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#1974532 - 10/17/12 12:34 PM Claire de lune in C ??
Stephen Hazel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 734
Loc: Seattle-ish, WA
Ok, I'm an intermediate piano player.
(I guess... I'd really never admit to being more than a beginner. Mostly, I just play pop.)

I'm planning on tackling Debussy's Clair de lune.

Due to plain laziness, I'm considering transposing it to C from the standard Db key signature (I think, right?)

I see it modulating to E later in the piece.
So I'm not completely out of the woods (if at all).

Has anybody tried this?
Is this likely to hurt the song in some way?
I guess the notes will be a half step down and the teeny bit of extra bass might make it sound slightly different.

Anyways, I thought I'd ask you (way) more experienced players.

Thanks for any help smile
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...Steve
http://PianoCheetah.com - writing my own piano practice program ...yeah, I'm crazy like that

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#1974536 - 10/17/12 12:38 PM Re: Claire de lune in C ?? [Re: Stephen Hazel]
the nosy ape Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/10/08
Posts: 681
Loc: Westford, MA
While it may make initial reading of it easier for you I think you would actually make it harder to play.

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#1974539 - 10/17/12 12:42 PM Re: Claire de lune in C ?? [Re: Stephen Hazel]
natty_dread78 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/07/10
Posts: 116
Originally Posted By: Stephen Hazel
Due to plain laziness, I'm considering transposing it to C from the standard Db key signature

But, what for ? C is not the easiest key by far. In fact, D flat is even the easiest one. So what's the point ?

Originally Posted By: Stephen Hazel
Is this likely to hurt the song in some way?

Yes. Each key has its proper sound, its soul. Debussy did not write it in C, so he didn't want it to be played in C.

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#1974541 - 10/17/12 12:44 PM Re: Claire de lune in C ?? [Re: Stephen Hazel]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19299
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Stephen Hazel
Due to plain laziness, I'm considering transposing it to C....

Sounds very unlazy!
In fact, wouldn't it be easier just to play it as written than to do all the work for transposing? Including because, as you say:

Quote:
I see it modulating to E later in the piece.
So I'm not completely out of the woods (if at all).

....and there might also be other parts where you won't be spared from the black keys! grin
(don't know offhand)

Quote:
Is this likely to hurt the song in some way?
I guess the notes will be a half step down and the teeny bit of extra bass might make it sound slightly different.

I think it would be sort of all right, no worse (for example) than how a Schubert Impromptu in Gb major is sometimes notated and played (by beginners) in G major.

Many people wouldn't hear the difference, but yes, in at least a subtle way, we could say it would "hurt" the piece. That's a good point you made about "extra bass" -- that would be one of the differences -- but to me that would be a minor aspect. The greater one would be that many people feel that every key has its own feeling, and C major is very different than Db.

Not to mention that you might give people with perfect pitch a seizure.... ha

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#1974551 - 10/17/12 01:06 PM Re: Claire de lune in C ?? [Re: Stephen Hazel]
Stephen Hazel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 734
Loc: Seattle-ish, WA
Well, I've got a midi file of it.
Transposing can easily be done by software.

But, hmmm, yeah the bumpy black keys will help with
muscle memory.

Although the wider white keys MAY make a slightly more
forgiving target for all the hops.
Eh, probably bumpiness will be more helpful.

And although moving a SINGLE halfstep won't likely
change the bass by much if any, eh, I may stick with
the standard after all.

Yeah, this is classical music. I shouldn't be messin' with it.
It's survived all these generations. No point in ME tryin to dink things around.

Ok, Db it is.

(Although I really wouldn't mind giving people with perfect pitch a seizure.
They've got perfect pitch. They can take a seizure or 2:)
_________________________
...Steve
http://PianoCheetah.com - writing my own piano practice program ...yeah, I'm crazy like that

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#1974553 - 10/17/12 01:07 PM Re: Claire de lune in C ?? [Re: Stephen Hazel]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17678
Loc: Victoria, BC
Moreover, much of Clair de Lune fits into the hand well because of the key that it is written in; transposing it would create other difficulties than not having to grapple with five flats. Learn it in the original key, please, for all the right reasons.

Perhaps you are just not yet ready for it.

Regards,
_________________________
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Estonia 190 in satin ebony
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#1974555 - 10/17/12 01:12 PM Re: Claire de lune in C ?? [Re: Stephen Hazel]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2232
Loc: San Jose, CA
Originally Posted By: Stephen Hazel
Well, I've got a midi file of it.
Transposing can easily be done by software.

But, hmmm, yeah the bumpy black keys will help with
muscle memory.

Although the wider white keys MAY make a slightly more
forgiving target for all the hops.
Eh, probably bumpiness will be more helpful.


Bumpiness is much more helpful, yes. That's what makes flat keys more forgiving. If I and V are black keys, it usually makes things easier to handle. If they're on white keys, it's a sea of keys that all look and feel the same and you need a lot of experience and practice to become accurate.

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#1974571 - 10/17/12 01:48 PM Re: Claire de lune in C ?? [Re: Stephen Hazel]
Vid Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/01
Posts: 709
Loc: Vancouver, B.C.
Not to mention your performance would seriously disturb those listeners who have perfect pitch.

I would also think that the level of proficiency required to perform this piece well would require a prerequisite familiarity with all the major and minor keys. Can you play all 24 major and minor scales? If not I would start there first.
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#1974573 - 10/17/12 01:50 PM Re: Claire de lune in C ?? [Re: Stephen Hazel]
Stephen Hazel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 734
Loc: Seattle-ish, WA
I forgot I could just LISTEN to it transposed and decide for myself if
it sounds much different. Can't do that at work though:/
I found one midi with the correct 9/8 timesig split into LH,RH tracks.
And another that's a live recording so I can listen to it transposed.

But I'm positive I'll learn it in Db.
Keep the bumpiness and possibly finger range (hand span?, whatever).

And, yes, I'm sure it's quite above my level.
But that's never stopped me before.
I learned a pretty tricky "Bridge over troubled water" arrangement.
And it's definitely above my level.
This is a stretch beyond that from my initial look at it.
We'll seeeeeeee how it goes.
_________________________
...Steve
http://PianoCheetah.com - writing my own piano practice program ...yeah, I'm crazy like that

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#1974581 - 10/17/12 01:59 PM Re: Claire de lune in C ?? [Re: Stephen Hazel]
Thrill Science Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 505
Loc: California
Is it April 1st?

This is NOT a good idea. Believe me, it will fit under your fingers as written a lot better and would be easier to play.

Depending on your skill level, you may find reading music in C to be easier than Db but in a week or so you'll have it memorized and the actual reading of it will become moot.


Edited by Thrill Science (10/17/12 02:00 PM)
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#1974591 - 10/17/12 02:10 PM Re: Claire de lune in C ?? [Re: Vid]
Stephen Hazel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 734
Loc: Seattle-ish, WA
Originally Posted By: Vid
Can you play all 24 major and minor scales?


I can't yet. My sheet music has some fingering. Hopefully that gets me through the rough spots.

My piano teacher is learning it with me, though.
And she knows em all.
So I'll probably make my way through the brush ok.
_________________________
...Steve
http://PianoCheetah.com - writing my own piano practice program ...yeah, I'm crazy like that

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#1974595 - 10/17/12 02:22 PM Re: Claire de lune in C ?? [Re: Mark_C]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6045
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: Mark_C

I think it would be sort of all right, no worse (for example) than how a Schubert Impromptu in Gb major is sometimes notated and played (by beginners) in G major.


Actually, the Impromptu was first published in G major....

From Wikipedia - "Though written in G-flat major and 4/2 meter, the work was printed by the first publisher, almost 30 years later, in G major and 4/4 meter.[4] It may have been one of first pieces composed in this unusual key. The original version is now generally preferred."
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YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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#1974600 - 10/17/12 02:27 PM Re: Claire de lune in C ?? [Re: Stephen Hazel]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6045
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Steve -

If it's above your level in D flat, it will still be above your level in C.

If you really want to learn the piece, go ahead and give it a shot in the original key - ready or not. You'll either be successful or you won't. You can always come back to it again when your skills are more developed.
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#1974602 - 10/17/12 02:33 PM Re: Claire de lune in C ?? [Re: carey]
Stephen Hazel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 734
Loc: Seattle-ish, WA
Originally Posted By: carey
If you really want to learn the piece, go ahead and give it a shot in the original key - ready or not.



Yep, that's what I'm a gonna do:)


Thanks everybody for the advice - I appreciate it.

I'll be stickin' with Db !! (And E)
_________________________
...Steve
http://PianoCheetah.com - writing my own piano practice program ...yeah, I'm crazy like that

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#1974610 - 10/17/12 02:46 PM Re: Claire de lune in C ?? [Re: Stephen Hazel]
daviel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/07
Posts: 933
Loc: Waxahachie, Texas
Good choice! If you are starting out, this is one bad habit you do not need to pick up. Don't be afraid to play things in the keys written. You say you play some pop tunes so you must have noticed that pop and rock tunes sound better in the keys they're recorded in, too. At least they do to me. I play in some bands and we always try to stick to the "real" key unless whoever is singing just can't make it. I want to encourage you to not lock yourself into one key. It is a really good idea to NEVER use a keyboard transpose button, or transpose with software. Trust me, you'll save yourself untold grief. Besides, you will get to like playing up in the black keys and digging in. Good luck with it. smile
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David Loving, Waxahachie, Texas

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#1974630 - 10/17/12 03:28 PM Re: Claire de lune in C ?? [Re: daviel]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17678
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: daviel
[...] I play in some bands and we always try to stick to the "real" key unless whoever is singing just can't make it. [...]


I know that this is not the context in which you were writing, but ....

Arguably the greatest singer of German Lieder was Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau renowned for, among other things, his interpretations of Schubert Lieder. Schubert's original keys were invariably those written for soprano/tenor and Fischer-Dieskau, being a baritone, always sung transposed versions. Nevertheless, his interpretations of Schubert have rarely been equalled and never surpassed.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190 in satin ebony
Writing from Paris until 15 May, 2014

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#1974636 - 10/17/12 03:33 PM Re: Claire de lune in C ?? [Re: Stephen Hazel]
dannylux Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/06
Posts: 1815
Loc: Connecticut
Did you follow Hugh Sung's video tutorials in his "Clair de lune form Scratch" thread in the ABF?

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1897818/1.html

His suggestions are immensely helpful.

I would also suggest that you start by learning the D flat scale. The fingering for all the scales is in Hanon Part 2, at IMSLP:

http://imslp.org/wiki/The_Virtuoso_Pianist_%28Hanon,_Charles-Louis%29


Mel
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My Recordings

"Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get — only what you are expecting to give — which is everything. What you will receive in return varies. But it really has no connection with what you give. You give because you love and cannot help giving." Katharine Hepburn

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#1974638 - 10/17/12 03:36 PM Re: Claire de lune in C ?? [Re: Stephen Hazel]
Stephen Hazel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 734
Loc: Seattle-ish, WA
Wellll, there are quite a few pop songs I've transposed to C to
learn (which my sequencer transposes back to the "real" key as I play).

They are much quicker to learn as most pop songs are based on chords
and don't go much past the basic 3.
Probably only in the key they are because they were originally written for guitar.
I can learn some easier pop songs in under a week this way.
(You folks would probably play em on sight:)

I imagine this baby will take me 2 months to get "into my brain and fingers".
Well, the holidays are coming and I have to get 2 new Christmas songs in.
So this baby won't be done till next year.
But that's perfectly ok with me.
I wasn't sure I could play the real PianoMan arrangement, but I could.
Wasn't sure I could do PieJesu - yep. Bridge over troubled waters? Yep.
Soooo, this will be tough, but I bet my fingers will teach it to me like
they have the others SOMEhow.

It sure is incredible what fingers (ok, your brain) can do.
_________________________
...Steve
http://PianoCheetah.com - writing my own piano practice program ...yeah, I'm crazy like that

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#1974643 - 10/17/12 03:42 PM Re: Claire de lune in C ?? [Re: Stephen Hazel]
Stephen Hazel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 734
Loc: Seattle-ish, WA
Oooooooo, thanks dannylux !!
I remember seeing those videos and thinkin' "eh, someday..."

I'll definitely be checkin' those out.
I started on the Db scale yesterday at piano lesson.


you folks are awesome.
_________________________
...Steve
http://PianoCheetah.com - writing my own piano practice program ...yeah, I'm crazy like that

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#1974700 - 10/17/12 04:39 PM Re: Claire de lune in C ?? [Re: Stephen Hazel]
jasperkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/22/05
Posts: 411
Loc: Safford, AZ
Hi Stephen, you once helped me out with a MIDI problem I had. One thing about learning Clair de Lune that could help your learning curve is using two hands to spread out the arpeggios beginning at bar 27. I started out trying to use the left alone to play the indicated arpeggios and I was never able to make them sound smooth and error free. I found out later that most players (if not all) used two hands. Good piece, I love it.
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#1974707 - 10/17/12 04:49 PM Re: Claire de lune in C ?? [Re: Stephen Hazel]
Stephen Hazel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 734
Loc: Seattle-ish, WA
thanks smile That'll probably be in the Hugh Sung videos, too.
But I'll take all the help I can get!
_________________________
...Steve
http://PianoCheetah.com - writing my own piano practice program ...yeah, I'm crazy like that

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#1974771 - 10/17/12 06:15 PM Re: Claire de lune in C ?? [Re: carey]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19299
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: carey
Actually, the Impromptu was first published in G major....

From Wikipedia - "Though written in G-flat major and 4/2 meter, the work was printed by the first publisher, almost 30 years later, in G major and 4/4 meter.[4] It may have been one of first pieces composed in this unusual key. The original version is now generally preferred."

G major is "now generally preferred"???

NOT! smile

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#1974794 - 10/17/12 06:40 PM Re: Claire de lune in C ?? [Re: Mark_C]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6045
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: carey
Actually, the Impromptu was first published in G major....

From Wikipedia - "Though written in G-flat major and 4/2 meter, the work was printed by the first publisher, almost 30 years later, in G major and 4/4 meter.[4] It may have been one of first pieces composed in this unusual key. The original version is now generally preferred."

G major is "now generally preferred"???

NOT! smile


Au contraire mon ami !! The "original version" in this instance being what Schubert wrote in the first place !!!!!! wink
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#1974841 - 10/17/12 08:06 PM Re: Claire de lune in C ?? [Re: carey]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19299
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: carey
Au contraire mon ami !! The "original version" in this instance being what Schubert wrote in the first place !!!!!! wink

Good. smile

I misunderstood what was meant by "original version" -- I thought it meant how it was first printed (as opposed to how it's usually printed now).

And if you take a fresh look at it, I think you might agree it's ambiguous.
Or at least amsmalluous. grin

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#1974887 - 10/17/12 09:56 PM Re: Claire de lune in C ?? [Re: Stephen Hazel]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6085
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
Originally Posted By: Stephen Hazel

I'll be stickin' with Db !! (And E)


thumb
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Music is my best friend.


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#2253839 - 03/29/14 07:43 AM Re: Claire de lune in C ?? [Re: Stephen Hazel]
jmechmech Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 1

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#2255349 - 04/01/14 01:28 PM Re: Claire de lune in C ?? [Re: natty_dread78]
caters Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/14
Posts: 126
Loc: Columbus, ohio, USA
Originally Posted By: natty_dread78
Originally Posted By: Stephen Hazel
Due to plain laziness, I'm considering transposing it to C from the standard Db key signature

But, what for ? C is not the easiest key by far. In fact, D flat is even the easiest one. So what's the point ?

Originally Posted By: Stephen Hazel
Is this likely to hurt the song in some way?

Yes. Each key has its proper sound, its soul. Debussy did not write it in C, so he didn't want it to be played in C.


C major is the easiest key because of no sharps and no flats.

However if you are talking about c minor no that is not the easiest key. G minor is easier than c minor and d minor is easier than g minor.

Plus it is easy to transpose yourself. You just have to know the intervals between the notes of 1 scale and the notes of the scale you are wanting.


Edited by caters (04/01/14 01:36 PM)

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#2255356 - 04/01/14 01:34 PM Re: Claire de lune in C ?? [Re: caters]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17678
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: caters
[...]C major is the easiest key because of no sharps and no flats.

[...]


C major may be the easiest key because of "no sharps and no flats" but from the standpoint of hand shape, it is not the easiest key. Moreover, if the number of sharps or flats dictates the difficulty of a piece, then that person doesn't know his key signatures well enough; it's a simple as that.

Chopin, who knew the keyboard better than almost anyone, always started his students with B major. Forget about five sharps; the fact that the thumb plays B and E and the longer fingers play F-sharp, G-sharp, A-sharp, C-sharp and D-sharp, means that the hand is playing in its most natural position and that movement of the thumb is easier under the fingers that are playing on black keys.

I don't buy the argument that more sharps and flats are harder than fewer sharps or flats after a certain amount of training. The difficulty - or lack thereof - lies in how the hand fits - or doesn't naturally fit - over the keys it has to play.

As for playing Clair de lune in C major - let's not even go there!!

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
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Estonia 190 in satin ebony
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