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#1046704 - 12/11/08 12:57 AM Bartok's Mikrokosmos - New Thread
JoseHeno Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/05/08
Posts: 12
Loc: Santa Fe, New Mexico
I know this topic has come up before, but not enough for my liking!

Mikrokosmos is my current project, and I'd like to open up discussion on it.

What I hope for: general opinions, likes and dislikes, favorite pieces, pieces you're working on, basically a general discussion on the series plus a kind of study group atmosphere.

Mikrokosmos is not everyone's cup of tea; a lot of the pieces are weird or just downright frightening. But, really, that's why I love it!

I love: both the pervasive and surprising bouts of atonality; the folk melodies and folk rhythms (he gets you started on 5/4 and changing time signatures *very* early); the often bizarre/lovely but always helpful exercises at the back of the book; the aggressive, hands-bouncing-around-the-piano exuberance many of the pieces encourage; the counterpoint practice - Mk is great for developing melodic left-hand playing; the way it challenges me musically and humanly. I can't get enough of it!

Okay, sometimes I just have to put it aside, but the experience is beyond description.

I do want to talk about pieces as I go along. However, right now I'm on #50, "Minuetto," which is pretty simple, and I don't have much to say. The D# adds a little humor. Like a guy in a powdered wig tripping over his boot straps at a ball.

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#1046705 - 12/11/08 03:43 AM Re: Bartok's Mikrokosmos - New Thread
cruiser Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 1172
Loc: Cornwall, England
Hi JoseHeno

The Mikrokosmos, apart from being interesting in themselves, have great value as sight reading exercises because they are progressive. My teacher recommended them for this reason.

You've encouraged me to re-discover them \:\)

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#1046706 - 12/11/08 06:26 PM Re: Bartok's Mikrokosmos - New Thread
Beethoven Fan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/06/07
Posts: 191
Hey, I haven't started them yet but am hoping to play them over my break to get some sight reading done and after that study them. I'll probably check out the first 2, maybe 3, books but I now have a place to come to once I get started. \:D

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#1046707 - 12/15/08 11:51 AM Re: Bartok's Mikrokosmos - New Thread
grotrianer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/28/08
Posts: 63
Loc: Braunschweig, Germany
 Quote:
Mikrokosmos is not everyone's cup of tea; a lot of the pieces are weird or just downright frightening. But, really, that's why I love it!
Hear, hear! One of my favorites used to be Perpetuum Mobile from Book 5, a slow and dissonant double trill type of thing. Fitted very well under my hand. Unfortunately I never found an audience that shared my appreciation of this piece. \:D
_________________________

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#1046708 - 12/25/08 06:25 PM Re: Bartok's Mikrokosmos - New Thread
JoseHeno Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/05/08
Posts: 12
Loc: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Ok, first general question.

I was going back to review a few of the more recent pieces I have already moved on from, and I was struck by #48 "In Mixolydian Mode." I find it really hard to bring out the musicality in this one.

The 800-pound gorilla is, of course, the 5/4 time.

I don't have the same familiarity with 5/4 as I do with the more common ones. When I play 6/8, for example, without any thought, I naturally add stresses, lengthen and shorten certain beats, to give it a kind of "jig" feeling. What is a 5/4 feeling?

I know it's subjective, but comments would be welcome. Any examples on, say, youtube?

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#1046709 - 12/25/08 08:13 PM Re: Bartok's Mikrokosmos - New Thread
DragonPianoPlayer Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/06
Posts: 2368
Loc: Denver, CO
JoseHeno,

I'm not sure if this will help or not. I'm not working through Mikrokosmos, but I do have a copy of it.

I know there is music written in 5/4 time, but the only one I know of is the Mission: Impossible theme. That piece has a rhythm that you can think of as 6/8 + 2/4. That is definitely not the rhythm in "In Mixolydian Mode".

I also think I've seen a posting by someone on the forums about some nationalistic music - maybe a national anthem even - that was written in 5/4 and played with almost a lilt or stutter.

Maybe try playing it as a 2/4 + 3/4 or 2+3/4 - that is strong week strong week week? Or try the reverse 3/4 + 2/4 or 3+2/4? Most of the music looks like it is written with the first idea in mind, but there are measures that would fit the second rhythm better.

Good luck,
Rich
_________________________

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#1046710 - 12/25/08 08:44 PM Re: Bartok's Mikrokosmos - New Thread
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5976
Loc: Down Under
This particular piece fits with a 2+3 feel for much of it. Other 5/4 pieces you may come across are Mars from The Planets by Holst (that's the one with the warlike rhythm diddly dum dum da-da dum throughout) and also the song "Try not to get worried" from Jesus Christ Superstar. Both of these fit the 3+2 feel better.
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#1046711 - 12/29/08 11:40 AM Re: Bartok's Mikrokosmos - New Thread
JoseHeno Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/05/08
Posts: 12
Loc: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Yes, 2 + 3 sounds right to me for the parts that need this kind of treatment. Thanks, all.

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#1046712 - 01/04/09 07:44 PM Re: Bartok's Mikrokosmos - New Thread
DragonPianoPlayer Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/06
Posts: 2368
Loc: Denver, CO
I came across this set browsing through music on www.naxos.com

http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.557821-22

A complete set of recordings of Mikrokosmos.

Rich
_________________________

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#1046713 - 01/05/09 12:30 AM Re: Bartok's Mikrokosmos - New Thread
cscl Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/13/07
Posts: 255
Loc: Suburban Boston
 Quote:
Originally posted by DragonPianoPlayer:
I came across this set browsing through music on www.naxos.com

http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.557821-22

A complete set of recordings of Mikrokosmos.

Rich [/b]
Also, this same recording is available on iTunes and...since many of the early pieces are less than 30 seconds long, you can hear many of these in full at the iTunes store without purchasing the files! ;\)

I have a burgeoning love-hate relationship with Bartók and this thread has inspired me to take up sight reading practice with the Mikrokosmos, so next time I'm in the music store I think I'll pick up the first book.

Thanks!
_________________________
cscl
Estonia 190 Satin Ebony
ABF Recitals: x9 — Studio Recitals: x17
*

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#1046714 - 01/05/09 01:00 AM Re: Bartok's Mikrokosmos - New Thread
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5976
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by cscl:
I have a burgeoning love-hate relationship with Bartók and this thread has inspired me to take up sight reading practice with the Mikrokosmos, so next time I'm in the music store I think I'll pick up the first book. [/b]
Good idea. And if you want to move the relationship further along the love path, you might look at the 2-volume collection titled For Children. They're folksong arrangements, vol1 based on Hungarian tunes, vol2 on Slovakian. Boosey&Hawkes used to publish a selection from the 2 volumes called Musical Cameos. Some really great pieces - melodic, and fun to play.
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#1046715 - 01/06/09 12:16 AM Re: Bartok's Mikrokosmos - New Thread
cscl Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/13/07
Posts: 255
Loc: Suburban Boston
 Quote:
Originally posted by currawong:
 Quote:
Originally posted by cscl:
I have a burgeoning love-hate relationship with Bartók and this thread has inspired me to take up sight reading practice with the Mikrokosmos, so next time I'm in the music store I think I'll pick up the first book. [/b]
Good idea. And if you want to move the relationship further along the love path, you might look at the 2-volume collection titled For Children. They're folksong arrangements, vol1 based on Hungarian tunes, vol2 on Slovakian. Boosey&Hawkes used to publish a selection from the 2 volumes called Musical Cameos. Some really great pieces - melodic, and fun to play. [/b]
Moving along towards love was the idea! \:D

I've got a lot of easier Bartók pieces in two of the intermediate collections I play from and I've played a "Folk Dance" as part of my lessons about a year ago (this has a drumming base that was not a crowd pleaser with my regular audience--wife and kids--who have to listen to me through the whole process of "mastery" from assignment to polished completion.)

Sometimes I'm really taken by Bartók's music, sometimes I could take it or leave it, but I'm growing in fondness. We'll see how things go with Mikrokosmos.
_________________________
cscl
Estonia 190 Satin Ebony
ABF Recitals: x9 — Studio Recitals: x17
*

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