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Tirer ou pousser ?


L'inversion de la technique d'archet au violoncelle baroque, 

projet de recherche de Marianne Dumas

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En octobre 2014, de part les similitudes du violoncelle avec la viole de gambe,  j'ai essayé d'inverser la technique d'archet du violoncelle dans les Suites de Bach pour violoncelle seul. 

Pendant cet essai, j'ai instantanément senti une meilleure réponse de l'instrument, et par conséquence d'avantage de vibration et d'harmoniques.

Cette experience positive m'a poussée à mener des recherches plus approfondies sur les origines, le montage et la technique d'archet du violoncelle baroque afin de comprendre pourquoi l'inversion de la technique d'archet avait de telles conséquenses sur le son de l'instrument.

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RECHERCHE


COMPRENDRE ET ANALYSER L'ORIGINE DU "down-stroke",

le "tirer"


lE VIOLONCELLE

COUPS D'ARCHET: DEUX REGLES POUR LE VIOLONCELLE AVANT 1752

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II. HOW OTHER INSTRUMENTS PLAY CHORDS, ARPEGGIOS, STRONG BEATS

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Donner un "coup" à la corde pour la diriger vers la table d'harmonie

Le mouvement du bras suit l'ordre des cordes, vers la table d'harmonie de l'instrument. L'utilisation du poids naturel du bras et de l'impulsion permettent de ne pas ajouter de pression sur la corde.

Au violoncelle cela correspond 
à la Règle 2  (Quantz)

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QUANTZ

 « Il y a des violoncellistes qui dirigent l’archet comme il est coutume sur la viole de gambe, 
c’est à dire qu’au lieu de commencer en tirant de gauche à droite, ils  commencent en poussant, depuis la pointe de l’archet. »
J. Quantz, Berlin,  1752

CETTE TECHNIQUE EST AUSSI MENTIONNÉE PAR J-B BREVAL ET DIDEROT...

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"La basse est semblable au violon par ses quatre cordes, et par la manière de l'accorder de quinte en quintes, en diffère néanmoins que la table du violon s'approchant du corps, le manche s'en éloigne, et que par un effet contraire la Tavle de la Basse en s'éloignant du corps, le manche s'en rapproche, d'où doit nécessairement résulter une opposition dans le tiré et poussé de ces deux instruments".

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BRÉVAL, Jean-Baptiste - Traité du violoncelle, Op.42 (Paris, 1804) .

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D. DIDEROT - Encyclopédie ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers- Paris 1765

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Cet article extrait de l'encyclopédie explique que la technique d'archet dépend de la facon dont l'instrument est tenu. Dans une tenue verticale comme la basse de viole ou la basse de violon, les notes longues se prennent en poussant tandis que sur le violon et les instruments joués comme le violon, on commence en tirant. 

"La raison de cette différence est, qu'au toucher des basses la force du bras est en poussant et qu'au violon elle est en tirant; ce qui vient de la différente manière de tenir ces instruments"

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par CONSEQUENt:

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La traduction de la suite est en cours... merci de votre patience!

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THE VIOLONCELLO
instrument between the BASS VIOL AND THE VIOLIN

Due to its similarities with both instruments, the bowing technique of the violoncello was influenced by the violin and the viola da gamba.

CELLO & VIOLIN

Similarities:
  • Members of the same family 
  • Shape
  • Tuning is in fifths.

CELLO & VIOLA DA GAMBA

Similarities:
  • size, register, posture
  • Instruments of the contino. 
  • About the shape: there were (and still are) viola da gamba with violin shapes.

THE BASS VIOLIN / VIOLONCELLO IN THE BAROQUE ERA. 

The development of the 'violoncello'  was influenced by two instruments: the bass viol and the violin. 

  • The violin: because of the shape and the tuning in fifths
  • The bass viol: because of the size, the register, the posture, and the fact that they were both instruments of the basso continuo (playing the same line).
The baroque period marks the development of violin virtuosity, but it is also the period of the basso continuo. 
During the first half of the baroque period the violoncello was referred as a bass ("la basse" in French). The word Violoncello start to appear during the second half of the The violoncello also becomes an instrument of virtuosity in Italy later,  Francesco Alborea was the first cellist who had an impact on the development of virtuosity accross Italy and Europe. 

THE FIRST CELLO METHODS - AFTER 1750

The evolution of the bowing technique of the vioncello followed the one of the violin but nevertheless, all the methods published until around 1815 mention that when playing and aperggio or batteries, the bass note should be played on an "up-bow".
Most of the first cello treaties were published by former students of  Martin Berteau. Berteau is considered as the founder of the French school of violoncello, he was a bass viola da gamba player before becoming a cellist.

BATTERIES AND ARPEGGIOS

Observation of the first methods and treaties shows that all the cellists agreed on the same rule for batteries and arpeggios: the bass should be played up bow = toward the soundtable.

.SUMMARY & CONCLUSIONS

 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without mention of the author.

Taking in consideration the following points; 

1. During the baroque period, the same bass line of the continuo was played by bowed bass instruments, no matter their shape.



2. The underhand bow grip was not reserved to the viols. It was of common use among the cellists until the 19th c.



3. Until the middle of the 18th c. , cello methods mention the bowing for the Arpeggios and Batteries : the bass had to be played on the up bow.



 4. No matter which instrument, when playing the bass note, the arm was going toward the sound board and the other strings, using the natural weight of the arm.



5. J. Quantz, in 1752, explains that in Germany cellists played with a bow strokes similar to the one on the viola da gamba.



I believe that in order to get the best sound from the instrument, applying a bowing technique similar to the technique of the viola da gamba in the Bach Cello Suites is something we, cellists, should consider. It has a major impact not only on the sound of the cello but also on the phrasing because of the way of sounding the strings and of the place of the bow. 

Marianne Dumas

This project was run between 2014-18, in Berlin


Acknolegements

To Daniel König and his beautiful cello, his inspiration, guidance and countless hours we spent looking for the set-up. To Hans Reiners for making the bow, and for guiding me when I started my project. To the librabry of the Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung Berlin for creating a space where one can have access to countless documents guided by a very helpful staff. To Bastian Muthesius for his help and all the guts strings we tried together, and to Valentin Oelmüller / Pure Corde for my first set-up of strings and especially the silver wounded C string he made that particular day. I still play it, 4 years later...

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