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#1061513 - 10/08/04 07:26 PM Interpreting how a piece should sound
newpianoplayer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/12/01
Posts: 362
Loc: CANADA
I find when learning a new piece (usually a Classical piece) that after I know the notes and have memorised them that it doesn't sound like it should. My teacher says to increase the tempo and work on the dynamics.
When I am familiar with a piece it is much easier to play it so it sounds the way the composer intended.
Does one eventually reach a stage where you can mentally interpret the sound as you sight read.
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#1061514 - 10/08/04 10:13 PM Re: Interpreting how a piece should sound
mound Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 782
Loc: Rochester, NY
I think you need to memorize it before you can itnerpret it. Perhaps you can be expressive with it while reading from the score.. but to really interpret it, and to really make it *sound* like I think you are asking about, it should be completely in your head. You should hear it playing in your head as you go about your daily activities away from the piano. be able to sing it, hear it, play it! That's when the expression will really come out - when you are no longer conscious of what notes you are playing, or how your fingers are playing them. Just as you aren't conscious of your breathing, your vocal chords or your tounge while you speak.


 Quote:
Does one eventually reach a stage
Yes, absolutely . Do your "homework" - learn the notes, the fingering, memorize the score. Get the "execution" of the piece completely in your muscle memory. Do harmonic analysis of the piece and slow practice to get it in your "non muscle" memory. Sit on that for a few weeks, months, years! It will mature as you do. Patience is the ultimate virtue with piano I believe.

-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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#1061515 - 10/09/04 01:20 AM Re: Interpreting how a piece should sound
LudwigVanBee Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/18/04
Posts: 83
Loc: USA
[Quote]I find when learning a new piece (usually a Classical piece) that after I know the notes and have memorised them that it doesn't sound like it should.[Quote]

This is simply because the real work is ahead. As hard as it is to learn the notes, even with the precision of the metronome, the more difficult task is then to make it sound musical, ie play it the way the composer intended it to sound. The piano doesn't give you any breaks. It is difficult at every stage, especially when it comes to making the piece sound as musical as a concert pianist and not just a collection of notes. Your teacher is correct, esp as to dynamics. This is often what makes it sound like a piece of music and not just a bunch of notes.
_________________________
_ _ ___________________________ _ _
"There are no shortcuts to anything worth doing." Beverly Sills

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#1061516 - 10/09/04 07:20 AM Re: Interpreting how a piece should sound
jdsher Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/04
Posts: 643
Loc: Plano, Texas
I agree with newpianoplayer that when I'm familiar with a piece it's easier to learn and play in a musical fashion. What I find interesting is after I've learned a piece that I've never heard before and then listen to a recording of it, my interpretation is always different. I tend to emphasize in different places and use different dynamics, etc. I hope this will change as my sight-reading skills improve.
Jon
_________________________
"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Albert Einstein

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#1061517 - 10/09/04 07:30 AM Re: Interpreting how a piece should sound
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
Paul is right. interpretation happens only when you are no longer conscienticous about the notes and techniques. it may take a long time, long after you've learned a piece, for you to feel completely comfortable playing a piece with you interpretation.

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#1061518 - 10/09/04 01:08 PM Re: Interpreting how a piece should sound
David Kirkham Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/26/04
Posts: 159
Loc: Provo, Utah
I have found that expression only comes with time--and complete memorization.

I usually can pound a piece into my head at about 1 page/week, (or two if it is particularly hard). Once I have it completely memorized, then the real work begins. I think it takes at least a year to really start to be happy with a piece--once it is memorized. At least that is how it was with me and Fur Elise and Moonlight Sonata. (I'll let you know on Chopin's Nocturne in E flat in a couple of weeks.)

Your fingers just need to find the groove and not be bothered by your brain telling them what to do--they just do it. There are many times I am playing Moonlight Sonata that I have found myself carrying on a conversation with someone, (not too technical a conversation, mind you), and I find myself still playing the piece.

I "play" the piece in my head as I play along. I know what is coming up and add expression accordingly. I also listen to recordings of the piece. Some of the recordings I like--some I don't. I don't play like the ones I don't like.

Of course, memorization lets your mind sometimes wander which can lead to a complete block as the piano goes dead and I wonder where I am...along with anyone else who was listening.

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

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#1061519 - 10/10/04 01:35 PM Re: Interpreting how a piece should sound
newpianoplayer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/12/01
Posts: 362
Loc: CANADA
What I think everyone is saying is learning to play the piano musically requires careful listening. If you can speak expressively you will be able to play expressively. Why does one person sound musical and another person plays the same notes in the same sequence and sounds unmusical. When I hear a performance that sounds musical I want to keep listening.

What I find is unless I have heard a recording of the piece I am learning I am unable to produce an interpretation as the composer intended. Is this true of musical prodigies and professional musicians. A musician has to care about the sounds he (she) makes and learn how to control them.
_________________________
Please excuse me. I have to go practice

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#1061520 - 10/11/04 06:13 AM Re: Interpreting how a piece should sound
mikhailoh Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 4288
Loc: Cincinnati
That takes time, at three years I am beginning to really develop that.. it has a lot to do with getting your times down for the notes.

Mound is right.. piano and patience go hand in hand. It is a matter of years not months.
_________________________
Michael

====

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

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#1061521 - 10/11/04 12:51 PM Re: Interpreting how a piece should sound
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
so it's not bad if you can't play something well after 4 weeks? :rolleyes:
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, ├Ľun (apple in Estonian)

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#1061522 - 10/11/04 01:39 PM Re: Interpreting how a piece should sound
jdsher Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/04
Posts: 643
Loc: Plano, Texas
I think Michael is right. I've handed my teacher sheet music she's never seen before and she can make it sound musical just sight-reading it. It blows me away every time she does this.
This phenomenon is what lead me to conclude that the real genius in music is the composer. Yes, it is very important for the pianist to interpret, but the composer is the one who tells you what to play and how to play it.
Jon
_________________________
"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Albert Einstein

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#1061523 - 10/11/04 06:44 PM Re: Interpreting how a piece should sound
mhf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/04/04
Posts: 48
Loc: Austin, TX
I must say that this is the real joy of playing for me. Even with the most simple pieces (which is all I can play), once I have them down cold and can start to put a little emotion and feel into the playing of it, I get a most wonderful thrill. It would not be much to others, but it starts to make me feel like a "true" piano player ...
_________________________
I should be practicing!

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#1061524 - 10/12/04 03:30 AM Re: Interpreting how a piece should sound
mikhailoh Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 4288
Loc: Cincinnati
mhf..

I agree.. we should all be practicing rather than hanging around the forum...

But.... I get so much joy out of reading others' triumphs and sharing my own experiences! Both in my search for a grand and in my learning, this forum has been a godsend.
_________________________
Michael

====

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

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#1061525 - 10/12/04 02:18 PM Re: Interpreting how a piece should sound
Stevester Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/03
Posts: 2851
Loc: New Jersey
This is an excellent thread.

I am in agreement that I have to listen to a piece before I can start working on it. I listen to it just about every time before I practice.

Of note, since this is the Adult Beginner's Forum I just want to mention I am using the Frederick Harris Music "Celebration Series" which I have been having good luck with. They sell CDs to match the literature.
http://www.frederickharrismusic.com/fhmcUS/Frederick.jsp

Have fun,
Steve
_________________________
"The true character of a man can be determined by witnessing what he does when no one is watching".

anon

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