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#2231621 - 02/14/14 04:59 PM grade of difficulty and keys
Lorcar Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/05/12
Posts: 41
In the last few days I had my first encounter with an E major piece, supposed to be at the same level of other pieces I am learning. But I am struggling more than I thought, because of the 4 # I always forget or struggle to reach. So today I saw that file where many pieces are ranked in Grade order, and the level is in fact the same: grade 4.
How possible? Isn't supposed to be more difficult than a C major piece of the same level, simply due to the different key?

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#2231634 - 02/14/14 05:28 PM Re: grade of difficulty and keys [Re: Lorcar]
JimF Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/09
Posts: 2187
Loc: south florida
Lorcar,

Unfamiliar doesn't necessarily add up to more difficult.

It may be that you just are less familiar with playing pieces in that key. Have you practiced E-major scales and arpeggios? How about just simple progressions like I-IV-V7-I? You may want to do those things for a short time every day for a week. That will put the E-major sound in your ears and put its shape in your fingers. Then you might not find the piece any harder than a similar work in C or G or F.
_________________________
Invention No.13 Aminor-Bach
Consolation no.3-Liszt
Reverie-Debussy
My Foolish Heart-Young

Estonia L190 #7284


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#2231650 - 02/14/14 06:04 PM Re: grade of difficulty and keys [Re: Lorcar]
Whizbang Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 1292
Originally Posted By: Lorcar
In the last few days I had my first encounter with an E major piece, supposed to be at the same level of other pieces I am learning. But I am struggling more than I thought, because of the 4 # I always forget or struggle to reach. So today I saw that file where many pieces are ranked in Grade order, and the level is in fact the same: grade 4.
How possible? Isn't supposed to be more difficult than a C major piece of the same level, simply due to the different key?


E major isn't hard. C major is hard.

Why?

With E major, you get texture. Those black keys are little mountains on the keyboard. You're looking at the score and moving your fingers and your fingers can soar into the huge spaces between the black keys and hit that C# or that F#! And you have your thumb, which is short, and likes to hit white keys, and your fingers, which are long and naturally hover over the black keys when your thumb is on the white keys, and you don't have to do any weird hand twisting.

C major. You move your hand forward to get your thumb up there and your long fingers are cramped. You're paying attention to the score and need to move your pinky up to hit a high note. Was it a G? or an F? They feel the same before you hit them! Or... you split a note and your pretty melody line goes splat. C major is a textural desert--a smooth surface that doesn't conform to your hand, that requires accurate placement (as does all piano), with a terrain that requires you to rely solely on completely accurate ESP to hit the note.

Those four sharps do take some adjusting to. It won't necessarily be fast (but some scale practice would make it faster--I with I'd realized that when I started), but you sort of end up loving the black keys and not being such a fan of the white keys as you continue with piano.
_________________________
Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist
https://www.youtube.com/user/Aeschala

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#2231727 - 02/14/14 10:02 PM Re: grade of difficulty and keys [Re: Whizbang]
JohnSprung Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 2925
Loc: Reseda, California
Whizbang has it exactly right.

C may be "easy" in terms of notation, because you don't have sharps or flats to mess with. But notation isn't what matters. Being able to get your fingers on the keys is what matters.

By far the easiest key is B major. Try playing the B and C scales, which is the easy and comfortable one?

I wish there were a way to upload PDF scores here, I've transcribed a little bit of Addinsell's Warsaw Concerto that has to be the easiest eight bars I've ever played, because he wrote it in B.
_________________________
-- J.S.

I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body.
Then I realized who was telling me this.

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690

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#2232588 - 02/16/14 01:07 PM Re: grade of difficulty and keys [Re: Lorcar]
Tubbie0075 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 805
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: Lorcar
. So today I saw that file where many pieces are ranked in Grade order, and the level is in fact the same: grade 4.


What did you mean by grade 4? Did you mean ABRSM grade 4? AMEB grade 4? Trinity College grade 4? or?

Anyway, I remember when I was learning under the ABRSM grading system that by grade 5, a exam candidate is required to play all the major and minor (either harmonic or melodic minor) 3-octave scales and arpeggios from memory (except E flat minor and F sharp minor arpeggios). So, E major for grade 4 is actually quite reasonable in that context.

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