A ruse for fiddlers

And when the fiddler is out of excuses, here’s a cunning ruse for orchestral players. Some background:

  • The violins sit two to a desk, following the same part on the stand. The inside player (on the left) has to turn the pages.
  • Walton overtures are fast and full of fiendishly difficult semiquavers.

So in my early days in symphony orchestras a seasoned old pro vouchsafed a handy trick to me:

If there’s a Walton overture coming up, the thing to do, Steve, is to make sure you’re sitting on the inside. You only have to hack out the first half-page—by the time you’ve whipped the page over and got your fiddle back up again, it’s time to turn the next page…

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