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#2066964 - 04/19/13 08:21 AM memorizing left hand
kawaikx15 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/18/13
Posts: 11
right hand plays the melody. easy to remember. but how do we memorize the left hand. I am just an adult beginner. I just came across an exercise in which left hand is playing two melodies at the same time, notes with stems up and down both. finding it difficult to memorize. since left hand is not coming melodious at all. any suggestions?
By the way, I am using the book 'PIANO HANDBOOK' BY CARL HAMPSHIRE

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#2066972 - 04/19/13 08:28 AM Re: memorizing left hand [Re: kawaikx15]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2392
Loc: Virginia, USA
I was about to say, a beginner playing something with two melodies in the left hand?! Then I read you were using the 'Piano Handbook.' That's a wonderful book but has a super steep learning curve.

OK, first thing first. Are you sure the left hand is playing two melodies at once? Or are there two voices in the bass clef and none in the treble clef? Because if that's the case, you would expect to play the upper voice with the right hand even if it's in the bass clef. One thing that's important to remember is that the clef doesn't indicate which hand is playing which, it indicates which clef it is!

I have the "Piano Handbook" at home so I could look it up if you say which piece it is.


As to your specific subject, well if I really was trying to memorize this I would probably work on each voice (melody) independently and learn them apart. Polyphonic music tends to be harder to learn (at least for me) so breaking it up like that helps.
_________________________
  • Liszt - Liebesträume No. 3, S541
  • Scarlatti - Sonata in D minor, K. 213

Kawai K3

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#2067041 - 04/19/13 10:39 AM Re: memorizing left hand [Re: Andy Platt]
kawaikx15 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/18/13
Posts: 11
Hi Andy, thanks for your kind reply.
if you have the 'piano handbook' , check out exercise 2.3 (CD track 11) by Henry purcell. that's the exercise I was talking about. it introduces two melodies in the left hand while the right hand is playing its own (main melody). please tell me how to deal with it? I like this track and would love to play it as smooth as possible.


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#2067147 - 04/19/13 01:55 PM Re: memorizing left hand [Re: kawaikx15]
BrainCramp Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/12
Posts: 255
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: kawaikx15
Hi Andy, thanks for your kind reply.
if you have the 'piano handbook' , check out exercise 2.3 (CD track 11) by Henry purcell. that's the exercise I was talking about. it introduces two melodies in the left hand while the right hand is playing its own (main melody). please tell me how to deal with it? I like this track and would love to play it as smooth as possible.


I've used this book and worked through this Purcell piece. I wouldn't try to learn it hands separately; I'd work on it hands together one section at a time.

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#2067152 - 04/19/13 02:16 PM Re: memorizing left hand [Re: BrainCramp]
SGM-IR Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/23/13
Posts: 8
Loc: Dublin, Ireland
Hi Kawaikx15
I shall be interested to hear how to solve this one because I am stuck at exactly the same point! Right hand no problem, left one ok, but together hopeless.

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#2067158 - 04/19/13 02:36 PM Re: memorizing left hand [Re: kawaikx15]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2392
Loc: Virginia, USA
OK, book opened. Played through a couple of times. A beautiful piece but, like I said, this book has a steep learning curve!

There is good news and bad news about this piece. The good news is that the left hand is easy to understand once you know music theory. The bad news is you have to know music theory to make that true!

It's a simple chord progression. The piece is in A minor and we start with the root, which is a minor. Then E minor (could be G major but that E in the melody), then F major then E major. In A minor, E major is the dominant chord, the real fifth. We expect it to resolve back to A minor but ...

tada, C major - the relative major of A minor.

I could go on but I've probably lost you already. The point is that understanding the theory here helps with memory. Otherwise you have to learn it the hard way which will be a measure at a time, slowly, hands separate.
_________________________
  • Liszt - Liebesträume No. 3, S541
  • Scarlatti - Sonata in D minor, K. 213

Kawai K3

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#2067177 - 04/19/13 03:11 PM Re: memorizing left hand [Re: Andy Platt]
SGM-IR Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/23/13
Posts: 8
Loc: Dublin, Ireland
Thanks Andy, but you are right - you lost me! It will have to be the hard way for now. The book is really nice but perhaps the learning curve is a bit too steep. I am dipping into others for more understanding of theory.


Edited by SGM-IR (04/19/13 04:08 PM)

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#2067180 - 04/19/13 03:21 PM Re: memorizing left hand [Re: kawaikx15]
spanishbuddha Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 2361
Loc: UK
I learnt this as a quite new beginner too. The only theory I used was to recognise that the left hand is not a separate melody but 'goes with' (harmonises) the right hand. So learning them together actually works and audibly sounds right. If that makes sense? Andy's notes help too, at least they do to me now. smile

At the time I stuck with the Piano Handbook more or less with some selective skipping, up to Fur Elise, but then switched to something more gentle in its learning rate.

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#2067201 - 04/19/13 03:55 PM Re: memorizing left hand [Re: Andy Platt]
JosephAC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/12
Posts: 168
Loc: Melbourne Australia
Originally Posted By: Andy Platt

OK, first thing first. Are you sure the left hand is playing two melodies at once? Or are there two voices in the bass clef and none in the treble clef? Because if that's the case, you would expect to play the upper voice with the right hand even if it's in the bass clef. One thing that's important to remember is that the clef doesn't indicate which hand is playing which, it indicates which clef it is.


What do you mean with 2 voices in the bass clef ? What is the upper voice ? Actually what is a voice in a piece of music ? Is it another term for a melody ? I am so confused about these terms - voice, melody, bass, harmony, the way they are used.

If the LH is playing chords, isn't the LH playing bass and not melody ? I always associated LH chord playing with bass and RH playing melody. Please correct me.


Edited by JosephAC (04/19/13 04:05 PM)

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#2067222 - 04/19/13 04:37 PM Re: memorizing left hand [Re: JosephAC]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2392
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: JosephAC
Originally Posted By: Andy Platt

OK, first thing first. Are you sure the left hand is playing two melodies at once? Or are there two voices in the bass clef and none in the treble clef? Because if that's the case, you would expect to play the upper voice with the right hand even if it's in the bass clef. One thing that's important to remember is that the clef doesn't indicate which hand is playing which, it indicates which clef it is.


What do you mean with 2 voices in the bass clef ? What is the upper voice ? Actually what is a voice in a piece of music ? Is it another term for a melody ? I am so confused about these terms - voice, melody, bass, harmony, the way they are used.

If the LH is playing chords, isn't the LH playing bass and not melody ? I always associated LH chord playing with bass and RH playing melody. Please correct me.


This piece is largely harmonic (as opposed to polyphonic) so there really aren't two melodies intertwined ... but there are some measures where the harmonization is cleverly done so that we use suspension when moving from one chord to the next.

So, first four measures: Straight-forward chords. No real melody but it does have a descending line that is pleasing. Next measure, broken chord - arpeggio. Just harmony again. But in the fifth measure, we have the G held, D, held, then G moves to an A with the D still held. Then in the next measure D moves to a C with the A still help which is A minor.

So there is some melodic interest along with the harmony.

So, to answer your question. Yes, voice generally means melody; and yes, the left hand playing chords provides harmony. But in many pieces there are grey areas, just like this. Is the left still just harmonic or does it have melodic interest too?
_________________________
  • Liszt - Liebesträume No. 3, S541
  • Scarlatti - Sonata in D minor, K. 213

Kawai K3

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#2067463 - 04/20/13 05:42 AM Re: memorizing left hand [Re: kawaikx15]
kawaikx15 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/18/13
Posts: 11
Andy, It's wonderful to know that knowing music theory can make playing easier and meaningful. What's the right place/book to learn the theory?

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#2067464 - 04/20/13 05:44 AM Re: memorizing left hand [Re: Andy Platt]
kawaikx15 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/18/13
Posts: 11
Then what is easiest way/place/book o learn music theory from? confused

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#2067467 - 04/20/13 06:02 AM Re: memorizing left hand [Re: kawaikx15]
UK Paul UK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 396
Loc: Berkshire, England
Music theory is something to incorporate all the way through the piano journey... playing and theory will help each other along the way but it is a gradual process...

I would start with scales you know... check out simple chord progressions and why they work... tonic, sub dom and dominant tones in each scale will be a good start...

Ie
Tonic in c maj is c
Sub dom is f
Dom is g

These three chords are very common in simple left hand chord progressions...

A minor is the relative minor of c maj... ie it has the same key sig

But the tonic is a
Sub dom is d
Dom is e

Also your likely to find g sharps in Aminor due to the g being sharpened to produce a more rounded sounding scale.... this half step to the tonic is called a leading note and the scale is termed Aminor harmonic.... theres lots to understand, and much i dont know but things come together over months and years...
_________________________
http://www.youtube.com/user/PaulGPiano

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#2068424 - 04/22/13 02:44 AM Re: memorizing left hand [Re: kawaikx15]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: kawaikx15
Then what is easiest way/place/book to learn music theory from? confused


From a class setting (community colleges offer great, affordable classes), preferably. Else, some combination of private teacher tutelage and self-study. See this thread here for some great, free resources to get you started: http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1948785.html#Post1948785

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#2068592 - 04/22/13 11:06 AM Re: memorizing left hand [Re: kawaikx15]
kawaikx15 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/18/13
Posts: 11
I found this link for music theory:

music theory

I could manage to play this tune finally, without any knowledge of music theory. but such playing seems very dry - keep practising whole day long and you may get a tune correct. if music is just an arrangement of sound (pleasing arrangement), we can only create music by knowing how to create various sounds. sound lies under the keys. selection of keys is based on the sound we wish to generate. therefore, keys can be selected in infinite permutation and combinations. fancy names A minor, chord progression etc should not become a deterrent in learning.


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#2068598 - 04/22/13 11:14 AM Re: memorizing left hand [Re: kawaikx15]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2392
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: kawaikx15
I found this link for music theory:

music theory

I could manage to play this tune finally, without any knowledge of music theory. but such playing seems very dry - keep practising whole day long and you may get a tune correct. if music is just an arrangement of sound (pleasing arrangement), we can only create music by knowing how to create various sounds. sound lies under the keys. selection of keys is based on the sound we wish to generate. therefore, keys can be selected in infinite permutation and combinations. fancy names A minor, chord progression etc should not become a deterrent in learning.



It's worth noting that there is nothing wrong (in fact, I guess it's probably the best way) to add knowledge of theory gradually, while developing your technical skills too. You will automatically find it easier to pick up new pieces because, even if you aren't studying theory, your brain will start to associate the patterns. "Oh, that sounds like the Purcell chord progression, I know that ...."

(Edited to add:) On the "dry" comment. This piece can benefit from the light use of pedal to make the sound a little broader. I can't remember where the Piano Handbook introduces the pedal. But it's good to remember that as our technique improves, it doesn't just allow us to play harder / faster, it allows us to bring better and more appropriate tone control to the pieces. Pianists may not suffer from the demands of creating a pleasing tone like string/woodwind/brass players do, but we can do much more than accept a raw, dry sound.


Edited by Andy Platt (04/22/13 11:20 AM)
Edit Reason: Added comments on "dry" playing
_________________________
  • Liszt - Liebesträume No. 3, S541
  • Scarlatti - Sonata in D minor, K. 213

Kawai K3

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#2068626 - 04/22/13 12:03 PM Re: memorizing left hand [Re: Andy Platt]
kawaikx15 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/18/13
Posts: 11
there seems to be no clear step by step path for learning music like other fields have. it is jungle where we have to carve our own virgin path. smile

one has to improve sight reading so that one can learn new sound combinations faster. more sound combinations in repertoire, better are the chances of creating music at our own. so the aim of learning music theory is to build up the stock of sound combinations, which can later on be used to build infinite permutations.

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