Benslow Music Tutorial: Ornaments and Finger Speed in Balkan Tunes

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This course focuses on embellishments in Balkan music. We shall learn pieces from Balkan regions, and indulge into ornamentation, phrasing and playing techniques, everything which will make them sound truly Balkan.

In this course we shall study a variety of tunes from Romania, Bulgaria and former Yugoslavian regions. This course will focus on the performance ingredients which make a tune not just sound like a great piece from the Balkans, played by Mrs/Mr X from London, but like an authentic traditional dance or melody.

Apart from capturing the energy, one needs to understand phrasing and ornamentation. And whilst the understanding will easily come from listening and possibly dancing or singing along, the ornamentation can cause finger-knots at times. Over the course of 3 weeks, we will go through exercises and practicing methods which will untie those knots.

We will learn tunes from Rumania, Bulgaria, Macedonia and probably Serbia. I expect we may cover 2 more complex pieces and 3 simpler/shorter ones. For each piece we will start with the skeleton tune, and then study and practice phrasing and ornamentation, combined with practicing methods how to gain speed and finger flexibility.

The accompaniment chords will be printed on the sheet music, and I will briefly show how to phrase them rhythmically.

 



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