Stick to your time signature.

Or at least warn me when you change it.

My teacher assigned me the exercise in the Friou book on page 81, which is notated in 3/4. I could not make heads nor tails of it. It struck me as a random concatenation of notes somewhat like bebop, where it sounds as if someone had a mouthful of 16th notes and sneezed into a trumpet.

Then, I decided to put it in MuseScore and listen to it until it made sense to me.

That’s when I realized that there are four measures in the middle of it that are basically in 4/4.

So I stuck the new time signature over those measures, and now I can make sense of the thing, and look forward to practicing it. Doing that even got rid of some ridiculous cross-measure ties that made no sense to me.

I kept trying to count it as a waltz in my head while playing it, and those four measures just aren’t a waltz.

Problem solved.

Here’s the PDF for those who are curious: Friou Exercise pg81


It’s inevitable, isn’t it?

That when you have a run of a few good days, you follow it up with a run of several bad ones?

I did discover though that I need to do scales before trying the exercises that Candace assigned. They seem to settle my hand position nicely, and that’s still not quite instinctive for me. I suspect it never will be entirely; one must always make sure that the fundamentals don’t work themselves loose.


So I couldn’t sleep last night, got up at 12am, and proceeded to do a bit of very, very quiet work. I think it was the “very, very quiet” part that changed things, and somehow I managed to do a [4 3] and play 3 … tentatively and quietly only, but it’s more than I could do before. I’m a bit in shock. I’ve been unable to do this for two and a half years, and now with one good chunk of exercises I’ve made small but existing progress. I’m not even sure what it is I’m doing differently.

I’m really taken aback by this, but in a pleasant way. I still can’t manage it with a fourth between 4 and 3, but adjacent strings is a breeze now, and the third is at least manageable as long as my hand’s not too far down the harp. I’ve changed the conditioning exercises that Candace assigned to exclude [C||F|A|C] because I can only manage that one by bracketing the unorthodox way, and I don’t want to develop the habit of doing that until/unless I know that I have no other choice.

Of course, it feels like that’s the only way I can do it, but I swore up and down that it was the only way I could manage [C|E|G||C] as well, and that edifice has begun to show cracks.

So I’ll stick with the [C|E|G||C] flavor for now, and just gently see if I can’t move myself in the direction of [C||F|A|C] with patience and lazy, quiet 12am exercise sessions.

It really did help to do it at night, when I felt that I had to be quiet and loose.