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#2220406 - 01/25/14 06:24 AM Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress!
RyanThePianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/12
Posts: 55
Loc: United States
Since TwoSnowflakes, griffin2417, and I are currently working on the famous Prelude in C-sharp minor Op. 3 No. 2 by Rachmaninoff, we've decided to start a new thread that focuses on our progress. If anybody else is working on this piece, feel free to join in and post your progress!

Don't hesitate to ask specific questions, offer practice suggestions, and take part in this learning experience. smile Please make sure nobody's questions and concerns are left unanswered! We're here to learn!

There is much to discuss, so get to discussing!


Edited by RyanThePianist (01/25/14 04:26 PM)
_________________________
1990 Yamaha G3

Studying:
- Ballade No. 1 in G minor (working on first half & coda; memorizing)
- Etude Op. 25 No. 12 "Ocean" (memorizing)
- Liebestraum No. 3 (cadenzas)
- Pathétique Sonata (relearning)

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#2220410 - 01/25/14 06:41 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
RyanThePianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/12
Posts: 55
Loc: United States
So my progress... I first learned this famous prelude two years ago, but I put it away for a while since then and now I'm in the process of reviving it in time for my piano audition for a university undergraduate music program, as I'm planning on double majoring in music (BA) and some other major, probably a science, that I haven't chosen yet (I'm planning to go to medical school!). I have a week left if I want to qualify for scholarships!

I'm currently polishing the middle section; I'm almost at my desired tempo with little to no mistakes. I'm focusing on relaxing my right hand more when I play because I've had occasions where it begins to tense during the repeat of the theme at the higher octave for this section. I'm thinking my crescendo to this point makes my hand tense, so perhaps I need to relax when I crescendo especially. My hand seems perfectly fine on the descending measures before the crescendo, and this is how I discovered the possible problem. Also, I'm trying to pedal the descending chords at the end of this section without any breaks in the music. Smoothness is what I'm shooting for. Lastly, I'm trying to ensure I'm voicing the melodies well throughout the piece. The LH melody must not be forgotten, and the RH melody must not be inaudible or "skimmed" over! Other than these details, I'm satisfied with my interpretation of the piece. I'm going to send my audition video to several teachers and friends (and probably on here) before I send it to the school, so it's an exciting and nerve-racking time for me! (if anybody is wondering, my other audition piece is Consolation No. 3 which contrasts greatly with this prelude)
_________________________
1990 Yamaha G3

Studying:
- Ballade No. 1 in G minor (working on first half & coda; memorizing)
- Etude Op. 25 No. 12 "Ocean" (memorizing)
- Liebestraum No. 3 (cadenzas)
- Pathétique Sonata (relearning)

Top
#2220575 - 01/25/14 12:59 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1158
I'm also finding that the tension creeps in as the middle section climaxes. I've found that thinking "slow down" helps. It's not a real perceptible slowing down, but it stops me from continuing to accelerate uncontrollably and keeps the melody line better articulated.

I've not yet hit the sweet spot of acceleration into the descending triplets, because it DOES need to continue to speed up there.

But the speed is mostly there. I have heard it at super breakneck speed, but for me, I feel like it has the requisite urgency and speed at 80. Not that I use the metronome there because obviously there's nothing about that section that has a rigid tempo, but in terms of an overall sense of where it is when it settles into its most common pace, I feel like 80 about right so that's what I test myself against, especially when I need to guard against over-accelerating.
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

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#2220578 - 01/25/14 01:04 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1158
Second section again: I'm having a hard time backing off the volume without freezing my shoulder when there's that decrescendo right before it climbs again for the reprise of the main theme an octave higher. I seize and choke off my hands to get it, and consequently I am at risk for dropping notes there. This is actually a problem that I have more than just here.

First section: now that I've totally overthought the expression, my piu mosso is now really awkward sounding. Well, to be fair, it mossos quite fine. It's that I can't...meno mosso out of it in a natural way back to the main tempo.

Third section: I'm pretty clear on where I want to go with this. It's definitely the easiest section once the jumps are patterned in. I just have to work slowly, like suggested in the other thread, to get those secure. I have to look down. I appear to be constitutionally incapable of disengaging from the score even when I've played something for months.
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

Top
#2220584 - 01/25/14 01:17 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
phantomFive Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1308
Loc: California
Hey, sounds fun! Maybe I'll join in and relearn this song too.

I always looked at this song as the "gateway to virtuosity." It's the end of the road of amateur, and begins the road of a virtuoso. Anyone who has gotten this far is impressive.
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

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#2220589 - 01/25/14 01:21 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1158
Med school, huh? I was a biological sciences major (neurobiology, more or less), and then totally veered suddenly to law school.

I wish I were in your place right now because what I should have done is taken premed courses and not necessarily majored in science, even if I was going to med school. I was constantly gobbling up courses in other humanities, including music, and found I just LOVED music history and theory. I should have followed my gut and at least minored in it but I felt like it was incompatible with being premed so I didn't. Big mistake.

Even if I were to have gone on to med school, or even science in grad school (a program I did actually start before going to law school), I now see the enormous benefits to not majoring in science at all because you will get all the science you'll ever need later and your bachelors degree is the time to learn something simply for the academic pursuit of it, as long as you are covering your bases with the science you DO need. I'm not saying ignore the science--you can't do that, and you wouldn't want to, especially if you like science. But there are already plenty of scientific brains who are wired to do nothing but science. BUT, if you have another side of you that could use some academic nurturing, like music, make sure you DO IT NOW. There's no other time to do it.

Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled Rachmaninoff.
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

Top
#2220594 - 01/25/14 01:37 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: phantomFive]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1158
Originally Posted By: phantomFive
Hey, sounds fun! Maybe I'll join in and relearn this song too.

I always looked at this song as the "gateway to virtuosity." It's the end of the road of amateur, and begins the road of a virtuoso. Anyone who has gotten this far is impressive.


I wish I felt like I was on the cusp of being an advanced pianist. I doubt that I am. Well, I KNOW I am not. This piece has required me to learn a lot from very far back just to get to where I am right now.

On the other hand, I can tell that working like a dog on all the details has helped me enormously with my overall technique. Well, that, and the endless scales, arpeggios and chromatics my teacher has me doing!

I would say that I'm solidly a mid-intermediate to late mid-intermediate player now with at least a year or so before I can really be an advanced student (advanced student, not advanced player). This piece was definitely my "reach" piece in the sense that one should always have a piece they're studying that is reach-ably above their level, and this one was it.

But, that being said, it gratifies me to know that this piece was not an unreasonable choice as a reach piece for me. Maybe I'm not at the "gateway of virtuosity", but it might be on my horizon in the not-too-distant future.

Since we're talking Rachmaninoff, I'll imagine it as the Golden Gates of Kiev, and I'll keep that Mussorgsky theme playing in my head as I approach! smile

_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

Top
#2220614 - 01/25/14 02:05 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
phantomFive Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1308
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: TwoSnowflakes

I wish I felt like I was on the cusp of being an advanced pianist. I doubt that I am. Well, I KNOW I am not.

You are!


Edited by phantomFive (01/25/14 03:06 PM)
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

Top
#2220650 - 01/25/14 04:13 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: phantomFive]
griffin2417 Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2415
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
Originally Posted By: phantomFive
Hey, sounds fun! Maybe I'll join in and relearn this song too.

I always looked at this song as the "gateway to virtuosity." It's the end of the road of amateur, and begins the road of a virtuoso. Anyone who has gotten this far is impressive.


I hope you will join in phantomFive! I haven't even started on the keyboard with this yet. I never even entertained the thought of attempting to work on this piece. I was pretty shocked when my teacher suggested it. He will be getting me started with this some time in February.

I'm really glad this thread was started. I am looking upon this as a learning journey. However, it will be great to be with some folks at various stages of learning this piece.

I'll be back a bit later today to give a little background about my specific needs at this point.

Ryan, thanks again for getting this thread started! smile
_________________________
Carl


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#2220734 - 01/25/14 07:43 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
RyanThePianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/12
Posts: 55
Loc: United States
Originally Posted By: TwoSnowflakes

I'm also finding that the tension creeps in as the middle section climaxes. I've found that thinking "slow down" helps. It's not a real perceptible slowing down, but it stops me from continuing to accelerate uncontrollably and keeps the melody line better articulated.


I definitely think that consciously monitoring your tempo and shoulder really helps. No blind practicing (in the sense of practicing with no goal)! However, literal blind practicing is actually a good technique I'm starting to utilize in my practice to support memorization, solidify jumps, etc.


Originally Posted By: TwoSnowflakes
Second section again: I'm having a hard time backing off the volume without freezing my shoulder when there's that decrescendo right before it climbs again for the reprise of the main theme an octave higher. I seize and choke off my hands to get it, and consequently I am at risk for dropping notes there. This is actually a problem that I have more than just here.



What do you mean by, "backing off the volume"? You're having problems performing the decrescendo? It sounds like more of a technical and relaxation problem. Perhaps continued staccato practice and conscious awareness of your shoulders will help!


Edited by RyanThePianist (01/25/14 07:44 PM)
_________________________
1990 Yamaha G3

Studying:
- Ballade No. 1 in G minor (working on first half & coda; memorizing)
- Etude Op. 25 No. 12 "Ocean" (memorizing)
- Liebestraum No. 3 (cadenzas)
- Pathétique Sonata (relearning)

Top
#2220739 - 01/25/14 07:54 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1158
It definitely is a overall technical and relaxation problem. My teacher is working on it. She zeroes in on it all the time ,but as of yet I haven't totally worked it out.

I hit the staccato practice with a vengeance today and things actually got perceptibly better. Both here and in my Haydn sonata; the third movement is presto with a lot of volume changes.
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

Top
#2220742 - 01/25/14 08:03 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
RyanThePianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/12
Posts: 55
Loc: United States
Originally Posted By: TwoSnowflakes
Med school, huh? I was a biological sciences major (neurobiology, more or less), and then totally veered suddenly to law school.

I wish I were in your place right now because what I should have done is taken premed courses and not necessarily majored in science, even if I was going to med school. I was constantly gobbling up courses in other humanities, including music, and found I just LOVED music history and theory. I should have followed my gut and at least minored in it but I felt like it was incompatible with being premed so I didn't. Big mistake.

Even if I were to have gone on to med school, or even science in grad school (a program I did actually start before going to law school), I now see the enormous benefits to not majoring in science at all because you will get all the science you'll ever need later and your bachelors degree is the time to learn something simply for the academic pursuit of it, as long as you are covering your bases with the science you DO need. I'm not saying ignore the science--you can't do that, and you wouldn't want to, especially if you like science. But there are already plenty of scientific brains who are wired to do nothing but science. BUT, if you have another side of you that could use some academic nurturing, like music, make sure you DO IT NOW. There's no other time to do it.

Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled Rachmaninoff.


Law school? Impressive, so what do you do now? Do you enjoy it?

I believe in trying to find that balance between being practical and pursuing something you love, at no matter what age. I'm considering music because, well, that's a given, and I'm debating whether I should even major in a science before going to med school. I could easily major in English and be satisfied, but my number one worry is a back up plan if I don't get into med school. But then again, if I'm really coming up with a backup plan now, doesn't that make me sorta doubt my abilities in medical school? It's a lot to consider... the job prospects in science majors aren't that great from the general consensus I've developed anyway, but I'm also considering a nursing degree, but then another bump in the road occurs. If I major in nursing, doesn't that make med admissions think I'm committed to nursing and not medicine (these are two totally different things if you think about it)? In fact, in nursing, there's more learning how to DO things rather than acquiring intellectual stimulation. Med admissions want the most well-rounded students who can handle the voluminous memorization in med school, not someone who knows how to do something that they may not even use anymore if accepted into med school!

I apologize for the digression, but it's all in good faith to learn. smile Do continue to post prelude progress!
_________________________
1990 Yamaha G3

Studying:
- Ballade No. 1 in G minor (working on first half & coda; memorizing)
- Etude Op. 25 No. 12 "Ocean" (memorizing)
- Liebestraum No. 3 (cadenzas)
- Pathétique Sonata (relearning)

Top
#2220747 - 01/25/14 08:09 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
RyanThePianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/12
Posts: 55
Loc: United States
Originally Posted By: TwoSnowflakes
It definitely is a overall technical and relaxation problem. My teacher is working on it. She zeroes in on it all the time ,but as of yet I haven't totally worked it out.

I hit the staccato practice with a vengeance today and things actually got perceptibly better. Both here and in my Haydn sonata; the third movement is presto with a lot of volume changes.



Here's a neat "check" for relaxation that I've recently acquired through YouTube video from Josh Wright (one of my favorite online piano teachers). While you're playing, have someone "hit" or "push" the bottom of your arms so your arms lift up. If they flop around, you're relaxed. If they remain a stiff, you're causing tension.
_________________________
1990 Yamaha G3

Studying:
- Ballade No. 1 in G minor (working on first half & coda; memorizing)
- Etude Op. 25 No. 12 "Ocean" (memorizing)
- Liebestraum No. 3 (cadenzas)
- Pathétique Sonata (relearning)

Top
#2220797 - 01/25/14 10:35 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1158
Ha, my teacher does this all the time. She's constantly testing my arm suppleness from underneath, or to guide it in the right motion and she'll also lay a flat palm on my shoulder blade to get me to rotate up and back or gently place a hand on the top of my shoulder to ease my shoulder down.
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

Top
#2220807 - 01/25/14 11:12 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
phantomFive Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1308
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: RyanThePianist

Here's a neat "check" for relaxation that I've recently acquired through YouTube video from Josh Wright (one of my favorite online piano teachers). While you're playing, have someone "hit" or "push" the bottom of your arms so your arms lift up. If they flop around, you're relaxed. If they remain a stiff, you're causing tension.

Most traumatic part of my piano career was during a master class when the teacher hit the bottom of my arms without warning me.
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

Top
#2220812 - 01/25/14 11:27 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7573
Loc: New York City
That's extraordinarily inappropriate. I hope teachers don't do these things on a regular basis.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2220815 - 01/25/14 11:32 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: phantomFive]
RyanThePianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/12
Posts: 55
Loc: United States
Originally Posted By: phantomFive

Most traumatic part of my piano career was during a master class when the teacher hit the bottom of my arms without warning me.


Wow, now that without a warning is a different story... XD I'd feel like my personal space was being invaded... and it shouldn't really be a "hit", but rather a lift. Hard to explain. :p


Edited by RyanThePianist (01/25/14 11:33 PM)
_________________________
1990 Yamaha G3

Studying:
- Ballade No. 1 in G minor (working on first half & coda; memorizing)
- Etude Op. 25 No. 12 "Ocean" (memorizing)
- Liebestraum No. 3 (cadenzas)
- Pathétique Sonata (relearning)

Top
#2220822 - 01/25/14 11:40 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1158
Really? Because the tactile part of things is most helpful for me. Not that I want to be surprised with a tap or a test, but generally my teacher is not a hands-off teacher--maybe it's a Russian thing.

When she explains the weight she wants on the keys, she'll use my arm or my leg to demonstrate. She'll hold my wrist and maneuver my fifth finger exactly how she wants it. She will guide my elbow as I'm coming down an arpeggio.

If she were not otherwise so tactile, though, I would definitely find random hitting or touching to be unwelcome.
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

Top
#2220845 - 01/26/14 01:33 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
RyanThePianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/12
Posts: 55
Loc: United States
Just finished a session of practicing the middle section. Playing around 130 BPM with no mistakes, I just need to make sure my dynamics and the melody are clear. Planning to wake up early tomorrow to practice. smile
_________________________
1990 Yamaha G3

Studying:
- Ballade No. 1 in G minor (working on first half & coda; memorizing)
- Etude Op. 25 No. 12 "Ocean" (memorizing)
- Liebestraum No. 3 (cadenzas)
- Pathétique Sonata (relearning)

Top
#2220923 - 01/26/14 07:51 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1158
You and me both. I'm storming to the finish on this one. I hope you mean 130 per quarter note, because I'm counting one click per half note; otherwise you're playing this at inhuman speeds! I have it fairly securely at 70 or what I hope is 140 for you. My goal is 80(160).
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

Top
#2221002 - 01/26/14 04:27 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
phantomFive Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1308
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: RyanThePianist
Just finished a session of practicing the middle section. Playing around 130 BPM with no mistakes, I just need to make sure my dynamics and the melody are clear. Planning to wake up early tomorrow to practice. smile

lol I better get started!
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

Top
#2221006 - 01/26/14 04:39 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
griffin2417 Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2415
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

Wow! I really like the energy on this thread.

Ryan and TwoSnowflakes are in the final stages of their work completing the Prelude in C# Minor.

I will be starting on this piece for the very first time. I'm hoping to learn from their experiences as well as others. Now that I'm retired I'm hoping that working on this piece will also help me further develop my practice routines.

Right now I'm simply reading the score and listening to a variety of recordings. I've never played any music by Rachmaninoff. If anyone has any suggested materials I might read in preparation, I would appreciate that as well. smile

I returned to piano studies three years ago after a 35-year hiatus. I started private lessons at age five. I continued with piano for about 13 years, including two years in college.

I had planned to major in music when I got to college. I enjoyed the courses in music literature and music theory. However, I realized that a degree in music was not a good option for me. It was clear that it would take longer than normal for me to complete my work for an undergraduate degree in music.

I made the decision to shift my time and energy to pursuing a degree in journalism and mass communications. It turned out to be a good and practical choice for me. I was already writing for the college student newspaper and developed many friendships that continue even today.

After I completed my journalism degree I worked as a general assignment reporter and freelance writer for about 15 years. I eventually transitioned into administration work for a variety of nonprofit organizations.

Up until recently I only had limited amounts of time to practice the piano when I returned to it three years ago. Yet I did (and do) practice. However, I did my practice sessions in 15 minute segments, allowing me to squeeze practice into my busy work schedule. I've noticed a lot of people do this.

Last summer I retired from a very rewarding career. Now I'm spending significantly more time with the piano. I'm in the final stages of completing Clair de Lune (Debussy) and Prelude in D Flat Major (Chopin).

That's it for me. Feel free to ask any questions either on this thread, or send me a PM.
_________________________
Carl


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#2221035 - 01/26/14 06:26 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1158
Yay, Carl! Start it. You won't regret it.

Sure, it's a little overplayed, but it's kind of de rigeur. I don't see how I was going to jump into Rachmaninoff and somehow skip this one.

You and I both returned to the piano after an extended hiatus. However, you played for longer than I did, and while you waited longer to come back (35 years to my 25), you restarted three years ago, and I hit the bench a mere eightish months ago.

If I can do it, you can do it better.

I picked up this piece after only 4-5 months back at the piano and have now had it for 4 months or so. There was a lot to catch back up on, so maybe you're already over that hump, if so, so much the better, because I'm still playing catchup.

Perhaps you don't feel the same way, but Rachmaninoff is intimidating to me. I'm a bit of a weird case and I'm guessing you are, too: you're not a rank beginner and therefore come at it with a certain fundamental familiarity with the keyboard that was retained from years ago. At the same time, things are rusty: movements are creaky, tension is high, and consequently velocity and evenness is a struggle. Which is doubly annoying because a) you have expectations because you used to play well, and b) while your ear has been maturing your whole life, your skills didn't progress a day beyond the day you stopped playing, at best. At worst, they've eroded significantly. Nasty little combination because the last time I sounded like this, I was 11 and had the ear to match. Very tolerable.

You also don't have a ton of repertoire that's been building all those years so if you're like me, you can count on one hand the number of pieces you currently play at a level satisfying to you, which means very little overall depth to absorb Rachmaninoff without fear.

I have worked out a ton in just these past 9 months, so my guess (my hope) for you is that you're already past that stage, or approaching it.


I think if I had it to do over again, and wanted to avoid spinning my wheels for a while, I would recommend:

1) Just pick a fingering and stick the heck with it. Do the overlapping hands if you have hands that are normal sized, don't try to reinvent it with the "oh, it's just two three note chords". Yes, that's true, but the overlapping hands isn't as it is for no reason at all.

2) Try not to do too much at once. Get super confident with the notes in the first and third section until the jumps are smooth and your hands drop with accuracy where they need to be. Do not bring up the tempo until that is done. Don't even really worry about expression until that is done.

3) The second section is going to drive you nuts if your hands lack the velocity and are highly tensioned when any kind of speed creeps in, like mine are. On the other hand, this will make you relax because it's unplayable any other way. Which will be a terrific boon to your overall playing. Be rigorous about even triplets even if the speed ebbs and flows as it must when this thing is being played musically. Whatever it takes for you to reach the keybed quickly and smoothly, do it. Staccato practice, super slow practice, whatever. If you are playing tensioned and shallowly, it'll sound jagged and you'll just drop notes. And the whole thing will fall apart worse as it gets faster and faster.

I had to literally pattern in the hand falls on this part. When I play it slowly it LOOKS like I'm in slo-mo--I don't start playing it without the anticipatory movements to get where I need to go simply because I have the time when it's slow. It was the ONLY way I was able to start building velocity because I just don't have the muscle memory for how to move quickly and efficiently after all this time, if I ever had it.

Pluck that melody line from the get-go. You don't want to have to work on changing your motion later to get the articulation you're going to need for that melody line. That melody line requires a whole different motion in the wrist to play it than if that were just accompaniment, so don't neglect it. You don't have to rubato it all up quite yet, but make sure you're emphasizing the melody from the first time you play it.

I actually spent several days just playing the melody line with the left hand and simply nodding my thumb and third finger to the inner notes.

3) Learn the third section along with the first. Don't leave it looming like a four staff behemoth on the horizon until the second section is non-awful like I did, only to find out that it has to be learned almost from scratch because you waited too long to leverage your familiarity with the first section into the third section.

Now, here I am, 4-5 months into this piece and while I'm finishing it up, I'm still not satisfied with how it sounds. It is STILL uneven. I can still drop a note or two. Or three. I panic mid jump and forget where I'm going. My middle section is both blurry and jagged at times and the melody sometimes fades, and I am certainly not beyond the very real risk that I will hit a huuuuuge clunker.

I had and still have a lot of work to do in general.

I just want you to know that while I can give the advice I'm not claiming I have it all worked out myself or anything.
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

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#2221208 - 01/27/14 12:26 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
Valencia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/11
Posts: 248
Hi Everyone,

This sounds like a fun project and I'm very interested in learning this piece! I'm just a little worried about the possible strain on my hands with all the big chords, especially given the other pieces I'm working on right now. (arthritis and tendonitis in my wrists). So, I'm not committed to learning this piece yet, just exploring it as a possibility.....

Today was the first day i really looked at the piece. Didn't try section 3...but went over some of sections 1 and 2 hands separate. holy ledger lines!! Seriously it took me a while to work out many of the notes and I'm still not sure i got them right.

When going over some of the chords today I really tried to relax my hands. In a few places I noticed some rather nutty notation and i don't know how it is reachable. (maybe around M27 in the LH?).

Speaking of bar numbers, I also tried to number the score. Is it the first bar with the whole notes in both hands that is considered bar 1? I counted that as bar 1 and not the bar prior to it with the two quarter notes, but I'm not sure if that was the right way to count them.

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#2221379 - 01/27/14 11:07 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: Valencia]
griffin2417 Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2415
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

Hi Valencia! I'm glad you're joining in. I'm already having fun, and I've hardly played a note of this piece! smile
_________________________
Carl


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#2221463 - 01/27/14 01:28 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2339
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Hi Valencia, fancy seeing you here! smile

In M27 (you have the numbering right) you have to stretch the beat a little and make both notes. It's quite intentional to have a gap between them. It happens again in M51 and 53.
________________________

I'll be starting this piece with Carl. We were planning it to be a collaborative effort between us since his teacher assigned it but it seems we have more company now. This is my first Rachmaninoff piece, too.

Valencia and myself are planning on the Chopin Ballade in G minor, Ryan. I see it's in your sig. She has started recently. I have barely touched it since the mid-eighties when my teacher assigned it but I stopped lessons shortly thereafter because of a company relocation. I expect to resume it in April. There's a thread in the ABF on it if you're interested.

Some history: I dabbled in my teens but only started lessons at 23 (in the late seventies), which continued for 7/8 years. I gave up piano in 95 to become a conscientious father and my return took longer than expected. I finally resumed practise two years ago over Christmas.
_________________________

I almost have this Prelude memorised (in my head) from reading the score and have listened to a few diverse recordings so I'm close to go.

I've mapped out an approach and will be taking it in small steps. I've used MS Paint to fix up the score into a workable solution for me. I don't like to learn from cluttered scores so I've removed all the fingerings and editorial markings from my rack sheets and pasted various passages together for learning.

I've four clean pages for memorising, reflecting my intended working order, and another four/five for putting it all together later on:
P1. M2-8, M45-51
P2. M8-11, M51-55
P3. M35-43, M55-61
P4. M31-35, 27-30, 21-26, 13-17

P5. M1-14
P6. M12-28
P7. M26-45
P8-9. M43-61

I'll be spending a minute or two on each bar for the first week to cement the fingerings and make sure there are no surprises. M17 and 30 look like they might be troublesome where the pattern is disrupted.
_________________________
Richard

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#2221792 - 01/28/14 08:58 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
griffin2417 Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2415
Loc: Minneapolis, MN


Hi Richard! I am glad you are here. I'll be meeting with my teacher later today. Afterward, I'll have a better idea of when he wants to get me started with this piece. I suspect he wants to make sure I'm off to a good start with the Invention he recently assigned to me.

TwoSnowflakes, thanks for your encouragement. I really relate to all you said about what it's like coming back to the piano after a very long hiatus. My teacher has advised that I should plan on a year studying this piece.

I must be off right now to get ready for my lesson. I'll check in later.
_________________________
Carl


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#2221800 - 01/28/14 09:07 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1158
A year? Really?

That's GREAT news.

Seriously. I often question whether or not my progress is sufficient and a lot of doubt creeps in at times. To know that some of these things DO take a while and a lot of two steps forward, one step back, is good to know.

I try to keep an eye on the long term, and I will, at times, proactively think about how something was played at the beginning just so I can see the progress at times, but it's not clear to me how long I should be taking on certain pieces before I should question my methods, or worse, my aptitude.
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

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#2221857 - 01/28/14 11:46 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
phantomFive Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1308
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: TwoSnowflakes
but it's not clear to me how long I should be taking on certain pieces before I should question my methods, or worse, my aptitude.

Always question your methods, for they can always be improved. Never question you aptitude, for you are a human being, full of brilliant potential.
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

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#2222778 - 01/29/14 08:03 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: phantomFive]
griffin2417 Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2415
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
Originally Posted By: phantomFive
Originally Posted By: TwoSnowflakes
but it's not clear to me how long I should be taking on certain pieces before I should question my methods, or worse, my aptitude.

Always question your methods, for they can always be improved. Never question you aptitude, for you are a human being, full of brilliant potential.



Good advice phantomFive!

Two Snowflakes, I truly relate to what you're saying. I went through some of that too. I've found it helpful to remember my teacher's advice when I doubt my own abilities.

"Relax, and enjoy the journey of learning."

I think about that and realize that I'm doing this for my own enjoyment. I don''t have to prove anything to anyone. I'm not into a competition. Then I take a few deep breaths and quiet down that negative mind chatter and get back to the piano. smile

BTW, I've listened to your recording. I am very impressed and inspired. You should be very pleased with what you've accomplished so far! (IMHO) smile
_________________________
Carl


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#2222850 - 01/29/14 10:32 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
phantomFive Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1308
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: TwoSnowflakes

If she were not otherwise so tactile, though, I would definitely find random hitting or touching to be unwelcome.

Yes, I think the fact that it was a complete, unexpected surprise (and in front of a lot of other people) was the main problem.
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

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#2222852 - 01/29/14 10:39 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
phantomFive Online   content
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Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1308
Loc: California
Goals:
I want to set new goals for myself this time around.

1) Develop a more subtle interpretation. Last time my primary interpretive goal was to play as loudly as possible, and I broke a piano string. I'm a little more mature now.

2) Play it perfectly. Somehow I am very bad at perfecting pieces; it is something I would like to improve. Hopefully I will be able to achieve it with this piece.

3) Create a decent recording. All my recordings to this point have been obviously amateur and poor.
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

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#2223293 - 01/30/14 07:18 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: phantomFive]
RyanThePianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/12
Posts: 55
Loc: United States
Originally Posted By: phantomFive
Goals:
I want to set new goals for myself this time around.

1) Develop a more subtle interpretation. Last time my primary interpretive goal was to play as loudly as possible, and I broke a piano string. I'm a little more mature now.

2) Play it perfectly. Somehow I am very bad at perfecting pieces; it is something I would like to improve. Hopefully I will be able to achieve it with this piece.

3) Create a decent recording. All my recordings to this point have been obviously amateur and poor.


Originally Posted By: phantomFive


2) Play it perfectly. Somehow I am very bad at perfecting pieces; it is something I would like to improve. Hopefully I will be able to achieve it with this piece.



Very great goals! I must say, however, that there is never "perfect" in music. wink If this perfection was possible, I probably wouldn't be playing piano today. smile Also, what is your definition of a good recording compared to a poor one? Everyone can answer this differently.

My progress: I must submit a recording of my audition by Friday, and I think I'm satisfied with my performance level of the piece. It's definitely nowhere near "virtuosic" or what have you, but it demonstrates to the university my current skill level which is ultimately what they want. After all, I'm going to major in music to learn and satisfy myself and my listeners with my music, not to beat anybody. smile I'll definitely post a video link this weekend!
_________________________
1990 Yamaha G3

Studying:
- Ballade No. 1 in G minor (working on first half & coda; memorizing)
- Etude Op. 25 No. 12 "Ocean" (memorizing)
- Liebestraum No. 3 (cadenzas)
- Pathétique Sonata (relearning)

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#2223296 - 01/30/14 07:20 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1158
Yes please do!

I'm about to meet my maker with my teacher in half an hour. Let's see how the prelude shaped up this week.

I posted this on another thread, but it also goes quite well here. But here's how I feel when I play the prelude these days:

_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

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#2223328 - 01/30/14 08:42 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
RyanThePianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/12
Posts: 55
Loc: United States
Originally Posted By: TwoSnowflakes
Yes please do!

I'm about to meet my maker with my teacher in half an hour. Let's see how the prelude shaped up this week.

I posted this on another thread, but it also goes quite well here. But here's how I feel when I play the prelude these days:



Hahaha, hilarious! smile Do you have a video of you playing the prelude? I believe Griffen said you did earlier in this thread? Unless that was directed to phantom.
_________________________
1990 Yamaha G3

Studying:
- Ballade No. 1 in G minor (working on first half & coda; memorizing)
- Etude Op. 25 No. 12 "Ocean" (memorizing)
- Liebestraum No. 3 (cadenzas)
- Pathétique Sonata (relearning)

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#2223331 - 01/30/14 08:46 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
hreichgott Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/13
Posts: 963
Loc: western MA, USA
Originally Posted By: TwoSnowflakes
Yes please do!

I'm about to meet my maker with my teacher in half an hour. Let's see how the prelude shaped up this week.

I posted this on another thread, but it also goes quite well here. But here's how I feel when I play the prelude these days:


laugh ha does he play the piano strings like a harp next?
How did it go today?
_________________________
Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com
Sounding the depths of small pieces: Beethoven Op. 33
Daily attempts at 16th notes: Chopin Op. 10 no. 4, Pischna
Totally loving Fauré/Barcarolles and Ravel/Tombeau de Couperin
I love Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and new music

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#2223375 - 01/30/14 10:51 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
phantomFive Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1308
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: RyanThePianist

Very great goals! I must say, however, that there is never "perfect" in music. wink If this perfection was possible, I probably wouldn't be playing piano today. smile Also, what is your definition of a good recording compared to a poor one? Everyone can answer this differently.


Good points. I'll say then, a performance where I hit every note correctly. smile

And clarify that for a good recording, the audio equipment doesn't get in the way of what I am trying to convey musically.
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

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#2223380 - 01/30/14 11:00 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: phantomFive]
RyanThePianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/12
Posts: 55
Loc: United States
Originally Posted By: phantomFive

Good points. I'll say then, a performance where I hit every note correctly. smile

And clarify that for a good recording, the audio equipment doesn't get in the way of what I am trying to convey musically.


Good goal to strive for. I'm currently doing this by mastering slow practice note perfect first, and then increasing my speed slowly. If I make a mistake, I repeat and make up my own practice exercise to drill that part into my mind until I get it.

I see. Recording quality is a great problem among pianists... my audition for university will be from my phone actually, which surprisingly has better quality than my laptop. XD
_________________________
1990 Yamaha G3

Studying:
- Ballade No. 1 in G minor (working on first half & coda; memorizing)
- Etude Op. 25 No. 12 "Ocean" (memorizing)
- Liebestraum No. 3 (cadenzas)
- Pathétique Sonata (relearning)

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#2223394 - 01/30/14 11:32 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1158
LOL we never got to the prelude. We're putting finishing touches on the Haydn's first two movements, and after we combed over the first movement and played through the second movement (for recital this weekend), we were totally out of time.

I did record the first section of the prelude a while back. It's a slower tempo than I play it now. I will try to get me playing the whole thing, though the third section is still not up to tempo.
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

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#2223618 - 01/31/14 12:20 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
phantomFive Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1308
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: RyanThePianist

Recording quality is a great problem among pianists... my audition for university will be from my phone actually, which surprisingly has better quality than my laptop. XD

Even with a phone, you can still experiment with microphone placement and getting good variation in dynamic levels. Maybe find a 'recording studio' app that allows you to adjust compression levels.

Also, you can get a USB microphone for $30 on Amazon that will give you better results if your phone compresses your dynamics too much (the 'semper forte' effect). If you are auditioning for a university, it's good to have the dynamic range come out, because that's something they will likely listen for. Think about it, you're paying how much just to apply for the university?
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

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#2223833 - 01/31/14 07:41 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: phantomFive]
RyanThePianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/12
Posts: 55
Loc: United States
Originally Posted By: phantomFive
Originally Posted By: RyanThePianist

Recording quality is a great problem among pianists... my audition for university will be from my phone actually, which surprisingly has better quality than my laptop. XD

Even with a phone, you can still experiment with microphone placement and getting good variation in dynamic levels. Maybe find a 'recording studio' app that allows you to adjust compression levels.

Also, you can get a USB microphone for $30 on Amazon that will give you better results if your phone compresses your dynamics too much (the 'semper forte' effect). If you are auditioning for a university, it's good to have the dynamic range come out, because that's something they will likely listen for. Think about it, you're paying how much just to apply for the university?


Too late! Audition is due tomorrow. iPhone 4 quality will suffice I guess.


Edited by RyanThePianist (01/31/14 07:41 PM)
_________________________
1990 Yamaha G3

Studying:
- Ballade No. 1 in G minor (working on first half & coda; memorizing)
- Etude Op. 25 No. 12 "Ocean" (memorizing)
- Liebestraum No. 3 (cadenzas)
- Pathétique Sonata (relearning)

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#2223892 - 01/31/14 09:45 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
phantomFive Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1308
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: RyanThePianist
Originally Posted By: phantomFive
Originally Posted By: RyanThePianist

Recording quality is a great problem among pianists... my audition for university will be from my phone actually, which surprisingly has better quality than my laptop. XD

Even with a phone, you can still experiment with microphone placement and getting good variation in dynamic levels. Maybe find a 'recording studio' app that allows you to adjust compression levels.

Also, you can get a USB microphone for $30 on Amazon that will give you better results if your phone compresses your dynamics too much (the 'semper forte' effect). If you are auditioning for a university, it's good to have the dynamic range come out, because that's something they will likely listen for. Think about it, you're paying how much just to apply for the university?


Too late! Audition is due tomorrow. iPhone 4 quality will suffice I guess.

Then stop by Radio Shack lol. Whatevs
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

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#2224909 - 02/02/14 11:02 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: phantomFive]
ElaineAllegro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/07/12
Posts: 46
Loc: Midwest US
I'm hoping to join this group/thread if it's not extinct; have been reading through for helpful hints. My teacher seemed to green light this piece today, but sometimes he backtracks, so I'll know for sure next week. I got up to the double staff part (not sure what to call it) in high school, decades ago, so some of the "which hand goes under/over" on the first page is still there.

My question: which edition did you prefer, and why? So far, I've got the Alfred/Murray Baylor, which has some possibly helpful pedaling, phrasing, and sostenuto hints, but also generates a lot of glare due to the coating on the pages. Also the one in "59 Piano Solos You Like to Play," which every piano household probably owns (battered, worn, hidden away; who bought this?) but not something to bring to lessons.

Thank you - hope I get the green light next Sunday!
_________________________
Solo: Mozart-Piano Sonata KV332, Grieg-Holberg Suite; Chamber: Dvorak Rondo, Haydn Piano Trio XV:9. And now Schumann Kindertzenen #6-Wichtige Begenbeit, An Important Event (long name, short piece).

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#2224954 - 02/03/14 01:18 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: ElaineAllegro]
RyanThePianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/12
Posts: 55
Loc: United States
Originally Posted By: ElaineAllegro
I'm hoping to join this group/thread if it's not extinct; have been reading through for helpful hints. My teacher seemed to green light this piece today, but sometimes he backtracks, so I'll know for sure next week. I got up to the double staff part (not sure what to call it) in high school, decades ago, so some of the "which hand goes under/over" on the first page is still there.

My question: which edition did you prefer, and why? So far, I've got the Alfred/Murray Baylor, which has some possibly helpful pedaling, phrasing, and sostenuto hints, but also generates a lot of glare due to the coating on the pages. Also the one in "59 Piano Solos You Like to Play," which every piano household probably owns (battered, worn, hidden away; who bought this?) but not something to bring to lessons.

Thank you - hope I get the green light next Sunday!



This thread is definitely NOT dead. smile

I have "59 Piano Solos You Like to Play" also! I follow the pedaling in that edition. smile However, it's not very specific on how to pedal the middle section. I personally pedal after every quarter beat, but I pedal after two beats on the first two measures or so.
_________________________
1990 Yamaha G3

Studying:
- Ballade No. 1 in G minor (working on first half & coda; memorizing)
- Etude Op. 25 No. 12 "Ocean" (memorizing)
- Liebestraum No. 3 (cadenzas)
- Pathétique Sonata (relearning)

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#2225030 - 02/03/14 07:49 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1158
Ha, I have that book, too, but I didn't even think to look in it. I have that one as well as 60 Progressive Piano Pieces You Like To Play.

Anyway, I first downloaded the Godowsky edited version, and then ultimately purchased the Peters edition, which is the one I'm using now.

I like it, except for one wrong note on the first page.
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

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#2225112 - 02/03/14 10:03 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6294
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: RyanThePianist
I have "59 Piano Solos You Like to Play" also! I follow the pedaling in that edition. smile However, it's not very specific on how to pedal the middle section.


"59 Piano Solos You Like to Play" was first published by G. Schirmer, New York in 1936. It is anthology of the original Schirmer editions of those popular pieces. The "Prelude" was published in 1898 - six years after it was composed and around the time the piece was gaining popularity in the United States and Europe. The 1898 Schirmer edition was "edited and fingered" by Louis Oesterle (American, 1854 - 1932). Quite frankly, it's the only edition I've ever used of the Prelude (since 1958) - and perhaps that has been a serious oversight on my part. ha I've always assumed that the lack of pedal markings in the middle section were consistent with the way Rachmaninoff composed the piece. Does anyone here have access to an early Russian edition of the Prelude??
_________________________
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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#2225142 - 02/03/14 10:55 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
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Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1158
I'll ask my teacher, who learned this prelude early and in the Soviet Union, if she has her old music.

I know initially she wanted me off the pedal in certain small points during the middle section, but in general she wanted me to pedal through the middle section. And now, I'm pedaling slightly through the parts she initially wanted no pedal on.
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

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#2226274 - 02/05/14 11:02 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: ElaineAllegro]
griffin2417 Offline

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Registered: 12/12/10
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Loc: Minneapolis, MN
Originally Posted By: ElaineAllegro
I'm hoping to join this group/thread if it's not extinct; have been reading through for helpful hints. My teacher seemed to green light this piece today, but sometimes he backtracks, so I'll know for sure next week. I got up to the double staff part (not sure what to call it) in high school, decades ago, so some of the "which hand goes under/over" on the first page is still there.

My question: which edition did you prefer, and why? So far, I've got the Alfred/Murray Baylor, which has some possibly helpful pedaling, phrasing, and sostenuto hints, but also generates a lot of glare due to the coating on the pages. Also the one in "59 Piano Solos You Like to Play," which every piano household probably owns (battered, worn, hidden away; who bought this?) but not something to bring to lessons.

Thank you - hope I get the green light next Sunday!




I also have the Murray Baylor edition. However, I'm not so sure that I'll be practicing from this yet. I'm simply reading through. I am very interested in finding out what others are using and why. I had a very bad experience once with Clair de Lune in which I found several errors. I had already put a lot of work into the piece before i started discovering the errors. Not a good thing! frown
_________________________
Carl


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#2226277 - 02/05/14 11:10 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
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Here's the Godowsky edition on imslp: http://imslp.org/wiki/Special:ReverseLookup/11125
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

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#2226278 - 02/05/14 11:10 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
griffin2417 Offline

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Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2415
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

Update: there was so much to cover in my last piano lesson that we hardly had time to talk about when my teacher plans to start me on the Prelude. I still have hopes it will be this month.

However, I did learn that I am the first student my teacher will be teaching the Prelude to. He's putting quite a bit of preparation time in. So it's a pretty big deal for both of us!
_________________________
Carl


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#2226285 - 02/05/14 11:17 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
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Ha, that's awesome. I don't think I'm the first student my teacher taught it to, but my teacher has been extremely excited about it because it was one of "those pieces" she really felt was emblematic of her piano childhood, so for the first month or so, she just lapsed into nostalgia.
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

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#2226345 - 02/05/14 01:31 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
griffin2417 Offline

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Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2415
Loc: Minneapolis, MN


Thanks for the link. I can assume you didn't find any errors in the Godowsky version. What made you decide on the Peters edition?
_________________________
Carl


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#2226866 - 02/06/14 09:59 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
DanL Offline
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Registered: 11/27/13
Posts: 57
Just started to play this piece this morning. I've just learn the beginning bars before Math Exercises smile. I'll take my time to complete this beautiful masterpiece smile.

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#2226893 - 02/06/14 11:00 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: griffin2417]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
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Originally Posted By: griffin2417


Thanks for the link. I can assume you didn't find any errors in the Godowsky version. What made you decide on the Peters edition?



For pieces I end up studying, I always buy a score from my local music store even if I've downloaded it online. The Peters edition was what they had in the non-compendium version of Rachmaninoff. At the time I didn't think it would be anytime soon I'd be ready for other Rachmaninoff, but it looks like there are several other preludes I might be able to dive into.

I now have two copies of it: the Peters, and it also appears in the prelude collection I just got from Boosey and Hawkes. Well, three if you count the original download of the Godowsky.
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

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#2227257 - 02/07/14 12:20 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
phantomFive Online   content
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Registered: 01/11/14
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Loc: California
Progress Report, 2/6/14 9:18PM PT

Status: Practicing

Problem area: center section, is not even. The triplets sound almost random in rhythm. frown

Attempted solution: Practice section very slowly, carefully aligning the bass notes with the treble, and making the other notes as even as possible.

Mood: Optimistic.


Edited by phantomFive (02/07/14 12:20 AM)
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

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#2228677 - 02/09/14 08:28 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: phantomFive]
ElaineAllegro Offline
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Registered: 02/07/12
Posts: 46
Loc: Midwest US
I'm excited to be officially joining this thread. My teacher agreed we could add this to the mix.

I saw a lot of helpful hints here about getting through section 2 (agitato), but not too much on section 1. I'll share his suggestions in case anyone else finds them helpful.

This week's assignment (maybe this month's or season's, depending on progress) is to go through the page 1 chords slowly without pedal, pressing down from the surface of the keys using wrist motion; be sure all the notes are audible and equal weight, except voice the top note of the RH; and <aargh> try to make the top notes within the slurs sound like melodies by shifting along the keys from one chord to the next (no lifting). (Lots of detail; this doesn't come naturally to me.) He suggested playing everything mf for now, and adding dynamics when everything is crystal clear.

If anyone has other suggestions for page 1, I would appreciate it.

This piece totally justifies having bought a grand with a Sostenuto pedal!

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#2228804 - 02/10/14 03:45 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
phantomFive Online   content
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Here is a version played by Rachmaninoff himself. For those who are interested, it was recorded on a Bechstein with the Ampico system.



Story: when I was originally learning this, I played it rather slow, but someone came to my house, heard me and said, "wow, that sounds good." Even with all my mistakes and slowness. I said, "what? You should hear Rachmaninoff!" and I played this recording for them. However, the person couldn't even pay attention to it.

Moral of the Story: even if you can't play as well as Rachmaninoff, playing live music for someone can be much more captivating than a recording. You don't need to be anywhere near perfect to give your listeners enjoyment.


Edited by phantomFive (02/10/14 03:46 AM)
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

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#2228901 - 02/10/14 09:29 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: ElaineAllegro]
griffin2417 Offline

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Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2415
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

Glad you're joining in ElaineAllegro. I'm still waiting for the green light from my teacher. Also, thanks in advance for sharing tips you pick up in studying this piece! I'm meeting with my teacher this week and hope to get a clearer idea when he plans to get me started. I'm hoping very soon this month.
_________________________
Carl


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#2228994 - 02/10/14 01:10 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
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Congrats, Elaine! Welcome!

When we're all good and ready with our pieces, we should have an All Rachmaninoff Prelude Op 2, No 3 Recital. It'll be fantastically repetitive, but fun. smile

Though I'm wondering if, after finally finishing, if I'll EVER want to hear this piece again! LOL!
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

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#2228996 - 02/10/14 01:14 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
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Oh you asked for page one suggestions. I think I mentioned it upthread, but take a fingering and stick with it. Learn this inside and out and don't do much of anything else until that's done, with all the jumps secure. Once you can put the fingers and jumps on autopilot, you'll have a whole lot more brain to spare on expression.

This goes for lots of pieces, but for this one in particular, it really helps.

Then I miiiight suggest learning the third section. While the first section is fresh. For me, I waited so long because the second section took me such a loooooong time to get a handle on, I was not in "chord acquisition mode" anymore, and found it slower going than had I just basically treated it as an immediate extension of the first section.
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

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#2229155 - 02/10/14 06:23 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
ElaineAllegro Offline
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Registered: 02/07/12
Posts: 46
Loc: Midwest US
It's a long way off for me, but an online recital of all of us playing this would be intriguing - different nuances. Then I'd have a recording to prove I did it! I should do that for all of my pieces, but have been avoiding it.

TS, thanks for the helpful suggestion about learning part one to the point of autopilot, and then doing part three while I'm still in chord mode. I looked at part three HS today. A few of those chords are an unrealistic stretch for small hands. The part one chords are fine, though. We'll have to negotiate which notes to drop, a fearsome subject.

But all in all, a great adventure...

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#2229219 - 02/10/14 08:48 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: ElaineAllegro]
Valencia Offline
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Registered: 12/06/11
Posts: 248
Originally Posted By: ElaineAllegro
I looked at part three HS today. A few of those chords are an unrealistic stretch for small hands. The part one chords are fine, though. We'll have to negotiate which notes to drop, a fearsome subject.


Hi ElaineAllegro,

I'll have that issue too, not because my hands are small, but because they hurt and so large stretches are problematic. I'll be interested to hear what your teacher advises you on which notes to drop from part 3!

V

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#2229298 - 02/10/14 11:25 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: Valencia]
phantomFive Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Valencia
Originally Posted By: ElaineAllegro
I looked at part three HS today. A few of those chords are an unrealistic stretch for small hands. The part one chords are fine, though. We'll have to negotiate which notes to drop, a fearsome subject.


Hi ElaineAllegro,

I'll have that issue too, not because my hands are small, but because they hurt and so large stretches are problematic.


Chopin used to teach his students to stretch before practicing. His student Karol Mikuli described the stretches, but they are kind of hard to understand. See if you can understand what he wrote:

"As gymnastic helps he [Chopin] recommended the bending inward and outward of the wrist, the repeated touch from the wrist, the extending of the fingers, but all this with the earnest warning against over-fatigue."

I know at least one modern concert pianist has used hand stretches, so maybe try it and it will work for you. For myself, I haven't had much luck with it, but maybe I am stretching incorrectly. smirk

Also worth noting that Franz Liszt's hands were described as stretching out over the keyboard like a python, so flexibility seems to be important.......
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

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#2229969 - 02/11/14 09:13 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: phantomFive]
RyanThePianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/12
Posts: 55
Loc: United States
Maybe I should try this!

_________________________
1990 Yamaha G3

Studying:
- Ballade No. 1 in G minor (working on first half & coda; memorizing)
- Etude Op. 25 No. 12 "Ocean" (memorizing)
- Liebestraum No. 3 (cadenzas)
- Pathétique Sonata (relearning)

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#2229978 - 02/11/14 09:49 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
phantomFive Online   content
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Loc: California
Originally Posted By: RyanThePianist
Maybe I should try this!

I'll try that. Her wrists are very flexible and supple. Good morning exercise.
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

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#2230478 - 02/12/14 04:09 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
griffin2417 Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2415
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

I'm excited!! My teacher plans to start me on the Prelude at our next session in two weeks. He was quite pleased with the Bach Invention I'm currently working on and said "now we can go from Bach to Rach." smile
_________________________
Carl


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#2230573 - 02/12/14 07:12 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
zrtf90 Offline
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Excellent news, Carl, though in two weeks time I may be a bit involved with the final throes of the Joplin recital recording.

Do you know what you'll be doing first and can you say what preparation you have done so far?

I've pretty much memorised the piece from recordings and reading the score, printed out cut-and-paste fragments in my planned learning order and investigated learning and fingering difficulties. The agitato looks the hardest now. The tumult of chords before the reprise is quite simple in concept and in essence only needs speed; I memorised it and got the hang of it quite quickly.

The opening page is also less daunting and easy to memorise once the choreography is worked out. I was going to take Snowflake's advice to learn the reprise while the harmonic progression was still fresh from the opening but I think I'll do the reprise first and the opening last. It's only a couple of phrases, really, so I don't think memorising is going to be an issue here as much as getting speed, accuracy, coordination and phrasing all coming together.
_________________________
Richard

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#2230668 - 02/12/14 09:28 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: zrtf90]
Valencia Offline
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Registered: 12/06/11
Posts: 248
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
The tumult of chords before the reprise is quite simple in concept and in essence only needs speed; I memorised it and got the hang of it quite quickly.


In the first of those chords in bar 35, what is the very top note? Is the chord B#F#A?

Also, what is the first RH note of that bar?

I havent' really looked at that section much yet, but I think it will take me awhile to memorize because I don't yet recognize the simplicity in it.

So far I've only gone over bars 1-5 really. Haven't tried memorizing anything. But maybe I should do it from the get-go.

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#2230710 - 02/12/14 10:52 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: zrtf90]
griffin2417 Offline

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Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2415
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

Richard, don't be too concerned about your work with the Joplin recital being a problem with my starting with the Prelude. I'm far behind what you and others have already done in preparation. My teacher only wants me to read the score while listening to a variety of recordings by other pianists. He does not want me to mess with the keyboard until the first session with him.

While I'm considered an intermediate advance student, my 35-year hiatus from piano work has meant some major gaps in establishing study and practice routines. I am just now relearning those things.

I'm already learning a lot by what you and others are sharing about the things you are already doing.

I have forwarded this thread to my instructor so he will have a chance to review what others are doing. He will help me put together a plan based on how things go at our next lesson.
_________________________
Carl


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#2230722 - 02/12/14 11:39 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: Valencia]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
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Posts: 1158
Originally Posted By: Valencia
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
The tumult of chords before the reprise is quite simple in concept and in essence only needs speed; I memorised it and got the hang of it quite quickly.


In the first of those chords in bar 35, what is the very top note? Is the chord B#F#A?

Also, what is the first RH note of that bar?

I havent' really looked at that section much yet, but I think it will take me awhile to memorize because I don't yet recognize the simplicity in it.

So far I've only gone over bars 1-5 really. Haven't tried memorizing anything. But maybe I should do it from the get-go.


That chord is B#, F#, A.

The first right hand note in that measure is F#. It's a doozy to land on securely. Hate it.

Trust me, though, it will not take you a while to memorize. It's fun because it's easy to speed up and feel secure with it long before you'll feel the same way about the rest of agitato section, lol!

Anyway, it is a simple two-bar repeating pattern that falls under your fingers quite nicely.

Look two bars later. Same thing, octave lower.

Two bars later, starts again, gets halfway through, and just resets.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Enjoy!
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

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#2230732 - 02/13/14 12:06 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
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Also, you're going to get a lot of mileage out of those first five measures, so don't despair.

Overall, this piece has a LOT of repetition in it, either straight up repetition, or with very minor changes. Learning this piece as a set of slightly varying repeating patterns will give you a lot of bang for your learning buck.

For example, in the agitato section, of the 21 full bars, eight of them are close to identical so once you have that first bar, you can just mark how those eight measures slightly differ from one another, and then just lock and load. Broadly speaking, that one measure hooks you into nearly 40% of that whole section. Now, of course, I'm just talking about the notes themselves as they don't all serve the identical musical purpose in the section, but it's a nice little boost to think about it that way while you're learning it, isn't it?
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

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#2230854 - 02/13/14 08:13 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
zrtf90 Offline
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Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Yes, the first RH note is F#. Some editions are missing a ledger line. Not sure I understand the use of 'doozy' but it's easy to land on if the last triplet of the previous bar is played with thumb on F#, no?

Originally Posted By: Valencia
I havent' really looked at that section much yet, but I think it will take me awhile to memorize because I don't yet recognize the simplicity in it.
It's basically four diminished chords, descending in minor thirds from C to A to F to D (the keys not the spelling) and each resolving before the next group. C dim resolves to C#m, A dim resolves to C#m 2nd inv, F dim resolves to F#m and D dim resolves to F# m 2nd inv. The RH doesn't use the index finger in the dim chords but the LH picks it up.

The pattern repeats two and a half times, starts again but hangs on the second group before thumping out a mighty reprise of the opening. Easy, peasy!

I've only played through it a few times, I used a Saturday and Sunday reading through checking for fingering and unforeseen difficulties, but I can play it now on my desk at work from memory.

Originally Posted By: Griffin2417
I'm far behind what you and others have already done in preparation.
No problem, Carl. I'll wait and finish the Joplin and Tchaikovsky pieces. As I've said, I've plenty to do in the meantime.
_________________________
Richard

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#2230858 - 02/13/14 08:43 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: zrtf90]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
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Posts: 1158
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Yes, the first RH note is F#. Some editions are missing a ledger line. Not sure I understand the use of 'doozy' but it's easy to land on if the last triplet of the previous bar is played with thumb on F#, no?




My teacher has been working with me on how to get the right support behind my fifth finger, with the result that I drop into that particular F# in a way that I feel kind of un-anchored from anywhere else. With it being a sharp and also so high, it's especially oblique.

Either I'm doing it wrong, still over-exaggerating what will ultimately be a more subtle thing, or I'm just not used to it yet.

Either way, that F# is a doozy for me!
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

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#2231157 - 02/13/14 07:24 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
ElaineAllegro Offline
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Registered: 02/07/12
Posts: 46
Loc: Midwest US
Two Snowflakes, thank you for sharing your insights into the repeating patterns and doing the work for the rest of us. Since I'm just getting started, I was going to map it out and this gives me a head start. I agree, it's easier to speed up after things are memorized or at least the patterns are very familiar. Ok, time to go practice...

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#2231172 - 02/13/14 07:59 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
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No problem, I'm glad my struggle can be your gain, lol!

I would probably spend less than half the time learning this piece than I ultimately ended up spending (and I'm STILL not done!) if I'd known all this first! smile

I'd never EVER have sped that middle section up as quickly as I did. I had to go back to almost square one several times after losing what collectively must have been weeks either spinning my wheels and getting frustrated with no progress, or, worse than no progress, having to DE-LEARN things I patterned in with ineffective practice.

Live and learn. I'm still in my first year back and I have to learn how to practice like the adult I am, not like the kid I was.
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

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#2231374 - 02/14/14 08:37 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: zrtf90]
ando Offline
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Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3561
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: zrtf90


Originally Posted By: Valencia
I havent' really looked at that section much yet (bar 35), but I think it will take me awhile to memorize because I don't yet recognize the simplicity in it.
It's basically four diminished chords, descending in minor thirds from C to A to F to D (the keys not the spelling) and each resolving before the next group. C dim resolves to C#m, A dim resolves to C#m 2nd inv, F dim resolves to F#m and D dim resolves to F# m 2nd inv. The RH doesn't use the index finger in the dim chords but the LH picks it up.



I would put that more simply. It's a series of C#m and F#m chords, each with a secondary diminished chord before it.

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#2231649 - 02/14/14 06:03 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
griffin2417 Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2415
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

TwoSnowflakes, I'm curious as to whether your teacher reviews practice techniques with you.
_________________________
Carl


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#2232354 - 02/16/14 12:25 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
phantomFive Online   content
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Status: Hopeful

Detailed Status: I have the first three notes down.
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Poetry is rhythm.

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#2232401 - 02/16/14 03:39 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
phantomFive Online   content
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For the last few measures, where it gets slow, even though it is slow, I think it needs to keep up the energy and intensity.

The listener should think it is another section of the piece, and not realize it is the end until the last two measures. Then suddenly it's over, and the audience breaks out in applause. (Of course if they know the song, they will realize it's ending, but I'm saying for people who don't know the song).
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Poetry is rhythm.

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#2232518 - 02/16/14 10:40 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: griffin2417]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
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Originally Posted By: griffin2417

TwoSnowflakes, I'm curious as to whether your teacher reviews practice techniques with you.



She does. And the truth is that is has been a real adjustment to accept that kind of teaching, as much as I know, intellectually, that I need to listen. I ask for it, and then I still have to stop myself from falling into old habits.

Things got IMMENSELY better after yesterday's lesson. And then a very productive practice session after dinner. I think my brain just gave up and went into passive information receipt mode and we put the final touches on the whole thing for the most part. I still suffer from consistency issues, I'm still an intermediate pianist no matter what I do so my best is not exactly going to have Gramophone knocking down my door, and the last section has to come up to speed, but it's in there.

Very excited to see what solidified from last night's sleep after yesterday evening's productive practice session.
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

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#2232520 - 02/16/14 10:45 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: phantomFive]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1158
Originally Posted By: phantomFive
For the last few measures, where it gets slow, even though it is slow, I think it needs to keep up the energy and intensity.

The listener should think it is another section of the piece, and not realize it is the end until the last two measures. Then suddenly it's over, and the audience breaks out in applause. (Of course if they know the song, they will realize it's ending, but I'm saying for people who don't know the song).


I can't get out of the idea that that last section is someone taking their last slowing breaths, with the octaves the exhales and the chords the drawn out inhales trying to hold on but getting weaker, and then the last measure is the final exhale. My teacher tried really hard to get me to think more positively about it, "okaaaaay. But then, after it ends, REBIRTH! Yay!"

Nice try.
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

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#2232546 - 02/16/14 11:31 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: phantomFive]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1158
Originally Posted By: phantomFive
Status: Hopeful

Detailed Status: I have the first three notes down.


You're off to a flying start. You'll see c sharp quite a few more times in this piece, so it's a terrific thing you've learned where three of them are. smile
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

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#2232656 - 02/16/14 03:32 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
phantomFive Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1308
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: TwoSnowflakes

I can't get out of the idea that that last section is someone taking their last slowing breaths, with the octaves the exhales and the chords the drawn out inhales trying to hold on but getting weaker, and then the last measure is the final exhale.

That sounds like powerful enough emotion to keep anyone's attention.

Now if you can bring that emotion so the listeners feel they are at the side of a death bed, you are gold.


Edited by phantomFive (02/16/14 03:33 PM)
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

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#2232763 - 02/16/14 07:15 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: phantomFive]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1158
Originally Posted By: phantomFive


Now if you can bring that emotion so the listeners feel they are at the side of a death bed, you are gold.


As long as it's not my own!
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

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#2232766 - 02/16/14 07:22 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
griffin2417 Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2415
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
Originally Posted By: TwoSnowflakes
Originally Posted By: phantomFive


Now if you can bring that emotion so the listeners feel they are at the side of a death bed, you are gold.


As long as it's not my own!


laugh laugh
_________________________
Carl


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#2232768 - 02/16/14 07:31 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
griffin2417 Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2415
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

Originally Posted By: TwoSnowflakes
Live and learn. I'm still in my first year back and I have to learn how to practice like the adult I am, not like the kid I was.


Two Snowflakes, I keep thinking about your comments about being an adult returning to the piano after a long hiatus. It's kind of weird at times.

My teacher just got back to me to say he is rethinking his approach with me for Rachmaninoff. He wants me to wait one more month before starting me on Rachmaninoff.

Why? Because he thinks I need to get more firmly grounded in the piece I'm currently working on. Past experience has shown that working on two challenging pieces at the same time can be problematic.

I am in agreement with this and of course will take his advice to wait and get started near the end of March. It was the adult Carl who promptly got back to his teacher to say, "OK! That makes sense. I'll go with that plan"

However, I must share with you that a kid, AKA Carl, was disappointed. It was only a brief moment of disappointment because the kid was reminded that adult Carl is paying for the lessons and advice, not kid Carl's parents. laugh

Anyways, I suppose you and others can relate to these kinds of moments.
_________________________
Carl


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#2232881 - 02/16/14 11:56 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1158
Lol, I totally hear, ya, Carl.

I've been in a bit of a slump, to be fair. My recital did not go very well, and I have been questioning the general wisdom of having tried to tackle this piece and pieces like it. I wonder if my teacher made some assumptions based on what I used to play and my inability to break through where I am is evidence that I should not be playing the things I'm playing.

That sense gets exacerbated because of late, I can't play anything well for my teacher and it's a huge circular trap. The worse I feel about it, the worse I play and then I get stuck.

But sometimes I knock it out of the park and I don't know where it came from. this happens every so often right in front of my teacher and she gets so excited. My arms free up, I fly. Everything is clear, and it's like I'm directly hooked into to the piano and all I have to do is feel it and the sound is just...there. I control everything. Like that scene in the Matrix where Neo becomes The One and dodges those bullets. Everything I've been working on--everything my teacher has been working so hard to mold and adjust--all those things start coming out and they start working for ME rather than me working for THEM. In that moment, I just can tell that plenty has changed and improved.

Then it goes away. I can feel it going and in an instant I go from Neo to Wile E. Coyote when he looks down and realizes he's run off a cliff.

I put up my little "Eep!" sign and down I plummet.

I can't figure out if I should judge myself from my worst or from my best. I don't know how to tap into my skills consistently enough, and it's frustrating.

I memorized the prelude today, though. At long last. I swear, I needed to take my medicine long before this.

And I played it through like champ today. Then murdered it. Then slowed it way back down and then again really well.

My teacher comes tomorrow for another lesson because she owes me a makeup lesson. We'll see if Neo or Wile greets her at the door.


Edited by TwoSnowflakes (02/17/14 12:12 AM)
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

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#2232886 - 02/17/14 12:21 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: griffin2417]
ElaineAllegro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/07/12
Posts: 46
Loc: Midwest US
Carl/griffin2417,

You describe the adult/kid dilemma so well! That's why I wasn't sure about being able to participate in this thread for a while. I'm glad to have survived to Week 2 as of today's lesson.

Week 2 Assignment: Keep playing 1st section w/o pedal, add in LH. Continue to address those wrists! Apparently, not only are the wrists supposed to go down and then up (relaxed) on each chord, the hands also are supposed to sort of move in toward what I think is called the fallboard (or away from the pianist) before moving on to the next chord. Less tension, more attention, something like that. Is there a name for this movement? I was assigned to knead dough to get the feel of it, but since I don't bake, I will get an F on that. (I wonder if I was supposed to bring the baked goods in for the next lesson?)

I don't know if these notes (no pun...) make any sense to anyone else???

TwoSnowflakes, I'm sending waves of empathy over the seesaw of the adult returnee experience. Playing "dependably" is one of my goals -- at some point.

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#2232891 - 02/17/14 12:41 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1158
Ha, that's hilarious because I am actually going to bake bread for my teacher tomorrow! It wasn't an assignment, though. She's bringing me some yummy stuff from a grocery store we both like, so I'm going to swap her for some freshly baked bread!

I'll think of my prelude when I knead it. smile
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

Top
#2232901 - 02/17/14 01:22 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
phantomFive Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1308
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: TwoSnowflakes

I memorized the prelude today, though.


Yay!
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

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#2233568 - 02/18/14 07:25 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
griffin2417 Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2415
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

laugh

TS, I can totally relate to the Wile E. Coyote feeling of running off a cliff. I've been at this for more than three years and have come to realize that it's all part of the learning process. Your sense of humor will get you through it, however.

Also, congratulations on getting the prelude memorized!! smile
_________________________
Carl


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#2233597 - 02/18/14 08:22 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1158
Lesson went ok. I had my little moment but instead of soldiering through with the wrong approach, I stopped, asked for permission to restart, took a deep breath, and started again, trying to just keep focused. And it largely worked. I made 5-6 errors, annoying but not catastrophic, and my tempo climbed due to the anxiety of "performing" so my expression lagged.

After a few run-throughs of individual sections, I could give her my best and she could make corrections based on my best.

It's almost there. I can feel that in a small amount of time, this piece will be more hit and less miss.
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

Top
#2233598 - 02/18/14 08:23 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: ElaineAllegro]
griffin2417 Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2415
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

ElaineAllegro,
Your notes made sense to me. I really appreciate your sharing what the first lesson was like. It was a good reminder for me that my teacher made the right recommendation for me to wait another month before I get started on the Prelude. That way I won't feel too overwhelmed with all of the new things I'll be working on.

BTW, I've already benefitted from learning about your first lesson. Just in case my teacher assigns me to knead dough, I'll pick up some dough from my neighborhood pizza shop and knead it. I won't bake anything with it, however. If my teacher is expecting baked goods when I arrive for the lesson I will offer to call the pizza shop and have them deliver a pizza. I don't see how he could object. Adult Carl is only paying for piano lessons-- not baking lessons. laugh
_________________________
Carl


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#2233601 - 02/18/14 08:28 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1158
Adult Carl probably likes some delicious herbed focaccia flatbread! Adult TwoSnowflakes certainly does. So easy and delicious.

So don't throw out that dough!
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

Top
#2234140 - 02/19/14 09:58 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
griffin2417 Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2415
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
Originally Posted By: TwoSnowflakes
Adult Carl probably likes some delicious herbed focaccia flatbread! Adult TwoSnowflakes certainly does. So easy and delicious.

So don't throw out that dough!


Both Adult Carl and the kid LOVE focaccia flatbread. Yum! I've only had it at restaurants. I didn't know it's easy to make. I'll try it out, and I happen to have a rosemary plant at home I use for roasted rosemary potatoes.

Thanks for the cooking tip! smile
_________________________
Carl


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#2234150 - 02/19/14 10:13 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
griffin2417 Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2415
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
Originally Posted By: TwoSnowflakes
Lesson went ok. I had my little moment but instead of soldiering through with the wrong approach, I stopped, asked for permission to restart, took a deep breath, and started again, trying to just keep focused. And it largely worked. I made 5-6 errors, annoying but not catastrophic, and my tempo climbed due to the anxiety of "performing" so my expression lagged.

After a few run-throughs of individual sections, I could give her my best and she could make corrections based on my best.

It's almost there. I can feel that in a small amount of time, this piece will be more hit and less miss.


I'm so glad your session went well. I've recently started doing deep breathing during my practice sessions, and now in front of my teacher before I start on a piece. I think it is starting to help me focus better.

You are definitely on your way with the Prelude! It's very telling when you don't let a few errors throw you. BTW, I'll probably need for you and others to help me remember this when I get started with it.



Edited by griffin2417 (02/19/14 10:14 AM)
_________________________
Carl


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#2235696 - 02/21/14 07:11 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: zrtf90]
Valencia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/11
Posts: 248
I too really appreciate all the practice tips everyone is sharing. phantomfive and ryanthepianist, great ideas for stretches! I'm not always the most disciplined but recently I've been trying to stretch frequently while at the piano. Stretching, especially around my wrists, and shaking out my hands to make sure they are relaxed.

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Originally Posted By: Valencia
I havent' really looked at that section much yet, but I think it will take me awhile to memorize because I don't yet recognize the simplicity in it.


It's basically four diminished chords, descending in minor thirds from C to A to F to D (the keys not the spelling) and each resolving before the next group. C dim resolves to C#m, A dim resolves to C#m 2nd inv, F dim resolves to F#m and D dim resolves to F# m 2nd inv. The RH doesn't use the index finger in the dim chords but the LH picks it up.

The pattern repeats two and a half times, starts again but hangs on the second group before thumping out a mighty reprise of the opening. Easy, peasy!


Thanks richard. smile haha. the only chords I recognize at the piano in all of that are the C# minor ones. However, I did memorize that small section of the piece. whether it will all stick in the long run who knows. Each day I try to slowly go over the chords descending down the keyboard, just to reinforce the memory. It took me a few days to learn it. RH first, then I did the LH, then put them together. I'm glad I learned this first, so I can practice it and hopefully get some tempo while I'm learning the rest of the piece.

Other than that, I'm still working on bars 1-5. I think I'll try to memorize those, and that's really only 3 bars to memorize. I might try to do some memory work for this piece away from the piano. Dunno, we'll see.

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#2236606 - 02/24/14 12:01 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: Valencia]
ElaineAllegro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/07/12
Posts: 46
Loc: Midwest US
I must have made some progress with the kneading motion, as I was told to add pedal after playing the first few measures during today's lesson. I'm going to stop saying which lesson # this is, because I don't want to see what the total is at the end.

My assignment/today's possibly helpful hints (Section 1/Lento):

1. For LH octaves that are played with the sustain (R) pedal (not sostenuto pedal), release the pedal just before playing the octave, play the octave, then quickly depress the pedal. So there is a moment totally without pedal. (Ordinarily, we would leave the pedal down, play the next octave or chord, then quickly up-down the pedal.) He feels this new approach provides a less muddied sound for this piece.

2. For the groups of 3 or 4 chords under a slur, hold down at least one if not two of the notes until the last possible moment while moving to the next chord, for better legato - while realizing this is not possible going from the 1st to 2nd RH chord in m. 4, 5, 9, etc., but if at least one hand can hold something down, it will help. (???m. 4 is actually the 5th measure that has any notes, but I guess partial measures aren't numbered; your score may vary.)

Re item #2, it's the kind of thing I've been advised over and over for so many pieces, but seems difficult for me to internalize, generalize, and apply automatically. Like so many things in piano. <sigh>

My teacher seems to have forgotten about the dough, so no baked goods, no pizza, no focaccia, and that's just as well. But maybe I'll plant rosemary if it ever thaws here.

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#2246650 - 03/14/14 05:44 PM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
Damon Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6114
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Also interesting is that some people have been playing the famous C# minor prelude with a wrong note:

http://www.henle.de/blog/de/2014/01/20/rachmaninows-cis-moll-prelude-unter-der-lupe/

Whoops!
_________________________
It's been scientifically proven that Horowitz sucks.

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#2247267 - 03/16/14 12:36 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: Damon]
ElaineAllegro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/07/12
Posts: 46
Loc: Midwest US
Thanks for passing on this (pun alert) note, Damon. For those who don't want to translate from Henle's German website, my edition comments "Although it has often been printed, recorded, and misread as D natural, the D-sharp in the left hand here (measure 5) and in measure 48, is correct." Not that I doubted its correctness for a moment!

We went back to this piece during today's lesson. I was stopped after the third note for sidebar and demo on using shoulders, trapezius, back, not just elbows, to produce ff with nice tone. Sidebar led to shoulder roll forward and back exercises, to be done daily. First part/page is proceeding better, finally sort of connecting the slurred chords, getting the dynamics, mostly memorized, still much slower than "Lento, quarter note = 76." I need to listen to some recordings with my metronome. What bpm are the rest of you using for this page as you get it "recital ready"? (Not that I will be recitaling this for a long time...)

On to page 2, agitato, yes! But at lento pace for now. Tips for measures 14 to 35.5:

1. Start by playing just the melody notes in the RH, but with the other fingers over the keys where they would go. Try to connect the melody notes within each slur. So, a lot of 5-4-5-4 legato, oh joy, and some 5-5 legato, how is this possible??? Hold down some of the other notes while shifting, I imagine.

2. If that starts to sound good, add the 2nd and 3rd notes of each triplet, much more softly but still audibly.

3. Then add overall dynamics, including accent notes over tome of the melody notes (m. 25 and beyond).

I think it will take me longer than a week to get through #1 above to my teacher's satisfaction.

I'm enjoying posting these notes here; helps me keep track. It would be interesting to know how other teachers introduce new sections. I think the specific hints may reflect my own technique gaps, though, so I'm not sure how generalizable they are. Thoughts? Thank you...
_________________________
Solo: Mozart-Piano Sonata KV332, Grieg-Holberg Suite; Chamber: Dvorak Rondo, Haydn Piano Trio XV:9. And now Schumann Kindertzenen #6-Wichtige Begenbeit, An Important Event (long name, short piece).

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#2247377 - 03/16/14 10:06 AM Re: Prelude in C-sharp minor - Post your progress! [Re: RyanThePianist]
griffin2417 Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2415
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

Thanks for this wonderful posting ElaineAllegro! I'm still waiting for the green light from my teacher to get started. I'll be meeting with him in less than two weeks. I'm hoping I will have made enough progress with my current assignments that he'll give me the green light to start the Prelude.

In the meantime, I really appreciate your postings. It gives me some ideas of what I might expect when I finally get started.
_________________________
Carl


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