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#1096472 - 01/10/05 07:14 PM Cheating
Jerry Luke Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/04
Posts: 969
Loc: Tillamook, Oregon
I'm learning Scarlatti's Sonata K32 in D minor (my goal for 2005). Several of the LH chords are 4-finger chords. I'm not ready for that yet. While analyzing the piece, I noticed that most of the chords are I, IV, or V7 chords with an extra note thrown in. Since I can handle 3-finger chords in this key (thanks, Alfred's!), I have been dropping the extra note and playing the 3-finger I, IV, or V7 chords.

Now, this is technically not how the composer wrote the piece, so am I cheating if I play the simplified chords? In other words, will I still be able to say that I can play this piece, or would I be lying because I am actually playing some mutated version of my own creation? \:\(
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#1096473 - 01/10/05 09:16 PM Re: Cheating
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
i remember that chord (1st of such perhaps), which could be played by 5432 and is not that hard to get used to. you just need to practice pressing down all 4 fingers for such a chord for a while to get the feel of it. it is a simple piece already so that every note there should be played as it is in order not to loose its harmonic color.

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#1096474 - 01/10/05 09:26 PM Re: Cheating
markjpcs Offline


Registered: 08/31/04
Posts: 3170
Loc: Wisconsin
I agree with signa.

Take the extra time and learn it correctly the first time.
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#1096475 - 01/10/05 10:21 PM Re: Cheating
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
I agree, they're pretty intimidating at first. But after practicing them a couple dozen times very slowly and ensuring you're hitting the right notes every time you'll get them down.

Try picking just two of the chords and go back and forth between them. Play one chord twice and then play the other twice, repeat. You'll be shocked at how fast your fingers automatically "get" the position.

I'm running into the same thing with Misty from the Sudnow course. We're playing four note chords with the right hand one right after the other.

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#1096476 - 01/10/05 10:52 PM Re: Cheating
ragtimebg Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/07/04
Posts: 180
Loc: California
I think you should play it any way it gives you pleasure. I think it's better to pay something more clearly and well by simplifying it a little, rather than struggling through the awkward parts..../// But I'm pretty lazy.
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#1096477 - 01/11/05 01:23 AM Re: Cheating
ShiroKuro Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3514
Loc: not in Japan anymore
It's not cheating to drop a note out of the chords and play with a simplified LH, and that doesn't mean that you can't play the piece, but it's a little like playing an easier arrangement, since you aren't strictly playing the original. However, that doesn't mean that you mustn't play that piece for others or that you shouldn't say you can play.

That being said, I have to agree with everyone else who say you should keep working on it till you can play it as it's written. You might play it your way for musical pleasure, and work on the full chords for musical practice/advancement, giving you the best of both worlds.

It's very tempting to drop a note here and there (esp from the left hand or when it's not part of the main melody) because it's such an effective short cut. But this can become a bad habit if you never push yourself to get used to playing the original score. I'm talking to myself here as much as anyone else. I have a bad habit of simplifying some of the Christmas songs I play because I want to make them playable as soon as possible, and every year I end up playing with dropped notes. This past Christmas I worked one piece up exactly as it's written, and I plan to do that with at least one more song for Christmas 2005...
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#1096478 - 01/11/05 04:00 AM Re: Cheating
TimR Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3239
Loc: Virginia, USA
I just started looking at that one last night.

Funny thing, somebody must have sneaked in and erased all the fingerings. Very irritating.

I worked through the most of the left hand chords last night and wrote down what seemed like reasonable fingerings. (Having taken lessons for only three months, I'm not confident I know how to do this, I'll have to have somebody check it.)

Those chord changes aren't that fast, and I'm trying them with all the notes. But if you want to drop some notes out, that makes sense too.

I think if you are ever going to play it right, you'd better use the right fingerings for the notes that you do play, right from the beginning.

Does that make sense? Like, the first chord is D-A-D. I'm fingering it 5-2-1. You could drop the bottom D and just play A-D. But make sure you finger it 2-1, not 4-1 or 5-1. Or, drop the top D, and finger what's left as 5-2. Not 5-1. Just an example. The 4 note chords are worse for having too many ways to finger them as 3 noters.

If you don't do this, when you come to add the other notes in, you'll be forever confused over fingerings.
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#1096479 - 01/11/05 06:11 AM Re: Cheating
mound Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 782
Loc: Rochester, NY
actually, outlining chords that way to get "the music" in your head is an excellent way to learn - you get the hand motions down and tempo/feel and can work more easily on pedalling etc. etc.. of course you need to add the missing notes back in, but doing an outline of a piece in the beginning stages of learning is certainly not cheating, it's in fact a technique I use all the time.

I believe Chang's book has a whole section dedicated to outlining.

-Paul
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"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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#1096480 - 01/11/05 06:12 AM Re: Cheating
mound Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 782
Loc: Rochester, NY
oh and TimR is exactly right.. when you do "outline" - use the fingering you'll use for the whole chord.. very important. good point Tim!

-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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#1096481 - 01/11/05 11:30 AM Re: Cheating
devils4ever Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/12/04
Posts: 477
Loc: northwest NJ
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jerry Luke:
Ok-get your mind out of the gutter. This isn't the Coffee Room.

What I'm talking about is this:

I'm learning Scarlatti's Sonata K32 in D minor (my goal for 2005). Several of the LH chords are 4-finger chords. I'm not ready for that yet. While analyzing the piece, I noticed that most of the chords are I, IV, or V7 chords with an extra note thrown in. Since I can handle 3-finger chords in this key (thanks, Alfred's!), I have been dropping the extra note and playing the 3-finger I, IV, or V7 chords.

Now, this is technically not how the composer wrote the piece, so am I cheating if I play the simplified chords? In other words, will I still be able to say that I can play this piece, or would I be lying because I am actually playing some mutated version of my own creation? \:\( [/b]
Jerry Luke,

My take would be you are cheating if it's a classical piece. I think you need to play exactly are written in classical music. OTOH, if it's a pop or jazz piece, then you're definitely not cheating! Play as you wish.

My $0.02.
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#1096482 - 01/11/05 12:10 PM Re: Cheating
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
The texture is very sparse in this piece. Any dropped notes will be noticed. In a V7 chord where none of the notes are dubled, for example, which note would you drop - the root, third, fifth, seventh?

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#1096483 - 01/11/05 12:16 PM Re: Cheating
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
I think you'd probably drop the fifth. Can't drop the root, because that names the chord. The third determines whether it's major or minor. And you wouldn't drop the seventh if you want to play a seventh chord. That leaves the fifth as the most "expendable." Does this sound right?
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#1096484 - 01/11/05 12:26 PM Re: Cheating
mound Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 782
Loc: Rochester, NY
for example, when I learned Chopin's Prelude in Cminor, where you essentially have 4 and 5 (and sometimes 6) note chords in the RH, I memorized the outline of the right hand movement first (only the thumb and pinkie note) - since the LH is basically all 2 notes anyway, that was no issue.. Once I could play the RH completely using only 2 fingers, it was much easier to add the remaining notes in.

but again, just to reiterate, this is a learning/practice tool, you can't just throw the notes away and perform the piece that way, it would sound aweful.

-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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#1096485 - 01/11/05 12:31 PM Re: Cheating
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
And don't be scared of 4-finger chords. They're really not that much harder to learn and play than triads, and they definitely help color the sound of the chord.
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#1096486 - 01/11/05 12:48 PM Re: Cheating
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
 Quote:
Originally posted by markb:
I think you'd probably drop the fifth. Can't drop the root, because that names the chord. The third determines whether it's major or minor. And you wouldn't drop the seventh if you want to play a seventh chord. That leaves the fifth as the most "expendable." Does this sound right? [/b]
My point was you can't really drop any of the notes. They are 4 note chords, and don't stretch more than an octave. It's better to learn and play them as written.

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#1096487 - 01/11/05 12:52 PM Re: Cheating
Jerry Luke Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/04
Posts: 969
Loc: Tillamook, Oregon
 Quote:
Originally posted by Phlebas:
The texture is very sparse in this piece. Any dropped notes will be noticed. In a V7 chord where none of the notes are dubled, for example, which note would you drop - the root, third, fifth, seventh? [/b]
In my Alfred's book 1, it says, "In the V7 chord, the 5th is usually omitted."
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#1096488 - 01/11/05 01:04 PM Re: Cheating
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
Woo hoo! I was right for a change!
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#1096489 - 01/11/05 01:26 PM Re: Cheating
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jerry Luke:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Phlebas:
The texture is very sparse in this piece. Any dropped notes will be noticed. In a V7 chord where none of the notes are dubled, for example, which note would you drop - the root, third, fifth, seventh? [/b]
In my Alfred's book 1, it says, "In the V7 chord, the 5th is usually omitted." [/b]
OK, but Scarlatti, in this case, didn't omit the 5th. He intended those notes to be played for voice leading, and other purposes. The Alfred book is probably referring to triads, where the 5th would have to be left off anyway. Don't get in the habit, as a beginner, of dropping notes. The chords as written are not that hard to play with some practice.

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#1096490 - 01/11/05 01:42 PM Re: Cheating
Jerry Luke Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/04
Posts: 969
Loc: Tillamook, Oregon
Phlebas-

You are right. The Alfred's book was referring to triads. I'm grateful for all the replies suggesting that I not get in the habit of dropping notes. Without a teacher, this is the kind of advice I need to hear. I will ensure that I not admit to anyone that 'I can play' that piece until I can REALLY play that piece. Thank goodness I have 354 more days to learn the chords. \:\)
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#1096491 - 01/11/05 01:57 PM Re: Cheating
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
Doh! I wasn't right! Although I believe, in general (obviously not in the piece to which you're referring), if you're going to drop a note in a four-note chord, it'll probably be the fifth for the reasons I mentioned above.

Here's a question, though. Are the chords written in notation, or does the piece just name the chords to play? I assume it's the former case. If it's the latter, though, you could use inversions and probably make some very easy chord changes.
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#1096492 - 01/11/05 02:05 PM Re: Cheating
Jerry Luke Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/04
Posts: 969
Loc: Tillamook, Oregon
The chords are written in notation (using squares). Here is a copy of the score:

Scarlatti K32

NOTE: You have to save the file and then open it. You cannot play it directly from the web page.
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#1096493 - 01/11/05 02:14 PM Re: Cheating
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
Wow, Jerry, you sound really good!
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