Bariolage

Jonathan said: Nov 22, 2010
 11 posts

I’m curious about how people use the term “bariolage”. Our teacher introduced us to this word in Book 4, in connection with mm. 87-88 of the Seitz 5-1. So I looked it up in the Harvard Dictionary of Music and found the following definition:

A special effect in violin playing, obtained by quickly shifting back and forth between two or more strings, the lower strings being used to produce relatively higher tones. This technique may be used for broken-chord passages, for a “coloristic” tremolo, or for similar formations.

The first part makes sense to me. The second part (lower strings used to produce higher tones) doesn’t seem to fit—none of the examples I can think of involve “producing higher tones on the lower strings”. Also, I was under the impression that the key point of bariolage is that it involves rapidly alternating strings by a rotation or movement of the wrist.

Am I misunderstanding something, or is HDM confused?

Diane said: Nov 22, 2010
Diane AllenViolin
244 posts

The Seitz is not an example of the second part of the definition.

You can produce higher pitches on lower strings if your hand is in a higher position. Bach’s famouns 3rd Partita is the first piece that pops into my mind that demonstrates higher notes on lower strings.

Let me know if you have any other questions!

Diane
http://www.myviolinvideos.com
Videos of student violin recitals and violin tutorials.

Jonathan said: Nov 22, 2010
 11 posts

Thanks, Diane, though I’m still confused.

So would one not call that example (Seitz mm 87-88) “bariolage”? Does it have to involve higher pitches on the lower string, or just that it can involve that?

Sorry if I seem like I’m not getting it.

Diane said: Nov 22, 2010
Diane AllenViolin
244 posts

Ahhh! I see—you are reacting to how the Dictionary entry was written:

A special effect in violin playing, obtained by quickly shifting back and forth between two or more strings, the lower strings being used to produce relatively higher tones. This technique may be used for broken-chord passages, for a “coloristic” tremolo, or for similar formations.

The entry should have been written like this:

A special effect in violin playing can be produced in the following ways:
-quickly shifting back and forth between two or more strings
-the lower strings being used to produce relatively higher tones
-broken-chord passages

In other words—3 different ways to create a bariolage effect. I’m sure there are umpteen more as well!
The Seitz is an example of quickly shifting back and forth between 2 strings

Smiles!

Diane
http://www.myviolinvideos.com
Videos of student violin recitals and violin tutorials.

Jennifer Visick said: Nov 23, 2010
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
997 posts

The ASTA Dictionary of Bowing and Pizzicato Terms is a little more verbose:

bariolage (French) A passage which idiomatically exploits the distinct, individual timbres of the various strings. In this bowing style, no two consecutive notes of a passage of disjunct figuration are played on the same string. Instead, the bow oscillates between two, three, or four strings. Occasionally, a passage employing the bariolage principle will require the reiteration of notes.

E.g., the J.S. Bach Partita in E Major [here a sheet music excerpt is printed in the dictionary with the caption “Example of non-slurred bariolage.”

E.g., the Brahms Symphony No. 4 in E Minor [here a sheet music excerpt is printed with the caption “Example of slurred bariolage.”

Historically:
“A collection of different colors mixed without rules.” (Furetiere, Dictionnaire universelle, 1701) This term is not found in any theoretical or didactic works dealing with violin-playing until after the middle of the eighteenth century. In the early nineteenth century it is finally fully defined with three meanings as a technical term in music:

  1. a passage in which notes are played on different strings for reasons of contrasting colors of sound,
  2. a passage in which stopped notes on one string alternate with an adjacent open string, and
  3. a passage using open strings where normally stopped notes would be used.

Though the term barolage is found in theoretical sources only after the mid-eighteenth century, the technique is found in violin music of various styles from the time of Corelli on, with either detached or slurred bowings. See ondeggiando.

Jonathan said: Nov 23, 2010
 11 posts

Thanks, RaineJen and Diane. I was confused by the explanation in HDM but this makes it much clearer.

Now I should probably encourage my university library to get a copy of the ASTA Dictionary of Bowing and Pizzicato Terms…..

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