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Hello. I am having a little bit of a sticking point here, that I have been dealing with for just over a week now. Can't get past it. I have dealt with key changes midway through pieces, and have played 3/4 and 4/4 without much difficulty adjusting. But this is a new obstacle for me.
The piece I'm working on has a change in the time signature, from 4/4 to 3/4, which ordinarily wouldn't pose a problem, again I have played 6/8 and 3/4 before, but the fact that the melody I learned in 4/4 now has a different rhythm behind it is throwing me off.
I get the feeling this might just be one of those things that just needs to be slooooowwwwweeeeeedddd down until I really get a grip on it. Has anybody ever dealt with this before, who could maybe offer advice? Maybe even just a fresh perspective will help.
This is the first page of the composition, which starts in 4/4, after a few phrases goes to 3/4, then reverts to 2/2 near the end (6 pgs total).
I can play all the way up to the time sig change with no problem. Any feedback is welcome and appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: beechcraft409
I get the feeling this might just be one of those things that just needs to be slooooowwwwweeeeeedddd down until I really get a grip on it.
You're likely right on the money. Are there recordings of the piece that you could listen to anywhere to hear how others have handled it or rather to listen and better undestand how the transition is heard to the ear?
Originally Posted By: beechcraft409
I can play all the way up to the time sig change with no problem.
Are you practicing the 3/4 section already? You might find it's easier than you're making it out to be once the two sections are under your fingers and in your ears. With the fermatas (indications to exaggerate the length of the note value for affect) on the last notes of the 4/4 section, there should be a long enough pause that then converting to 3/4 time shouldn't be a tough sell on the ear.
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You and Bob are both right.. slowing this thing down is step one.
I also think you should find a recording of it and listen to it in order to get a feel for the time change. This is one of those things where there are 'tricks' to do it mechanically, but eventually you will have to 'feel' it and 'hear' it, or your playing will be just as mechanical as the tricks you use to learn the change.
One such trick, and the one I use the most often is this: line the melody up with the left hand. Let the left hand drive the beats, and play the right hand on the appropriate notes in the left hand.
You won't be shaping or phrasing the melody line so much when you first learn to do this, but it will help you hit the right notes on the right beat. The reason I say to do this is pretty simple: look at the LH in 3/4. It's basically all 8th notes. 8th notes get the same value in 4/4 as they do in 3/4, so you ignore the bar lines, and the rhythmic changes in the right hand, and just play to the beat of the LH 8th notes.
If that doesn't work, I have other tricks.. let me know.
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Loc: Virginia, USA
That's quite a composition. I don't have much to add, but I would practice both sections almost as separate pieces and I would do it slowly and count. I hate counting when playing but it's really helped tricky rhythms before and I think it would here. Particularly make sure to emphasize ONE two *three* four and ONE two three when counting.
Are you trying to play this by ear and memorizing the music, or are you reading the music and counting it?
I'm a reader, so I would simply count the music carefully and take it apart in different ways (e.g. playing hands separately, hands together, comparing the corresponding parts in the 3/4 part and the 4/4 part and counting/singing them with a strong emphasis on the different feels: ONE two Three Four vs. ONE two three).
I recommend counting this in eighth notes to start out with. That way you're firmly getting all the note values and subdivisions, without having to try to feel the rhythm solely as a vague sense from the approximate appearance on the page.
The music is neatly divided into sections, which may be movements. There does seem to be a strongish rhythm to the first part, and you seem to be musical enough to feel it. At the end of that first section it says "allargando" and the last three notes are strongly emphasized to allow you to "allarg" it. In other words, you are giving yourself a pause, a breathing space, before launching into a totally different feeling. Think maybe of dancers who at some point totally change the nature of their dance, but create a smooth transition into that change.
One thing that goes with what other people are saying is that you don't want to learn the piece in its final form from the very beginning. You want to learn the notes, and get a handle on the relative value of notes (counting). Then you get to the rhythms. You can do that by chanting them (da daaaa dada diddle, or whatever works for you) in addition to playing the notes. These two sections are different from each other, separate parts, so why not get a handle on each of them separately, and then work on transitioning through the allargando followed by a tempo in the new rythm?
Bob- I have begun on the 3/4 section but am having problems getting it to sound 'right'. I can barely get my hands synchronized. I guess it isn't really the switch to the 3/4, it is the learning of the 3/4.
Derulux- I am going to try this technique. I think I am doing just the opposite, playing the melody and trying to align the LH to it. I knew a fresh perspective would help it seems so obvious now that I should have begun in this manner.
Andy- That was my initial thought, to treat them as separate pieces and then just kinda merge them. But then I ran into trouble
PS88- I am memorizing. I am not much of a sight reader, I need to at least be looking at one of my hands when I play. When I read the score, I almost am 'decoding' it and think of it as 'OK when I hit this note, I need to hit this one too.. or this one slightly after.. etc' then commit it to visual, auditory, and tactile memory.
keystring- I think you said it best with not learning it in its final form. Everyone seems to agree that I should really break it down, count the note values and really study the measures. I think that is what I will do, coupled with Derulux's advice about the LH.
Thank you all for the responses, I think I should be able to get a better grasp on it after reading them. Will report back either tonight if I'm lucky or sometime this weekend.
Oh- for those interested in what it sounds like: (this isn't me, obviously)