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#1042137 - 11/06/04 10:40 AM Anyone Else Playing Anything Way Too Hard?
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
Man, I'm getting so frustrated!

I'm working on Chopin's Prelude in C Minor, Op. 28, No. 20.

http://www.amclassical.com/midi/chopin_op28n20.mid

In the first measure, there are 18 notes in chords, just on the right hand! Then the second measure has *19* notes. Some of these chords are 5-note chords for one hand. I spend a lot of time squinting at chords and going slowly, and sometimes the piano won't sustain long enough for me to find the next chord. Aaaargh!

I already tried to talk my teacher out of this piece. She's not having any of it because I did swear to her that I want to get to the point that playing chords is not like going over big speed bumps.

Is there anyone else coping with some really hard piece, or is it just me?

Cindy -- who had hoped to go to lesson on Monday and surprise her teacher with the whole piece, but who now sees this as hopeless
_________________________
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#1042138 - 11/06/04 11:18 AM Re: Anyone Else Playing Anything Way Too Hard?
bachophile Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 742
quodlibet of goldbergs (var 30), it sounds so simple but has so many voices.

my bach obsession is my passion and my nemesis, because its all too hard.

so on top of the usual simple tunes (sonatinas, minuets) i work on impossible things for my level.

why not, dare to live dangerously...carpe diem and all that stuff....
_________________________
"I don't know much about classical music. For years I thought the Goldberg Variations were something Mr. and Mrs. Goldberg did on their wedding night." Woody Allen

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#1042139 - 11/06/04 11:24 AM Re: Anyone Else Playing Anything Way Too Hard?
mikhailoh Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 4288
Loc: Cincinnati
Cindy,

I just went down and tried it to give an informed opnion. Took several minutes to get through the first two measures, badly. For three years this is pretty tough stuff.

I think you can learn to play chords without starting in this particular key and 4-5 note 9ths.

Right now my problem is getting up to speed on the Clementi Sonatina 36, all three movements.. Alla Turca is not terribly difficult, but these seemingly much simpler pieces.. yeesh. Some days I fear that I will forever be consigned to playing slow, beautiful pieces (which, all things considered, is not all that bad... )
_________________________
Michael

====

He is so solemn, detached and uninvolved he makes Mr. Spock look like Hunter S. Thompson at closing time.'

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#1042140 - 11/06/04 12:10 PM Re: Anyone Else Playing Anything Way Too Hard?
Cindysphinx Offline


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

Goldberg variations. Yep, that's next up in the rotation, says teacher.

Any thoughts on what makes the Goldberg variations so difficult? Everyone talks about "voices," but I don't really understand the nature of the problem.

Michael, you have nerves of steel if you're willing to have a go with Alla Turca. I just went down and looked at it. That thing is wicked! My daughter played a simplified arrangement of it, and even that was hard to play to tempo.

On a brighter note, I tried and abandoned Moonlight Sonata last year. I decided to dust it off this morning, and guess what? It's not that bad. Well, the first page isn't that bad, anyway. ;\)
_________________________
Vote For Cindy!!

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#1042141 - 11/06/04 12:20 PM Re: Anyone Else Playing Anything Way Too Hard?
F. Chopin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/26/03
Posts: 386
Loc: England
 Quote:
Originally posted by Cindysphinx:
In the first measure, there are 18 notes in chords, just on the right hand! [/b]


Are you playing from a converted MIDI score or something? This is one of the easiest preludes - not difficult at all! \:\)

Edit: OHhhhhhhh, I mis-read that as 18 note chords!!

The piece is very slow so the chords should not be that much trouble. \:\)

No doubt hard to sight-read for a beginner though.

//Sorry if this seems a bit rude, I've forgotten what it's like to be a beginner. \:o

 Quote:
Originally posted by Cindysphinx:
Everyone talks about "voices," but I don't really understand the nature of the problem.[/b]
Bach mainly wrote "contrapuntal" music, which is music made of several melodies played at the same time, as opposed, for example, to a "melody and accompaniment" form where you might have melody in the right hand, and harmony (chords) in the left hand.

With contrapuntal music, both "hands", or more accurately, the voices are roughly equally important, so you have to concentrate on all of them equally, rather than concentrating mostly on the melody in the right hand. That's why it is hard. \:\)

Good luck with the piece, you should actually find this one fairly easy once you learn the notes.

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#1042142 - 11/06/04 12:22 PM Re: Anyone Else Playing Anything Way Too Hard?
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
Everything I'm currently learning seems too difficult for me. \:\) Not nearly as difficult as yours Cindy, but I've only been playing for a year.

Both of the Christmas songs have three voices (Christmas Time is Here and Do You Hear...). I can play them easily with just the melody and bass line, but they sound so much better with the harmony added in. That middle section of Fur Elise is a bear to nail down consistently without mistakes. Every day I get closer, but I'm not quite there yet.

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#1042143 - 11/06/04 12:26 PM Re: Anyone Else Playing Anything Way Too Hard?
tk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/04
Posts: 695
Loc: Los Angeles County
A few weeks ago my teacher pulls out Beethoven's Pathetique--all three movements. Then she played a recording of the first movement. Holy cow! I thought she was nuts!

I had been working on the second movement on my own b/c it's so beautiful, but the book I was using didn't have the other movements, so I didn't know it was such a huge piece.

The first movement is killing me. With a few exceptions, the notes aren't particularly hard to work out--it's the speed and endurance that's demoralizing! I'm about halfway through the first half of the first movement (at about half the speed and stumbling all over the place!) and walked away from it yesterday after practicing ready to give up! I am going to try it again today with more patience... *Sigh*

Cindy:[/b] Hang in there with your piece. I feel your pain! \:\)

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#1042144 - 11/06/04 12:37 PM Re: Anyone Else Playing Anything Way Too Hard?
plays88skeys Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/08/04
Posts: 3091
Loc: Richmond, VA
That is a very somber piece, Cindy. Lots of big fat chords to sink your arm weight into -- and then repeat again as if it were a sigh. Perhaps your teacher also wants you to learn more about dynamics?

I, too, am struggling with a piece. 'Duetto' from Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words. It took a while to find a clip to post but here is a mediocre partial clip that I managed to locate on the web: (note: it's mediocre but still WAY better than I can play it at this point! )

http://macflach.cs.bris.ac.uk/~flach/music/duetto.mp3


As you can hear, there is lots of voicing going on and lots of undulating voices under them. Mendelssohn should have named this song "Stretch Those Fingers!" because that's what I'm doing at every twist and turn.

However, the piece is so beautiful and I've wanted to play it for so long, that I don't care how long it takes me to learn it well.

Good luck with your prelude!
_________________________
There are no shortcuts to any place worth going. - Beverly Sills

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#1042145 - 11/06/04 12:42 PM Re: Anyone Else Playing Anything Way Too Hard?
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
i've worked on pieces for decades... they must be too hard but I don't care.. the journey is as much fun as the destination, tho I imagine many would argue with that point.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1042146 - 11/06/04 01:57 PM Re: Anyone Else Playing Anything Way Too Hard?
ChickGrand Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 3211
Loc: Midwest U.S.
 Quote:
Originally posted by apple*:
i've worked on pieces for decades... they must be too hard but I don't care.. the journey is as much fun as the destination, tho I imagine many would argue with that point. [/b]
Me, too. (With huge lapses of decades). But the bigger the challenge, the more joy there is in getting it done. I figure I'm working my way backwards through the literature. By the time I'm old and--well, anyway, by the time I'm feeble--I'll be ready for those little one-treble, one-bass-note melodies. While I can still see well enough (if I squint) and while my fingers still bend (if I crack all the knuckles for an hour in prep) I want to work on the more complex stuff.

I started with Lecuona's "Malaguena" and it's only recently that I've been able to get through it all truly confident of my fingering and really knowing all the notes (but reading and playing always). It was an insane place to start, but I've learned a lot from it that let me play many other pieces to a point of finish as I went along. And I've even played it in its entirety a couple of times to my own satisfaction on a good day, and it was a thrill. Not that my feeble fingers and feeble mind let me play it everyday the way I know I can on a good day.

My next awkward leap off the high board will be "Rhapsody in Blue". Very nearly pulled it off the shelf Thursday. I have sight-played the first couple of pages recently. I find the learning process totally absorbing, so the more challenging, the better. I may still enjoy playing a piece once I can do it in my sleep, but I really enjoy the learning side more than even that ease with the familiar. If the whole process were entirely easy and I could sight-play anything without much thought, with technique that was second nature, I think the whole thing would lose its appeal to me. It wouldn't be the same absorbing diversion from the tedious world.

It IS the journey, not the destination. There is no destination for my playing, except my own joy. It's a good thing I enjoy the journey.

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#1042147 - 11/06/04 03:51 PM Re: Anyone Else Playing Anything Way Too Hard?
Vintagefingers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/22/04
Posts: 331
Loc: SE
"If the whole process were entirely easy and I could sight-play anything without much thought, with technique that was second nature, I think the whole thing would lose its appeal to me."

Rick this is quite possibly true, on the other hand you might very well be a first rate professional pianist playing for your supper. Would that be so bad?

If reincarnation was a reality and only one memory could be brought from this life to the next it would be that passion for music and no Dad, I don't want to be the next Benny Goodman, would you settle for Art Tatum?

Cindy I'm working on "Manha de Carnival", a lovely Brazilian piece. There is a quite nice recording of it sung by the late Suzanne McCorkle. Not out of my reach but there are a few really tough cords with an 11 key stretch that my tight fingers are really having problems reaching, accurately.


Will

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#1042148 - 11/06/04 07:45 PM Re: Anyone Else Playing Anything Way Too Hard?
teachum Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/19/04
Posts: 2913
Loc: idaho
Cindy - I've always been guilty of doing things that were too hard for me. But I like hearing that others have worked on things for decades. I'm actually in the 2nd decade of playing the Chopin Nocturne 72-1 because I started it way too early. Maybe it's time to go back to the Schubert Impromptu that gave me tendinitus years ago! I think those chords in the C minor are difficult too. I played with it a little bit just trying to get a feel for the structure of it. What I have been finding lately is that I will start to learn something and it almost always seems too hard - unless it's those little simple single-note things Chick talked about. Then after awhile of working on it - hopefully not more than a few days - all of a sudden it starts to get do-able. It's like my brain kicks in and my fingers start to get their muscle memory. I guess it's all part of the learning process. Right now I'm working on the B minor Prelude, which I just learned is the original "Raindrop" and trying to perfect the Mendelssoh Venetian Boat Song #2. I do like that C Minor! Good luck!
_________________________
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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#1042149 - 11/06/04 09:00 PM Re: Anyone Else Playing Anything Way Too Hard?
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
maybe it is not qualified as "way too hard", i mean tempest 3rd movement i am currently working on. i am on the 2nd page now, while most of the 1st page learned last year. i guess the hardest part is mainly on the 2nd page, because after that, similar patterns and even repeats or alternative repeats will follow. it is relatively hard, because the big problem with it is its tremolos and octaves. although it is not too hard to play, but because RH is fully streched over those passages, it is hard to relax RH in between and i feel tiresome on my R shoulder, R forearm and RH after running through 1st 2 pages a few times. i almost done learning 2nd page, and expect the next few pages to be little easier. i absolutely love playing this, and that's why i dropped some other pieces and focus mainly on this one.

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#1042150 - 11/06/04 09:09 PM Re: Anyone Else Playing Anything Way Too Hard?
bachophile Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 742
Cindy


voices...well translate that as independent melodies, say typically 3 or 4, and remember God gave us only 2 hands...

on rosalyn turecks goldebrgs CD, there is a function where when u play the CD on computer, and u can see the score as u go along, and there is a function which allows the computer to color code each voice, then u can visually see which note goes with which voice.

and appreciate just how impossible it is...

my teacher says that, people like Bach (there are others like this??!!) could probably hear in their head the voices independently and simultaneously, like a chess player playing blind many games at once, he just knows what is going on always...us lesser mortal can only guess at it.
_________________________
"I don't know much about classical music. For years I thought the Goldberg Variations were something Mr. and Mrs. Goldberg did on their wedding night." Woody Allen

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#1042151 - 11/06/04 09:48 PM Re: Anyone Else Playing Anything Way Too Hard?
Bozo7000 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/06/04
Posts: 25
Loc: Maryland
yea cindy that was a tough one when i first started it. id only been playing piano for about 7 months when i learned it. i have fairly big hands I guess( since my teacher says i have a better reach than her). One thing that will help those 5 notes cords if your sheet music dosent show it. play the first 2 notes with your thumb. that way you will be able to reach with your 5th finger alot better. good luck and dont give up with the piece

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#1042152 - 11/07/04 01:45 AM Re: Anyone Else Playing Anything Way Too Hard?
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Hi Cindysphinx,

This is a testing piece - Chopin Prelude op. 28, no. 20 - because of the 4-note octave chords.

Take heart - everybody struggles with the sorting out of 4-note chords. We all manage 2 and 3 chords but go haywire with the 4's.

Chopin rarely crowds his chords with more than one intermediate note but this is the opus where he felt that the "Largo" tempo called for more definition in the RH.

You must have observed that the bass involves
2-note octave chords - no problem - with a set octave finger-spread you only have to identify one note in each hand - easy.

Why not build up confidence by playing the Prelude
(in octaves) omitting the intervening chord notes - I've just played it over to hear the difference - it's "passable".

Like adjectives being added to the octave nouns, you can later include the intervening chord notes and warm to the subtle extra dimension which they bring.

Instead of 19 RH notes in the opening measure you could be looking at a manageable 6.

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#1042153 - 11/07/04 05:58 AM Re: Anyone Else Playing Anything Way Too Hard?
mikhailoh Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 4288
Loc: Cincinnati
Great advice, btb! I'm going to try that myself.

Cindy, Alla Turca is easier than it looks. Try it sometime! It is a dicey thing to look at a piece and determine if it is difficult. Personally, I find Clementi Sonatina 36 harder than Alla Turca, although it looks much simpler. I have always found that some pieces 'make sense' to me.. in that in learning them my fingers seemed to go where they belonged almost instinctively.

It is the journey.. but I hope to reach many wonderful destinations along the way.
_________________________
Michael

====

He is so solemn, detached and uninvolved he makes Mr. Spock look like Hunter S. Thompson at closing time.'

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#1042154 - 11/07/04 06:33 AM Re: Anyone Else Playing Anything Way Too Hard?
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
Learn it measure by measure rh only. If your hands are small, and your right hand gets tired, switch off between rh and lh. Once you've learned the first measure rh only, play the chords backwards (end of measure to first). That way you will reinforce the feel of the chords. learn each measure this way. Once you have a couple measures learned, combine two measures. Begin by playing the last chord of the first measure into the first chord of the next measure.
If all of that is too difficult, do the same but in 1/2 measure groups.

Another thing: once you play a chord, start going to the next chord right away.

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#1042155 - 11/07/04 06:38 AM Re: Anyone Else Playing Anything Way Too Hard?
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
 Quote:
Originally posted by Cindysphinx:

Any thoughts on what makes the Goldberg variations so difficult? Everyone talks about "voices," but I don't really understand the nature of the problem.

[/b]
It's difficult because it's really long, and has a lot of the things that make Bach dificult - multi-voice textures, etc. Also, there are a couple variations that are very difficult technically. Finally, it's not an easy piece to hold together as one piece. Those are some of the difficulties.

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#1042156 - 11/07/04 08:34 PM Re: Anyone Else Playing Anything Way Too Hard?
bachophile Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 742
but the aria from the goldbergs is playable by anyone, on a completely different level, much easier then the variations,

remember its part of anna magdalena's original notebook, which means, its playable by people who are not professionals, AMB collecetd easier short peices for novice players to enjoy, also first prelude of WTC is there...

nothing like a beautiful young wife with an appreciation of easy keyboard peices...
_________________________
"I don't know much about classical music. For years I thought the Goldberg Variations were something Mr. and Mrs. Goldberg did on their wedding night." Woody Allen

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#1042157 - 11/08/04 06:57 AM Re: Anyone Else Playing Anything Way Too Hard?
mound Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 782
Loc: Rochester, NY
Hi Cindy - I learned this piece after 6 months of lessons. It does look scary, but if you approach learning it right, it's actually very simple, I think it's probably one of the easiest Chopin preludes, believe it or not. I think the problem is that you are trying to see the forest through the trees.

I'd suggest you begin by re-writing the score (use staff paper or something like Noteworthy composer or Finale Notepad on the computer) - but don't write the whole thing out, just write out the outline - that is, the top and bottom most notes of each hand (even though the top note isn't always the lead voice, that's OK)

While you're doing this, figure out what each chord is (the complete chord, not just what you are writing in) - that is, do a harmonic analysis of the piece and write it in as well. It may take you several hours to complete this exercise away from the piano, but the payoff will be ten-fold when you then approach the piano, as suddenly all these huge chords will have context. Also, while you are doing this work away from the piano, listen to your favorite recording of the piece over and over. During this time you are simultaneously memorizing the sound, the harmonic analysis, the visual score itself and the movement of the notes! Would you get that just squinting and sweating through each huge bar? (aside: some will argue that you shouldn't listen to recordings of a piece you are learning as it will "prevent you from coming up with your own interpretation".. I think that's a big load of phooey, especially for beginners, but that's another thread.)

When you're done with this "homework" (hehe), take this analyzed outline to your teacher and ask her to help go over your work, to see if you correctly figured out what the chord analysis is. Hopefully you got some of it wrong, and her helping fix it will help you understand it that much more! (I was very wrong about much of it when I did it the first time! after all, I only had 6 months under my belt, but it was a massive learning experience, as it will be for you!) She may be surprised to see the "extracurricular work" you've done, but if she balks or otherwise dismisses the worth of what you've done, or refuses to talk about any kind of harmonic analysis with you, find a new teacher, she's not worth your money. Seriously. Anyway, sorry to digress. As an aside, you should do this process with every piece you are going to learn, as every minute you spend on "study away from the piano" before actually diving right into the keys, will pay off ten-fold.

So.

Once you have the outline re-written, learn to play that outline. Start hands seperate. Each hand will just be thumb and pinkie, so you're ingraining the "big" movements. You will probably find this quite easy, as it's slow and each hand will only be playing 2 notes.

Once you've completely memorized the outline and can play it hands together, you'll find it much easier to add the other notes. Start again with hands seperate as you add notes back in. (have you read any of the recent threads that point to the "7/20 rules" on that pianoforum.net site? Try these approaches as well.)

I hope this helps! This is really a beautiful piece and it looks much harder that it is, you just have to tackle it in appropriate steps in the right order. Taking the time to dissasemble and analyze it like this before sitting at the piano, you'll see the patterns and voices emerge and it won't just look like random 8 note chord blocks, it'll all have context when you go to play it.

Finally, once you've gotten all the notes memorized and can play it, listen again carefully, perhaps to a professional recording and get your teachers advice, to make sure you are bringing out the lead voice at all times, as it is not always the top most note. This "musicality" is where the teacher will be of most use, as everything else from re-writing and learning the outline, to analyzing and putting it all back together, is stuff you can and should be doing on your own, relying on the teacher most for the musicianship part of it.


 Quote:
I already tried to talk my teacher out of this piece. She's not having any of it because I did swear to her that I want to get to the point that playing chords is not like going over big speed bumps.
This is a great piece to get big chords under your fingers, which is even more reason why doing a thorough harmonic analysis of it is important, because if you really understand why every note is there, you have context and you'll remember it all better. What do you mean your teacher "is not having any of it?" She won't let you play it?

Lastly,

 Quote:
I spend a lot of time squinting at chords and going slowly, and sometimes the piano won't sustain long enough for me to find the next chord. Aaaargh!
Squinting - I squinted alot, finally got me some glasses last week.. Not sure if that's your problem too ;\) heheh.. But seriously, again, learning the outline first will help alleviate this problem as you won't constantly be trying to figure out what every note is.

About the piano not sustaining long enough to find the next chord, here's a trick you can use that will help you prevent skips and stutters between chords. Instead of playing the big chord once as written, play it twice, or three times, or four times.. In other words, double, triple or quadruple the length of the piece by repeating every chord in time.. This will allow you to find the chord and sound it properly to ingrain it in your head, and then give you the opportunity, while you're simply repeating the chord (in rhythm) to mentally/visually locate the next chord so that when you do move to it, it is a clean transition from the previous one. Doing this is a great way to practice these tough transitions while preventing "practicing" skipping and stuttering. Give it a try! Start with 4 repetitions of each chord, or as many as it takes so that visually you know exactly where each finger is going to move to before you make the move. Then do fewer and fewer repetitions until you are down to one as it's written and your transitions will be clear and beautiful. If you did your homework and outline, you will only need to mentally locate the inner voices, as the outer motions are already memorized.

I hope this helps!

ps. somebody mentioned MIDI -get a proper printed score, don't try to print from MIDI.

-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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#1042158 - 11/08/04 09:01 AM Re: Anyone Else Playing Anything Way Too Hard?
Mikester Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/17/04
Posts: 1254
Loc: Minneesooota
I used to think, Chopin Nocturnes are easy, right? Well, some are, some aren't. Like, I was working on Nocturne op. 27, no. 2 and I noticed how dang hard this piece is. With all the left hand jumping all over the place and the right hand playing off-tempos, it's a beast to sight read.

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#1042159 - 11/08/04 11:05 AM Re: Anyone Else Playing Anything Way Too Hard?
cht Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/05/03
Posts: 118
Loc: Coeur d'Alene, ID
Cindy,

My nemisis is Lis Story's arrangement of "Someone To Watch Over Me", an old Gershwin standard. The chord progressions are all augmented 9th whatevers and just tie me up. But, if I ever get it right, look out.....

Chuck
_________________________
cht

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#1042160 - 11/08/04 05:26 PM Re: Anyone Else Playing Anything Way Too Hard?
David Kirkham Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/26/04
Posts: 159
Loc: Provo, Utah
Cindy,

I don't think many of us here would be happy with Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. If you are not reaching (and screaming), then you are not challenging yourself enough. I must admit, I throughly relish the fight. There is nothing quite like finally playing everything accurately, at speed, after a long struggle for the first time.

I remember a month or so ago, I finally got the first page of Wedding Day at Trouldhaugen down at speed after struggling for weeks. (The piece is wickedly fast.) When I finished, I jumped up from the piano, thrust my fists into the air, yelled, and did and end zone strut in the living room... Just thinking about that brief moment makes me laugh today.

My wife came upstairs to see what the racket was all about, saw the score and just laughed.

Nothing feels that good. Of course, if I had just conquered "Mary Had a Little Lamb," my reaction wouldn't be quite the same.

David \:\) \:\) \:\)
_________________________
David Kirkham
Kirkham Motorsports
www.kirkhammotorsports.com
I bought my piano from www.pianocraft.net

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#1042161 - 11/08/04 06:13 PM Re: Anyone Else Playing Anything Way Too Hard?
ChickGrand Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 3211
Loc: Midwest U.S.
 Quote:
Originally posted by David Kirkham:
I remember a month or so ago, I finally got the first page of Wedding Day at Trouldhaugen down at speed after struggling for weeks. (The piece is wickedly fast.) When I finished, I jumped up from the piano, thrust my fists into the air, yelled, and did and end zone strut in the living room... Just thinking about that brief moment makes me laugh today.

My wife came upstairs to see what the racket was all about, saw the score and just laughed.

Nothing feels that good. [/b]
\:\) \:D

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#1042162 - 11/09/04 02:36 AM Re: Anyone Else Playing Anything Way Too Hard?
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
A simplified arrangement is rather like meat and potatoes without the "gravy". Cindy obviously enjoys the music of "West Side Story". Bernstein's piano arrangements are a bit sketchy in structuring his catchy melodies but "Maria" is a short pianistic gem.

However, you haven't lived as a pianist if you've missed out on the original compositions of George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Richard Rodgers, Hoagy Carmichael, Harry Warren, Burton Lane... to mention a few.

What classics they left us!!

"Summertime"
"Begin the Beguine"
"Smoke Gets In Your Eyes"
"The Surrey with the Fringe on Top"
"Stardust"
"I Only Have Eyes for You"
"How About You"

But how can we leave out the likes of van Heusen, Styne, Fain, Arlen, Young, McHugh, Ahlert, Mancini, Friml, Weill, Brown, Jarre, Legrand, Loesser, Romber, Berlin .. the list goes on.

But out of reach if you don't start at the beginning. My earliest piano involvement used Jerome Kern's "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" to sort out note location and fingering - a passion for the music made light of sight-reading as memorisation improved the flow.

Effort is dispelled when the pianist finds the music totally captivating.

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#1042163 - 11/09/04 03:12 AM Re: Anyone Else Playing Anything Way Too Hard?
ChickGrand Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 3211
Loc: Midwest U.S.
I love Carmichael. Ran through "How Little We Know" this evening at the end of my practice, just for fun. I love the languid beguine rhythm. His "Stardust" is rather easy and has to be one of the most beautiful pieces of all time. I want to work on "Hong Kong Blues", but haven't tackled it yet. I work on his stuff regularly. Good practice for rhythms and jumps.

Gershwin's "Summertime" is one of those pieces that just came easy for me from the get go, a fact that quite shocked me. It's the only piece I've ever sight played exactly as I wanted to play it, the very first time I played it. (But it's a piece I'm very familiar with growing up in a house where I heard it often.) I love the original with that long two-page intro before the more familiar melody. That intro reminds me of his preludes--something else I want to work on soon. I especially love the tone of the old Chickering for Gershwin.

I've worked on several Porter and Berlin things, too and found them both satisfying and not so hard.

Carmen Cavallero did a wonderful rhumba arrangement of "Maria" for solo piano on his "Show Stoppers" album in the mid 50's (but the best of that particular collection of virtuoso arrangements on that LP was Hart's "My Funny Valentine". I love that piece in almost any arrangement but that one was the best I've heard. Wouldn't be for the faint of heart and would surely get the adrenaline going. The melody gets a variety of treatments throughout, but the part I like most is the close which gets as much energy out of a solo piano as one would associate with a full orchestra, with a great synchopated rhythm. I can't find that arrangement anywhere, so I've been picking at it and noting it myself.

My current favorite for improvisation is Kosma's "Autumn Leaves", another standard. It seems to be one of those pieces you can endlessly vary and it sounds good almost any way you play it, whether you simplify or dress it up. Every time I play it, I discover some new way to add texture or modulate a voice a new way. I like pieces like that.

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#1042164 - 11/09/04 07:27 AM Re: Anyone Else Playing Anything Way Too Hard?
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
just Rick...

You might enjoy "Piano Stylings of the Great Standards" from the Steinway Library

Griphon was kind enough to send me a copy.. Great arrangements - not TOO hard but pretty nicely arranged and not exactly easy..including

As TimeGoes By

Blue Moon

Don't Worry about Me

Stormy Weather

Over the Rainbow..

One could be an instant pianobar guy or gal
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1042165 - 11/09/04 05:04 PM Re: Anyone Else Playing Anything Way Too Hard?
teachum Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/19/04
Posts: 2913
Loc: idaho
Apple - Why is there an * by your name? Just curious.
_________________________
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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#1042166 - 11/09/04 05:26 PM Re: Anyone Else Playing Anything Way Too Hard?
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
it's a kiss that someone threw away.

I put it back on my name and then, when I tried to change back to plain old apple the forum wouldn't let me... so now it's just an extra self appointed star I guess. You could put one by your name but you can't revert to your original name.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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