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#1010086 - 11/29/04 04:22 PM Maybe I Was Born To Be A Soloist
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
Today was my lesson, and teacher and I took our first crack at our shiny new Malaguena piece we're hoping to play in June. It is for two pianos, and she has the primo part. I have the easier part.

It did not go well. \:\(

First, we started out going over the rhythm of my part, which is syncopated. My part is embarrassingly easy. I play a G sharp and a C sharp together on one hand for several measures. Then I play one chord on one hand and another on the other hand, just alternating them, while she counts and then comes in with the melody.

The problem was when we tried to play it together. Having someone else playing while I was playing kept throwing me off! I couldn't hear her; I couldn't hear me. I would lose my place in the music. I didn't know whether to lead or to follow or what. I didn't know what I should be listening to, even.

So. Are there any tips anyone has for doing two-piano duets that might help me short of earplugs?

I did a few simple duets with my daughters years ago, but there's something about doing two pianos that makes it really different. \:\(
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#1010087 - 11/29/04 04:36 PM Re: Maybe I Was Born To Be A Soloist
Ben D. Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/04
Posts: 841
Loc: Texas
I was just about to suggest earplugs when I looked up and saw:

So. Are there any tips anyone has for doing two-piano duets that might help me short of earplugs?[/b]

:-P

I've played 3 2-piano pieces but I have no problem with them. Just lucky, I guess. :george of the jungle graemlin:
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#1010088 - 11/29/04 05:09 PM Re: Maybe I Was Born To Be A Soloist
BeeLady Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/02
Posts: 2339
Loc: Massachusetts
My teacher sometimes writes in with pencil difficult parts of her primo part, particularly when she plays a string of notes, onto my music. Then I can listen and read along before it is time for my part to join in.

She is also big into using arm weight and exaggerates the movements so I can see her out of the corner of my eye and know my cue. Must have worked as we played a few selections from Ravel's Mother Goose Suite well enough to play for her music club...Yikes!

Two pianos are loads of fun! The sound is so much richer than one.

You might take a look at the Pozzoli duets. Easy primo parts as both hands play the same notes an octave or two apart. (Music Minus One has them on CD) But they are so romantic and lovely...We like to play them to warm up or use a few minutes before the end of lessons.

Another help was I had my teacher record her part on tape so I could practice along at home!

Once you get the hang of it, it is lots of fun! Good Luck, Cindy!
_________________________
BeeLady

Life is like a roll of toilet paper...the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes!

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#1010089 - 11/29/04 05:13 PM Re: Maybe I Was Born To Be A Soloist
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
metronome
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1010090 - 11/29/04 07:03 PM Re: Maybe I Was Born To Be A Soloist
teachum Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/19/04
Posts: 2913
Loc: idaho
Oooh - I HATE metronomes!
_________________________
You will be 10 years older, ten years from now, no matter what you do - so go for it!

Estonia #6141 in Satin Mahogany

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#1010091 - 11/29/04 07:06 PM Re: Maybe I Was Born To Be A Soloist
Adagiolady Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/30/04
Posts: 103
Loc: Washington State
Counting
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Grave - Allegro di molto e con brio!

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#1010092 - 11/29/04 07:08 PM Re: Maybe I Was Born To Be A Soloist
teachum Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/19/04
Posts: 2913
Loc: idaho
Count LOUD, right Adagiolady?
_________________________
You will be 10 years older, ten years from now, no matter what you do - so go for it!

Estonia #6141 in Satin Mahogany

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#1010093 - 11/29/04 07:12 PM Re: Maybe I Was Born To Be A Soloist
Adagiolady Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/30/04
Posts: 103
Loc: Washington State
Louder than your duet partner so that you can't hear their playing...
Seriously, you have to count, first out loud with and without your partner on the bench, and eventually to yourself.
_________________________
Grave - Allegro di molto e con brio!

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#1010094 - 11/29/04 07:34 PM Re: Maybe I Was Born To Be A Soloist
teachum Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/19/04
Posts: 2913
Loc: idaho
Hey Adagio Lady - Go watch the download video on the Piano Forum. The thread is Watch this download from Yonner Mark. The pianist is amazing.
_________________________
You will be 10 years older, ten years from now, no matter what you do - so go for it!

Estonia #6141 in Satin Mahogany

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#1010095 - 11/29/04 07:47 PM Re: Maybe I Was Born To Be A Soloist
Nina Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 6467
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Yes, metronome, metronome, metronome. You have to play at tempo, correctly, and you can't stop and correct things. You must continue or you'll leave your partner out dangling in the wind.

That's the hardest part, IMO... if you make a mistake, don't correct it! If you're not sure of all the notes, don't play all the notes. If you have to just play "thunk-thunk" with your left hand, that's better than stopping or going back.

Good luck! Once it clicks, it's a blast!

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#1010096 - 11/29/04 07:57 PM Re: Maybe I Was Born To Be A Soloist
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
metronomes are a blast.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1010097 - 11/29/04 08:03 PM Re: Maybe I Was Born To Be A Soloist
Nina Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 6467
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
I just bought a good one... a Dr. Beat 66. After breaking 2 cheapo ones, I decided I was worth it... plus my daughter can use it, too.

The final decision was made when I realized that I needed to hold the switch down with one hand in order to get my old metronome to click. That kind of reduces its user-friendliness.

Tick tick tick tick...

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#1010098 - 11/29/04 09:20 PM Re: Maybe I Was Born To Be A Soloist
yhabpo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/22/04
Posts: 489
Perhaps, you don't see the 2 parts of the piece as a whole. You're playing your part but hear the teacher's part to be an "outside" sound. Try concentrating on blending the sound from the teacher's piano with your piano or try singing the tune.

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#1010099 - 11/30/04 03:10 AM Re: Maybe I Was Born To Be A Soloist
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
Metronomes help a lot with counting/rhythm, but ensemble and chamber music playing is a lot more than that. Listening to the other player(s) is very important, and experience helps.

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#1010100 - 11/30/04 05:25 AM Re: Maybe I Was Born To Be A Soloist
Christopher James Quinn Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/15/03
Posts: 2299
Being a misanthrope who hates metronomes, I prefer to play solo, sempre solo! \:D

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#1010101 - 11/30/04 07:13 AM Re: Maybe I Was Born To Be A Soloist
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13787
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Yep, it's all about the listening and getting outside of your own head while you're playing.

There are two kinds of concentration I see in people. One tries to increase focus by shutting the world out, the other increases focus by allowing a complete awareness of the sound, body, and surroundings. The second of these is the more desirable. People who know only the first are the ones who don't like metronomes - the clicker intrudes on the concentration. But for those who attain the second, the metronome becomes much more friendly - a link to the outside world where chamber partners and audience members dwell.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#1010102 - 11/30/04 08:45 AM Re: Maybe I Was Born To Be A Soloist
frida1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/02/04
Posts: 199
Loc: Pacific Northwest
I started piano lessons about a year ago after having not played very actively for 20 years. The first thing my teacher wanted to do was duets. At first it was very difficult. I kept losing my place and stopping. It seemed impossible not to get confused between the two parts. Finally I learned that the most important thing is to keep your place. If I miss notes or even whole bars I just start in again at the correct place. Sometimes I can only play the top hand for a while, but I just keep going. Sometimes every note is wrong for a few chords, but I just keep going. This really helps your sightreading ability. A helpful thing for me was learning to keep the count by reading the base clef. Also, I use the metronome much of the time. I use it for practicing everything. If theres a particularly hard place, I slow the metronome down and play those bars over and over gradually speeding up the metronome. Duets are really fun once you get over the initial oddness.

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#1010103 - 11/30/04 10:07 AM Re: Maybe I Was Born To Be A Soloist
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
Kreisler:

 Quote:
There are two kinds of concentration I see in people. One tries to increase focus by shutting the world out, the other increases focus by allowing a complete awareness of the sound, body, and surroundings.
Yes, but I've worked *so* hard at concentrating as a means of overcoming nerves. Trying to shut out the audience. Thinking about nothing other than dynamics. Chasing stray thoughts out of my head. Hanging onto laser-like concentration with a death grip.

And now I'm suppose to forge a *link* to all those staring pairs of eyeballs?

Oh, no! ;\)

Cindy -- who would completely come unhinged if she had to use a metronome on a duet in front of an audience
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#1010104 - 11/30/04 10:33 AM Re: Maybe I Was Born To Be A Soloist
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
 Quote:
Originally posted by Cindysphinx:
Yes, but I've worked *so* hard at concentrating as a means of overcoming nerves. Trying to shut out the audience. Thinking about nothing other than dynamics. Chasing stray thoughts out of my head. Hanging onto laser-like concentration with a death grip.

And now I'm suppose to forge a *link* to all those staring pairs of eyeballs?

Oh, no! ;\)
[/b]
And don't forget to smile.
_________________________
markb--The Count of Casio

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#1010105 - 11/30/04 12:30 PM Re: Maybe I Was Born To Be A Soloist
mound Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 782
Loc: Rochester, NY
 Quote:
Originally posted by Christopher James Quinn:
Being a misanthrope who hates metronomes, I prefer to play solo, sempre solo! \:D [/b]
and playing solo has what to do with needing metronomes? Tims is always important.


Cindy - by Malaguena, are you generically referring to "a spanish dance" or to the piece entitled Malaguena by Ernesto Lecuena? I'm learning that right now, it's defintely not for two pianos. I wonder if a transcription has been made to that piece, of it's just "another malaguena" (generically speaking)

Good luck! I agree, use a metronome.. you both need to be rock solid with your timing.. Once you are, you can work together to fluctuate from that, but in the beginning, especially with syncopated rhythms, a metronome is an invaluable practice tool.

-paul
_________________________
"You look hopefully for an idea and then you're humble when you find it and you wish your skills were better. To have even a half-baked touch of creativity is an honor."
-- Ernie Stires, composer

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#1010106 - 11/30/04 12:40 PM Re: Maybe I Was Born To Be A Soloist
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
It's the same Malaguena. This is an arrangement for two pianos. I'm nowhere near ready for the solo version, so this version where the primo part does the heavy lifting is about all I can handle.
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#1010107 - 12/07/04 01:22 AM Re: Maybe I Was Born To Be A Soloist
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3199
Loc: Virginia, USA
Duets have been the most fun I've had learning other instruments. I haven't done any on piano yet but hope to. The interaction makes it so much more alive.

Singing parts is a good step, maybe you can join a church choir. When you do this, you seem to go through a phase where you concentrate on your own part and shut the others out, maybe even sing louder, in order to not get distracted. But after you start to get comfortable with it, it actually becomes far easier when you listen to the other parts and fit yours into them.

You may have to do the same with piano. Initially you might have to focus on your part and keep a metronomic beat in your head. (and the only way to get it there is practice with a metronome in the first place) But I think you'll find when you are able to listen to both parts, it will get easier.
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#1010108 - 12/07/04 06:16 AM Re: Maybe I Was Born To Be A Soloist
mound Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 782
Loc: Rochester, NY
Cindy - I'd love to see the score, just out of curiosity.. Is it actually an arrangement? or are you playing the LH and the teacher playing the RH? I'm having so much fun playing this piece now that it's coming together (the solo version that is).

I'd love to hear a recording of your duet if possible. Also - try to listen to some classical guitar recordings of this piece, there are many to choose from.. Just to "give perspective" on what the piece is all about.

-paul
_________________________
"You look hopefully for an idea and then you're humble when you find it and you wish your skills were better. To have even a half-baked touch of creativity is an honor."
-- Ernie Stires, composer

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#1010109 - 12/07/04 08:33 PM Re: Maybe I Was Born To Be A Soloist
jodi Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 6959
Loc: The Evergreen State (WA)
Malaguena is one of my all time favorite pieces of music. There are several duo arrangements for this piece, as well as a duet arrangement or two. When I was in Idaho, I had a friend with two grand pianos in her living room, and we played duos. It was such a blast. A metronome will help you in the beginning, until you have the melody (and where you come in down) and then, you have to set the pianos up in a way where you can glance at each other, one person taking timing cues off the other.

\:\) Jodi

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