Krakow: Chopping on the Cello

“Krakow” by Stephan Braun

With this etude, in Contemporary Etudes for Cello, it gets serious. The chopping element begins to sound like a real tool for effect. While Kill the Bugs by Mike Block was a fantastic piece that introduces one to the world of chopping and the basic elements that pertain to it, the music was meant to be fundamental in its scope and effects. While Krakow is by no means the most difficult nor very difficult, it certainly stretches you to expand your ability to chop well in accelerated tempi and quick, snappy rhythms.

The etude Krakow picks up, quite effectively, where Kill the Bugs left off rhythmically speaking. Thereby it allows one to adjust rather quickly to the new sound world of a different composer. It has more string crossing throughout and ratchets you up level by level in rhythmic combinations that get quicker with each section.

By the time you reach the second page the beat drops and the chops are on sixteenth notes in the midst of mostly “ghost” notes or ghosted chopped notes. The music was created to sound exhilarating alone but after getting comfortable with the notes and the chops one begins to notice that it could also be a playground for adding layers of other music.

Indeed, in the introduction, it is suggested to try out some singing or other melodic improvisation over the rhythmic chopping. I sent in a video of Krakow to get evaluated about two weeks ago. Waiting on the response and really excited to find out how I can move my chop up to the next level.

I bought my copy of Contemporary Cello Etudes from Amazon (banner below). You could also go to Artistworks. com and check it out from there. I got a complimentary copy of the etude book when I signed up for online lessons with Mike Block. (Highly recommended for those that are serious about upping there rhythmic cello playing). Otherwise, ask me about lessons and I’d be happy to engage in a video exchange or direct via Skype.