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#2252202 - 03/26/14 03:42 AM He's Got the Whole World: syncopated notes
angelsong Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/06/13
Posts: 81
Loc: NW England
It's a long time since I've shared on here - have been in a strange place (family stuff) - have 'popped in' from time to time to read some posts. I'm really struggling with 'He's Got the Whole World' (No 81). My teacher said to keep a steady beat (1-2-3-4) with my left hand on the chords while I play the 'tune' (?) with my right hand - and I can see when I look at the videos that are available that clearly how to do it. However, I'm finding this is driving me crazy. I can't seem to get a steady beat with my left hand and stil accommodate melody with the right hand. How have others found this? Wd really appreciate some feedback - thanks.

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#2252206 - 03/26/14 04:56 AM Re: He's Got the Whole World: syncopated notes [Re: angelsong]
sinophilia Offline

Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014


Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 973
Loc: Italy
I don't remember this particular song, but you might want to take it VERY slowly, repeating just one or two measures at a super slow, steady pace until you can hear the left hand/right hand interweaving clearly and it just clicks. It works!
_________________________
Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
Martha Argerich... is an incarnation of the artistic metaphor of the "eternal feminine" that draws us upward. (Sergio Sablich)

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#2252214 - 03/26/14 05:32 AM Re: He's Got the Whole World: syncopated notes [Re: sinophilia]
angelsong Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/06/13
Posts: 81
Loc: NW England
Thanks for yr suggestion - I'm going to try that - I think the key must be 'VERY slowly' - it's so tempting to want to 'go faster' than you're capable of at a certain point. It's comforting to know 'It works'! I remember having a similar problem with an earlier piece - and at some point it just all seemed to come together. So far it's not happening with this one - but trying to 'believe' that it will. Thanks again.

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#2252219 - 03/26/14 05:53 AM Re: He's Got the Whole World: syncopated notes [Re: angelsong]
UKIkarus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/05/13
Posts: 286
Loc: England, South East
This appears to be rather common, take it slow, keep at it and before you know it it'll just fall into place, whatever is most comfortable for you.

I often find that if I struggle with something and leave it for a day or 2 to 'Sleep on it' things suddenly become easier next time round, but that's just me smile
_________________________
Yamaha MOX8 Synthesizer


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#2252243 - 03/26/14 07:03 AM Re: He's Got the Whole World: syncopated notes [Re: UKIkarus]
angelsong Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/06/13
Posts: 81
Loc: NW England
Thanks UKIkarus - that's what I need to keep hearing and reminding myself - even though I had that same experience with one of the earlier pieces, possibly Blow the Man Down, when it did just fall into place - eventually! - I seem to be being 'my own worst enemy' at the moment, trying to convince myself that 'this one is different - you'll never get that!', when experience - not just with music - should remind me that's not true! Thanks again.

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#2252248 - 03/26/14 07:34 AM Re: He's Got the Whole World: syncopated notes [Re: angelsong]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2380
Loc: Virginia, USA
Another tip, this one can (should?) be done away from the piano. Tap the rhythms out, no notes, just rhythm. Separating out rhythm from notes can help you lock in the feel of the pulse and then worry about adding the notes back on later.

And the one I hate, but if I get it right it works - count along too.
_________________________
  • Liszt - Liebesträume No. 3, S541
  • Scarlatti - Sonata in D minor, K. 213

Kawai K3

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#2252262 - 03/26/14 08:13 AM Re: He's Got the Whole World: syncopated notes [Re: Andy Platt]
angelsong Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/06/13
Posts: 81
Loc: NW England
Thanks Andy - this is driving me mad - I think getting away from the piano might be a good idea - and just tap it out!!

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#2252264 - 03/26/14 08:22 AM Re: He's Got the Whole World: syncopated notes [Re: Andy Platt]
Rerun Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/28/07
Posts: 602
Loc: Louisiana
Hey angelsong,

The tape below is pretty much how I play it ... it's an ear thing for me to decide whether the chuck chases the melody or the melody chases the chuck.

I would take one phrase (like the second "He's got the whole world, in His hands") and just focus on that phrase over and over with one finger RH melody along with the LH boom chucks until you can move that melody around the steady LH beat the way you want it any particular moment. This is a great tune for getting better at playing on and off the beat, but take it slow at first:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PobLqwIs5Ss


Book it, it'll be a walk in the park sooner than you think.


Edited by Rerun (03/26/14 08:24 AM)
_________________________
Rerun

"Seat of the pants piano player" DMD







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#2252267 - 03/26/14 08:25 AM Re: He's Got the Whole World: syncopated notes [Re: angelsong]
UKIkarus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/05/13
Posts: 286
Loc: England, South East
Remember, you can always pop it aside for a while and try something else to ease the madness if it gets bad, just try not to let yourself forget though. (I guess that depends more on the person but I re-pick things up fairly quickly)

Just like most tasks in life, there is a point where you can do it "too much", this is especially true for practicing.
(that said don't use it as an excuse laugh )

Good luck smile


Edited by UKIkarus (03/26/14 08:27 AM)
_________________________
Yamaha MOX8 Synthesizer


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#2252285 - 03/26/14 09:25 AM Re: He's Got the Whole World: syncopated notes [Re: Rerun]
angelsong Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/06/13
Posts: 81
Loc: NW England
Thanks Rerun for your comments and suggestions. The video is lovely - couldn't take my eyes off those beautiful hands! I'm going to do as you and others have suggested and focus on one phrase. Thanks again.

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#2252289 - 03/26/14 09:31 AM Re: He's Got the Whole World: syncopated notes [Re: UKIkarus]
angelsong Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/06/13
Posts: 81
Loc: NW England
Thanks again - and I think you're probably right - I'm going to put it aside for today (that's the plan anyway!) and return to it tomorrow - or later this evening - I think this is definitely a case of doing it too much!! I'm always afraid that I'll find that I can't return - that the enthusiasm will just evaporate, but I don't feel that's going to happen. It's great having the encouragement of this forum - I'm sure that's made such a difference. Thanks again.

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#2252342 - 03/26/14 11:21 AM Re: He's Got the Whole World: syncopated notes [Re: angelsong]
Silver Keys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/21/13
Posts: 89
Loc: Upstate N.Y.
You may want to try just practicing the right hand melody while counting the beat. Do this out loud to start, then in your head as you start to get it, then when you feel you got it, add the left hand.

Syncopated notes are tricky because the come in on an off-beat. Let's say you are in 4/4 time. In order to count the off-beat when the syncopated note comes in, try counting in 1/8 notes (1 and 2 and 3 and...) or 1/16 notes (1 e + a, 2 e + a...). That way you get a count when the syncopated note comes in.
_________________________
So much music and so little time!
-----------------------------------
1916 Mason & Hamlin BB
Yamaha P155

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#2252501 - 03/26/14 03:55 PM Re: He's Got the Whole World: syncopated notes [Re: Silver Keys]
angelsong Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/06/13
Posts: 81
Loc: NW England
Thanks Silver Keys - I'm keeping away from the piano this evening and I'm going to practise what you and others suggested. Being able to come on here and get help and support is so helpful. Thanks again.

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#2252538 - 03/26/14 04:51 PM Re: He's Got the Whole World: syncopated notes [Re: angelsong]
angelsong Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/06/13
Posts: 81
Loc: NW England
Thank you!! Thank you! Thank you!! for all your helpful comments and support! I was going to stay away from the piano this evening and go back tomorrow - but having sat on the settee 'tap, tap, tapping' the part of 'He's Got the Whole World....' that was holding me back - I decided to have ONE MORE GO on the piano. Nothing seemed to have changed - and then out of the blue - IT JUST FELL INTO PLACE (more or less). Need to do a lot more practice - but it has lifted my mood - or perhaps something has already shifted within us which 'allows' us to get it right. Who knows!! My faith has been restored! Thanks again - feel very grateful for this site.


Edited by angelsong (03/26/14 04:52 PM)

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#2252551 - 03/26/14 05:03 PM Re: He's Got the Whole World: syncopated notes [Re: angelsong]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1233
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: angelsong
It's a long time since I've shared on here - have been in a strange place (family stuff) - have 'popped in' from time to time to read some posts. I'm really struggling with 'He's Got the Whole World' (No 81). My teacher said to keep a steady beat (1-2-3-4) with my left hand on the chords while I play the 'tune' (?) with my right hand - and I can see when I look at the videos that are available that clearly how to do it. However, I'm finding this is driving me crazy. I can't seem to get a steady beat with my left hand and stil accommodate melody with the right hand. How have others found this? Wd really appreciate some feedback - thanks.


FWIW (and PMFJI) --

If all else fails:

. . . Slow the tempo _way_ down;

. . . Set a metronome so that it clicks on _every_ eighth-note
. . . (if the syncopated notes are on eighth-note counts)

. . . . . that is, you want a click for every note in the LH,
. . . . . and a click for every note in the RH. So the
. . . . . metronome ticks on both the "beats" (1,2,3,4) and on
. . . . . the "&" ( 1 & 2 & 4 & )

. . . Start playing the LH (the "even" or "on-the-beat" part);

. . . When that's solid, start adding the RH notes.

The ticking of the metronome may drive you crazy, but it will keep your rhythm "honest".

You can _slowly_ increase the tempo, once you have both hands working together _very slowly_. Eventually, you should be able to "hear" the rhythm, and give up the metronome.

. CHarles

PS -- If I were playing "He's Got the Whole World", I'd put the LH chords (or bass line) on beats 2 and 4, rather than on beats 1 and 3. That might also be throwing you off, since for most simple music, the LH strikes on 1 and 3. So you get habituated to playing the LH chords on the "strong" beats.

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#2252649 - 03/26/14 07:32 PM Re: He's Got the Whole World: syncopated notes [Re: Charles Cohen]
angelsong Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/06/13
Posts: 81
Loc: NW England
Thanks for your suggestion. Although I'd just managed to play this before your post, it's certainly provides more reinforcement of how important it is to slow right down to allow oneself time to play the rhythm correctly and to 'hear' it. Getting help and advice on here is comforting as well as helpful. Thanks again.

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#2252856 - 03/27/14 07:04 AM Re: He's Got the Whole World: syncopated notes [Re: angelsong]
UKIkarus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/05/13
Posts: 286
Loc: England, South East
Glad you got it sussed smile
_________________________
Yamaha MOX8 Synthesizer


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#2252935 - 03/27/14 10:37 AM Re: He's Got the Whole World: syncopated notes [Re: UKIkarus]
angelsong Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/06/13
Posts: 81
Loc: NW England
Thanks!

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#2253082 - 03/27/14 02:35 PM Re: He's Got the Whole World: syncopated notes [Re: angelsong]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3187
Loc: Virginia, USA
It's a frustrating struggle, it feels impossible, and then it clicks and seems easy.

One way to get it is called "dropping notes."

Start playing a short phrase that can easily wrap around. It might be two or four bars, or it might start on beat three, etc., but you have to be able to loop back to the beginning without stopping.

Play that phrase continously with the left hand, with a metronome, and not too slowly.

Now each time you come around, play only one note with the right hand. When that's comfortable and your timing is solid, add another note with the right hand. Keep looping until that is working well. Add another. Especially with syncopation it is helpful to have a metronome with a distinctive click on beat 1, because it's easy to get a beat off on this and not know it.

When you get all the right hand notes added, you are not done.

Now you start looping with the right hand, and adding the left hand one note at a time.

When you complete that, you've mastered that phrase, and probably the also the skill of playing different rhythms in two hands.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#2253203 - 03/27/14 05:59 PM Re: He's Got the Whole World: syncopated notes [Re: TimR]
angelsong Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/06/13
Posts: 81
Loc: NW England
That sounds interesting and I may try that. At the moment I feel quite 'done in' - think I've probably overdone it on 'He's got the whole world...' - and despite the feeling that I'd 'got it', there's still a way to go. Really appreciate this site though - the support is tremendous. Thanks.

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#2253270 - 03/27/14 08:30 PM Re: He's Got the Whole World: syncopated notes [Re: angelsong]
earlofmar Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1499
Loc: Australia
If it's any consolation syncopation hasn't come easy to me either. I started a grade 2 version of the The Entertainer a few months ago and it came as a bit of a shock when I found I was really struggling with it. Same old answer though, broke the piece up into components I could work on alone and slowed down to a crawl. I eventually got it sounding reasonable, though I am still working on a version that I can say is complete.

Originally Posted By: angelsong
think I've probably overdone it on 'He's got the whole world...' - and despite the feeling that I'd 'got it', there's still a way to go. Really appreciate this site though - the support is tremendous. Thanks.


Just like The Entertainer and I who are going to part company soon, there comes a point when you have to let a piece go. Even if it's not up to your normal par, better to keep your sanity. Next time you meet syncopation it won't be quite as hard.
_________________________
I thought I understood endurance sport; then I took up piano
XXXV-6-XXX

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#2253433 - 03/28/14 09:54 AM Re: He's Got the Whole World: syncopated notes [Re: earlofmar]
angelsong Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/06/13
Posts: 81
Loc: NW England
Thanks earlofmar - that's very reassuring and realistic. I relate to the 'shock' of finding it so difficult - yes other pieces have been challenging, but this has made me question whether to continue, possibly for the first time. However, what you've said seems more realistic and sensible, ie to move on and hopefully next time I come across something similar it 'should' be easier. Thanks again.

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#2253442 - 03/28/14 10:10 AM Re: He's Got the Whole World: syncopated notes [Re: angelsong]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2380
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: angelsong
Thanks earlofmar - that's very reassuring and realistic. I relate to the 'shock' of finding it so difficult - yes other pieces have been challenging, but this has made me question whether to continue, possibly for the first time. However, what you've said seems more realistic and sensible, ie to move on and hopefully next time I come across something similar it 'should' be easier. Thanks again.


Playing piano (and same goes for many other things) is never a smooth line from nothing to advanced. It is full of plateaus and sharp leaps in ability. Sometimes the only way to get that sharp leap is to give it time. Sometimes it just takes enough specific work.

Advice to leave something behind is good. I will say this is one area where a teacher is very useful - knowing when something needs to be left and when it should really be addressed.

Without knowing too much about your current levels, I suspect that the rhythm piece is one that you should address and not move away from because rhythm really isn't one of those technical skills that will come with time. Yes, we can improve our internal sense of rhythm; yes things will be easier. But when faced with a purely rhythmic problem we should stop and address it. Syncopation is one. Another you'll come across at some point is where you have to play polyrhythms - that's where one hand (for instance) plays eighth notes while the other hand plays quarter note triplets. Once done once, much easier the next time but, boy, can it be tricky.
_________________________
  • Liszt - Liebesträume No. 3, S541
  • Scarlatti - Sonata in D minor, K. 213

Kawai K3

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#2253577 - 03/28/14 03:47 PM Re: He's Got the Whole World: syncopated notes [Re: angelsong]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1233
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Quote:
. . . Without knowing too much about your current levels, I suspect that the rhythm piece is one that you should address and not move away from because rhythm really isn't one of those technical skills that will come with time. Yes, we can improve our internal sense of rhythm; yes things will be easier. But when faced with a purely rhythmic problem we should stop and address it. Syncopation is one. Another you'll come across at some point is where you have to play polyrhythms - that's where one hand (for instance) plays eighth notes while the other hand plays quarter note triplets. Once done once, much easier the next time but, boy, can it be tricky.


I disagree. It _is_ a technical skill, and it _does_ improve with time.

There are two things that happen:

1. Rhythmic _precision_ improves with practice, expecially if you work on it. A beginner's "1 2 3 4 " is going to be less even that an advanced student's '1 2 3 4 ".

2. Rhythmic _vocabulary_ improves with experience. After you've done 5 pieces with syncopated melodies (or syncopated accompaniments), the sixth piece will be a _lot_ easier to learn than the first piece was.

Rhythmic problems don't stay hard forever.

Now, there are limits to this. I was recently faced with a syncopated blues piece, and had to go back to "square 1" to get the LH and RH working together. But I didn't have to spend a whole lot of time on "square 1" to get it going.

A better-skilled pianist would have just sight-read the music, and asked:

. . . "What's the problem?"

. Charles

PS -- on second thought, re-reading what you wrote, I don't think that we disagree very much!<g>


Edited by Charles Cohen (03/28/14 03:48 PM)

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