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#2037318 - 02/22/13 03:10 AM piano duets
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
Are piano duets really popular? When you see performances you never see duets? By duets I mean two people on one piano and not a piano and another instrument. I ask what is the point of playing duets? I have only ever played a duet once in a lesson with my teacher. It was ok but I did not really enjoy it. She played the bass clef notes and I played the treble clef as that was easier for me at the time. I did not enjoy it because I didnt know what I was doing because I played it well, but I have never seen the point of two people sitting at the same keyboard playing one piece of music. You never see this done at concerts or at the proms.

What do others think?

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#2037331 - 02/22/13 03:47 AM Re: piano duets [Re: adultpianist]
Allard Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 338
Loc: Netherlands
Last Christmas, my sister and I played two duets together. It was great fun! We're both beginning players and it lets us play something a little more complicated with relatively little effort. It also gave our parents great joy, seeing us make music together, haha. I think it would have been equally fun if she had played a different instrument, though.
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#2037346 - 02/22/13 05:50 AM Re: piano duets [Re: adultpianist]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5246
Loc: Europe
Check this out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsdvCIwmJLQ&list=PLEBuE5OWhpWK6VdF9hNqiIGxZBi78_7ar

It's my work(s) for piano 4 hands. Personally I found it great fun to play with my piano partner (Myrto) and I think that the result is satisfying enough (at least to me! :D). Now from a very practical point of view, a single solo pianist would never be able to play that as is heard, from purely from that view there's no other way to do it.

Other than that, the collaboration of musicians is great fun and so it should be. In the past days, there's been tons of transcriptions of orchestral works, for piano 4 hands. Reason was that they didn't have a way to listen to a Beethoven Symphony and the only way was to actually play it on the piano. But given the fact that it's symphonic music, they were forced to use more than 2 hands! wink
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#2037348 - 02/22/13 06:12 AM Re: piano duets [Re: adultpianist]
wouter79 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3515
I also like doing duets on piano. With other instrument is also nice. It sounds really full and nice because of 4 hands instead of 2, covering almost all of the keyboard. You can't play many of these duets on yourself because too many notes and too wide apart. I usually sing the primus when I study on the secundo (usually I play the secundo which is the usually harder and denser bass side).

I think they are not so popular because it's hard to find someone else willing to invest time in the same piece. Also both sides in the duet have to match each player's level, which makes it a lot harder to find something useful for both.
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#2037396 - 02/22/13 08:46 AM Re: piano duets [Re: adultpianist]
aTallGuyNH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 504
Hmmm...

I guess this doesn't count as "at the proms" does it...


And 24 hands isn't really a duet, maybe it would be called a "dodeca-et"?:


Even if it's not one's cup of tea, I think this duet w/ Emily Bear improvising (The Girl from Ipanema) is pretty amazing:


Edited by aTallGuyNH (02/22/13 08:50 AM)
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"...when you do practice properly, it seems to take no time at all. Just do it right five times or so, and then stop." -- JimF

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1978 Vose & Sons spinet "Rufus"
1914 Huntington upright "Mabel"

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#2037400 - 02/22/13 08:58 AM Re: piano duets [Re: adultpianist]
Ganddalf Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 621
Loc: Norway
I sometimes play duets with other pianists, and there is a lot of good music for four hands. If you are not familiar to Grieg's Norwegian Dances, I recommend that you listen to it.

More frequently, however, I play together with singers, and I really love it. There is a great number of songs for one voice and piano (for instance by Schubert, Grieg, Mendelssohn and Schumann). And even more to choose among if we include piano plus two voices or piano accompanying a choir. I think that playing with other musicians always adds a dimension to the music. I would, of course, also like to play more toghether with other instruments like the violin (or even trios or quartets etc). Unfortunately I don't often get the chance to to this, but it is always very nice.

When comes to difficulty level almost everything is possible. Playing by ear along with a voice or instrument playing a simple song or melody is one option. At the other end of the scale is chamber music by Brahms or other composers. This is extremely fun to do, but requires lots of practice.

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#2037402 - 02/22/13 09:01 AM Re: piano duets [Re: adultpianist]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2521
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
If you do not think duets are fun, you should watch this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RI-l0tK8Ok0
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A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2037411 - 02/22/13 09:20 AM Re: piano duets [Re: adultpianist]
SDaniel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/21/13
Posts: 21
Loc: France
I don't know a lot about classical music, but in jazz it's not rare, and it's great! It can be a lot of fun, first. Then it's challenging because you try to play together with two instruments that really can full the space and you want to let space for both musicians.

A few examples: in boogie woogie years Albert Ammons and Pete Johnson did that. Also check out the Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock duets in the late 70's.
You can find them, and certainly many others, on Youtube.

One very special approach to this is Bill Evans' "Conversations with myself", volume one and volume two, two records on which he plays in duet (or even trio!) with himself thanks to overdub studio technology. Amazing how the two or three pianos are mixed together!....

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#2037422 - 02/22/13 09:46 AM Re: piano duets [Re: adultpianist]
FarmGirl Online   content

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 1972
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
Nikolas, thanks for the video. Are u selling the score somewhere? It looks approacheable for me too.

In my weekly piano studio class, after everyone plays their current pieces, some really proficient players start playing duets that they have never seen. Basically one person brings a duet piece, say Brahms or anything, and ask someone else to play with him/her. Most of those pieces are beyond my current capability to play at first sight. It looks like lots of fun. I am currently preparing for a duet although it's for two pianos. So I should be able to join the fun soon. My studio class is at community college and consisting of two groups of people, young conservatory bound kids and post retirement folks. The latter is the incredibly accomplished ones in 'sightreading' department. They have average of 40 years of piano study under their belt. It's awesome and encouraging to see they play so freely and naturally.
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#2037775 - 02/22/13 11:47 PM Re: piano duets [Re: FarmGirl]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5246
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: FarmGirl
Nikolas, thanks for the video. Are u selling the score somewhere? It looks approacheable for me too.
Of course I do! smile

There's links in the video, but for quicker: http://www.musica-ferrum.com/catalog/viewitem.php?show=47
and there's a very nice 33% discount, for anyone wanting to buy two copies (since it's for two pianists): http://www.musica-ferrum.com/catalog/viewitem.php?show=48

EDIT: Just keep in mind that the link I provided was a playlist with 5 videos. The very first one is quite easy, but the rest become harder. Just want to make sure you saw everything and were not 'tricked' into thinking that they are super easy... They are not THAT easy... smile


Edited by Nikolas (02/22/13 11:52 PM)
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#2037825 - 02/23/13 05:03 AM Re: piano duets [Re: adultpianist]
casinitaly Online   content

Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 4973
Loc: Italy
Playing with other people is not only a lot of fun and actually quite thrilling, but it is also incredibly good training for really LISTENING to what is going on.

I used to play duets often with my former teacher (- I always played the second part - which was NOT always harder, sometimes both were of equal complexity, sometimes the primo was much harder. (We played the piece that ATallGuyNH posted, "Dolly" by Faure - and the primo part is much harder - but wow...it was fun to work on!) When you are playing a duet you can't just keep barging along if your partner stumbles, you have to work together to get things back on track. I would sometimes miss the dynamics and so I found that I would respond to what she was playing rathing than catching the notation(ok, I should have seen the notation, but still- responding is good!)

Then - we've had music parties at with friends on different instruments - I've played a simple bass line while one of my friends goes wild improvising - and the guitarist and accordian player join in. It is just a blast.

I have played a bit with my niece - not too often because she is in Canada and I'm in Italy - but that is a REAL treat and great fun.

It's all about sharing the music and somehow with a duet the whole is much greater than the simple combination of 2 performers.



Edited by casinitaly (02/23/13 05:12 AM)
Edit Reason: added info
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Everything's too hard until you make it easy. Follow your teacher's instructions and practice wisely/much, and you'll soon wonder how you ever found it hard ;)-BobPickle
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#2037939 - 02/23/13 12:08 PM Re: piano duets [Re: adultpianist]
jotur Online   blank
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5508
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
For me piano is about community. All the music I make is community music - in a band that plays for dances, at senior living apartment buildings, charity events, etc. And duets are part of that. A friend of mine and I sat down once and played through a whole book of duets because her students couldn't yet play them and she loved them. For one "4th of July" performance another piano player and I split the bass and treble on Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever, and we had a trumpet, too. And then I got to do the piccolo part on the piano! It's like any other activity with friends - cooking, or building something, or skiing - whatever. It was a great time.

So for me it's making music with people.

Cathy



Edited by jotur (02/23/13 12:09 PM)
Edit Reason: spelling

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#2038338 - 02/24/13 09:03 AM Re: piano duets [Re: malkin]
aTallGuyNH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 504
Originally Posted By: malkin
If you do not think duets are fun, you should watch this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RI-l0tK8Ok0

So much fun! I hope everyone reading this thread clicks the link and takes a look... it's a little risque though. smile
_________________________
"...when you do practice properly, it seems to take no time at all. Just do it right five times or so, and then stop." -- JimF

Working on: my aversion to practicing in front of my wife

1978 Vose & Sons spinet "Rufus"
1914 Huntington upright "Mabel"

XXIX-XXXII

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#2038354 - 02/24/13 10:04 AM Re: piano duets [Re: aTallGuyNH]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2521
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: aTallGuyNH
Originally Posted By: malkin
If you do not think duets are fun, you should watch this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RI-l0tK8Ok0

So much fun! I hope everyone reading this thread clicks the link and takes a look... it's a little risque though. smile



I hope Brewer & I can play like that when we grow up!
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#2038382 - 02/24/13 10:41 AM Re: piano duets [Re: adultpianist]
BeccaBb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 905
Loc: Thunder Bay, On Canada
One of my goals with learning to play piano is to learn how to play with other musicians. The first thing my teacher set as a task towards learning that goal is playing duets with her. smile Duets are a ton of fun (if only I could get my timing right! ha) In my case they have a purpose, to teach me how to keep my rhythm and tempo in check with others. smile
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#2211344 - 01/09/14 08:32 AM Re: piano duets [Re: BeccaBb]
Rerun Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/28/07
Posts: 602
Loc: Louisiana
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#2211362 - 01/09/14 09:08 AM Re: piano duets [Re: adultpianist]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5039
Originally Posted By: adultpianist
Are piano duets really popular? When you see performances you never see duets? By duets I mean two people on one piano and not a piano and another instrument. I ask what is the point of playing duets?

You never see this done at concerts or at the proms.

Really? Watch this (from 2:00 onwards): http://youtu.be/RUY0i-u5ynY

And this is one piece that all pianists should play with their teachers:
http://youtu.be/QcNHP12m-_g

....and these: http://youtu.be/s-PtlUOnkBo
http://youtu.be/UTAO2X1x-3Q

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#2211406 - 01/09/14 10:45 AM Re: piano duets [Re: adultpianist]
jotur Online   blank
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5508
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Rerun - I never miss a link to music you post laugh This was great! I usually can't do music/noise in the morning. But I let that one play!

Cathy
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#2211427 - 01/09/14 11:21 AM Re: piano duets [Re: jotur]
Rerun Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/28/07
Posts: 602
Loc: Louisiana
Thanks Cathy ... I was trying to teach a retired English prof. how to play by ear a few years ago; I'd play the bass line a bit, then we'd swap (teaching her to feel the rhythm) she would laugh as we got going she was having so much fun. Great way to make someone a believer in their ears! grin

I suspect we both enjoy upbeat fun loving stuff that gets a grin out of people.



It's about the fun ...


Edited by Rerun (01/09/14 11:27 AM)
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#2211558 - 01/09/14 02:56 PM Re: piano duets [Re: adultpianist]
piano_deb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/26/05
Posts: 787
Loc: Memphis, TN
My piano teacher is big on duets. Probably because they really require players to keep correct tempo/rhythm -- and to *listen* to each other, as Cas pointed out. Besides, they can be great fun for players and audiences, as everyone's pointed out. smile

She's mentioned having her younger students play duets at recitals ... but she also gets us oldsters into them at the piano parties she hosts twice a year for us. She and I have played together a couple of times. While I can't say I was thrilled with my performance either time, it was helpful to get me started as a performer. At this December's party, she played a duet of "Sleigh Ridge" with one of her (very) advanced high school students, and we were all surprised when my teacher suddenly made a big mistake and get lost in the music right near the beginning. But she just said "See? Everyone makes mistakes," and they restarted the piece, which went perfectly the second time around.

A couple of weeks later, I had the very great pleasure of seeing/hearing her play as one of EIGHT pianists on FOUR pianos at her church's "Keyboards and More" Christmas concert. Fantastic!

(FYI, the pianists were the stars of the show, but there was also a small orchestra, a father-and-sons saxaphone trio, and a harpist who performed her own stunning arrangement of "Little Drummer Boy" -- drumming on the instrument as well as playing it. Amazing.)

I'm starting to really groove on the idea of playing more duets. My teacher did mention something the other day about the arrangement of "Silent Night" I've been working on having the secondo duet part written in below ... smile


Edited by piano_deb (01/09/14 03:05 PM)
Edit Reason: typos and ... oh, another one .. and something else I meant to say ...
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