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How to Practice the Squire Tarantella

At some point in your cellistic career, you should play a piece by William Squire. This
man wrote many excellent works for beginning and intermediate cellists. They are always
very tuneful, and they are very idiomatic to the cello. This Tarantella is as fun for the
listeners as the performer. It is an excellent work to keep in your repertoire for an encore.
It sounds more difficult than it is, which is always a nice feature. As the title suggests, it
is a sprightly dance. If played sufficiently rhythmically, everyone in the audience should
be tapping a toe!

Technical considerations
• Practice finger independence exercises from your favorite method book.
• Carefully plan and choreograph the bow distribution throughout the piece.
• Experiment with a wide variety of different fingerings and bowings.
• Among other bowings, be sure to practice all eighth-note passages both slurred and
with separate bows.
• Most shifts should be executed extremely quickly.

Musical considerations
• If you lean on the down beats of too many measures, this piece can easily sound
beaty. Allow yourself only one tactus per phrase.
• Every note that is a quarter note or longer needs some vibrato.
• Most groupings of 8 bars contain two phrases that comprise a period. In all such
cases, the first phrase should be played in the manner of a question, and the second
phrase in the manner of an answer.
• Place breaths judiciously throughout the piece, such as between most, if not all,

Measures 9 through 16
• Every eighth-note pickup should have direction into the following quarter note, but
should not be cheated in rhythmic duration.
• All quarter notes in configurations like those in bars 10 and 11 should be played very
carefully: neither sustained, nor are so short as to sound clipped. Release the bow
slightly, allowing it to come off the string. Be sure that the note continues to ring
when the bow leaves the string, and be sure to vibrato this ring.
• Don't let the open A or any of the others that occur throughout this piece, pop out
from the surrounding texture.
• Be able to make the switch to the D string in measure 13 sound the same as the A
string in bars 9 through 12.
• Prevent the rhythmic duration of a slur from affecting the volume. For example, don't
let the second and third notes in bar 15 be louder than the preceding 13 notes.
Measures 17 through 24
• If the F on the downbeat of measure 21 is held even slightly too long it could distort
the rhythm of this entire phrase. To guard against this, you may want to place a slight
accent on the second beat of measure 21 until you get a feel for the rhythm of this bar.
• Carefully tune the scale in bars 22 to 24.
• Don't punch the A on the downbeat of bar 24.
• If you choose to play the A on the downbeat of measure 24 as a harmonic, be sure
that it does not suffer or stick out in tone quality. Carefully consider the possibility of
playing it as a stopped note.

Measures 25 through 40
• Be sure that all of the D's and E’s in this passage are exactly in tune with each other.
• Be very careful not to allow the pedal D notes in bars 32 through 40 to be too close to
the louder volume of the melody notes on A string.

Measures 41 through 56
• Play measures 49 through 56 at least somewhat differently from measures 41 through

Measures 57 through 72
• Some noticeable change or direction must occur throughout the repeated notes from
the middle of measure 56 through the downbeat of measure 60. If you don't know
what else to do, try applying even a slight crescendo.
• Sustain the passage from the middle of measure 56 through measure 60. Be careful
not to accent the beats.
• The scales in measures 60 through 64 and 68 through 71 are perhaps the most
difficult technical passages in the entire piece. As such, they will need a great deal of
careful practice. Be careful not to play either passage too close to the bridge. The
passage in bar 60 through 64 will probably need to be played further from the bridge
than the passage from bar 68 through 71.
• In particular, practice the shift up to the high B-flat in bar 68.
• Don't cheat the high D on the downbeat of bar 64. Don't accent it, either.
• Don't accent the A on the downbeat of bar 71.
• Carefully tune the chords in bars 71 and 72. Make sure that they do not sound forced.
Play them with vibrato.

Measures 73 through 104

• The F# in bar 73 needs to be, from the moment it starts, the most beautiful note you
have ever played.
• This section calls for an immediate change of character and color. If nothing else, it
should be more cantabile and sustained.
• Play all the ties through this passage rhythmically precisely.
• Do not allow the eighth notes in bar 74 to be suddenly or drastically different in
volume from the long F# in bar 73.
• Keep the melodic energy moving all the way through each four-bar phrase, such as
bars 73 to 77, despite the repeated two-bar phraselets.
• Do not accent or squash the high B’s in measure 80. They must sound beautiful and
graceful. Make sure that the third finger is balanced.
• If you change bows within bar 82, do not accent the bow change.
• Don't make the last note of bar 86 too short or detached.
• Don't allow the double stops in bar 85 to be suddenly louder.
• Don't make too big of a deal out of the triplets in bars 93 through 96. The first note of
each triplet, which is where the pitch changes, is the most important. Alternate
playing this passage in simple dotted quarters and as triplets.
• If you change bows in measure 98 do not accent the bow change.

Measures 105 through 120

• There should be a color change to match the key change into B minor.
• Do not accent the bow change in bar 106.
• Do something special into the local recapitulation that occurs in bar 121. If nothing
else, a tasteful ritard is nice.

Measures 121 through 136

• Be sure to make this section sound different from the way it sounded in measures 73
through 104.

Measures 137 through 148

• This section should have a somewhat improvisatory feel. Keep the audience guessing
about the location of the recapitulation.
• Experiment with the possibilities of playing the high A in bar 139 as either a
harmonic or a stopped note.
• Experiment with different musical devices (rubato, ritard, accelerando, additional
dynamic variety) to get from bar 146 back to bar 149. Don't overdo it, though—too
much license is even worse than too little.

Measures 149 through 211

• Make the recapitulation of the opening material sound different, in some way, from
how it sounded at the beginning of the piece.

Measures 212 through 219

• Again, be sure that the melodic notes are voiced louder than the pedal A.
• The double stops in this passage must be carefully tuned. For a perfect fifth in fourth
position to be in tune, the left hand usually needs to be moved slightly further away
from you.
• Experiment with different articulations of these triplets. It is important not to bring
out each note of the triplet equally, but it is equally important not to punch the first
note of each triplet such that the passage sounds beaty.
Measures 220 through 234
• Don't allow the volume difference between the first note of each bar and the
remaining slurred notes to be too great. Practice your scales with this bowing pattern.
• Keep the energy driving all the way to the last chord.
• Again, be careful not to squash the final two chords. Use vibrato as well!
• The final chord can be sustained a little bit longer than the printed rhythmic value