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#2089062 - 05/26/13 08:15 AM Re: Grieg recital: Proposal..... [Re: dire tonic]
Andy Platt Offline
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Registered: 04/28/10
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Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: dire tonic
I'm undecided about Grieg’s modulations – they ‘work’ a lot of the time, often with a tiny kernel of an idea, usually producing a strong effect and yet because he does it so much they seem, sometimes, to be a device rather than an inspiration. The key change in some modern pop has always been effective, giving the song a certain kind of lift, but I never met a writer who didn’t admit it was a cheap trick. I certainly wouldn’t accuse Grieg of that - he at least does it with finesse and some of his music is sublime.


I'm not sure that I would agree that a well placed modulation is a cheap trick. In fact, a well crafted song that includes that is probably the opposite. As to whether Grieg overuses them, well perhaps or perhaps not. But he was writing at a period where harmonic progression was being "tested" and, eventually annihilated, so perhaps it's not unexpected.

Food for thought though - it will get me thinking some!

P.S. I had a big discussion with my teacher of Opus 12, No 5 where I had written the word "unusual" over one chord change. She disagreed so I just played the harmonies out for her in blocked chords. Oh, yes, she agreed.
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#2089069 - 05/26/13 08:39 AM Re: Grieg recital: Proposal..... [Re: Andy Platt]
Morodiene Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Andy Platt
Originally Posted By: dire tonic
I'm undecided about Grieg’s modulations – they ‘work’ a lot of the time, often with a tiny kernel of an idea, usually producing a strong effect and yet because he does it so much they seem, sometimes, to be a device rather than an inspiration. The key change in some modern pop has always been effective, giving the song a certain kind of lift, but I never met a writer who didn’t admit it was a cheap trick. I certainly wouldn’t accuse Grieg of that - he at least does it with finesse and some of his music is sublime.


I'm not sure that I would agree that a well placed modulation is a cheap trick. In fact, a well crafted song that includes that is probably the opposite. As to whether Grieg overuses them, well perhaps or perhaps not. But he was writing at a period where harmonic progression was being "tested" and, eventually annihilated, so perhaps it's not unexpected.

Food for thought though - it will get me thinking some!

P.S. I had a big discussion with my teacher of Opus 12, No 5 where I had written the word "unusual" over one chord change. She disagreed so I just played the harmonies out for her in blocked chords. Oh, yes, she agreed.
One of the pieces I'm playing, 65/1 has any modulations, just a sudden shift from d minor to D major and back. The 71/5 (my unofficial 2nd piece) does have frequent modulations though, but I think it's very cute and adds to the folksy quality of it. Certainly not a cheap trick, IMO.
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#2089098 - 05/26/13 10:15 AM Re: Grieg recital: Proposal..... [Re: Andy Platt]
dire tonic Offline
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Originally Posted By: Andy Platt
I'm not sure that I would agree that a well placed modulation is a cheap trick. In fact, a well crafted song that includes that is probably the opposite.


You're misquoting me.

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#2089111 - 05/26/13 10:32 AM Re: Grieg recital: Proposal..... [Re: Rostosky]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Just the term "cheap trick" creates impressions, even if unintended.

BTW, Grieg was hardly the only 19th century composer who used modulations quite a bit.

Who is this about?

Quote:
In his compositions, &&&&&&& showed a talent and a penchant for frequent, graceful modulations of key. Often these modulatory sequences, achieved through a pivot chord or through inflection of a melodic phrase, arrive at harmonically remote keys. Indeed, &&&&&&&'s students report that his most frequent admonition was to always "modulate, modulate."


In fact, according to some accounts ...

Quote:
Debussy fell out with &&&&&&& as a result of the great organ composer's incessant exhortations to modulate. "Mais pourquoi voulez-vous que je module" he asked in exasperation. "Puisque je me trouve très bien dans ce ton-là."
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#2089115 - 05/26/13 10:42 AM Re: Grieg recital: Proposal..... [Re: Piano*Dad]
dire tonic Offline
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Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Just the term "cheap trick" creates impressions, even if unintended.


Will no one read what I wrote before misrepresenting it?

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#2089457 - 05/26/13 08:30 PM Re: Grieg recital: Proposal..... [Re: dire tonic]
Andy Platt Offline
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Originally Posted By: dire tonic
Originally Posted By: Andy Platt
I'm not sure that I would agree that a well placed modulation is a cheap trick. In fact, a well crafted song that includes that is probably the opposite.


You're misquoting me.


Misunderstood perhaps, misquoted - note sure. You said (paraphrasing) that Grieg used modulations "so much" they seem like a device. And that key changes in pop songs could be effective but can also be considered a cheap shot. Is that not what you said? And, in my opinion, if it's well crafted, it is never a cheap shot however much it could be regarded as such. Just my opinion, though.
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#2089464 - 05/26/13 08:38 PM Re: Grieg recital: Proposal..... [Re: Rostosky]
keystring Online   content
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From how I understand Dire Tonic's post, I'll say that I had similar impressions. I first noticed it in my piece. There's a pattern in the music, and in the chords that go with it, and that pattern repeats over and over, "verbatim", simply being modulated unchanging to new keys. Then a B section, doing exactly the same thing, except instead of major - in minor. Instead of descending chromatically, ascending chromatically. ... I looked at other music when I was choosing mine, and saw the same kind of pattern there. Then there was someone who needed help with rhythm or something similar with hers. I printed out the music, played it through, wondered whether it would be equally predictable - it was.

Hey, if a composer can make it work, then why not? But I did see the type of thing mentioned by D.T.

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#2089466 - 05/26/13 08:39 PM Re: Grieg recital: Proposal..... [Re: dire tonic]
Morodiene Online   content
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Originally Posted By: dire tonic
Originally Posted By: Andy Platt
I'm not sure that I would agree that a well placed modulation is a cheap trick. In fact, a well crafted song that includes that is probably the opposite.


You're misquoting me.
No I get it, you were saying that pop composers who would modulate up half a step and *they* called that a cheap trick. You were simply saying the modulations Grieg did in your composition didn't appear "inspired". But it's hard not to assume that you meant it was a cheap trick for Grieg since you then went on in the same paragraph to talk about pop composers.

Perhaps you can expound a bit on why you don't think Grieg's modulations in your piece were inspired?
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#2089468 - 05/26/13 08:43 PM Re: Grieg recital: Proposal..... [Re: Rostosky]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Let's keep in mind that the Lyric Pieces were popular music for normal people to play. They weren't written to give Chopin's or Liszt's Etudes a run for their money. They are also quite short. There is only so much one can do in 12-15 lines of music if you want some coherence and resolution.
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#2089633 - 05/26/13 11:27 PM Re: Grieg recital: Proposal..... [Re: Piano*Dad]
keystring Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Let's keep in mind that the Lyric Pieces were popular music for normal people to play. They weren't written to give Chopin's or Liszt's Etudes a run for their money. They are also quite short. There is only so much one can do in 12-15 lines of music if you want some coherence and resolution.

The pieces that I looked at could easily have been written with some altered things without being made longer. I'm not sure what it means to give Chopin or Liszt "a run for their money" - that sounds like a competition. If written for "normal people" - it is harder to bring something out of very simple music without the skills of a very good musician.

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#2089634 - 05/26/13 11:29 PM Re: Grieg recital: Proposal..... [Re: Piano*Dad]
Polyphonist Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
They weren't written to give Chopin's or Liszt's Etudes a run for their money.

What great works were? wink
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#2089664 - 05/27/13 01:38 AM Re: Grieg recital: Proposal..... [Re: Rostosky]
Ganddalf Offline
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Hava a look at "For dine føtter" ("At your feet"). It changes the key all the time, and modulations often come surprisingly and with great effect. I think this is great music.

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#2089744 - 05/27/13 07:22 AM Re: Grieg recital: Proposal..... [Re: keystring]
Morodiene Online   content
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Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Let's keep in mind that the Lyric Pieces were popular music for normal people to play. They weren't written to give Chopin's or Liszt's Etudes a run for their money. They are also quite short. There is only so much one can do in 12-15 lines of music if you want some coherence and resolution.

The pieces that I looked at could easily have been written with some altered things without being made longer. I'm not sure what it means to give Chopin or Liszt "a run for their money" - that sounds like a competition. If written for "normal people" - it is harder to bring something out of very simple music without the skills of a very good musician.
I have not done any reading up on Grieg's life or what scholars have said about these Lyric pieces, so what I have to say is based on what little I know about him and of the music I've heard. It does sound to me like he was making them accessible to amateur pianists (as opposed to writing concert pieces). I've heard his concerto and played through some of it, so I know he certainly is capable of writing technically demanding pieces on par with other great composers. And not to say these pieces aren't demanding in their own way, because I have some big technical challenges in mine that will take weeks to work out.

Also, they appear to be very reflective of the folk music in Norway - not that I know what it sounds like, but these pieces have quite a folksy sound to them. I don't know if Grieg was an ethnomusicologist (I think that practice came later with Bartok and Kodaly), but perhaps Norwegian folk music has this characteristic of changing keys a lot? In my 2nd unofficial piece (71/5 Halling), there's not much by way of traditional modulations in the sense of a series of chord progressions gradually getting you to a new tonal center, but more simply shifting to a new key and repeating material there. Due to the "unsophisticated" nature of these tonal shifts, one may assume this is more a Norwegian folk music thing.

Anyone from Norway have thoughts on this?
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#2089782 - 05/27/13 09:39 AM Re: Grieg recital: Proposal..... [Re: Rostosky]
Piano*Dad Offline
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You have hit on two important things.

When I said "normal people" and "not giving Liszt Etudes a run," you said "accessible to amateur pianists." [And no, keystring, I was not talking about a competition among composers ... frown ]. Grieg's work was quite popular in the UK across the North Sea precisely because normal people could aspire to play it at home in the parlor. It was truly pop music, and this is not a criticism of it.

Secondly, a huge percentage of this stuff is indeed folk music and/or inspired by it. This was the time that "national music" was developing, and Grieg was a champion of that. Think of "The Five" in Russia at around the same time. Or Smetana, Dvorak and Janacek in Prague. Albeniz and Granados in Spain. The list is long (and includes Chopin from the previous generation).
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#2089866 - 05/27/13 12:45 PM Re: Grieg recital: Proposal..... [Re: Rostosky]
keystring Online   content
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Which does not change the fact that the music I'm looking at is formulaic. The same thing is transposed from key to key. And this does not make it easier for the amateur to play, because it takes more skill to try to squeeze something out of it so it doesn't sound redundant. Maybe this music was Grieg's bread and butter. But he had the skill to pull it off.

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#2090442 - 05/28/13 02:55 AM Re: Grieg recital: Proposal..... [Re: Rostosky]
dire tonic Offline
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The cheap trick jibe was directed squarely at the typical pop song key change. I was careful enough (I thought!) to put a full stop before absolving Grieg of the same chicanery -
Quote:
I certainly wouldn’t accuse Grieg of that [cheap trick] - he at least does it with finesse and some of his music is sublime

- I’d be hard put to make it any clearer.


Ganddalf offers a perfect example. In At Your Feet he uses modulation extensively but it's inspired and beautiful (which is why I chose it as my second piece – now I fully expect to have it confiscated from me!). In some other pieces I fancy I hear a ‘process’ at work – always effected with style, often clever, but more craft than art.

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#2090456 - 05/28/13 04:37 AM Re: Grieg recital: Proposal..... [Re: Rostosky]
Ganddalf Offline
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Grieg definitely was an ethnomusicologist. He spent much time listening to fiddlers, singers and people who used other traditional instruments. He collected a lot of folk tunes, and has also made quite a lot of transcritpions for the piano.

Here's an example of traditional Norwegian music played on the Hardanger fiddle.

http://youtu.be/wFAogFZIQ_I

Not many modulations here. A characteristic of the Hardanger fiddle is the presence of four sub-strings that are not touched by the bow, but adds to the harmonic spectrum. Not all people like the sound of it, and it takes some time to really understand this music. Anyhow this kind of music was one important source of inspiraion for Grieg.

You may also notice that this piece actually uses the Lydian modal scale. This is quite characteristic for Norwegian folk music, and also quite obvious in some of Grieg's music.

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#2090458 - 05/28/13 04:43 AM Re: Grieg recital: Proposal..... [Re: Rostosky]
Ganddalf Offline
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One more comment about the Hardanger fiddle:

People who don't care much about the fiddle say that the strings of the ordinary fiddle are made from the intenstines of a cat. For the Hardanger fiddle they are using the whole cat. grin

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#2090466 - 05/28/13 05:18 AM Re: Grieg recital: Proposal..... [Re: Ganddalf]
dire tonic Offline
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Lol! I suppose that's after rigor mortis has set in. Would the tail be the handle? And what do they do about a case to fit everything in?

Thanks for the hardanger link - that's a great sound, intricate. I hear some elements of that in what I take to be Irish and Scottish fiddle music - Cajun fiddle too although it's much more basic. I suspect some of those similaries arise out the the physical, playable aspects of the instrument rather than itinerant musicians crossing the globe, infecting each others' ideas. Maybe a bit of both?

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#2090495 - 05/28/13 08:05 AM Re: Grieg recital: Proposal..... [Re: Rostosky]
ragnhildK Offline
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Loc: Norway
Tere is no doubt that Grieg was inspired by local folk music, and the titles "Gangar", "Springar" og Halling" refers to Norwegian folk dances traditionally performed by fiddle or Hardanger fiddle.

But I would like to choose for my second choice a piece that is a bit more "impressionistic" - Liten Fugl opus 43 no 4. As far as I can see there has not been any battle over this one so far smile



Edited by ragnhildK (05/28/13 08:07 AM)

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#2090588 - 05/28/13 10:54 AM Re: Grieg recital: Proposal..... [Re: Ganddalf]
keystring Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Ganddalf
Grieg definitely was an ethnomusicologist. He spent much time listening to fiddlers, singers and people who used other traditional instruments. He collected a lot of folk tunes, and has also made quite a lot of transcritpions for the piano.

Here's an example of traditional Norwegian music played on the Hardanger fiddle.

I found another - this fiddler really brings out the attributes of the instrument. (enjoyable)
Haakon Solas - playing Hardanger fiddle
Thank you for introducing us to this instrument, and more about Grieg.

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#2090603 - 05/28/13 11:28 AM Re: Grieg recital: Proposal..... [Re: Ganddalf]
Morodiene Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Ganddalf
Grieg definitely was an ethnomusicologist. He spent much time listening to fiddlers, singers and people who used other traditional instruments. He collected a lot of folk tunes, and has also made quite a lot of transcritpions for the piano.

Here's an example of traditional Norwegian music played on the Hardanger fiddle.

http://youtu.be/wFAogFZIQ_I

Not many modulations here. A characteristic of the Hardanger fiddle is the presence of four sub-strings that are not touched by the bow, but adds to the harmonic spectrum. Not all people like the sound of it, and it takes some time to really understand this music. Anyhow this kind of music was one important source of inspiraion for Grieg.

You may also notice that this piece actually uses the Lydian modal scale. This is quite characteristic for Norwegian folk music, and also quite obvious in some of Grieg's music.
OK, this helps a LOT with understanding my pieces! Both of them have ostinati in 5ths as well as a lot of parallel 5ths going on. I actually like the sound of this fiddle, although the lady playing is tapping her foot very slowly to a totally different beat, I can't tell if that's supposed to be like that or a bad habit. wink
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#2090643 - 05/28/13 12:12 PM Re: Grieg recital: Proposal..... [Re: Rostosky]
jotur Offline
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Thanks for posting the Hardingfele!

I think the fiddler was right on the beat laugh I dance to music like this, but some of it is, um, obscure, until one gets used to it. It's traditional for the fiddler to tap their foot so the dancers can hear, tho I'm sure long-time dancers probably don't need it. But I remember, when I first started, a friend of mine and I never did figure out if one piece was in 4/4 or 3/4 laugh But I love this music. There is Scandinavian dancing here in Santa Fe, but unfortunately for me it's on the same night as other dancing I do frown so I don't go any more. It's also turning dancing, and some times if my allergies are bad I get nauseous. But it's wonderful dancing.

Cathy
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#2091415 - 05/29/13 01:41 PM Re: Grieg recital: Proposal..... [Re: Rostosky]
Ganddalf Offline
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Loc: Norway
Maybe slightly off topic, but I would like to share with you an example of a short symphonic piece based on a Norwegian folk tune. It is written by an English composer, Frederick Delius and has the title "On hearing the first Cuckoo in Spring". Grieg also made an arrangement of this melody, and if I'm not completely wrong the title is "Kveld ved Olatjønna" ("Evening at the Ola pond", where Ola is a very traditional Norwegian boy's name). Unfortunately I couldn't find a link to Grieg's version, but here is the beautiful piece of Delius who spent quite a lot of time in Norway.

http://youtu.be/lTDKa64DRgQ

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#2091434 - 05/29/13 02:19 PM Re: Grieg recital: Proposal..... [Re: Rostosky]
Ganddalf Offline
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Loc: Norway
For those interested in more about Grieg's music I should also mention that he definitely mastered the short form better than extensive works, the piano concerto being the exception verifying the rule. He wrote a large number of songs for solo voice plus piano. Many of them are real masterpieces, but probably not so well known outside Norway as the text often is in Norwegian (although some of them also have text translated to German).

I have been lucky enough to do the piano part of quite a few of them. Unfortunately I have no recordings of these performances, but I give you a few examples of professional performances.

"Til våren" ("To Spring") where the piano part has been transcribed for orchestra:

http://youtu.be/H518yDjQw1c

"Jeg elsker deg" (Do I need to traslate it?)

http://youtu.be/psXoVpESlhc

"Ved gjætle-bekken" (Don't know how to translate it) This is the last song in the cycle "Haugtussa". This is formally more advaced than many of the other songs. Just notice how Grieg develops the simple theme!

http://youtu.be/1Uxkqqy9xbY

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#2091451 - 05/29/13 02:48 PM Re: Grieg recital: Proposal..... [Re: Ganddalf]
dire tonic Offline
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Curious that you should mention this piece, Ganddalf, (first cuckoo) - I've known it since my childhood and bought the score during my early teens - I was completely captivated by the lush and unusual harmonies. I could never quite understand how an englishman came to have such a strange name.

Ken Russell, before he became a mainstream film-maker, did a series of biopics and one of these was devoted to Delius and his relationship with Percy Grainger - it can be found on youtube in 5 parts under the heading 'Ken Russell - Delius - Song of Summer (1968)'. I'd strongly recommend it...

(just realised it wasn't Grainger but Eric Fenby who was responsible for draughting out Delius's scores).


Edited by dire tonic (05/29/13 02:55 PM)

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#2091460 - 05/29/13 03:11 PM Re: Grieg recital: Proposal..... [Re: dire tonic]
Ganddalf Offline
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Loc: Norway
Originally Posted By: dire tonic

Ken Russell, before he became a mainstream film-maker, did a series of biopics and one of these was devoted to Delius and his relationship with Percy Grainger - it can be found on youtube in 5 parts under the heading 'Ken Russell - Delius - Song of Summer (1968)'. I'd strongly recommend it...

(just realised it wasn't Grainger but Eric Fenby who was responsible for draughting out Delius's scores).


I watched that program on Norwegan television, and it must have been shortly after it was produced. That was my first introduction to Delius, and it made such an impression that I still remember quite a lot of it.

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#2092601 - 05/31/13 02:08 AM Re: Grieg recital: Proposal..... [Re: Rostosky]
AimeeO Offline

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Registered: 05/20/10
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Loc: New Orleans
Originally Posted By: FarmGirl
I tried Puck. Not bad. The patterns are very logically laid out. My fingering works. I won't start this until August. The Summer xxxx bag song (Summer's Eve) is beautiful, short and sweet. I just read through and put fingerings. I will wait to start this until one month before.


I wasn't around in the last week, so this is a little late, but I must say I laughed really hard when I read this wink

I also liked the discussion on the Hardanger fiddle, except for the fact that now I want one because they look really cool.

On ebay, someone calls them called "fancy violins."


Anyway, I need to stop fantasizing about fiddles and work on Arietta. Measures 12 and 22 keep throwing me off timing wise.

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#2092673 - 05/31/13 06:48 AM Re: Grieg recital: Proposal..... [Re: Rostosky]
WiseBuff Offline
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Please put me down for 43#2 as a second piece if its still open. I'm enjoying the Grieg and finding the lyric pieces more accessible than the waltz I've done before. Really looking forward to hearing all of you play.
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#2093924 - 06/02/13 01:47 PM Re: Grieg recital: Proposal..... [Re: Rostosky]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Loc: Williamsburg, VA
By George, I think I've got it. Yes, these pieces are quite accessible for the true amateurs among us!

The formulaic attributes of my piece (Halling from Op. 38) offer signposts for memorization. Two bars of this, then two bars of that. Then repeat, one octave below. Then a new four bar theme. Simple transition and then back to the original two bars of this and two bars of that. Slight variation on to the conclusion. Simple and elegant folk music.
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Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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