Terje Moe Hansen Method
Within the framework of two octaves on one string we can carry out 600 combinations of two notes, but when all four strings are involved this number rises to 12.400! Yet only a fraction of these are used in traditional scale- and study- repertoires, these being based on a system of whole-tone steps, semitone steps and various combinations of thirds (within the equal temperament system). The standard study repertoire has remained virtually unchanged while the concert repertoire has developed immensely. Therefore, deeply rooted as we are in the major/minor tradition, we often run into serious problems when confronted with pieces of music that have emanated from other ideas to those laid down in traditional study repertoire.
A simple test:
A:Play a triad starting on an open string (very few have difficulty with this)B: Now play three minor sixths in succession. Use the same starting-point and string.Even though this sequense is simple and regular it doesn't fit into our normal frame of reference and consequently most students find it demanding. This is something of a paradox, certainly when compared to 18th and 19th century practice, where study material and concert repertoire tended to mirror each other, which must, to a certain extent, have been due to the fact that the composer and the performer in those days were often one and the same person (e.g. Vivaldi, Corelli, Kreutzer, Rode, Dont, Wieniawski and Paganini).A problematic imbalance between study material and concert repertoire already became apparent at the end of the 19th century, something which Carl Flesch commented upon in his "The Art of Violin Playing":During the last decade, unfortunaltely, there has been a cessation of production in this field, although the technical, so called unviolinistic problems introduced with Brahms "Violin Concerto" and intensified by the latest violin compositions, urgently call for an extension of available study material. (Carl Fisher, New York 1924).
In our time, intervals and shifts have been used more extremely within the scope of our instruments and the gap between studies and repertoires has therefore tended to grow. Most of us have a reasonable solid technical knowledge before we attempt to play our first Mozart concerto, yet unfortunately, we seem to lack relevant grounding when we come to play contemporary music, thus wasting a lot of energy in trying to find the next note. This, of course, is not a satisfactory starting-point for active music-making and inevitably has an adverse effect on our attitude to this music.
Therefore we have a responsibility to build a harmonious relationship between concert repertoire and study material and methods. This responsibility lies not only with the composer and the pedagogues but also with each and every performer. Thus we must avoid an authoritarian way of thinking and instead start to think along new lines, to experiment and to work out new excercises and studies. Just look at the youngest pupils and their ability to master new sounds and forms of expression. In the course of my teachings, I am always surprised , time and again, by this positive attitude, which we must struggle to preserve, each and every single day. The aim of a new method is to provide a modern, updated supplement which also reflects recent developments from tonal and free tonal techniques via serial aleatoric and polytonal forms to free improvisation. When we systematically give all pitches and intervals the same importance, we reveal problems which we otherwise tend to shun, such as playing in the top register, long shifts and free tonal combinations as well as passages with many accidentals. By elevationg tradition to the ultimate standard, we deny ourselves the inexhaustible possibilities of our creativity.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Division of each string's register.
The main zone (two octaves) is to be divided into increasingly smaller units consisting of equal intervals.
(Exercises no 1-2)All notes in the present scales, arpeggios and note rows are to be used as starting notes
(excercises no 3-5)All notes in a two octaves scale are to be combined with all the others
(Excercises no 6-7)Note sequences with stepwise movements on both sides of a center.
(Exercises no 8-9)Note rows converging or expanding stepwise
(Exercises no 10-14)Note rows organized towards the main zone's outer points and midpoint.
(Exercises no 15-26)Polytonal exercises.
(Exercises no 27-29)Improvisation where only the direction of a note row is decided.
(Exercise no 30-33)A free and unlimited improvisation covering the whole register on each string.
(Exercise no 34)Music examples from different epoches. Passages in the highest register, long shifts, accidentals and free tonally connected notes.