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Topic Options
#1031536 - 10/17/04 07:51 PM Need help with Happy Farmer
fojae Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 60
I've been having a great time learning piano without a teacher for about 8 months. I can hack my way through some of the Bach minuets from the Anna Magdelena Notebook, Bach little prelude in C major bwv 939, Beethoven's Sonatina in G (first movement), and a few others.

I recently started on Schumann's Happy Farmer. I found it quite challenging, but doable, until I got to measure 12 where you have to play a legato phrase with the right hand. I just can't seem to play the first f-b-d chord legato. The repeated b makes this very difficult (The 2nd f-b-d chord is also difficult because of the repeated f, but since the f's are played by different hands it seems like it might be possible to get it sounding good). Does this require pedalling? I've stayed away from pedalling so far, choosing pieces that don't seem to need it.

I have the Suzuki Piano book 2 version which has the f-b part of the f-b-d chord in parentheses which I think means something like "if it's too hard to play these notes then don't". Is that a correct interpretation? If so, what do people think about this? Does it feel like "cheating"?
Or is it a practical way to get through a piece with small parts that are just too difficult?

thanks in advance for any comments/advice.

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#1031537 - 10/17/04 09:01 PM Re: Need help with Happy Farmer
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
i have never finished any Schumman's piece, only half of Traumerei so far. i guess i never really enjoyed playing Schumman. but anyway, i checked the sheet music for this, and tried bar 12. it is not that hard actually, and you only need to get legato on the highest notes. your RH fingering on the first half measure should be: 2,123,5,123 (where 123 for chord fbd). since the fingers stay in the same places, it wouldn't create more difficulty for you. you just need to maintain RH steady and use arm force for the chord. try it and see how it goes. hope this helps...
(edit: sorry, i mean Bb instead of b)

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#1031538 - 10/17/04 09:10 PM Re: Need help with Happy Farmer
Lightnin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/17/04
Posts: 210
I am also learning Schumann's The Happy Farmer right now. It is called The Merry Farmer in my book, but it has both names, a translation issue from German I suppose.

My previous piece was a very simplfied version of The Entertainer, which was the only imaginable way I could do it. So I hope this is not "cheating".

I think the universal advice is always "slow down"

In my book, The Happy Farmer is in the key of F, so all the B's are instead Bb. All of the Bs are black keys, except for a few natural signs that are not. Is that not true of your version?

My guess is that your fingering may not be the best way?

The F's just before that twelfth measure uses fingers left 5 and Right 1 on the Fs. Then the measure 12 begins with left finger 3 on Bb, and right finger 2 on Bb, which are easy reaches. Then the chord just adds finger 4 on D to that 1 and 2 (which are already still over the right notes F and Bb for the chord). Fingering this part really doesnt seem hard, it feels pretty natural. Then the following finger 5 to the single F is a slight stretch for me, but with practice, I can still just "drop" them back to the next same chord fairly easily. This part coming back is harder for me than the first part getting there.

I may not understand, but if it is not fingering, then are you learning this part a few notes at time? That is, are you learning it by just repeating a few notes, like half a measure, or maybe one measure, over and over repeatedly but very slowly, to teach your fingers how to make those movements? There is a speed you can do it at first, even if very slow. So in the beginning, for a few minutes, do just those few notes, over and over, slow enough you can do it, and then it becomes a "natural" thing for your fingers to do, and then no longer a problem, even at faster speeds.

Measure 10 was harder for me at first.

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#1031539 - 10/18/04 12:51 AM Re: Need help with Happy Farmer
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4263
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Hi fojae,

Schumann's Frohlicher Landman op. 68, no. 10.
My Schirmer's edition translates as "The Merry Farmer" .. whatever....

There is a percussive (dot under note) rhythmic "stab" eighth note (quavers) through this work. But who ways "legato" with the RH chords in measure 12?

The RH chord fingering is critical to the flow.
the d of the f-b-d chord should use finger 4 leaving finger 5 in line to handle the top f.

You're doing well for an 8 month "hack" at the piano. Pedalling should become instinctive in maintaining the flow of the music. Sounds weird for your Suzuki book to come up with "just leave some notes out if they prove too difficult". Every encouragement.

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#1031540 - 10/18/04 06:06 AM Re: Need help with Happy Farmer
Neus A. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/30/04
Posts: 83
Loc: Spain
The “Happy Farmer” or as far as I could manage is one of my assignments for today’s class. The fingering I use for measure 12 is the same that Lightin uses. The version I use prints another fingering which I found inconvenient because it made me break the legato. I dropped it.

My copy has lots of pedaling marks. In fact there’s one at the beginning of the 12 measure, where the LH and RH play both Bb one octave apart and ends when the LH plays D and RH FbBD.

I you wish I can write you the pedalling marks of my version.

Neus

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#1031541 - 10/18/04 08:49 AM Re: Need help with Happy Farmer
fojae Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 60
Thanks Signa.

I tried to create legato with just the highest notes, which is not hard because the the b of the second note in the right hand phrase is played with 2 and the next note in the phrase, d, is played with 4. But when I do this the b of the f-b-d chord comes down after the d because it is a repeated note with the same finger (2) and it sounds odd.

 Quote:
Originally posted by signa:
i have never finished any Schumman's piece, only half of Traumerei so far. i guess i never really enjoyed playing Schumman. but anyway, i checked the sheet music for this, and tried bar 12. it is not that hard actually, and you only need to get legato on the highest notes. your RH fingering on the first half measure should be: 2,123,5,123 (where 123 for chord fbd). since the fingers stay in the same places, it wouldn't create more difficulty for you. you just need to maintain RH steady and use arm force for the chord. try it and see how it goes. hope this helps...
(edit: sorry, i mean Bb instead of b) [/b]

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#1031542 - 10/18/04 09:01 AM Re: Need help with Happy Farmer
fojae Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 60
Maybe I'm not understanding the notation. Does the "slur" (curved line) over the phrase in measure 12 mean legato?

Also, you raise another question I had about measure 10. How is one supposed to interpret the percussive rhythmic stab (dot under note, actually over the note in my edition) when it is under a slur?

Also, is there another interpretation for the () parentheses around the notes?

Thanks for the response and the encouragement!

 Quote:
Originally posted by btb:
Hi fojae,

Schumann's Frohlicher Landman op. 68, no. 10.
My Schirmer's edition translates as "The Merry Farmer" .. whatever....

There is a percussive (dot under note) rhythmic "stab" eighth note (quavers) through this work. But who ways "legato" with the RH chords in measure 12?

The RH chord fingering is critical to the flow.
the d of the f-b-d chord should use finger 4 leaving finger 5 in line to handle the top f.

You're doing well for an 8 month "hack" at the piano. Pedalling should become instinctive in maintaining the flow of the music. Sounds weird for your Suzuki book to come up with "just leave some notes out if they prove too difficult". Every encouragement. [/b]

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#1031543 - 10/18/04 09:06 AM Re: Need help with Happy Farmer
fojae Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 60
Which version do you have? The pedal markings you describe sound exactly like they would smooth out the repeated Bb, if only I could do it! I can use the pedal on the easy part of "fur elise" reasonably well, but I think pedalling "Happy Farmer" might be a stretch for me.

thanks

 Quote:
Originally posted by Neus A.:
The “Happy Farmer” or as far as I could manage is one of my assignments for today’s class. The fingering I use for measure 12 is the same that Lightin uses. The version I use prints another fingering which I found inconvenient because it made me break the legato. I dropped it.

My copy has lots of pedaling marks. In fact there’s one at the beginning of the 12 measure, where the LH and RH play both Bb one octave apart and ends when the LH plays D and RH FbBD.

I you wish I can write you the pedalling marks of my version.

Neus [/b]

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#1031544 - 10/18/04 09:17 AM Re: Need help with Happy Farmer
fojae Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 60
Thanks Lightnin. My edition has the same fingering you suggest. I don't think I have a problem with fingering, rather I can't seem to get a "smooth" transition between the the repeated Bb notes.

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#1031545 - 10/18/04 11:19 AM Re: Need help with Happy Farmer
Lightnin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/17/04
Posts: 210
Measures 9-16 of The Merry Farmer are:



I dont see any dots OVER notes in a slurred area.
There are dots AFTER some notes, but which is a different issue of course.

However, the next to the last measure here (#15) might be a contender, except that its dots are in a second part (stems down), whereas the slur appears to obviously apply to the stems up part.

But it seems a good question, as back in measure 12 (end of first line here), the chord is divided in two parts (stems up, stems down). Then by the same reasoning, the slur would only apply to the stems up part. I'm not sure that is the correct interpretation? So I am ignoring that issue myself, I dont think I can play it that way, and so I am only doing what I can do (playing a chord). I still have other more pressing problems ;\)

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#1031546 - 10/19/04 02:28 AM Re: Need help with Happy Farmer
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4263
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Thanks to Lightnin for measures 9-16.

According to my Scholes Oxford Companion the slur over measures 11-12 shows the extent of the phrase which is to be played "smoothly".

The 6-note phrase includes f, Bb, d, f, d, c - except that the d's have been built up into f, Bb, d chords.

The dots over notes in the 16th measure which shorten the duration by a quarter, is a means of signalling a change (note the subtle variation on measure 10) - in this case anticipating the close of the music with the repeat of measures 11-14.

Lightnin
Your copy of the score saves unnecessary and confusing words.
Won't you tell how you so nearly captured measures 9-17 and blipped the image above your message.

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#1031547 - 10/19/04 02:55 AM Re: Need help with Happy Farmer
LudwigVanBee Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/18/04
Posts: 83
Loc: USA
This is one of examples where a good teacher is simply indispensable. Mine said to expect the unexpected from Schumann. I started his lovely 'Melody' from this same album two months ago thinking I could do it in a month. It's deceptively simple, however. I can hit all the notes but this is just the beginning. There are many things to do now to make it sound musical which will take many more months to master.
_________________________
_ _ ___________________________ _ _
"There are no shortcuts to anything worth doing." Beverly Sills

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#1031548 - 10/19/04 04:15 AM Re: Need help with Happy Farmer
Neus A. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/30/04
Posts: 83
Loc: Spain
Fojae,

Excuse my delay: Work, family plus time difference …

1)Yes, the curved line means legato

2) I’ve tried to upload measure 9 to 16 as well but I can’t manage. Stupid me! We must be playing similar versions, because like you, I have staccato dots under a slur. Well, as you can guess it is played neither as a legato nor as a staccato. Usually, the staccato reduces the duration of the note to its half. When staccatto dots are linked by a slur the duration of the note is shorted by 1/3rd only.

3) I don’t know what the () you mention might mean.

4) About the smooth transition, I’m sure that since you are using the right fingering with some more slow practice and an extra effort at concentration you will be able to play it well shortly. Don’t worry. I think it is a tough piece for an 8th month beginner. Congrats on your progress!

5)In this piece the pedalling is used to enhance the notes that form one same accord.
* Please see the pedalling in Lighinin's score in measure 9 the two differently inverted accords CEGbB
* In measure 10th in beats 3 and 4 the CEG accord
* In the 11th FAC …

I hope this helps

Neus

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#1031549 - 10/19/04 07:39 AM Re: Need help with Happy Farmer
fojae Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 60
Thanks to everyone who replied. This gives me a lot to think about and I'll be referring back to this thread as I practice over the next few days.

I know I should get a teacher someday, but for now all the help I've gotten from those on this thread should be enough to keep me moving in the right direction.

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#1031550 - 10/19/04 10:25 AM Re: Need help with Happy Farmer
Lightnin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/17/04
Posts: 210
 Quote:
Originally posted by btb:
Won't you tell how you so nearly captured measures 9-17 and blipped the image above your message. [/b]
I dont know what degree of detail is wanted...
I feel certain I can bore you to tears about it ;\) So I will attempt to keep it brief, and you can ask more if necessary.

I had previously scanned the full page at 600 dpi line art mode, to print a nice single page to practice from. Much easier than wrestling to keep a book open on the music stand.

I used a photo editor to crop that image to contain only the smaller area, to keep size down. You simply draw a box around it and select Crop. It had to be resampled much smaller for the screen (like maybe 600 pixels wide), and while line art mode is optimum for printing sheet music on paper, such small images on the screen are better quality as grayscale. So after cropping, I converted to grayscale, and then resampled to 1/8 size. Scanning it as 75 dpi grayscale mode should give approximately the same result, quality and size, appropriate for the screen, but I had the 600 dpi line art image to start from.

As to inserting any image into a message here on the forum, see the first sticky message in the first Piano Forum group here for upload instructions. This is specifically HERE.

That upload result still did not show my file yet, but I assumed it was where the others were, and so tried to view it there using my image file name, and it showed it was actually there OK.

Then when composing your message here, there is a IMAGE button to insert images here using that URL (use the IMAGE button and NOT the URL button).

Hope that helps.

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#1031551 - 10/19/04 10:53 AM Re: Need help with Happy Farmer
Lightnin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/17/04
Posts: 210
 Quote:
Originally posted by btb:

The dots over notes in the 16th measure which shorten the duration by a quarter, is a means of signalling a change (note the subtle variation on measure 10) - in this case anticipating the close of the music with the repeat of measures 11-14.
[/b]
I miss this meaning, as I am not able to detect any difference in measures 10 and 16 ? Am I blind, or is that in some different version?

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#1031552 - 10/20/04 01:16 AM Re: Need help with Happy Farmer
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4263
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Thanks Lightnin for the info on getting images into the post.

Regarding the comparison between measures 10 and 16 which are superficially identical but for the 6 dots above and below beats 2,3 and 4 in measure 16.
The point I was trying to make was that the subtle factor of a heightened "staccato" introduces a slight abruptness in note sounding which anticipates the close - the measures 17-20 ( a repeat of 11-14).

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#1031553 - 10/20/04 02:50 AM Re: Need help with Happy Farmer
Neus A. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/30/04
Posts: 83
Loc: Spain


Thanks for the technology tips. This is my version.

Neus

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#1031554 - 10/20/04 02:55 AM Re: Need help with Happy Farmer
Neus A. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/30/04
Posts: 83
Loc: Spain
The circles mean nothing.

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#1031555 - 10/20/04 07:37 AM Re: Need help with Happy Farmer
Lightnin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/17/04
Posts: 210
Ah so, they did add the slur over the staccato notes in the 2nd (10th) measure. I hope that is just a printers error, else I have no idea how it would be interpreted. My version is in a book "60 Progressive Piano Pieces You Like to Play" by G. Schirmer, Inc (published by Hal Leonard)

btb, I see the same dots over both measures, I do think they are identical. It must just be a difference in how we can view it on our different video screens.

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#1031556 - 10/20/04 08:56 PM Re: Need help with Happy Farmer
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4263
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Lightnin,

You are right. I must have my bifocals checked.
The dots herald the 4 measure following passage.

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