Talent Drills and Rhythmic Displacement (with transpositions!)

Ravel Piano Concerto in G, third movement

Marriage of Figaro

Beethoven Symphony no. 4

Beethoven 4_B Major

We bassoonists spend thousands of hours refining and drilling orchestral passages for auditions and concerts. And we need different ways to train ourselves otherwise the mind wanders, the spirit grows weary.

The concept of rhythmic displacement helps to expose well-worn spots and tendencies for unevenness.  In each rhythmic permutation, eighth notes, triplets, sixteenths etc., we successively move the passage over by one unit. In the Figaro excerpt, I add the challenge of different articulations. 

This has the effect of giving us new perspectives, new challenges and often making the original rhythmic pattern seem so much more accessible once you return. It is more about exercising the mind which in turn, frees the power of the body to play the passage in the best way possible. Increasing stressors in systematic ways also increase the information yield and abilities of the performer.

Use your metronome, start slow, stay steady and over time, build each increment to concert tempo.

You can also enhance the challenge by utilizing different articulations. And in some low register excerpts, leave the whisper key off to encourage steady and connected air supply.

Take a look at the exercises and give it a whirl!


Other ways of challenging yourself include transposition, and you can see some examples from Christopher Millard at councilofcanadianbassoonists.ca

Milde #1

Orchestral Excerpts

And Shawn Seguin applies the transposition concept to passages from the Hummel Concerto