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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Manuel Ponce's "Estrellita" (arranged by Jascha Heifetz): A historical and performance practice guide for the violinist
by Marquez, Maria Carmen, M.M., California State University, Long Beach, 2015, 28; 10007402
Abstract (Summary)

Mexico’s folk music was revived and transformed in the early 1900’s by a nationalistic movement initiated by Mexican composer Manuel Ponce. Ponce’s arrangement of Mexican folk music was transformed to assimilate to European classical music therefore transcending across to a larger audience. His well-known lied, Estrellita, has grown extremely popular that most audiences consider it a national folk song. Renowned violinist, Jascha Heifetz, arranged the song for violin and piano for a film in the United States. Heifetz’s transcription of Manuel Ponce’s Estrellita illustrates the nationalistic style of the composer while maintaining the idiomatic writing for violin and the essence of the original score for voice. Heifetz’s arrangement for violin maintains the aesthetic of Ponce's nationalistic style while maintaining the characteristics of the human voice. To achieve the imitation of the voice the performer has to have a warm vibrato, appropriate fingerings, and bowings that reflect good phrasing. These variables will determine how closely the violin can imitate the human voice, as this piece is originally a lied. The high register of the violin is used in distinctive occasions to express the agony of unrequited love. There are various exercises for vibrato and many options for shifts and bowings to better mimic the human voice and express the text of the lied. The execution of tone production and resonance requires various elements in the bow arm to work appropriately together. After addressing tone production, vibrato, phrasing/bowings, and shifts, the performer must deduce the appropriate interpretation that will capture the essence of the original arrangement for voice being “sung” on the violin. The many arrangements and interpretations of this piece will leave more room for the performer to achieve a unique interpretation. The interpretation itself will be subjective as only an audience can determine if the performer can execute and capture the essence of the original arrangement. A close study of the original lyrics compared to Heifetz’s arrangement will aid the performer. In addition, the historical study of Manuel Ponce and his revival of Mexican folk music will also help. The technique and musicality of the violinist must work together to achieve and capture Ponce’s early nationalistic style and mimic the human voice. Furthermore, a performance analysis of Jascha Heifetz, Joshua Bell, and Itzhak Perlman will result in a suggested performance guide with pedagogical recommendation.

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Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Doyle, Alicia
Commitee: Byers, Andrea, Torres-Santos, Raymond
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Music
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 55/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Music, Pedagogy, History
Keywords: Estrellita, Heifetz, Jascha, History, Mexico, Ponce, Manuel, Violin
Publication Number: 10007402
ISBN: 978-1-339-44762-9
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