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#1776478 - 10/24/11 07:11 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
BruceD Offline
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Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17666
Loc: Victoria, BC
I am sure that everyone appreciates that a violinist or a clarinetist or any instrumentalist who plays a single-note instrument has a much easier time of sight reading than those of us who play polyphonic instruments, and, yes, we appreciate that they have other challenges we don't have.

It is also true, to some degree, that some of those instrumentalists and some singers who do not play the piano have no idea of the complexities involved in playing the piano and/or in sight reading a score. I am sure we all know a/an (put the instrument in here) and a vocalist or two who will hand you a piece, will have no idea of its complexities or difficulties, and will expect you to read it as easily as they sight read their single line.

A violinist once handed me the Franck Sonata to which I had never seen the score and suggested we play the first movement; "It's really easy!" Well, true, it's not as difficult as many another sonata for violin and piano, but "really easy"?

That said, "sight reading" and (some) "singers" are words that often should not be used in the same sentence!

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190 in satin ebony

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#1776482 - 10/24/11 07:15 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: BruceD]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6035
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Originally Posted By: BruceD
I am sure we all know (put the instrument in here) and vocalists who will hand you a piece, will have no idea of its complexities or difficulties, and will expect you to read it as easily as they sight read it. That said, sight reading and some singers are words that often cannot be used in the same sentence!

Regards,


Truth, truth, truth. Ughhhhh... But I'm taking voice lessons now, so I'll eventually be on both ends of the spectrum, hehe.

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#1776492 - 10/24/11 07:30 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
pianoloverus Offline
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Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19094
Loc: New York City
Even worse some intelligent people I know think reading music is like reading a book. Once you know the notes you just read every piece...no practicing ever required.

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#1776583 - 10/24/11 09:40 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: leemax]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10733
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: leemax
I play a number of instruments and I'm a really good sight-reader on the ones that are not polyphonic. The polyphonic ones (piano and classical guitar) for some reason give me a lot of problems. I think it's just something in the way my brain works that makes it harder for me to read multiple notes at once. A pattern-recognition thing or something. I don't know. I started on piano lessons when I was about 4 or 5, and trumpet when I was probably 10, so I had much more polyphonic reading "practice", and I know many techniques of improving sight reading, but there is still just something that doesn't "click" for me. My dad was a pianist and a really good sight-reader. I tried to play hymns and such, and even familiar ones with really easy chord progressions were not easy to read. There is just something different about the processing of polyphonic and monophonic lines for me. Maybe others are the same.


Well, it's not really that complicated to understand. On piano you play sometimes 4-5 times as many notes as on a melodic instrument, and often at the same time. Of course that makes the reading harder to do.

Hymns aren't necessarily the best to sightread unless you want to get good at playing hymns. I would start with easier music if they're giving you a hard time. Like early intermediate pieces (Minuets and the like).
_________________________
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Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11
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#1776653 - 10/24/11 11:58 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: BruceD]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4491
Loc: in the past
Originally Posted By: BruceD
A violinist once handed me the Franck Sonata to which I had never seen the score and suggested we play the first movement; "It's really easy!" Well, true, it's not as difficult as many another sonata for violin and piano, but "really easy"?


Actually, the Franck is considered one of the more difficult piano-violin sonatas! I've noticed that for pretty much all collaborative piano auditions, they want to hear Franck and Beethoven 7. Having played both, I can see why... (definitely two of my favourites, and to be honest I didn't think the Franck was anywhere close to the Beethoven in difficulty)
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

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#1776658 - 10/25/11 12:05 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: stores]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1454
Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
Everybody can improve through practice and hard work, but eventually one will not grow beyond his or her own limiting factors. It is crazy to think that everybody will be able to play, say, ALL chopin etudes well if he or she practices very hard.

No disagreement there. I've sight-read through all of the Chopin etudes (only seriously studied 3 or 4 of them) and came to the depressing conclusion that many of them I would never get up to speed, not to mention accurate.


I agree, reading Chopin Etudes is not difficult. But playing up to tempo and well is totally different game! Damm those Chopin etudes.....hehehehehe


The reason you can't play them to tempo is because you lack the technique to do so. It's as simple as that. There is no great mystery to tackling and conquering the Chopin etudes or any other work. You either possess the proper technique or you don't. Thus, the "limiting factor" here is technique, or rather the lack thereof.


Many people in this forum claim that they can play Chopin Etudes well. But once they posted their playing, most of them are just a laughing matter.

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#1776663 - 10/25/11 12:21 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
whitfit Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/13/11
Posts: 80
Loc: Toronto, Canada
As someone who plays the cello, and now is learning to play the piano, the polyphonic aspect of the piano is a big jump from the cello.

As someone mentioned above, you have other issues with other instruments (with the cello, it is tone and intonation - both take a long time to get good at for most people), but with the piano I am struggling to read two staffs with multiple notes at the same time. It is a big challenge, and I hope I get better at it! After only a couple of months of learning piano, though, I hope it is something I can learn - I am giving myself two years before trying to judge whether I will get there.

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#1776744 - 10/25/11 06:36 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: BruceD]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7422
Originally Posted By: BruceD
I am sure that everyone appreciates that a violinist or a clarinetist or any instrumentalist who plays a single-note instrument has a much easier time of sight reading than those of us who play polyphonic instruments, and, yes, we appreciate that they have other challenges we don't have.



Although the piano is my primary instrument by far, I also played several single-line instruments when I was younger. One of the interesting difficulties about sight-reading music for those instruments was that the lack of context, particularly harmonic context, adds a kind of problem that pianists usually don't have. It is much harder to understand the music you are playing and where it's going if you don't have the whole of it in front of you, but have just one line. Which isn't to say that it's more difficult than piano music to sight read, but just that it has some odd difficulties that pianists don't usually think about.

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#1776793 - 10/25/11 09:33 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: pianoloverus]
cardguy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/08
Posts: 977
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: cardguy
Edit: Just to add, none of this is to say of course that people can't become good sight readers with enough effort. I'm just saying that natural ability is a factor, especially for those who read superbly.
I think talent is part of the equation in doing anything well unless the "anything" is something as simple as doing your laundry or boiling an egg.


Agreed. It does seem like I'm belaboring the obvious. And yet Im getting the feeling that talent is being underplayed by some...the ethos seeming to be, hard work will get you there every time. T'aint so in my opinion. I've always been a crappy sight reader. I always will be. The best I can hope for is to gradually become a bit less crappy with lots of hard work.



Edited by cardguy (10/25/11 09:34 AM)

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#1776795 - 10/25/11 09:35 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: wr]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4491
Loc: in the past
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: BruceD
I am sure that everyone appreciates that a violinist or a clarinetist or any instrumentalist who plays a single-note instrument has a much easier time of sight reading than those of us who play polyphonic instruments, and, yes, we appreciate that they have other challenges we don't have.



Although the piano is my primary instrument by far, I also played several single-line instruments when I was younger. One of the interesting difficulties about sight-reading music for those instruments was that the lack of context, particularly harmonic context, adds a kind of problem that pianists usually don't have. It is much harder to understand the music you are playing and where it's going if you don't have the whole of it in front of you, but have just one line. Which isn't to say that it's more difficult than piano music to sight read, but just that it has some odd difficulties that pianists don't usually think about.


I was just thinking the same thing yesterday. I showed the violinist I'm playing with some harmonic analysis - she had 3 Cs over three different chords I had, all with different functions. Once we established that, the phrase sounded radically different and better.
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

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#1776943 - 10/25/11 01:51 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Pogorelich.]
Drunk3nFist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/08
Posts: 640
Loc: London
I actually would like to pick up a single melodic-line instrument just to see how much easier sightreading would prove to be.
_________________________
Working on:

Prokofiev - Sonata No. 3
Kapustin - Variations Op. 41
Chopin - Ballade No. 4

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#1776982 - 10/25/11 03:37 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
cardguy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/08
Posts: 977
My cello playing wife is always wanting me to accompany her on the piano, then gets impatient while I struggle to keep up with music I've never seen before.

UNFAIR!!!

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#1777282 - 10/26/11 01:55 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
Opus_Maximus Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/04
Posts: 1457
The key to becoming an excellent sight-reader? Get your masters at Indiana University, where all piano majors are required to accompany every conceivable instrumental and vocal piece....and have about thirty minutes to learn it...

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#1778242 - 10/27/11 03:39 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
MadForBrad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/11/11
Posts: 202
Loc: LA / Montreal
sight reading, like anything else can be practiced and improved. Some people have more innate talent but we known that deliberate practice trumps innate talent that is not nurtured.

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#1778309 - 10/27/11 05:47 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: MadForBrad]
Drunk3nFist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/08
Posts: 640
Loc: London
Originally Posted By: MadForBrad
sight reading, like anything else can be practiced and improved.



I hope so.. I really hope so frown
_________________________
Working on:

Prokofiev - Sonata No. 3
Kapustin - Variations Op. 41
Chopin - Ballade No. 4

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#1778314 - 10/27/11 05:53 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: wr]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17666
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: BruceD
I am sure that everyone appreciates that a violinist or a clarinetist or any instrumentalist who plays a single-note instrument has a much easier time of sight reading than those of us who play polyphonic instruments, and, yes, we appreciate that they have other challenges we don't have.



Although the piano is my primary instrument by far, I also played several single-line instruments when I was younger. One of the interesting difficulties about sight-reading music for those instruments was that the lack of context, particularly harmonic context, adds a kind of problem that pianists usually don't have. It is much harder to understand the music you are playing and where it's going if you don't have the whole of it in front of you, but have just one line. Which isn't to say that it's more difficult than piano music to sight read, but just that it has some odd difficulties that pianists don't usually think about.


That's a very relevant and important observation!

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190 in satin ebony

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#1778333 - 10/27/11 06:34 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19094
Loc: New York City
The posters who are emphasizing that other instrumentalists usually have only one line to read seem to be ignoring the fact that those instrumentalists have to create the sound by much more complicated means than pressing a key. Sight reading also included playing the notes.


Edited by pianoloverus (10/27/11 06:36 PM)

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#1778395 - 10/27/11 09:13 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: pianoloverus]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6035
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
The posters who are emphasizing that other instrumentalists usually have only one line to read seem to be ignoring the fact that those instrumentalists have to create the sound by much more complicated means than pressing a key. Sight reading also included playing the notes.


Yes, that is a great observation. But as someone who has played a couple other single-note instruments (saxophone and violin when I was younger, plus I sing) it is overall still easier for a single-line instrument.

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#1778507 - 10/28/11 12:56 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
PianoStudent88 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 2975
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: Drunk3nFist
I actually would like to pick up a single melodic-line instrument just to see how much easier sightreading would prove to be.

Why wait? Play melody lines with your RH. Instant single-line sight-reading.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#1778533 - 10/28/11 01:46 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
EltonRach Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/20/09
Posts: 95
Loc: Singapore
My sight reading is good when I know the piece !

It's especially poor if the timing is highly synchopated.

For me it is very music dependent.

It's poor if the notes run on a scale that's not based on the major or minor scale. Eg I've been "reading" and practising Listz's Hungarian Rhapsody 2 for 8 months now - and I don't think I've figured out more than 70% of the notes.

On the other hand, my children are "amazed" I can pick up their Grade 6 and below pieces and play it reasonably first time out.

Still haven't figured out how to play the theme from Will and Grace - damm. Theme from Chariots of Fire - got it first time out!

Twisting by the Pool (Dire Straits) still can't figure it out. Lady Marmalade - ok!

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#1778541 - 10/28/11 01:58 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: PianoStudent88]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7422
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Originally Posted By: Drunk3nFist
I actually would like to pick up a single melodic-line instrument just to see how much easier sightreading would prove to be.

Why wait? Play melody lines with your RH. Instant single-line sight-reading.


That's a good idea, but only if it is from a score where you only see the one line. To get the right effect, you could try downloading some single line parts from IMSLP to read through.

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#1779973 - 10/30/11 03:13 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
LeaC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
Someone said earlier that freedom to just play helped them. For me, the opposite is true. I was allowed to play by ear for years without any instruction on rhythm, note reading, etc. This totally screwed me up. I was not put in any public place and required to read, so maybe this helps. When I was 15 I went to a great teacher, who, for the first time, demanded that I do things her way. It was a shock because I was playing Chopin and doing it all wrong. For me, I know that I needed good instruction and guidelines from the very start. My bad habits still affect me today sometimes.

I practice at sightreading constantly to keep getting better at it--even after all these years.


Edited by LeaC (10/30/11 09:13 PM)
_________________________
Working on: Reworking Bartok's Suite Opus 14, Chopin's Polonaise Op.40, The Military (so much fun!)

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#1779980 - 10/30/11 03:26 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: EltonRach]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17666
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: EltonRach
My sight reading is good when I know the piece !

[...]


I am not sure whether your intent was to be facetious, but reading the score when you "know the piece" is not, technically speaking, sight reading. I do not think that that is what others were writing about when they write about the difficulties of sight reading. Sight reading means playing from the score a piece that you have never played or seen before. The proof of this - if proof be needed - comes in the context of a practical examination which has a sight reading component. In such a context, the candidate is given a score never seen before, given a few minutes to look it over, and then is required to play it at a reasonable tempo with reasonably good dynamics. That is sight reading.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190 in satin ebony

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#1780082 - 10/30/11 07:05 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: EltonRach]
Drunk3nFist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/08
Posts: 640
Loc: London
Originally Posted By: EltonRach
My sight reading is good when I know the piece !



You've lost the essence of sightreading in that case.
_________________________
Working on:

Prokofiev - Sonata No. 3
Kapustin - Variations Op. 41
Chopin - Ballade No. 4

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