I play a lot of music that has numerous accidentals in it.  Popper etudes, for example, are loaded with them .  In fact, I hardly bother with looking at the key signature as there are so many accidentals, I seem to spend lots of time just making my brain roll with the changes.

I’m working on thirds in thumb position.  They are difficult for me because while the thumb may be moving 1/2 step, the other finger on the next string may be moving 1 step.  And to complicate this, as you move up (down?) the fingerboard toward the bridge, the spacing gets smaller.  Remember, it’s all about shifting and spacing, so this concept REALLY applies.

Having a lot of trouble with this so my fabulous teacher shared a book of Matz exercises (and who wouldn’t love anything Matz?).  These really seemed to help.

Main Street Strings

In the first two measures, your left hand is slowly learning the spacing and shifts to move from one position to the next.  It works well.   Until I got to measure 3.

If you look closely you see the last 3 eighth notes: E flat-D sharp-D flat. ( E flat=D sharp, then a full step from D sharp to D flat.)  This seems out of context with the theme of the first two measures.   It seemed to be a misprint.  Until I looked at the next two lines.

Main Street StringsAgain, the same weirdness.  The first two measures slowly teach the shifts and spacing to move from one position to the next, but in the third measure you again have the strange notes of G flat-F sharp-E, and in the next line B flat-A sharp-A flat.  It makes no sense.  But a misprint over and over?  I wasn’t sure if it was an error, or if  Matz was trying to teach me some new technique, as odd as it seemed.  So  I presented this to some experts (internet cello experts) who agreed that it was a GROSS misprint, and called it “ECF”- Error Carried Forward.  My teacher had seemed pretty sure it was a misprint, but it was hard for me to believe that a misprint/mistake could continue repeatedly in the music.

Thus my blog title.  Don’t always believe what you see on the page.  Sometimes your gut instinct (and your teacher) are right.


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