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#2141307 - 08/30/13 11:06 AM This note in Clair De Lune
didyougethathing Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/11
Posts: 545
Loc: New York


This note annoys me so much. I understand why it is there, but boy do I want to play a C# SO badly! I had actually played a C# for years without really noticing it was a B; I must have subconsciously changed it based on sound.

Why can't it just be a C#? I'm going to play a C#, sorry Claude.

That is all.

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#2141309 - 08/30/13 11:11 AM Re: This note in Clair De Lune [Re: didyougethathing]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18073
Loc: Victoria, BC
Why should the B "annoy" you? It's what Debussy wrote, according to all editions I have. The B certainly "feels" better in the hand. Don't re-write Debussy; play it as written!

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#2141313 - 08/30/13 11:15 AM Re: This note in Clair De Lune [Re: BruceD]
didyougethathing Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/11
Posts: 545
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: BruceD
Why should the B "annoy" you? It's what Debussy wrote, according to all editions I have. Play it as written!

Regards,


I know! I just wish it was a C#. To my ears it sounds "right" and B sounds "wrong." I know that I am the one that is wrong, but it feels so right! Should I deny myself this note? I am usually not one for altering the score but I feel very strongly about it in this case.

Hey, it's not like I'll be performing it at Carnegie Hall!

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#2141321 - 08/30/13 11:35 AM Re: This note in Clair De Lune [Re: didyougethathing]
beet31425 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3796
Loc: Bay Area, CA
didyouget,

I've had similar thoughts in other pieces. (There's a note in Ravel's Jeux d'Eau that always sounded off, and a note in the last movement of the Pathetique that jars me.) In all cases, I've lived with the composer's choice, and I've been better for it.

Here are a few reasons why the B really works. I think they're at least compelling enough to try it Debussy's way for a while. Since you've been hearing and playing C# for so long, you've never given B a chance. Give it room to grow.

-- The B helps to resolve the harmony in the last beat as E major (instead of C# minor), which is beautiful, especially in setting up the A major harmony of the next measure's first beat.

-- If you play C#, that C# -> G# in the right hand sounds a little thin, because it's the interval of a fifth. B -> G# sounds warmer.

-- Look at the A -> F# in the right hand in the next measure's first beat. We really want to hear the B -> G# followed by this A -> F#. It's a beautiful pattern, and you can make a lot of the lower notes' resolution (B to A) and the upper notes' (G# to F#).


So try the B for a while, even if you don't like it at first. Debussy really did make the right call here!


-Jason
_________________________
Beethoven: op.109, 110, 111

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#2141324 - 08/30/13 11:41 AM Re: This note in Clair De Lune [Re: beet31425]
didyougethathing Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/11
Posts: 545
Loc: New York
Beet,

Yeah, I been doing it that way to get used to it. I had learned this piece a while back, and was relearning it and I guess I finally caught the B and thought it was a mistake. But now that I know it's not I will try to live with it!

Just curious, what note in Jeux d'Eau did you think sounded off?


Edited by didyougethathing (08/30/13 11:41 AM)

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#2141332 - 08/30/13 11:50 AM Re: This note in Clair De Lune [Re: didyougethathing]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4787
Loc: USA
The B is supposed to be a transition note to the A in the following bar!

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#2141338 - 08/30/13 12:03 PM Re: This note in Clair De Lune [Re: didyougethathing]
PrestoConFuocco Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/27/13
Posts: 92
Yeah, it can be really annoying when your mind is anticipating a certain note or chord and the composer puts a different one! (Surprisingly enough, it never bothered me in modern or impressionistic music, but only in classical or baroque)
That's why I can't stand picardy thirds.
_________________________
"If I decide to be an idiot, then I'll be an idiot on my own accord."
- Johann Sebastian Bach.

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#2141352 - 08/30/13 12:33 PM Re: This note in Clair De Lune [Re: didyougethathing]
wouter79 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3543
Try the B and listen to some recordings.
If you really don't like it, just change it to what you like laugh
_________________________

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#2141355 - 08/30/13 12:37 PM Re: This note in Clair De Lune [Re: PrestoConFuocco]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7606
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: PrestoConFuocco
Yeah, it can be really annoying when your mind is anticipating a certain note or chord and the composer puts a different one! (Surprisingly enough, it never bothered me in modern or impressionistic music, but only in classical or baroque)
That's why I can't stand picardy thirds.

I like the Picardy thirds in some pieces (like Bach), but in something like the Kreisler Praeludium and Allegro it doesn't make any sense musically.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2141357 - 08/30/13 12:39 PM Re: This note in Clair De Lune [Re: didyougethathing]
beet31425 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3796
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Originally Posted By: didyougethathing
Just curious, what note in Jeux d'Eau did you think sounded off?

It's in the measure right before the return of the main theme (i.e. right before the "recapitulation"). At the end of that measure the right hand has a couple two-note clusters. One of them is a G-A, which is the last note of a set of four 32nd notes. That G-A, especially its placement with the other 32nd notes, always seemed a little clunky to me. (I have no problem with the second cluster, the A-B.)

I minimize its effect and it's no big deal. But it's always felt to me like a slight slight blemish in an otherwise-perfect piece.


-Jason
_________________________
Beethoven: op.109, 110, 111

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#2141403 - 08/30/13 01:53 PM Re: This note in Clair De Lune [Re: beet31425]
didyougethathing Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/11
Posts: 545
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: beet31425
Originally Posted By: didyougethathing
Just curious, what note in Jeux d'Eau did you think sounded off?

It's in the measure right before the return of the main theme (i.e. right before the "recapitulation"). At the end of that measure the right hand has a couple two-note clusters. One of them is a G-A, which is the last note of a set of four 32nd notes. That G-A, especially its placement with the other 32nd notes, always seemed a little clunky to me. (I have no problem with the second cluster, the A-B.)

I minimize its effect and it's no big deal. But it's always felt to me like a slight slight blemish in an otherwise-perfect piece.


-Jason


Yes, I can see how that can seem strange. I always slowed down a lot at that point though, so the rhythm I ended up doing felt right. I almost play the last two 16th notes as 8th notes.


Edited by didyougethathing (08/30/13 01:55 PM)

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#2141404 - 08/30/13 01:54 PM Re: This note in Clair De Lune [Re: JoelW]
didyougethathing Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/11
Posts: 545
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: JoelW
The B is supposed to be a transition note to the A in the following bar!


I connect it more with the G sharp.

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#2141412 - 08/30/13 02:05 PM Re: This note in Clair De Lune [Re: didyougethathing]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3588
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
I have never played this piece before, so I just sat down to play the passage you quoted, and I must say the B also hits me in a slightly strange way. I would have preferred the C# too, but I could get used to the B. I don't think there is a compelling voice-leading reason for using B. The resolution to the following chord works either way, IMO.

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#2141418 - 08/30/13 02:15 PM Re: This note in Clair De Lune [Re: ando]
beet31425 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3796
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Originally Posted By: ando
I don't think there is a compelling voice-leading reason for using B. The resolution to the following chord works either way, IMO.
Sure, it works both ways. But I think it's richer, more subtle, and slightly more evocative of a kind of nostalgia to use the B. More Debussy-ish.

It's thousands of small decisions like this that separate this piece from the world of New Age and video game music.


-Jason
_________________________
Beethoven: op.109, 110, 111

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#2141453 - 08/30/13 04:09 PM Re: This note in Clair De Lune [Re: didyougethathing]
slipperykeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/03/12
Posts: 376
Loc: Dorset, England
" One is often betrayed by so-called pianists! I mean it, I can't tell you the extent to which my piano music has been deformed"

Claude Debussy quoted in the July/August 2012 edition of International Piano.

To be honest the quote made me laugh out loud. Does Debussy think people set out to "betray" him?

Is he so important that many pianists are going around the world deliberately betraying Claude Debussy?

So a conversation between two piano students might go as this:

Pianist No 1 (P1)"What shall we do tonight, play a little Beethoven?"

Pianist No2 (P2) "No.... not really"

(P1) "Shall we play some Brahms, perhaps?"

(P2) "No, no, I don't think so..."

(P1) "What then, Mozart, Chopin, Gershwin, Lennon and McCartney? You say what you would like us to do".

(P2) "I have an excellent idea, why don't we just spent the entire evening betraying Debussy?"

(P1) "Oh..... I wish I'd thought of that!"

I am sure most of us play what Debussy we can to the best of our abilities rather than set out to deliberately "betray" him. Could he REALLY have been unaware of that? Did he really think his music was so easy that there should be no problems playing what he had written as he had written it?

The man was a great composer lost to the world too soon, far too soon.

He does seem a bit pompous though. Of course there will be those who feel he has every right to be. But I'm not one of them. Nobody is "deformed" by exhibiting a little humility occasionally, even if their name was Claude Debussy.

I see no reason why a pianist should not play music as they want to, if that is not exceeding their abilities and to be honest, don't we all want to play better?

I once saw a concert pianist who claimed all Chopin's work sounded half a tone out (I think it was flat but am not certain after all these years) and he could and did demonstrate the fact to Robin Ray one night on the BBC with remarkable ability.

I would like to think that we are free to perform our own interpretations of great works of art
and that we should always be able to do so.

Yes, I will be in the minority, but it is YOU sitting at the piano, not anybody else, do it as YOU wish, (IMO)

BTW, I was very amused to see you say you had been playing the wrong note without realising it. So I'm not the only one (Thank God!) who sometimes does that!

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#2141486 - 08/30/13 06:03 PM Re: This note in Clair De Lune [Re: didyougethathing]
griffin2417 Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2441
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
At least the notation is correct in your score. I discovered two major notation errors in my sheet music for Clair de Lune. Very irritating! However, I guess this frustrating situation helped me sharpen up my listening skills. laugh
_________________________
Carl


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#2141502 - 08/30/13 06:34 PM Re: This note in Clair De Lune [Re: didyougethathing]
Louis Podesta Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/13
Posts: 731
Originally Posted By: didyougethathing


This note annoys me so much. I understand why it is there, but boy do I want to play a C# SO badly! I had actually played a C# for years without really noticing it was a B; I must have subconsciously changed it based on sound.

Why can't it just be a C#? I'm going to play a C#, sorry Claude.

That is all.


1) As per my prior posts, this whole section is to be arpeggiated in the left hand, with pedaling on every beat, or like Earl Wild suggests, depending on the hall you are playing it in, you can just hit the next left hand chord increasingly louder.

2) It is an E Major Chord, carrying on into the next measure. The last time I checked C# is not a note in an E Major triad.

3) I finger it with the fourth finger on the upper "E" and the forefinger on the next 'B."

Most important is to pay attention to the upper stem notes. That is the melody line, leading into the next section. The "B" is not one of those melody notes.

This means you play, in the third beat, the "G#" melody note with the fifth finger, and then the "E" melody note with the fourth finger.

The "B" is just filling out the harmony leading into the next "G#" melody note of the next section. This is a crucial part in the piece which eventually leads into a major crescendo.

Compositionally, that means that the ear wants to hear clean and clear normal harmony, preceding it.

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#2141505 - 08/30/13 06:45 PM Re: This note in Clair De Lune [Re: Louis Podesta]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4787
Loc: USA
Quote:
this whole section is to be arpeggiated in the left hand


I disagree. You will lose a certain feeling of movement if you take it all in the left hand.

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#2141516 - 08/30/13 07:13 PM Re: This note in Clair De Lune [Re: beet31425]
Thrill Science Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 514
Loc: California
Quote:
(There's a note in Ravel's Jeux d'Eau that always sounded off, and a note in the last movement of the Pathetique that jars me.)

Here I thought you were going to say it's this note in Jeux D'eau



which really should be a G# but is written as a "A".

I play this as an "G#" when people come over and ask what the extra keys are for....


Edited by Thrill Science (08/30/13 07:15 PM)
_________________________
Robert Swirsky
Thrill Science, Inc.

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#2141524 - 08/30/13 07:37 PM Re: This note in Clair De Lune [Re: slipperykeys]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18073
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: slipperykeys
" One is often betrayed by so-called pianists! [...] Does Debussy think people set out to "betray" him?

Is he so important that many pianists are going around the world deliberately betraying Claude Debussy?

[...]


sk :

Please keep in mind that this is a translation from the French. The original, whether Debussy used the verb trahir or not would have to be looked into, and might give a totally different tone to his comment when viewed in the original context. There's much truth to the statement that "much is lost in translation."

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#2141551 - 08/30/13 08:46 PM Re: This note in Clair De Lune [Re: Thrill Science]
beet31425 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3796
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Originally Posted By: Thrill Science
Quote:
(There's a note in Ravel's Jeux d'Eau that always sounded off, and a note in the last movement of the Pathetique that jars me.)

Here I thought you were going to say it's this note in Jeux D'eau



which really should be a G# but is written as a "A".

I play this as an "G#" when people come over and ask what the extra keys are for....


Of course there's that too! But this is a different case from disagreeing with a composer's choice, for what other choice did Ravel have here? If I had the low G#, I'd play it too.

-J
_________________________
Beethoven: op.109, 110, 111

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#2141646 - 08/31/13 02:49 AM Re: This note in Clair De Lune [Re: BruceD]
slipperykeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/03/12
Posts: 376
Loc: Dorset, England
Originally Posted By: BruceD
Originally Posted By: slipperykeys
" One is often betrayed by so-called pianists! [...] Does Debussy think people set out to "betray" him?

Is he so important that many pianists are going around the world deliberately betraying Claude Debussy?

[...]


sk :

Please keep in mind that this is a translation from the French. The original, whether Debussy used the verb trahir or not would have to be looked into, and might give a totally different tone to his comment when viewed in the original context. There's much truth to the statement that "much is lost in translation."

Regards,


I wish I had credited the writer in my first post, I should have, I do apologise to you for that.

There is not only, "betray" but also "deformed", with England and France being so close there are many bi-lingual people in both countries and by and large most French to English or vice-versa is fairly close to the intent of the original.
Even if the quote concerned was interpreted by the American who wrote the article, he is well educated in French.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Ivry

The article, titled "Ravel vs Debussy" and written by the above Benjamin Ivry takes the quote from a letter to Edgard Varese.

The para: starts, "Because Debussy really could produce ideal renditions of his own music at the keyboard, he may have been more unforgiving about other interpreters of his music than was Ravel."

"In 1910 Debussy wrote to the composer Edgard Varese complaining...." then comes the quote.

Personally, bearing in mind the in-depth knowledge of the writer I am happy to take the quote, and indeed the whole article, at face value but can understand if others do not wish to.



Edited by slipperykeys (08/31/13 06:02 AM)

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#2141652 - 08/31/13 03:19 AM Re: This note in Clair De Lune [Re: Thrill Science]
Michael Sayers Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/13
Posts: 1137
Loc: Stockholms lšn, Sverige
Originally Posted By: Thrill Science

Here I thought you were going to say it's this note in Jeux D'eau



which really should be a G# but is written as a "A".

I play this as an "G#" when people come over and ask what the extra keys are for....


Hence also a reason for certain additions and changes with 19th century music published for pianos that only go down to the low C.


M.

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