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#2039287 - 02/25/13 08:57 PM Complete Analysis before starting a new piece?
VJ. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 91
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
Friends,

I've been fiddling smile with my digital piano on and off for the last 5 years (I know it is a very long time frown ). and Yes, I still consider myself a beginner (not a beginner who is just starting out). For theory, I mainly read "Tonal Harmony" by Kostka & Payne, and also refer to http://www.tonalityguide.com/ & http://www.musictheory.net/ .

My question is a very obvious one, even stupid. If so, please guide me.

Which is the right way to learn a new piece?

Doing the complete harmonic analysis for the whole piece before I start and work through each phrase/2-bars,
or should I just start and go with the flow?

and also, could you suggest me more pieces to learn which is progressively difficult from what I mentioned below?

My current repertoire:
Bach - Book I Prelude in C major
Beethoven - Minuet in G, Bagatelle Op.126 No.5
Chopin - Prelude Op.28 Nos.6 & 7

Working on:
Beethoven - Ecossaise in E flat major
Beethoven - Fur Elise
Bach - Book II Prelude in F minor

VJ

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#2039293 - 02/25/13 09:08 PM Re: Complete Analysis before starting a new piece? [Re: VJ.]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2562
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: VJ.


Which is the right way to learn a new piece?



I'd say do it however suits you or the way your teacher tells you.
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2039318 - 02/25/13 09:55 PM Re: Complete Analysis before starting a new piece? [Re: malkin]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: malkin
Originally Posted By: VJ.


Which is the right way to learn a new piece?



I'd say do it however suits you or the way your teacher tells you.

About as good an answer as you'll get. I'll also add, "In the way that causes the fewest repeated mistakes."

Mistakes are okay. Practicing mistakes is a no-no. wink
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2039399 - 02/26/13 01:48 AM Re: Complete Analysis before starting a new piece? [Re: VJ.]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: VJ.
Friends,

I've been fiddling smile with my digital piano on and off for the last 5 years (I know it is a very long time frown ). and Yes, I still consider myself a beginner (not a beginner who is just starting out). For theory, I mainly read "Tonal Harmony" by Kostka & Payne, and also refer to http://www.tonalityguide.com/ & http://www.musictheory.net/ .

My question is a very obvious one, even stupid. If so, please guide me.

Which is the right way to learn a new piece?

Doing the complete harmonic analysis for the whole piece before I start and work through each phrase/2-bars,
or should I just start and go with the flow?

and also, could you suggest me more pieces to learn which is progressively difficult from what I mentioned below?

My current repertoire:
Bach - Book I Prelude in C major
Beethoven - Minuet in G, Bagatelle Op.126 No.5
Chopin - Prelude Op.28 Nos.6 & 7

Working on:
Beethoven - Ecossaise in E flat major
Beethoven - Fur Elise
Bach - Book II Prelude in F minor

VJ


I like the suggestions provided in http://grahamfitch.com/articles.htm#1, though have personally found the advice still a bit advanced. For me, running through a thorough mental or written analysis of the structure, melody and harmony help with the learning process as the piece is initially digested. It also greatly assists with memorization. As for how to then learn the piece at the piano, there are a plethora of threads that have been recently made on the topic. Graham Fitch himself recently published a very comprehensive eBook on the topic which can be found through the link to his blog in my profile.

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#2039518 - 02/26/13 10:12 AM Re: Complete Analysis before starting a new piece? [Re: VJ.]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2393
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
There's the right way for me and the right way for you and never the twain shall meet.

Compare different learning systems by experiment and don't drop a system permanently. We change over time and different methods suit some pieces more than others.

Keep a journal of what pieces you learn, how you learn them, how long it takes and how well (consistently) you play them.

Consider also how much you enjoy one system over another regardless of progress on it. Some methods may suit your personality better.
____________________________

A full harmonic analysis is as effective as a fart in a hurricane if you don't understand the results though it might help you memorise it quicker if that's your thing. A structural and thematic analysis is a better bet in practical terms - what bits repeat and where, and what measures repeat closely or exactly and what measures look the same but aren't. Are there changes of mood or tempo required and are they marked as such?

Are there distinct sections that can be worked individually (easy with a rag or a mazurka, difficult with a prelude or a fugue)?
____________________________

A cursory gloss of repertory material

Baroque (mostly hand and finger independence and articulation)
Bach is fundamental to all keyboard technique but don't overlook Scarlatti who, like Chopin, wrote specifically for the keyboard as opposed to on it.
Anna Magdalena, Little preludes;
2 part inventions, easy suite movements (sarabandes, minuets, gavottes, doubles);
3 part sinfonia, harder suite movements (allemandes, courantes and gigues);
WTC

Classical (structural understanding, greater diversity of texture and rhythm)
Sonatinas by Clementi, Kuhlau, etc., early sonatas of Haydn;
Sonatas by Haydn, Clementi, Mozart, early Beethoven and Schubert;
Later sonatas by Beethoven and last three by Schubert

Romantic (greater diversification of form, rhythm and tonality)
Albums for the Young (Schumann and Tchaikovsky), Mikrokosmos;
Chopin waltzes, mazurkas, Grieg Lyric pieces, Mendelssohn easier SWW's, Schumann Kinderszenen;
Chopin nocturnes, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Brahms, easy Liszt, Debussy;
Chopin ballades, études, Liszt années, études, Ravel, Rachmaninoff
_________________________
Richard

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