Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) Pianoteq
Latest Pianoteq add-on instrument: U4 upright piano
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#2167704 - 10/17/13 01:15 PM Scherzo 4 help
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4762
Loc: USA
How does one get the descending chord progressions up to speed? They're the reason why I put this piece on the shelf. When I play them, I choke. I've tried practicing them slower but I didn't get much results. Is this a case of starting slow and working up speed or is this some kind of mental block I have?

Top
(ad) Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#2167734 - 10/17/13 02:39 PM Re: Scherzo 4 help [Re: JoelW]
TheHappyMoron Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/10
Posts: 1166
Loc: UK
what i always do in these situations is reshelve it!! grin

Am i right in presuming you mean Chopin's scherzo?
_________________________
All theory, dear friend, is grey, but the golden tree of life springs ever green.

Top
#2167756 - 10/17/13 03:37 PM Re: Scherzo 4 help [Re: JoelW]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7508
Loc: New York City
I don't know which part you're talking about. Could you point it out in this score, please?

http://erato.uvt.nl/files/imglnks/usimg/..._ed.Schott_.pdf
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

Top
#2167761 - 10/17/13 03:47 PM Re: Scherzo 4 help [Re: JoelW]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17829
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: JoelW
How does one get the descending chord progressions up to speed?[...]


Not to sound facetious : the same way that one resolves getting any challenging passage up to speed should apply here - wherever "here" is.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

Top
#2167766 - 10/17/13 03:57 PM Re: Scherzo 4 help [Re: JoelW]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11421
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
If you could be more specific with where you are having problems and what's happening when you play we may be able to help further.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

Top
#2167788 - 10/17/13 05:03 PM Re: Scherzo 4 help [Re: JoelW]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4762
Loc: USA
Sorry for the taking so long to reply. Had an internet guy come out. grin

I'm talking about each one of the descending chord passages. Going up is no problem. Going back down is for some reason very challenging for me at tempo.

Top
#2167792 - 10/17/13 05:19 PM Re: Scherzo 4 help [Re: JoelW]
patH Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/13
Posts: 550
Loc: Germany
Simplify! grin
_________________________
Everything is possible, and nothing is sure.
XXXI

Top
#2167793 - 10/17/13 05:24 PM Re: Scherzo 4 help [Re: JoelW]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7508
Loc: New York City
Of course. Simplify. What else? Chopin has too many notes anyway.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

Top
#2167796 - 10/17/13 05:35 PM Re: Scherzo 4 help [Re: JoelW]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4762
Loc: USA
Does anyone have any real advice?

Top
#2167797 - 10/17/13 05:38 PM Re: Scherzo 4 help [Re: JoelW]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5901
Loc: Down Under
What does your teacher say?
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

Top
#2167799 - 10/17/13 05:41 PM Re: Scherzo 4 help [Re: currawong]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7508
Loc: New York City
Post a video. That's my advice.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

Top
#2167801 - 10/17/13 05:44 PM Re: Scherzo 4 help [Re: JoelW]
Kuanpiano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2114
Loc: Canada
Try voicing away from your thumbs. Also the nature of the chords implies "out-in, out-in" with the right hand, which sort of hinders the direction of the line. Bringing out the outer voices and then having those guide the phrase might help increase the lightness.
_________________________
Working on:
Beethoven - Piano Sonata op. 109
Brahms - 6 Klavierstucke op. 119
Rachmaninoff - Piano Sonata no.1

Top
#2167806 - 10/17/13 05:49 PM Re: Scherzo 4 help [Re: JoelW]
Kuanpiano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2114
Loc: Canada
Also, how fast are you trying to go? Typically I found that around 104 per bar was comfortable for the chords, but getting too quick for the running 8ths....and an ideal tempo should be maybe 108 or 112. I guess you have the opposite problem as me...
_________________________
Working on:
Beethoven - Piano Sonata op. 109
Brahms - 6 Klavierstucke op. 119
Rachmaninoff - Piano Sonata no.1

Top
#2167808 - 10/17/13 05:52 PM Re: Scherzo 4 help [Re: Kuanpiano]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7508
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
Typically I found that around 104 per bar was comfortable for the chords, but getting too quick for the running 8ths....and an ideal tempo should be maybe 108 or 112.

An ideal tempo is around 120, and if you can't play it cleanly at 104 you shouldn't be studying it.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

Top
#2167810 - 10/17/13 05:59 PM Re: Scherzo 4 help [Re: JoelW]
Kuanpiano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2114
Loc: Canada
I shelved it because I had other things to study.
_________________________
Working on:
Beethoven - Piano Sonata op. 109
Brahms - 6 Klavierstucke op. 119
Rachmaninoff - Piano Sonata no.1

Top
#2167823 - 10/17/13 06:24 PM Re: Scherzo 4 help [Re: JoelW]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7508
Loc: New York City
Like the Sonata? grin
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

Top
#2167851 - 10/17/13 07:34 PM Re: Scherzo 4 help [Re: JoelW]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2290
Loc: San Jose, CA
You're talking about the staccato chord progressions that go in all kinds of interesting harmonic directions, right? Including the massively long one right before the coda which is a real "Hail Mary" moment. I know exactly what you mean and had the same issue with the same passages. The thing that solved it for me was normalizing my hand position so that I wasn't twisting. It's not the speed of it that would trip me up, it would be trying to do too many conflicting motions too quickly. When I cut those motions out, it was suddenly easy.

Top
#2167865 - 10/17/13 08:47 PM Re: Scherzo 4 help [Re: JoelW]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11421
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
OK, once I realized that the music Polyphonist posted was by a different composer :P

I think I know what may help. Have you tried playing it non-staccato? Just playing them one hand at a time, perhaps tenuto but still with some separation. Exaggerate the lift off and dropping into the next chord. (this is also done super-slow). Try to drop from a bit above the keys thinking more vertical movement than horizontal. You may miss, in which case go back and forth between to two chords until you can make the transition easily. Do the same with the LH. While still playing in this manner, then play LH beat 1 first then RH beat 1, alternating hands like this. Then do RH first then LH. You can also try playing the outside notes in each hand then add the inside notes, then repeat the passage with inside notes first then outside.

These should all help you orient yourself better and make the adjustments needed. Play as written, still not staccato but still slow and make sure the wrists are flexible and you still feel dropping into the keys as you reduce the vertical height. Now at a slow tempo add the staccato back in. This is actually marked portato in the score, so think of the staccato as less crisp. Let yourself feel the key bounce your hands up and help prepare you to drop in the next chord. Gradually increase tempo while maintaining the flexibility.

There's probably some other things you can do if this doesn't help, but probably the main thing is that you are adding tension when you increase the tempo, so working it slowly like this will help you gain awareness of how it should feel at whatever tempo you bring it to.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

Top
#2168055 - 10/18/13 10:00 AM Re: Scherzo 4 help [Re: JoelW]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19647
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: JoelW
....When I play them, I choke....

Haven't read all the replies in detail, but I think this is different than what has been said:

I think there's a high chance that what I quoted is the key part of what you said, and that this whole thing isn't primarily a "technical" problem but one of a certain kind of confusion smile -- deceptively confusing aspects of the passage, and lack of awareness of them.

What I do know is, this passage gave me extra trouble too, and that seemed to be the reason.

The passage has various kinds of irregularity to it -- in terms of directionality and groupings. It's a type of passage that usually would be regular in its pattern, and that's what the head and hands are used to, and sort of what they expect -- but this isn't. For example, there's sort of a hemiola going on: The meter is 3/4, and the passage is very 'rhythmic,' so the head is thinking 3 beats; but in terms of the physicality (and really of the music too), the chords are in groups of 2. (Right? Right.) smile
Plus, the directionality is jagged and irregular.

None of that is immediately obvious to the conscious mind. (Sorry to be using psychobabble vocabulary but I don't know how else to put it.) grin
Some pianists can play such passages without any problem anyway, without worrying or particularly knowing about things like this. But I think most people can't -- and many never get past it, because they assume it's just a technical issue and keep practicing and practicing it, without ever realizing that the main problem is that the patterns are confusing and that they don't have the irregularities straight in their minds and hands. I think if you look at the passage this way, realize the conflict between the meter and the 'groupings,' and realize the irregularities/changes of direction within the passage -- which will take some attention and study but not that much -- you'll stop choking, and you won't have very much trouble with these passages.

(Except the last one, which is harder smile because it's longer and so there's more of this 'stuff' in it.
You'll be able to do that too but it'll take more work.)

One of the things I found useful was practicing the passages a bit as though they were in 2/4 time -- i.e. thinking of them as groups of 2 -- which takes care of about half of the problem.


There are similar issues in parts of the 3rd Scherzo -- the 'fluttering' passages. In those, there's exactly the same quasi-hemiola, plus a physically confusing aspect that many people seem not to appreciate: While the hands seem to be fluttering in the same direction, and that's how the 'head' thinks of it, anatomically they're fluttering in opposite directions, which for many of us can cause brainlock because of the conflict between head and hands. (Won't go into the anatomical details unless anybody wants me to.)

Top
#2168058 - 10/18/13 10:07 AM Re: Scherzo 4 help [Re: JoelW]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4762
Loc: USA
Thanks everyone. I will try what you all said, but I think what Mark said comes closest to my problem. I'm a big believer in technique being half physical half mental. It's definitely a mental block. Mark, I will try what you said and let you know how it works out for me.

And by the way, "conscious mind" isn't that bad. grin

Quote:
There are similar issues in parts of the 3rd Scherzo -- the 'fluttering' passages.


Yes! When I attempted this Scherzo, I choked on that too. It's definitely not physical because if it were, it would be impossible for me every time, but that wasn't the case. I could play them sometimes perfectly, and sometimes choke halfway through.

Technique is very mental!


Edited by JoelW (10/18/13 10:10 AM)

Top
#2168064 - 10/18/13 10:27 AM Re: Scherzo 4 help [Re: JoelW]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19647
Loc: New York
BTW there are similar issues in the 1st Scherzo too....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUiHBjQku0o

Top
#2168067 - 10/18/13 10:49 AM Re: Scherzo 4 help [Re: JoelW]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4762
Loc: USA
The introduction is funnier than the playing.

Top
#2168074 - 10/18/13 11:07 AM Re: Scherzo 4 help [Re: JoelW]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19647
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: JoelW
The introduction is funnier than the playing.

Indeed. grin
And the ovation is second funniest.

Top
#2168120 - 10/18/13 01:01 PM Re: Scherzo 4 help [Re: JoelW]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11421
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Thanks everyone. I will try what you all said, but I think what Mark said comes closest to my problem. I'm a big believer in technique being half physical half mental. It's definitely a mental block. Mark, I will try what you said and let you know how it works out for me.

And by the way, "conscious mind" isn't that bad. grin

Quote:
There are similar issues in parts of the 3rd Scherzo -- the 'fluttering' passages.


Yes! When I attempted this Scherzo, I choked on that too. It's definitely not physical because if it were, it would be impossible for me every time, but that wasn't the case. I could play them sometimes perfectly, and sometimes choke halfway through.

Technique is very mental!
And yet, mental tension can originate from a physical technical issue. By looking at the passage in question from many different angles can be helpful in overcoming psychological barriers by being able to fully understand what is going on in the passage and how it should feel when you play it.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

Top
#2168130 - 10/18/13 01:21 PM Re: Scherzo 4 help [Re: JoelW]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17829
Loc: Victoria, BC
It happens so often in Chopin that it can almost be considered a "characteristic trait" of his : the note "patterns" or "groupings" are in physical conflict - as it were - with the time signature. I so often see "patterns" of four notes, repeated every two beats in a time signature of 3/4.

You may call it 'hemiola' - although I'm not sure it is - but that certainly is the idea. Once you isolate the passage and play in groups of two or groups of four instead of trying to think of it in groups of three, then the technical challenges seem somewhat minimized.

Eventually, however, the patterns have to be put back into the triple meter.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

Top
#2168139 - 10/18/13 01:58 PM Re: Scherzo 4 help [Re: JoelW]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4762
Loc: USA
What about the F major waltz? hahaha

Top
#2168223 - 10/18/13 05:35 PM Re: Scherzo 4 help [Re: JoelW]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19647
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: JoelW
What about the F major waltz? hahaha

Same thing! smile

And my 'favorite' example, because of the agony I've gone through with it: The final RH riff in the B minor sonata. It's groups of 4 -- not 6, which is what it looks like on the page -- and the groups-of-4 aren't really exactly where they look like they are either.

BTW those groups-of-4 are an exact retrograde of the 2nd through 5th notes of the movement's main theme.

And they're also an exact inversion of those notes.

Chopin is full of puzzles like that. Not nearly as much as Bach, but he might be a distant 2nd. smile


OK, OK -- 3rd. There's Beethoven.

Ooops, there's Mozart too.
4th.
ha

Bruce: You're right that the thing in the 4th scherzo isn't absolutely a "hemiola" -- but it is a hemiola according to the broader definition, which is pretty commonly how the term is taken. Not necessarily most commonly smile but pretty commonly. Anyway that's why I qualified it by saying "sort of" and "quasi."

Top
#2168226 - 10/18/13 05:45 PM Re: Scherzo 4 help [Re: Mark_C]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7508
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Chopin is full of puzzles like that. Not nearly as much as Bach, but he might be a distant 2nd. smile


OK, OK -- 3rd. There's Beethoven.

Ooops, there's Mozart too.
4th.
ha

What about Brahms? grin
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

Top
#2169776 - 10/21/13 09:55 PM Re: Scherzo 4 help [Re: JoelW]
pianist.ame Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 1166
Loc: Singapore
Originally Posted By: JoelW
How does one get the descending chord progressions up to speed? They're the reason why I put this piece on the shelf. When I play them, I choke. I've tried practicing them slower but I didn't get much results. Is this a case of starting slow and working up speed or is this some kind of mental block I have?


Practice everything legato; both the ascending& descending chord progressions. It works
_________________________
Currently working on:J.S Bach Prelude&Fugue in C major from bk 1,Chopin Etude op.10 no.12,Impromptus nos.1&4 and Mendelssohn Song without words op.67

Top
#2169860 - 10/22/13 02:04 AM Re: Scherzo 4 help [Re: JoelW]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Does anyone have any real advice?


Simplifying - or what may technically be referred to as outlining or skeletonizing - is very real advice and often claimed by pedagogues to be the single best practice tool.

Here are a few topical resources on the subject:


Graham Fitch goes into further detail about how to use the powerful tool in his ebook, Practising the Piano eBook - Practice Tools

Top
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >

Moderator:  Brendan, Kreisler 
What's Hot!!
75,000 Members and Growing!
-------------------
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Knabe Pianos
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
Who's Online
70 registered (AndrewJCW, angga888, a-z0-9, ando, 20 invisible), 1236 Guests and 18 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
75509 Members
42 Forums
156147 Topics
2293084 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Mendelssohn on meaning in music
by phantomFive
Today at 04:08 AM
Youtube! :)
by PianoPlayer98
Today at 02:46 AM
Youtube! :)
by PianoPlayer98
Today at 01:47 AM
Headphones Sennheiser MOMENTUM On-Ear
by khopin
Today at 12:54 AM
How struts define pitch variation between tunings
by Bosendorff
Yesterday at 11:40 PM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission