the same time. You do not need to over think, especially if you are young.

The tip of how to use the bow here can be never use too much bow when you play C and D (two 16th notes without slurs). It is true that you cannot produce the sound without moving your bow, however, you will be late, if you use too much bow.

Section B

Lully Gavotte mm.17-24

The difficulty here can be
・playing the trills and feeling (or counting) the pulse at the same time.
(Majority of the students do not have any difficulty playing the trills)
・There is an eighth rest, but it is not a long rest.
・and the bowing is down+down then.

Section C

The difficulty is intonation. You need to stretch your 4th finger and get the high C. You need to bring your second finger high for G# (which is right next to the 3rd finger), and you have to lower your index finger for Fnatural.

What to do when you find the difficult sections

  1. Practice the section until you feel comfortable.
  2. Now start several measures before and see if you can play through. If you encounter problems, practice repetitively and overcome them.
  3. Check if you can play the section without any problem even if you start playing from the beginning of the piece.

a tempo ma piu mosso

Do you see “a tempo ma piu mosso” at m. 21?
Let’s break it down and find out what it means:

a tempo = come back to the original tempo
ma = but
piu= more
mosso = with motion
piu mosso = faster than before

Therefore, “a tempo ma piu mosso” means “come back to the original tempo, but faster than before”
I’m sure you feel “ what does it mean??”

At the measure 20, there is “poco rit” which means a little slower, relax the tempo. And then, according to the ability of the player or the choice, one can come back to the original tempo, or play faster than the previous tempo. That is how I interpret it.

If someone says “faster than the original tempo” then you may think: How much faster? It can be a little faster, or clearly faster. I wonder which you would choose? The important thing you have to keep in mind is that no matter what tempo you choose, you still need to play well, and play beautifully. Some students can start expressing their ideas through music like this even at the Suzuki Book 2 level.

By the way, you can see Allegretto at the very beginning of the music, which means not as energetic as Allegro (with positive energy, cheerfully). With my interpretation it can mean you do not have to play too fast.

Introducing my audio: Let’s practice together !

I presented 5 different kinds of playing/practicing, so that you can use the time stamps and use the section which is best for you. The beginning two can be the final performance of the piece.

1. Violin and piano (let’s see how it is with piu mosso)
2. Violin and piano (let’s see how it is with a tempo only)
3. Under tempo practice with metronome ♩=72 If you cannot play through with this tempo, use the following section of sectional practice of section A, section A+B
4. Under tempo practice with metronome ♩=95. If you cannot play through with this tempo, use the following section of sectional practice of section A, section A+B
5. Practice with metronome half note=55

There are more article of pieces in Suzuki Violin Book 2:

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