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471. The next large section is the recapitulation of subsections (2b) in the second theme group marked by strummed pizzicato in mm. 477-493, and subsection (2c) in mm. 494-504 with an elaboration of this theme that culminates in a transitional passage in mm. 505-516 that modulates back to B major. Subsection (2d) is recapitulated in mm. 517 in B major with the same cimbalom imitation that continues with pizzicato material from the development in mm. 567-582. This material, which was first heard in the development, is repeated twice in C♯ major and C major before a sequence that features glissando pizzicato in mm. 582-594, a new variation on this idea (Figure 62). Kodály’s use of this technique was certainly one of the earliest (if not the earliest) in the repertoire for cello. A chromatic, ascending pizzicato passage continues in mm. 595-604 and intensifies the approach to the coda.
The coda begins in m. 618 and includes some development of previously heard material.
For example, the transitional motive heard throughout the movement is prominently featured in the coda both in its original form and in an elaborated form first heard in m. 620. The elaborated form features a variation in the rhythm that is subsequently syncopated in mm. 624-637.
Harmonically, the motive is used in sequence beginning in B major and nearly outlines the pitches found in the anhemitonic pentatonic scale first heard in the first movement: B-D-(E)F♯A-B (Figure 63). The next large section is a series of arpeggios that first alternates between B major and B minor in mm. 642-653, before arriving on a B major arpeggio and beginning a series of rhythmic variations in mm. 654-658. The rhythmic variation begins with sixteenth notes, becomes a quintuplet and sextuplet in mm. 654-656, before reverting to sixteenths with a change in articulation in mm. 657-658. The rhythmic variation in mm. 654-656 could be considered a literal translation of the mordents found in mm. 648-653. The last rhythmic variation in mm. 657-658 contains a diminution of the eight note motive found in m. 1 on the second beat of the measure. The final section of the coda features an ascending passage that
measure between B major and B minor in mm. 666-670 by using both D♯ and D natural.
Figure 63: mm. 618-641. Opening of the coda based on the original transitional motive and a new variation of that motive.
7.5 Saltato and Ricochet Bow Strokes The opening eight bars of the third movement feature two types of bow strokes: saltato in mm. 1-4, and ricochet in mm. 5-6, each of which requires specific physical motions to execute.
The word saltato comes from the Italian word saltare which means “to jump.” Saltato is not necessarily considered a part of the taxonomy of bow strokes, but is more akin to a style or desired sound. In this case, Kodály has indicated that mm. 1-4 be played in the jumping saltato style. Either way, a particular kind of stroke has to be used to achieve the desired effect and for the sake of simplicity I will refer to it as saltato. In a saltato stroke each note is played with a
bounce that articulates the remaining notes. The term jeté (from the French for “throw”) could also be used to describe this particular stroke because in this case the cellist has to throw the bow somewhat on the down bows on the downbeats of mm. 5 and 6. The point at which the bow will bounce depends on the placement of the bow which in turn will depend on the location of the balance point. The balance point varies in every bow because of variables in the weight of the frog, the type and density of the wood (or carbon fiber) used for the stick, and thickness of the hair. On my bow the balance point is approximately seven inches from the frog, not too far from the middle of the bow.
Although the saltato and ricochet strokes produce different effects, the physical motions required to play each stroke are related. There are two basic physical factors at work in the saltato stroke: the horizontal motion of the right arm, and the vertical motion that begins by dropping the bow from the air and results in the bouncing of the bow. The motion of the bow should come from the shoulder and the whole arm should move rather than using the smaller units of the arm (forearm, wrist, fingers). In mm. 1-4 the stroke is a simple “down bow-up bow” stroke on the B and F♯ strings. It is easy to overlook the importance of producing the right kind of physical motion for this stroke, but getting the right feeling in the right arm in these measures is critical to initiating the ricochet stroke in mm. 5-6. I found it difficult in mm. 5-6 (and at the repetition in mm. 13-14) to make the ricochet stroke bounce evenly, thus clearly articulating all the notes under each slur. The bow would often bounce on the first two sixteenths, but ran out of bounce on the third and fourth notes. My initial solution was to focus on the vertical aspect of the stroke. I tried a combination of lifting my arm higher, tightening the bow, and rolling the bow
Unfortunately, none of these things individually or in concert completely solved the problem. I experimented with playing the figure without the ricochet stroke and realized I had to incorporate more horizontal motion in my right arm to make the stroke work.
Once I figured out that the success of the stroke is reliant a combination of motions, I had to find the right balance between the vertical and horizontal motions. An excess of horizontal motion will put the bow in a less than ideal place for the two up bow eighth notes, and too much vertical motion will result in a loss of articulation and clarity. The addition of more horizontal motion certainly improved the quality of the stroke, but it lacked consistency. In my practice I decided to play the pattern on open strings to rule out any interference from the left hand and to concentrate fully on the physical aspects of the right arm. One of the things that I experimented with was simply dropping the bow on the string and seeing whether or not the bow would continue to bounce on its own. I discovered that the bow will bounce quite easily but only if the right hand is completely relaxed. If the right hand grips the bow even slightly, this tension will dampen the natural bounce in the bow. With regard to the passage in mm. 5-6 there are now three basic parts to the ricochet equation: 1) horizontal motion from the shoulder, 2) vertical motion, and 3) a total relaxation of the right hand when the bow hits the string. The relaxation of the right hand should occur between the last note in m. 4 (and m. 12) and the vertical drop on the down beat of m. 5 (and m. 13). All of these elements produced the most consistent ricochet stroke.
7.6 Drones One of the most prevalent features of this movement is the use of a drone or pedal tone.
string, and at other times the drone is simply a repeated or alternated pitch. For my own purposes, I classify the drone as an open string or another pitch that is sustained while the melody is played, and a pedal tone as a pitch that is repeated throughout a particular passage.
Although the effect is striking and unique, drones can drown out the melody, especially when the drone is an open string. Furthermore, I found that in my own playing of the movement there was a tendency to get carried away and play everything loud and intensely even though it was not necessarily appropriate to do so. There are moments when turning down the volume is important for the pacing and clarity of the movement as well as for the energy of the performer. The drones can add bombast and noise where there should be none and lowering the intensity level not only makes them more playable but helps the cellist shape the movement musically.
Alleviating the drone problem boils down to the vertical distribution of the bow over two (or three) strings. When playing two strings simultaneously the bow can apply equal weight to both strings or it can give more weight to one of the strings. There are several examples in the third movement when the cellist can give more emphasis to one of the strings to help balance the drone and the melodic line. The melodic line will almost always be of greater importance than the drone that provides harmonic support or color of some kind. What I realized about playing many of these drones is that the open strings, whether above or below the melodic line, will always resonate more easily thus making it easier to drown out the moving line. For example, the figure in mm. 42-44 (including the pickup to m. 42) has a meandering improvisatory line in sixteenth notes above repeated eight notes on the open D string below (Figure 64).
I found it easy to simply saw away with the bow and not pay any attention to the balance between the drone and melodic line. However, more often than not, the open string completely obscured the moving line. To mitigate this I focused the weight of the bow toward the A string and released the weight from the D string as quickly as possible knowing that the open string will ring without much help from the bow. The first subsection of the second theme group in mm. 62-65 and the transposed version in mm. 458-461 pose similar problems for the bow (Figure 65). In these two instances the melodic lines are both in the lower range of the cello, on the less brilliant F♯ string, and are easily overpowered by the adjacent open strings.
Figure 65: mm. 62-65, mm. 458-461.
Again, I concentrated the bow and my arm weight on the F♯ string to bring out the
apply. Additionally, I would suggest playing these figures somewhat closer to the bridge because the string with the moving line will be on more equal terms with the adjacent string with regard to height. Stopping any string with the left hand lowers the height of the string relative to the adjacent open string but playing near the bridge where the tension keeps the string higher may help even things out for the bow.
The strummed pizzicato figures in the (2b) section of the second theme group in the exposition also have a drone that can become problematic. The first occurrence of strummed pizzicato in mm. 78-96 has a persistent open F♯ that depending on the way the strumming is executed can become unnecessarily loud (Figure 66).
Figure 66: mm. 78-96. Subsection 2b of the second theme group. F♯ drone in pizzicato passage.
Lessening the impact of the open string can be accomplished through changing the direction of the strum and the angle at which the fingers of the right hand hit the strings. Kodály
strumming the chords from the top in mm. 81-96. The volume of the open string is not as critical in mm. 78-80 since the chord is repeated for two measures. However, as the chords begin to take on a more melodic character in mm. 81-96, it is important that those changes come out of the texture. I did not change the direction of the strumming in this passage, rather the angle at which my right hand approached the chords. I began playing this passage by approaching the strings at a more perpendicular angle, making it possible to make equal contact with all three strings. At this angle the naturally higher F# string made it easy for my fingers to make the most contact and thus play it louder. When I changed the angle of approach from perpendicular to a more diagonal angle to the strings my fingers made direct contact with the top notes of the chord and only glanced the F# string. Despite the almost accidental contact with the F♯ string, there was still enough resonance to provide harmonic support.
7.7 Pizzicato Pitfalls Pizzicato is often overlooked by many string players who take for granted the seemingly easy task of plucking a string. One lesson that I have taken away from this piece is the variety with which a string player can play pizzicato. The point on the string at which it is plucked, the part of the finger used, or whether it is plucked or strummed with the right or left hand are all variables in the equation of sound. Since this piece incorporates a variety of pizzicato techniques and options for different kinds of sound, the cellist does not have the option of overlooking any of these passages. That being said, not all of the pizzicato passages in the third movement were of equal difficulty. In some passages the configuration of the left hand was more of an issue, and in other cases coordinating the motions of the right and left hands was problematic.
66-69, mm. 75-77, and again in the recapitulation in mm. 471-473. In this passage the bow is playing quarter notes using a kind of accented portato stroke while the left hand plays pizzicato on the offbeats of each quarter note (Figure 67). This type of rhythm is known as an estam rhythm and is common in Hungarian folk music.67 Figure 67: mm. 66-69, mm. 75-77, mm. 471-473. Examples of the estam rhythm.
Although these passages are in different keys and thus have different left hand challenges, the coordination between the right and left hands was difficult for me in the early stages of learning this movement. I found that it was a matter of isolating each phenomenon (the 67 Smith, 37-38, as quoted in Bálint Sárosi, Gypsy Music, Tranlated by Fred Macnicol, Gypsy Music (Budapest, Corvina Press, 1978). The estam rhythm is one in which an accompanying instrument known as the kontra plays the offbeat eighth notes.