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#2258918 - 04/09/14 12:37 AM Re: The hardest song ever written [Re: phantomFive]
Polyphonist Offline
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Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7579
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: phantomFive
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
The hardest piano song ever is the last part of the Moonlight Sonata.

That's only true if you didn't play the rest of the song very well. That is, the ending follows naturally

the rondo ala turca by mozart is also rly hard, i tried it erlier and it was rly hard, lots of fast nots
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#2258919 - 04/09/14 12:42 AM Re: The hardest song ever written [Re: phantomFive]
Nikolas Offline
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Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5246
Loc: Europe
About the song thing. It just doesn't work for me. Song is something you... sing. In Greek it's the same thing. So... :-/

Other than that, I do think that Ligeti has written some notoriously difficult etudes, but about being the hardest of all... I'm just not sure...
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#2258920 - 04/09/14 12:43 AM Re: The hardest song ever written [Re: ando]
phantomFive Offline
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Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1328
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: ando
The 14A etude does nothing for me, musically speaking. The only reason I think somebody would attempt it is because it's known to be Ligeti's "unplayable etude".

Maybe that is intentional, maybe part of the difficulty is to sustain concentrated practice and endure learning a piece that does nothing for you musically speaking?
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#2258924 - 04/09/14 01:01 AM Re: The hardest song ever written [Re: phantomFive]
Mark_C Online   content
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Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19742
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Originally Posted By: phantomFive
That is true, it's not something I care about. I am kind of curious though, because calling it a 'song' seems so natural to me, is that a regional variation, or do most people make that mistake?

We "sophisticates" grin call it a song only if it's something that is sung -- i.e. a vocal thing.

The way a lot of people here see it is, these things:

Younger people tend to call any music thing a "song," sometimes even any kind of thing at all that gets "played" on youtube or audio CD's. And really, to some extent the music and CD industries do that.

It is also usually regarded as a relatively recent thing, i.e. that this didn't happen until about the last couple of decades, and got momentum mainly since youtube.

And....this is the "snob" way of looking at it, but it's partly true:
People who don't know that much about classical music tend to call any music thing a song.

But, these things are only partly true.
When I was a kid, which was about 200 years ago grin my teacher, who was an old-school pianist and teacher (Russian), often called piano pieces "songs." Maybe she just did it with kids, I don't know. But that's how it was.

Some classical music types, including here, go pretty nuts over it when people call piano pieces "songs." They think it's a sign of not knowing that much, or not being that advanced. And y'know, there is a correlation there. grin

But I think they're fighting a losing battle. I think the language is evolving to where it won't be long before it will be considered absolutely normal and correct to call any music thing a song. That will bother a lot of people here. It doesn't bother me at all.

Anyway not nearly as much as when they say "shipping" even if a boat isn't involved. ha
And I'd bet almost all of the people who complain about calling piano pieces "songs" do say "shipping" even if a thing comes by truck or plane or pigeon. smile

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#2258933 - 04/09/14 01:35 AM Re: The hardest song ever written [Re: Mark_C]
currawong Offline
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Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5924
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
And I'd bet almost all of the people who complain about calling piano pieces "songs" do say "shipping" even if a thing comes by truck or plane or pigeon. smile
Not only do I never use "shipping", but I hadn't heard it used as it is now (for any sort of transport of goods) until maybe the last few years ("postage and handling" is what we used to say, and still do in some circles). Maybe I've just been living under a rock.

As to the "song" thing, I don't think I'm a snob. I don't usually comment on it, but it does annoy me because it's turning a specific term into a general one, and what do you do when you want to be specific? You now have to say "I really love this song, that is, this vocal work". I just wish I could now use "song" in the context of classical music and not have to further explain. I know language changes, and I realise it appears to be a losing battle, thanks to iTunes and youtube and all that stuff. But please, don't call me a snob just because I would like to keep the precise term.

Not implying that you are actually calling me a snob, Mark.
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#2258935 - 04/09/14 01:55 AM Re: The hardest song ever written [Re: phantomFive]
Roland The Beagle Offline
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Registered: 02/17/12
Posts: 241
Loc: California
Hardest piece questions are made difficult by the fact that there is lots of horrendously unplayable stuff that someone could write in theory for no reason. I could probably write the hardest piano piece in the world in Sibelius right now. There would be no music in it, but oh well.

When you make music a requirement, then you get into the difficult issue of how much musicality a piece has to have to be considered, like this Ligeti Etude.

My vote goes to Gaspard de la Nuit as a piece that is musical poetry and where every ounce of the virtuosity serves the music. I haven't heard an interpretation approaching this one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKgcHjq1xKQ
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Piano Sonata Hob. XVI: 34 in E Minor, Franz Joseph Haydn
Nocturne, Op. 15 No. 1 in F Major, Frédéric Chopin
Prelude, Op. 11 No. 4 in E Minor, Alexander Scriabin
Prelude and Fugue in G Major, Well-Tempered Clavier Vol. 2, Johann Sebastian Bach

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#2258937 - 04/09/14 01:59 AM Re: The hardest song ever written [Re: Mark_C]
Piano Doug Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/24/13
Posts: 179
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: phantomFive
That is true, it's not something I care about. I am kind of curious though, because calling it a 'song' seems so natural to me, is that a regional variation, or do most people make that mistake?

We "sophisticates" grin call it a song only if it's something that is sung -- i.e. a vocal thing.

The way a lot of people here see it is, these things:

Younger people tend to call any music thing a "song," sometimes even any kind of thing at all that gets "played" on youtube or audio CD's. And really, to some extent the music and CD industries do that.

It is also usually regarded as a relatively recent thing, i.e. that this didn't happen until about the last couple of decades, and got momentum mainly since youtube.

And....this is the "snob" way of looking at it, but it's partly true:
People who don't know that much about classical music tend to call any music thing a song.

But, these things are only partly true.
When I was a kid, which was about 200 years ago grin my teacher, who was an old-school pianist and teacher (Russian), often called piano pieces "songs." Maybe she just did it with kids, I don't know. But that's how it was.

Some classical music types, including here, go pretty nuts over it when people call piano pieces "songs." They think it's a sign of not knowing that much, or not being that advanced. And y'know, there is a correlation there. grin

But I think they're fighting a losing battle. I think the language is evolving to where it won't be long before it will be considered absolutely normal and correct to call any music thing a song. That will bother a lot of people here. It doesn't bother me at all.

Anyway not nearly as much as when they say "shipping" even if a boat isn't involved. ha
And I'd bet almost all of the people who complain about calling piano pieces "songs" do say "shipping" even if a thing comes by truck or plane or pigeon. smile


+1
Well said, Mark.

I think it's also that people who have made a serious commitment and invested thousands of hours in learning and playing the piano, see the casualness of the word "song" as dissonant to the rigor and dedication they have brought to the piano. Kind of like someone saying, "Oh, you know, I just learned one of those Beethoven thingies, I think it was a sonata or something like that, in c minor. No, maybe it was A-flat major. Whatever." grin

One would immediately discount the seriousness and commitment of the speaker. It doesn't exactly compel one to want to hear them, or perhaps even to carry on a serious musical discussion with them.

In other words, not so much snobbery (although that definitely exists), but rather a reaction to something at odds with a deeply integrated part of one's being.

I do agree that the evolution of language will continue unabated, but I'm not so sure that professional and serious amateur musicians will start calling their pieces "songs" anytime soon. At least, I hope not!

Now I've got run to UPS to pick up a "shipment." wink

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#2258949 - 04/09/14 03:01 AM Re: The hardest piano piece ever written [Re: phantomFive]
Verbum mirabilis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/15/11
Posts: 208
I don't like pieces that aren't songs getting called songs because it's so misleading. Songs are usually pretty short, about 2-10 minutes in duration. Calling a small one-movement piece a song isn't that bad IMO, since the "only" difference between a piece and a song in that case is the fact that the piece isn't sung. When it comes to symphonies and sonatas, using the term "song" is, IMO, belittling and even insulting (especially if used intentionally) and definitely misleading.

Then you have cases like fugues and piano transcriptions of songs. For example, if someone says to me: "I love this song" when listening to a Bach fugue I understand what they mean but I get the impression that they don't really know what a fugue is.

Now, if someone says to me: "I love this song" when listening to a piano transcription of a Schubert Lied, the way I understand that is that they are referring to the original Lied, not to the piece which is being played.
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#2258952 - 04/09/14 03:10 AM Re: The hardest piano piece ever written [Re: phantomFive]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5296
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: Mark C
Anyway not nearly as much as when they say "shipping" even if a boat isn't involved.

The trouble is, "transport" is just too long a word.. grin
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#2258958 - 04/09/14 03:59 AM Re: The hardest song ever written [Re: currawong]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19742
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: currawong
Not only do I never use "shipping"....

It's possible that you and I are the only ones. grin

Quote:
....please, don't call me a snob just because I would like to keep the precise term.

Huh.....let's see, did I indicate anything like that....

Fortunately I didn't. What I said (or at least meant!) was:

I was calling people snobs who look down on those who don't use the term in the precise way, and who assume it means they don't know that much and are probably a bit stupid.

And I hold to that.

And y'know, I guess you could say that makes me a snob. ha


P.S. (edit): About "looking down" on them....
I actually look UP on them.
Because, to a great extent, it represents new people becoming interested in classical music (or at least talking about it) who hadn't been much into it before.

Don't we want more of that, not less? Don't you want to embrace them and encourage them, not kick their ass because they don't use a word in the technical way? And compared to the fact that they're actually talking about classical music, isn't it the tiniest drop in the bucket that they're saying "song"?


Edited by Mark_C (04/09/14 04:27 AM)

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#2258960 - 04/09/14 04:08 AM Re: The hardest song ever written [Re: Piano Doug]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19742
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Piano Doug
....I think it's also that people who have made a serious commitment and invested thousands of hours in learning and playing the piano, see the casualness of the word "song" as dissonant to the rigor and dedication they have brought to the piano. Kind of like someone saying, "Oh, you know, I just learned one of those Beethoven thingies, I think it was a sonata or something like that, in c minor. No, maybe it was A-flat major. Whatever." grin ....

Off the subject but what bothers me a million times more than saying "song" (and almost as much as "shipping") ha is when a pretty serious musician doesn't know the key of a piece. It gets me mad at that person, and even more so, at the person's teacher. This happened recently: I heard someone play some quite advanced pieces -- pretty well actually -- but fumfed around when trying to say what keys they were in, and really didn't know. I threw a fit. ("HOW CAN YOU NOT KNOW WHAT KEYS THEY'RE IN!) The person made sure to know the keys from now on.

Of those pieces anyway. grin

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#2258969 - 04/09/14 04:40 AM Re: The hardest song ever written [Re: phantomFive]
drumour Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/05
Posts: 855
Loc: Scotland
By rail or air - freight.
By ship - cargo.
By road - shipment.

I didn't think these were subject to regional variation, but I was probably wrong.


John
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#2258973 - 04/09/14 04:56 AM Re: The hardest song ever written [Re: Mark_C]
Piano Doug Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/24/13
Posts: 179
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: Piano Doug
....I think it's also that people who have made a serious commitment and invested thousands of hours in learning and playing the piano, see the casualness of the word "song" as dissonant to the rigor and dedication they have brought to the piano. Kind of like someone saying, "Oh, you know, I just learned one of those Beethoven thingies, I think it was a sonata or something like that, in c minor. No, maybe it was A-flat major. Whatever." grin ....

Off the subject but what bothers me a million times more than saying "song" (and almost as much as "shipping") ha is when a pretty serious musician doesn't know the key of a piece. It gets me mad at that person, and even more so, at the person's teacher. This happened recently: I heard someone play some quite advanced pieces -- pretty well actually -- but fumfed around when trying to say what keys they were in, and really didn't know. I threw a fit. ("HOW CAN YOU NOT KNOW WHAT KEYS THEY'RE IN!) The person made sure to know the keys from now on.

Of those pieces anyway. grin


This is frightening! Maybe if one of us lives to be really, really old, we will be the last person alive to know anything about key signatures. Then we will become highly sought after for our esoteric knowledge! smirk

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#2258981 - 04/09/14 05:57 AM Re: The hardest song ever written [Re: Mark_C]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5924
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: currawong
....please, don't call me a snob just because I would like to keep the precise term.
Huh.....let's see, did I indicate anything like that....
As I said, "Not implying that you are actually calling me a snob, Mark." I was speaking to anyone when I said "don't call me a snob".
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Don't we want more of that, not less? Don't you want to embrace them and encourage them, not kick their ass because they don't use a word in the technical way?
Of course. But on the other hand, I don't see why we have to assume they wouldn't even want to know what the correct terminology actually is. I certainly want to learn correct terms when I'm in a field new to me, and I don't mind if people inform me. It all depends how the information is imparted, doesn't it. There are ways which attempt to include newcomers, and ways which come across as excluding.
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#2258986 - 04/09/14 06:22 AM Re: The hardest song ever written [Re: phantomFive]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7802
If we are classical musicians talking within the realm of classical music, "song" is a term of art (i.e, it has a specific meaning that may not match what the word means elsewhere).

If we are kids talking about downloading something from iTunes, a "song" is any downloadable "music".

If we are culturally illiterate programmers, we call music-related digital files "songs", regardless of whether they are MIDI or audio (incidentally, my DAW has become slightly more intelligent about this and now calls them "projects" - which, in context, works for me).

If we are but wee children just learning our language, we may call any and all discrete chunks of music "songs", because that's the only word we know.

Assuming that most of you agree that here in the Pianist Corner of Piano World, we are classical musicians of some stripe or another, I would think that using the term of art would be the accepted thing to do. I'd also think that newbies who didn't know that it was a term of art would be only too happy to discover that it was and would pick up on the usage immediately, and of course, use it.

That there is any resistance at all to the correct classical music usage of the term within a classical music community like this one is, to me, an indicator of some changes taking place that are eroding the entire concept of classical music. That's okay - change is inevitable. But at the same time, I'm not going to pretend that the language I learned to describe this music is invalid, just because some programmers who didn't know any better mistakenly started referring to all music files as "songs".



Edited by wr (04/09/14 07:38 AM)

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#2258988 - 04/09/14 06:26 AM Re: The hardest song ever written [Re: phantomFive]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5246
Loc: Europe
I don't know how my scores are... going... to my customers. So they are dispatched from me... Now shipped, or trained, or flown in... doesn't make a difference for me (probably flown would be the best word?)
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#2258997 - 04/09/14 06:52 AM Re: The hardest song ever written [Re: currawong]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7802
Originally Posted By: currawong
But on the other hand, I don't see why we have to assume they wouldn't even want to know what the correct terminology actually is.


Exactly.

When I was new to classical music as a youngster, I was very eager to learn the terminology involved, and it didn't require any special coddling on the part of those who already knew it to get me to learn as much as I could as quickly as I could. I'd think, for those interested in classical music, that sort of eagerness would still prevail.

Has something changed?

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#2258998 - 04/09/14 07:06 AM Re: The hardest piano piece ever written [Re: Verbum mirabilis]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5044
Originally Posted By: Verbum mirabilis
I don't like pieces that aren't songs getting called songs because it's so misleading. Songs are usually pretty short, about 2-10 minutes in duration. Calling a small one-movement piece a song isn't that bad IMO, since the "only" difference between a piece and a song in that case is the fact that the piece isn't sung. When it comes to symphonies......

My favorite big song is Mahler's 'Symphony of a Thousand'.

My favorite oratorio song is Handel's Messiah.

My favorite chamber song is Mendelssohn's Octet.

My favorite piano song is Ravel's Gaspard de la unit.

My favorite 'song' song (Lied) is Schubert's An die Musik.

My favorite 'chanson' song (or mélodie) is Faure's Après un rêve.

My favorite pop song is 'Bridge Over Troubled Water'.

(They are all songs, according to iTunes on my computer.... wink )

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#2259000 - 04/09/14 07:14 AM Re: The hardest song ever written [Re: Piano Doug]
DanS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/28/12
Posts: 555
Originally Posted By: Piano Doug
One would immediately discount the seriousness and commitment of the speaker. It doesn't exactly compel one to want to hear them, or perhaps even to carry on a serious musical discussion with them.

In other words, not so much snobbery (although that definitely exists), but rather a reaction to something at odds with a deeply integrated part of one's being.

Well said
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"Most pianists are poor musicians, they dissect music into bits-and-pieces, like a roast chicken" -Debussy

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#2259011 - 04/09/14 07:29 AM Re: The hardest piano piece ever written [Re: phantomFive]
jdw Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 962
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
I may be an even bigger snob for being irritated when people refer to any text set to music as "lyrics." Did Robert Frost, Shakespeare et al. write lyrics? ok, lyrical poems maybe.

I should maybe not confess that I'm capable of forgetting the key of a piece I've played. I'm aware of it while I'm learning it, but then....
_________________________
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Currently working on:
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#2259194 - 04/09/14 03:05 PM Re: The hardest piano piece ever written [Re: phantomFive]
caters Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/14
Posts: 187
Loc: Columbus, ohio, USA
Mozarts first 6 piano sonatas I have heard are the hardest of his piano sonatas and K 545 I have heard is the easiest and the rest of his 20 something sonatas fall somewhere in between.

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#2259295 - 04/09/14 07:54 PM Re: The hardest piano piece ever written [Re: phantomFive]
Ebadlun Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/25/09
Posts: 47
The last one in D major K576 is subtly evil.

Charles Rosen wrote 'many famous pianists have played it badly', and I wonder if he'd had a bad experience of it himself.

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#2259299 - 04/09/14 08:10 PM Re: The hardest piano piece ever written [Re: phantomFive]
caters Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/14
Posts: 187
Loc: Columbus, ohio, USA
Sometimes K 545 is known as Piano Sonata no. 15 but really it is his 16th piano sonata.

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#2259306 - 04/09/14 08:24 PM Re: The hardest piano piece ever written [Re: phantomFive]
Polyphonist Offline
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Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7579
Loc: New York City
I've never heard it called the 15th.

As regards the original question, has this been posted yet? I don't know if it includes piano or not, but you could substitute the piano for the cows, say, or perhaps the penguins. Or even the explosives.

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Polyphonist

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#2259312 - 04/09/14 08:40 PM Re: The hardest piano piece ever written [Re: phantomFive]
JoelW Offline
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Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4763
Loc: USA
I like "remove cattle from stage".

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#2259315 - 04/09/14 08:43 PM Re: The hardest piano piece ever written [Re: phantomFive]
Ebadlun Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/25/09
Posts: 47
I was doing OK sight-reading that until 'Have a nice day', which I found impossible at that point.

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#2259319 - 04/09/14 08:46 PM Re: The hardest piano piece ever written [Re: Polyphonist]
caters Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/14
Posts: 187
Loc: Columbus, ohio, USA
http://conquest.imslp.info/files/imglnks...ie_20_KV545.pdf shows up top Sonatae no. 15 fur das pianoforte which is german for piano sonata no. 15.

That right there tells you that K 545 is his 15th piano sonata when in fact it was actually his 16th.

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#2259323 - 04/09/14 08:46 PM Re: The hardest piano piece ever written [Re: Ebadlun]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7579
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Ebadlun
I was doing OK sight-reading that until 'Have a nice day', which I found impossible at that point.
You did better than I did. I got lost at the Tutti.
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Polyphonist

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#2259366 - 04/09/14 09:44 PM Re: The hardest piano piece ever written [Re: Polyphonist]
phantomFive Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1328
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
I've never heard it called the 15th.

As regards the original question, has this been posted yet? I don't know if it includes piano or not, but you could substitute the piano for the cows, say, or perhaps the penguins. Or even the explosives.


The real tough part here is getting the Cro-Magnon feel. No pianist has ever done that suitably, IMO, it's always too strained, without a chocolate sound.
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#2259383 - 04/09/14 10:14 PM Re: The hardest piano piece ever written [Re: JoelW]
ChopinAddict Offline
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Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6098
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
Originally Posted By: JoelW
I like "remove cattle from stage".


He meant mobile phones making a lot of noise.
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