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#2075860 - 05/02/13 12:01 PM Grieg op. 54 no. 6 (Klokkeklang) - Advice needed
sinophilia Offline

Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014


Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 977
Loc: Italy
So I've decided that I need to stop jumping around and that I have to work on my patience and start focusing on a single piece for a longer time, hoping that I'll finally be able to actually play something.

The score of opus 54 is here: http://imslp.org/wiki/Lyric_Pieces,_Op.54_(Grieg,_Edvard)

I've read through and analyzed this piece away from the piano. It's in C major with few accidentals, so not too hard to read, in 2/4, and it is marked "andante". It's quite straightforward and there is a fair bit of repetition, but there are plenty of things that are new to me. So I have a lot of questions.

1. I wonder about the tempo. I see andante can be anywhere from 76 to 108, but actually the recording I like best seems to be at about 60 bpm or even slower, and that's probably the fastest I could ever play: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNMaJbcp_7g

2. The piece is marked "con Ped.". I tried changing the pedal on each beat, on the first beat of each measure, and every two measures, and I think I like the latter better, so I don't risk interrupting any of the right hand notes. But I'd like to hear what others think.

3. The fingering in the right hand is supposed to be 5-2 / 3-1 / 5-2 most of the time, but I'm actually more comfortable with a simple 5-1 / 5-1 / 5-1. Much easier for me to hit the two notes at the same time, and much easier to add the acciaccatura with the 3rd finger. Do you think it will affect the sound or make it hard for me when I try to speed it up?

4. There is plenty of tenuto. Accent plus slight increase in note length?

5. The big chords at the end. I can hit all notes but I have a very hard time with octaves + 2 middle notes.

All advice very welcome!
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Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
Martha Argerich... is an incarnation of the artistic metaphor of the "eternal feminine" that draws us upward. (Sergio Sablich)

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#2075873 - 05/02/13 12:20 PM Re: Grieg op. 54 no. 6 (Klokkeklang) - Advice needed [Re: sinophilia]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11764
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
1. Don't worry about the finished tempo right now. Just work on discovering the piece and learning to play it well at whatever tempo that happens to be right now

2. The pedaling may change with the increased tempo as well, so just be flexible on it. If pedaling is relatively difficult for you, I wouldn't add that right now and focus on other aspects first until you can play it a little better. (My piano tech is working on my piano now, but I'll take a stab at it later and let you know what pedaling I would use, but it sounds like it's completely up to you)

3. I'm not really sure why in the first figure the RH would use that fingering, and then in the 2nd figure with the grace notes you'd have to change that fingering to 5-1. I agree with you, but see what is comfortable. It could be they suggest that so you don't build up tension with using the same fingers all the time

4. Not longer, just the full value. I think it may be easy to make these notes staccato or cheated, so he wants them held out as long as possible within the time of the note value. A little stress on the note is sometimes implied with this as well, but not like an actual accent.

5. The first two half note chords the LH can take over the bottom RH notes to make that a bit more comfortable, I would redistribute them that way. For the rest, practice doing just the octaves without the middle notes, making sure that in between playing each 8va that the hand completely relaxes.

When that is somewhat comfortable, then practice playing different combinations of just 2 notes at a time for the RH: You can start with the bottom 2 notes in the RH chords until those are easy, then do the top two notes (be sure to use the fingering you will use when you play all the notes together). Then try playing the bottom note and the upper middle note, lower middle note with top note, and any other combination I missed! Then you can play the outside notes (8vas) first then hold them as you add the middle notes, then work on playing middle notes first and hold as you add 8vas. All of these things will help you with getting them comfortable in your hands, but always be sure to relax the hand completely before moving on to the next chord.
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#2075881 - 05/02/13 12:30 PM Re: Grieg op. 54 no. 6 (Klokkeklang) - Advice needed [Re: sinophilia]
sinophilia Offline

Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014


Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 977
Loc: Italy
Thank you so much Morodiene! I'm very excited to be learning this. This is a good chance to "practice my practicing"!

I'm starting very slowly, probably 30 bpm, and I don't intend to increase the speed for a long time. I divided the piece in sections and I think I will study and record each one of them and only try to play it all through when I'm happy with each part.
_________________________
Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
Martha Argerich... is an incarnation of the artistic metaphor of the "eternal feminine" that draws us upward. (Sergio Sablich)

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#2075884 - 05/02/13 12:41 PM Re: Grieg op. 54 no. 6 (Klokkeklang) - Advice needed [Re: sinophilia]
PianoStudent88 Online   content
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Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3171
Loc: Maine
On the tempo, verbal tempo cues are as much about feeling as tempo. Andante is a "walking" feeling. So I would go with whatever tempo feels right to you, bearing the feeling in mind, rather than feeling straitjacketed by specific suggested numbers about what Andante "should" be.

On fingering, I had a similar section in my Mendelssohn Song Without Words, a series of descending inverted chords with various sophisticated suggested fingering involving 1, 2, 4, and 5 in various combinations. I changed all that to just using standard basic fingering for inverted chords, with 1-5 on the outside. I used the suggested fingerings everywhere else -- in fact I got the edition I used because I liked its fingerings more (MUCH more) than the fingerings in the edition I got first -- but those descending chords just made more sense to me my way, at that stage in my learning.
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#2075902 - 05/02/13 01:17 PM Re: Grieg op. 54 no. 6 (Klokkeklang) - Advice needed [Re: sinophilia]
sinophilia Offline

Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014


Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 977
Loc: Italy
Thank you PianoStudent, I think since this piece is so suggestive of bells ringing, it should be quite slow and even... Low bells don't ring very fast, do they?
_________________________
Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
Martha Argerich... is an incarnation of the artistic metaphor of the "eternal feminine" that draws us upward. (Sergio Sablich)

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#2075940 - 05/02/13 02:33 PM Re: Grieg op. 54 no. 6 (Klokkeklang) - Advice needed [Re: sinophilia]
PianoStudent88 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3171
Loc: Maine
I think if you can make it sound like bells to you, then we'll hear the bells also. Yes, I suspect there's physics involved in why low bells don't ring fast.
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#2075978 - 05/02/13 03:13 PM Re: Grieg op. 54 no. 6 (Klokkeklang) - Advice needed [Re: sinophilia]
keystring Offline
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Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11657
Loc: Canada
I listened to the URL you gave, and then I noticed all these actual bells in the side bar and started to listen to them (goose bumps!). Like this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKn1ECnEKBw
So why not also listen to the actual bells that must have inspired Grieg? smile Like other posters have already said, andante is a general suggestion of tempo, but ultimately you want to experiment with what feels right for you.

In regards to fingering, as I understand it, we work out what feels best for us and our own hands. I'll try out the fingering they suggest in case there's something I'm missing. I'm doing that with my piece atm and have adopted a couple suggested in the score that I wouldn't have thought of, and rejected others.

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#2107666 - 06/25/13 07:36 AM Re: Grieg op. 54 no. 6 (Klokkeklang) - Advice needed [Re: sinophilia]
sinophilia Offline

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Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 977
Loc: Italy
I dig this up to add a few comments on this piece.

With regard to tempo, I figured out that since the piece is made up of 90 measures = 180 quarter notes, the regular 4-minute performance is at 45 bpm. This seems slower than "andante", but it's very good news for me!

At the moment I have the piece memorized and can play it through at 30 bpm - well, with my usual hesitations and the occasional finger landing on the wrong key. I'll have to work hard in the next weeks to speed it up and keep it very steady with the metronome. The final chords are there but I have to be much quicker in changing position. Most of all, I'll have to get used to recording, it makes things so much harder and I really want to get over it.

Anyway, with over two months in front of me, I feel quite optimistic!
_________________________
Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
Martha Argerich... is an incarnation of the artistic metaphor of the "eternal feminine" that draws us upward. (Sergio Sablich)

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#2108231 - 06/26/13 05:10 AM Re: Grieg op. 54 no. 6 (Klokkeklang) - Advice needed [Re: sinophilia]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Grieg bell ringing

Don’t be misled by the modest Andante and C major key
into thinking that this composition is “easy”.

Having just played the first 18 measures (up to the repeat sign) ...
it should be said that Grieg’s imitation of a clock-ringing is far from easy ...
true, the LH is highly repetitive as it booms the clock quarters ...

However the tricky part is picking up the RH top register off-beat tinkle ...
I’ve been in the game a long while and will need to practice hard
to get this passage right.

Without sounding defeatist,
you might like to try something less demanding like ...
Grieg’s “To Spring” ... opus 43, no. 6 (the first part at least).

Hoping the comment is of assistance,
kind regards, btb

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#2108235 - 06/26/13 05:25 AM Re: Grieg op. 54 no. 6 (Klokkeklang) - Advice needed [Re: sinophilia]
sinophilia Offline

Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014


Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 977
Loc: Italy
Thanks btb. Yes, this piece is not easy at all, i.e. it's not easy to make it sound good, but it is technically easy, and that's all I can ask for now. Actually just making all these double notes sound at the exact same time is not easy for me!

I think I know how I want this to sound like; now can I make it sound like that? Probably not, but I'll try smile
_________________________
Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
Martha Argerich... is an incarnation of the artistic metaphor of the "eternal feminine" that draws us upward. (Sergio Sablich)

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#2108278 - 06/26/13 09:13 AM Re: Grieg op. 54 no. 6 (Klokkeklang) - Advice needed [Re: sinophilia]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11764
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: sinophilia
Thanks btb. Yes, this piece is not easy at all, i.e. it's not easy to make it sound good, but it is technically easy, and that's all I can ask for now. Actually just making all these double notes sound at the exact same time is not easy for me!

I think I know how I want this to sound like; now can I make it sound like that? Probably not, but I'll try smile


When you hear bells ringing, to they clang at the same time? Not usually, so don't obsess if some are slightly off - it will actually be more bell-like!

However, something must be said for doing it on purpose and doing it because you have no other choice. Where do you notice the problem coming in? Is it just with playing the 5ths, or i it when you add the grace notes in m. 5 that they become unsynchronized?
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#2108294 - 06/26/13 10:11 AM Re: Grieg op. 54 no. 6 (Klokkeklang) - Advice needed [Re: Morodiene]
sinophilia Offline

Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014


Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 977
Loc: Italy
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Where do you notice the problem coming in? Is it just with playing the 5ths, or i it when you add the grace notes in m. 5 that they become unsynchronized?


I've always had problems with double notes. Actually it's not too bad with the LH fifths in this piece, they mostly come out right using 5-1 and 3-1 alternatively. With the right hand I use 1-5 all the time so no problem there.

A recurring problem is that sometimes I try so hard to be gentle with the left hand that no sound comes out, especially on the bottom (most important) note. There are a few "ppp" measures where I struggle with this, I was almost tempted to use the soft pedal. I try to keep the hand relaxed and I end up with weak fingers, although I'm aware that I need a loose wrist but firm fingers.
_________________________
Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
Martha Argerich... is an incarnation of the artistic metaphor of the "eternal feminine" that draws us upward. (Sergio Sablich)

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#2108297 - 06/26/13 10:20 AM Re: Grieg op. 54 no. 6 (Klokkeklang) - Advice needed [Re: sinophilia]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11764
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: sinophilia
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Where do you notice the problem coming in? Is it just with playing the 5ths, or i it when you add the grace notes in m. 5 that they become unsynchronized?


I've always had problems with double notes. Actually it's not too bad with the LH fifths in this piece, they mostly come out right using 5-1 and 3-1 alternatively. With the right hand I use 1-5 all the time so no problem there.

A recurring problem is that sometimes I try so hard to be gentle with the left hand that no sound comes out, especially on the bottom (most important) note. There are a few "ppp" measures where I struggle with this, I was almost tempted to use the soft pedal. I try to keep the hand relaxed and I end up with weak fingers, although I'm aware that I need a loose wrist but firm fingers.


For the ppp I would use the soft pedal, if you like the sound of it - it's different on each piano so your ears will tell you if it sounds right. Even though you want to play softly, you still must use enough velocity (speed of pressing the key) to produce sound. This is the trick in playing on an acoustic piano. You have to get enough in there to get beyond the initial resistance of the mechanism in the key.

Practice playing just one measure, LH only where you notice this issue. Play it a comfortable forte at first, then repeat immediately without pausing make it slightly softer and softer on each repeat, while keeping the same feeling of moving all the way to the keybed. This should help.
_________________________
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MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2108461 - 06/26/13 02:40 PM Re: Grieg op. 54 no. 6 (Klokkeklang) - Advice needed [Re: Morodiene]
sinophilia Offline

Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014


Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 977
Loc: Italy
Originally Posted By: Morodiene

Practice playing just one measure, LH only where you notice this issue. Play it a comfortable forte at first, then repeat immediately without pausing make it slightly softer and softer on each repeat, while keeping the same feeling of moving all the way to the keybed. This should help.


Thank you, practicing forte helps a lot with unsteady fingers. Slow and loud, I think I read that somewhere! Now I just need to figure out how to play fast and soft. By now I seem to get there only after a million repetitions over several weeks or months...
_________________________
Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
Martha Argerich... is an incarnation of the artistic metaphor of the "eternal feminine" that draws us upward. (Sergio Sablich)

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