Martini Gavotte – Rondo We Go

It is encouraging to reach a milestone in a long journey. The sense of accomplishment is refreshing – it gives you the energy to keep going. Suzuki understood this very well when putting together the 10 plus volumes of violin music and refining his graduation system. Without reading too much into it, the balance between challenge and attraction in his violin repertoire displays a wise understanding of human nature. To be of real value, vision needs to be achievable, but not too easy. A hard won goal is more satisfying, as long as it is not insurmountable.

Volume 3 gives us the exciting vision of the new music to come – with pieces like Humoresque and J.S. Bach’s Bourree. Suzuki has put in a couple of easier pieces to get us going, starting with the Martini Gavotte. It is written in rondo form with a repeating refrain – ABACADAEAFA – by the Italian Franciscan priest Giovanni Martini, (known as Padre Martine) 1706 – 1774. A famous teacher and musical theorist, W.A. Mozart was one of his pupils.

Main Study Points

Padre Martine’s Gavotte provides us with opportunities to use some of the G minor fingering. B flat appears in the episode section after the first refrain – in bar 9. Then it’s back to B natural in the repeat of the refrain (bar 16). Lowered fingers are used in some of the other episode sections, particularly with a F natural in the last episode (bars 72 to 80).

The first two upbow notes are played with clean staccato bows  – not too short. Since the time signature is Alla Breve, the first beat falls on D. G sings sweetly, upbow quavers B and A smoothly connect before B and C separate lightly on the way to D in bar 2.

There’s the temptation to take a breath, i.e. break the phrase, on D, but the impetus of the melody carries us through to bar 4 at open D.

As episode 1 steps into D minor (B♭), check that students reach back with 1st finger for the B♭and F♮(on E string) without altering the stability of the left hand position.

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