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#2311975 - 08/06/14 03:13 PM Scales in Thirds/Sixths and Contrary Motion? (And WTC)
GifGaffeGiraffe Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/13/14
Posts: 7
I just finished getting my major and minor scales solid at 180 BPM in unison motion, as well as getting major and harmonic minor scales to the same speed in contrary motion. I was about to start working on scales separated by a third, then once that was together, move on to separated by a sixth, but I was curious to know: what are the specific benefits to this practice? All I know is that it's something you're "supposed to do," and while I have no objections to doing it, I'd just like to know what it is I'm gaining from it.

Additionally, are you supposed to practice melodic minor scales in contrary motion as well? My scale book (Alfred's "Brown Scale Book") only has contrary motion listed for majors and harmonic minors. It also does not have scales in thirds, sixths, or double thirds listed for anything other than majors. If you're supposed to practice them in that way as well, I'm more than willing to--I'm just making sure I'm actually supposed to.

And just a very quick question on The Well-Tempered Clavier--I've just started working with it, beginning with the C Minor prelude as I've seen many people recommend. It's not giving me any particular trouble (that presto section is a pain but it's coming along), but this is my first time playing baroque music, and I was wondering if anyone had some general tips on how to work through that kind of material.

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#2311978 - 08/06/14 03:20 PM Re: Scales in Thirds/Sixths and Contrary Motion? (And WTC) [Re: GifGaffeGiraffe]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7707
Loc: New York City
You are playing all your scales at 180 BPM and you've just started on the WTC???
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2311982 - 08/06/14 03:31 PM Re: Scales in Thirds/Sixths and Contrary Motion? (And WTC) [Re: Polyphonist]
GifGaffeGiraffe Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/13/14
Posts: 7
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
You are playing all your scales at 180 BPM and you've just started on the WTC???


Yeah, I mostly play jazz (DON'T GIVE ME THAT LOOK), so I've learned very little of the classical repertoire; all I've really done in the past is use the Bach Chorales for sight-reading practice. My hand independence is kind of embarrassing though,, and the most common advice I got was to learn the WTC, so here I am.

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#2312009 - 08/06/14 04:34 PM Re: Scales in Thirds/Sixths and Contrary Motion? (And WTC) [Re: GifGaffeGiraffe]
Atrys Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/13
Posts: 990
Originally Posted By: GifGaffeGiraffe

I'd just like to know what it is I'm gaining from it.

Two things, really: crystallized recitation of the practiced material (scales, scales in thirds, etc.) and fluid motor control.

The first is immediately obvious: when you encounter scale passages the crystallized repository you've built from practice will let you execute these things without much thought or struggle.

The second is less obvious, but probably more important. Any pianistic task that is new to your brain will help build piano-relevant connections. As you accumulate more and more challenges, fluid execution becomes much easier as these things will require less and less cognitive resources over time, letting you focus on musical challenges instead of mechanical ones. The sensation of "struggling" or "learning" is literally your brain at work, and anything you can do to stimulate this will build your fluid motor skills: scales in many different forms is one way to do this.
_________________________
"A good intention but fixed and resolute - bent on high and holy ends, we shall find means to them on every side and at every moment; and even obstacles and opposition will but make us 'like the fabled specter-ships,' which sail the fastest in the very teeth of the wind."
R. W. Emerson

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#2312032 - 08/06/14 05:28 PM Re: Scales in Thirds/Sixths and Contrary Motion? (And WTC) [Re: GifGaffeGiraffe]
sleepy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/06
Posts: 330
Since you are a jazz player just starting the WTC, you will definitely want to hear the recordings done by John Lewis and the Modern Jazz Quartet (if you haven't already). Hopefully your library system will have them.

Enjoy!

sleepy

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#2312045 - 08/06/14 05:55 PM Re: Scales in Thirds/Sixths and Contrary Motion? (And WTC) [Re: GifGaffeGiraffe]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Hi Gif,

To support and expand a bit on what Atrus already said:

Scale and chord textures are the most common patterns you'll find in music. It makes sense to develop even a minimal competence with these textures before you meet with them in pieces, if you expect to play them at all well. BTW, quarter=MM180 is not near fast enough. How about 3, 4 or 5 times that fast?

Scale playing is among the most difficult techniques one must master to play the piano. Not only must you be able to play scales both hands in great speed and with a variety of dynamics and articulations, you have to be able to play them with perfect evenness in both rhythm and sound. You have to control the timing of each note so that it sounds perfectly spaced in relation to its neighbors, it must also match them in both the amount and color of sound in order for the effect of evenness to occur.

A lot of factors work against even scale playing, including the standard fingering patterns we use, the anatomical construction of the hand, the geographical layout of the keyboard, and many others. Chordal and arpeggiated textures are only slightly less difficult.

That's all without even beginning to address the issue of making a legato sound in them as well. You can get evenness, you can match tone colors well, you can connect physically from key to key, and your scale still might not sound legato.

Years of slavish devotion are usually necessary to get these skills to a good level
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2312052 - 08/06/14 06:16 PM Re: Scales in Thirds/Sixths and Contrary Motion? (And WTC) [Re: GifGaffeGiraffe]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Gif,

I'm curious. What is your background? Also, do you have a teacher? It sounds like you are doing all this on your own and, if so, it's rather the hard way to go about it.
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2312136 - 08/06/14 10:02 PM Re: Scales in Thirds/Sixths and Contrary Motion? (And WTC) [Re: laguna_greg]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18227
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
[...] BTW, quarter=MM180 is not near fast enough. How about 3, 4 or 5 times that fast?
[...]


Are you kidding? When one says quarter note=MM180, one traditionally is implying that one is playing in sixteenth-notes. How is it possible with quarter=MM180 as a starting point, to play, in sixteenth notes, four or five times that fast?

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#2312143 - 08/06/14 10:18 PM Re: Scales in Thirds/Sixths and Contrary Motion? (And WTC) [Re: BruceD]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Hi Bruce,

I do not wish to contradict you, really. But since the OP was entirely unclear about what he/she actually meant by that, and might not KNOW what that means in the first place (or what you/I might mean by it in the first place), why don't we let them answer my question in the first place? You realize, of course, that you ASSUMED what he might have meant by it? So did I, at first.

I realize my post was a little unclear. But without further information from the OP, we have no idea what this might have meant. Considering the relative state of unenlightenment of that post, I fear the worst as should you and many others...however...

I would be very happy to be wrong about this, make no mistake. However, I am waiting for the poster to answer first...
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2312146 - 08/06/14 10:21 PM Re: Scales in Thirds/Sixths and Contrary Motion? (And WTC) [Re: laguna_greg]
phantomFive Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1648
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
Hi Bruce,

I do not wish to contradict you, really. But since the OP was entirely unclear about what he/she actually meant by that, and might not KNOW what that means in the first place (or what you/I might mean by it in the first place), why don't we let them answer my question in the first place? You realize, of course, that you ASSUMED what he might have meant by it? So did I, at first.

I realize my post was a little unclear. But without further information from the OP, we have no idea what this might have meant. Considering the relative state of unenlightenment of that post, I fear the worst as should you and many others...however...

I would be very happy to be wrong about this, make no mistake. However, I am waiting for the poster to answer first...

I was wondering about that too. 180 is really fast.
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

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#2312150 - 08/06/14 10:29 PM Re: Scales in Thirds/Sixths and Contrary Motion? (And WTC) [Re: phantomFive]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Originally Posted By: phantomFive

I was wondering about that too. 180 is really fast.


Not if it's one note per beat it isn't.
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2312154 - 08/06/14 10:43 PM Re: Scales in Thirds/Sixths and Contrary Motion? (And WTC) [Re: GifGaffeGiraffe]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1385
I don't know what metronome speed I play scales. I do them as fast I can keep them even and accurate. I speed up when my teacher says to!

But as for what I do, my teacher has me do all scales parallel and contrary, four octaves. Contrary form goes up parallel two octaves, hands split for two octaves, return to center then parallel up two octaves, split and return, parallel down two octaves.

This applies for chromatic, major, natural minor, harmonic minor and melodic minor.

Chords and arpeggios also follow the same parallel and contrary pattern.
_________________________
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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#2312155 - 08/06/14 10:47 PM Re: Scales in Thirds/Sixths and Contrary Motion? (And WTC) [Re: laguna_greg]
GifGaffeGiraffe Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/13/14
Posts: 7
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
Hi Bruce,

I do not wish to contradict you, really. But since the OP was entirely unclear about what he/she actually meant by that, and might not KNOW what that means in the first place (or what you/I might mean by it in the first place), why don't we let them answer my question in the first place? You realize, of course, that you ASSUMED what he might have meant by it? So did I, at first.

I realize my post was a little unclear. But without further information from the OP, we have no idea what this might have meant. Considering the relative state of unenlightenment of that post, I fear the worst as should you and many others...however...

I would be very happy to be wrong about this, make no mistake. However, I am waiting for the poster to answer first...


The OP knows how to use a metronome and how to count. Yes, each beat implies a quarter note, and I'm saying that I can play four sixteenth notes per beat with a metronome running at 180 BPM. I can play scales very fast. You need not "fear the worst."

My background is actually as a drummer, I've only been playing the piano for about two years (but I practice around 10 hours a day on average, maybe 60% actually playing, the rest is harmony exercises and ear training. I'm not even to get into the complicated mess that is my living situation). I had a drum teacher, but I have not had a piano teacher.

As such, even though my knowledge of harmony and composition is rather strong thanks to my Berklee-educated father and the internet, there are definite holes in my knowledge when it comes to technique (he's a guitarist, so unable to help on that front). I've not spent a lot of time working on pieces, mostly just playing/transposing songs (both from leadsheets and pre-written arrangements, so yes, I'm comfortable reading as well), writing music, and doing technical exercises. I'm entirely aware of the importance of the study of scales, but I was curious only as to what specific skills are developed practicing scales in thirds and sixths; i.e. would it help develop independence, dexterity, etc., just so I know what I'm trying to accomplish.

Additionally, as you have noticed, I'm "unenlightened" as to if melodic minors should be practiced in contrary motion, or if any minors should be practiced in thirds or sixths, and was just looking for an answer. I was led to believe no and having looked around for myself on the internet found no reason to believe that they should be practiced that way, but I just wanted to be sure that is not the case. I only recently was made privy to the benefits of learning to play classical pieces (though I'm not new to studying them from a compositional standpoint), and so while I was brushing up my technique in preparation to start the Bach, I just wanted to see if anyone had some general advice.

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#2312159 - 08/06/14 10:53 PM Re: Scales in Thirds/Sixths and Contrary Motion? (And WTC) [Re: GifGaffeGiraffe]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1385
I would say that yes, melodic minors are important to play contrary. Sure, you're doing something different with each hand, but there's nothing bad about learning how to do that.

As for thirds and sixths, I can't remember the last time my teacher asked to hear them. I used to practice them but now I don't typically do that simply because it takes so darn long to do the scale routine we do already. In addition to what I mentioned in the other post, I also do broken arpeggios, and cadences. At times I will add the seventh in arpeggio practice (or do the dominant seventh of whatever key I'm in) and every once in a long while do sixths and thirds.
_________________________
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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#2312161 - 08/06/14 10:54 PM Re: Scales in Thirds/Sixths and Contrary Motion? (And WTC) [Re: GifGaffeGiraffe]
DanS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/28/12
Posts: 564
Originally Posted By: GifGaffeGiraffe

Additionally, are you supposed to practice melodic minor scales in contrary motion as well?


It's advanced, but it's not as hard as you might think, if you work your way up to it. It all depends on what you want to learn.

I find 10th easier than 3rds. 6ths are the most difficult. You should learn them all.



Originally Posted By: TwoSnowflakes


But as for what I do, my teacher has me do all scales parallel and contrary, four octaves. Contrary form goes up parallel two octaves, hands split for two octaves, return to center then parallel up two octaves, split and return, parallel down two octaves.


like this.
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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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#2312162 - 08/06/14 10:57 PM Re: Scales in Thirds/Sixths and Contrary Motion? (And WTC) [Re: DanS]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1385
Originally Posted By: DanS


Yes, that's it exactly, though nothing near her top speed there, lol! But since I really don't do sixths, thirds, or tenths, I don't do them in contrary motion, either, but that's the pattern for everything else: maj, nat min, harm min, mel min, chromatics, arpeggios, chords.

I do chromatics that way, yes.


Edited by TwoSnowflakes (08/06/14 11:01 PM)
_________________________
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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#2312177 - 08/06/14 11:53 PM Re: Scales in Thirds/Sixths and Contrary Motion? (And WTC) [Re: GifGaffeGiraffe]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18227
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: GifGaffeGiraffe
[...]Additionally, as you have noticed, I'm "unenlightened" as to if melodic minors should be practiced in contrary motion, or if any minors should be practiced in thirds or sixths, and was just looking for an answer. [..]


For what it's worth: In the RCM Toronto practical piano examination, ARCT (diploma) in advanced pedagogy this is what is required to be prepared as far as scales are concerned :

Scales: (all MM=quarter note, to be played, four octaves, in sixteenth-notes, except staccato scales as noted)
1 - parallel motion : all major keys, all minor keys (harmonic and melodic) in sixteenth-notes at MM=120
2 - staccato : Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb major; Bb Eb G#, C#, F# F, B minor (harmonic and melodic) MM=120, 3 octaves, 3 notes per beat
3 - separated by a third : Ab, A, Bb, B major; MM=104
4 - separated by a sixth : C, Db, D, Eb major; MM=104
5 - separated by a tenth : E, F, Gb, G major; MM=104
6 - formula pattern : Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb major; Bb, Eb, G#, C#, F#, F, B, minor (harmonic); MM=120
7 - chromatic, beginning on any note MM=120
8 - scales in octaves, solid, staccato, (2 octaves) Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb major; Bb, Eb, G#, C#, F#, F, B minor (harmonic and melodic; MM=84
9 - chromatic in octaves, (2 octaves) beginning on any note; MM=104.

You'll notice that the examination preparation covers all major keys when you combine scales separated by a third, a sixth, and a tenth.

"Formula pattern" is the scale that combines parallel and contrary motion as shown in the video linked above.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
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Estonia 190

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#2312220 - 08/07/14 03:36 AM Re: Scales in Thirds/Sixths and Contrary Motion? (And WTC) [Re: GifGaffeGiraffe]
trigalg693 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/08
Posts: 670
Okay so my piano teacher would probably kill me for saying this but I think practicing the usual scales is a waste of time once you've gotten them down at some point in your life. Since she never checked my scales, I only practiced them for a few weeks after she said to and then I gave up (this was when I already had played for 8 years and knew all the scales lol). I only practice the often modified scales in actual passages because plain scales pretty much never show up.

The only places I can think of seeing a heptatonic scale in both hands is Chopin Ballade 1 and Liszt Paganini Etude no.6, and I only had to practice those scales for 20 minutes to feel okay with them (and I never got any of my scales up to 180, I could do most of them at 150 maybe). Really though, where else are you going to have to play a fast scale in 10ths or 6ths or 3rds? I can't think of any other pieces that make you do that.

I think block chords and exercises with doubled notes are more helpful, if you're going to do exercises at all. Various 7th chord arpeggios are probably more useful to practice than scales. Chromatic scales are more useful as well. My personal warmup is very hard Chopin etudes in both hands slow, which I feel has done more for my technique than scales or common arpeggios ever have.

Some people say it's very hard to play a very good scale, and they're right, but each instance where you do need to do a fast scale well it's just maybe an hour total of practice to get it sounding really smooth if you have good discipline when practicing, if you've reached the point where you can play all of them that fast before. Maybe if you want to sight read certain music having all the scales down very well is useful but even then I feel like playing certain arpeggio and chord exercises is better.


Edited by trigalg693 (08/07/14 03:44 AM)

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#2312489 - 08/07/14 03:11 PM Re: Scales in Thirds/Sixths and Contrary Motion? (And WTC) [Re: trigalg693]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Originally Posted By: trigalg693

Really though, where else are you going to have to play a fast scale in 10ths or 6ths or 3rds? I can't think of any other pieces that make you do that.


Look at the concerto literature from Beethoven on. These are very commonly used textures. Also some of the more difficult chamber literature has the pianist doing all kinds of things with hands in parallel motion. The étude literature after Chopin makes use of all kinds of things like this.

I just looked the score over of that 6th Paganini etude, and I don't see "scale" textures per se in it. Which variation did you mean?


Originally Posted By: trigalg693

Some people say it's very hard to play a very good scale, and they're right, but each instance where you do need to do a fast scale well it's just maybe an hour total of practice to get it sounding really smooth if you have good discipline when practicing, if you've reached the point where you can play all of them that fast before. Maybe if you want to sight read certain music having all the scales down very well is useful but even then I feel like playing certain arpeggio and chord exercises is better.


The good thing about practicing scales enough, and in the right way, is that after enough practice, a scale is a scale is a scale, intellectually and physically. At that point, it's usually more profitable to take these textures in context and see how to make it sound good.

The Mozart concerti are perfect examples of this because the texture is very bare, hardly any notes to hide behind, no pedal generally, and it's mostly scale textures that have to sound perfectly legato yet articulate at the same time. These are among the best pieces he wrote for piano, and they are very often programmed on concert series the world over. So all your work now could get a you gig later.


Edited by laguna_greg (08/07/14 03:38 PM)
Edit Reason: syntax
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2312501 - 08/07/14 03:35 PM Re: Scales in Thirds/Sixths and Contrary Motion? (And WTC) [Re: GifGaffeGiraffe]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Gif,

I had an idea for you. Internet chat rooms are usually not the best places to get advice this detailed or comprehensive. Why not go play for a really good teacher? It's obvious you don't want to go have regular lessons, and that's OK. You could just go for the occasional one-off lesson to get direction and feedback. It will save you loads of time, and get you on the right direction from the very first step.

This would have to be a really good teacher, or a pianist whose playing you respect. Either one would have to play a lot better than you, and really know the literature well. And they'd have to understand what your goal is and be willing to help on a very infrequent basis. They could give direction about not only your technical study, but also how to choose the literature best suited to your skill level and taste. A road map would really help you avoid some dead-ends and traps.

For instance, you've never played any classical literature, right? Since that is the case, I myself would probably advise against starting with the Well-Tempered first off. A few of the preludes are deceptively simple. The rest of it, and especially the fugues, are very difficult both technically and musically, especially in regards to bringing off the layered sonic effect of polyphony which is essential to a good performance of these works on the piano. I don't know what your level is, but if you are at an advancing intermediate level I would probably suggest you start with things from the multi-movement suites that are a bit less involved. That way, you learn something about the period style and articulation first before you kill yourself on a fugue.

Bach is not my strong point artistically. I've only memorized and performed 21 of the 48. But I can tell you, as can many of my students, the first fugue you ever learn well enough to perform is a prison you will work hard to get out of.

Some suggestions from a good teacher in real time can help with all this.

Good Luck!


Edited by laguna_greg (08/07/14 03:45 PM)
Edit Reason: sp
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2312525 - 08/07/14 04:18 PM Re: Scales in Thirds/Sixths and Contrary Motion? (And WTC) [Re: GifGaffeGiraffe]
Art_Vandelay Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/13/14
Posts: 127
Loc: Stillwater, OK
If you indeed have your scales at 16ths at 180 bpm, your technique is pretty damn proficient. Put that skill to work in actual pieces now.
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"If life gives you lemonade, make lemons. Life'll be all like whaaaaaat?" - Phil Dunphy

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#2312543 - 08/07/14 04:49 PM Re: Scales in Thirds/Sixths and Contrary Motion? (And WTC) [Re: GifGaffeGiraffe]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1385
So, I was curious. I put the metronome on, and my scales are in sixteenths at quarter=80-105, for the most part. I'm sure I could go faster, but not uniformly faster in every key and every scale pattern and maintain quality.
_________________________
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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#2312584 - 08/07/14 06:36 PM Re: Scales in Thirds/Sixths and Contrary Motion? (And WTC) [Re: laguna_greg]
trigalg693 Offline
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Registered: 08/17/08
Posts: 670
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg

I just looked the score over of that 6th Paganini etude, and I don't see "scale" textures per se in it. Which variation did you mean?


Woops my bad, I thought the arpeggios were scales. My memory is getting worse, must be those aging genes kicking in (if you get my reference to the other thread lol) laugh

Quote:

The good thing about practicing scales enough, and in the right way, is that after enough practice, a scale is a scale is a scale, intellectually and physically. At that point, it's usually more profitable to take these textures in context and see how to make it sound good.


It's been a while since I've played Mozart, but I still feel like if you can play all the scales at like 160 at some point, and you keep on practicing, then a scale is always just a scale and you can easily revive it. Maybe it's just me. Whenever I see arpeggios and scales that I've forgotten, a couple minutes of practice gets them mostly in shape, and if they need to sound good then 30 minutes does the trick.

My reasoning is that even if you get a normal scale thrown at you, often times you will want to use a different fingering or something, and instead of practicing a ton of variations on scales everyday, you just rely on your general proficiency with the keyboard and take it on case by case, and that saves a lot of time.


Edited by trigalg693 (08/07/14 06:38 PM)

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#2312665 - 08/07/14 09:15 PM Re: Scales in Thirds/Sixths and Contrary Motion? (And WTC) [Re: trigalg693]
laguna_greg Offline
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No worries Tri.

I prefer to study and teach the scales using what are considered standard fingerings. I have not found studying variations of these very effective. Even if you make some alterations in the fingering of a passage in context, just having the standard fingering well in hand, if I may say it that way, can save you a lot of time. I also agree with you that once your skills are developed enough, it's not that hard or time consuming to get most scale passages to a good level.
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#2312702 - 08/07/14 11:26 PM Re: Scales in Thirds/Sixths and Contrary Motion? (And WTC) [Re: GifGaffeGiraffe]
Lingyis Offline
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Registered: 09/15/09
Posts: 832
I don't know, why practice so much scales if you're an adult? I guess it's mindless stuff you can do when you're not playing "actual" music. For improv I guess scales and arpeggios are extremely important.

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#2312705 - 08/07/14 11:55 PM Re: Scales in Thirds/Sixths and Contrary Motion? (And WTC) [Re: Lingyis]
BruceD Offline
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Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18227
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: Lingyis
I don't know, why practice so much scales if you're an adult? I guess it's mindless stuff you can do when you're not playing "actual" music. For improv I guess scales and arpeggios are extremely important.


What does being an adult have to do with the question? If you are at a level where practicing scales, chords, broken chords and arpeggios will help improve your fluency, evenness and control, then that is what you should practice. Scales don't have to be practiced mindlessly, either; in fact, they shouldn't be practiced as a mindless exercise.

One other side to the question is this: practicing just a scale passage from a work does not necessarily enhance your facility and control at all points on the keyboard. One advantage to practicing four-octave scales in parallel and contrary motions is that it helps to improve proficiency all over the keyboard.

I know the answer to that is: when I need to practice a passage at an extreme end of the keyboard, then I'll practice it, but if I don't need it, why work on it until I do?

I have heard pianists playing scales, not mindlessly, but as studies in dynamics, speed and endurance, and wish I could play them that impressively. Someone who can play through scales with speed, evenness and complete control gives me the sense that s/he has complete mastery of the keyboard and is well equipped to tackle much of the standard repertoire.

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#2312708 - 08/08/14 12:03 AM Re: Scales in Thirds/Sixths and Contrary Motion? (And WTC) [Re: GifGaffeGiraffe]
leel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/07/13
Posts: 68
Loc: Lacey WA
For the great unwashed and uninformed pretty much a new player :o, please tell me what the WTC is

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#2312711 - 08/08/14 12:14 AM Re: Scales in Thirds/Sixths and Contrary Motion? (And WTC) [Re: leel]
Damon Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6223
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: leel
For the great unwashed and uninformed pretty much a new player :o, please tell me what the WTC is


Well Tempered Clavier (Bach)
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#2313646 - 08/09/14 11:41 PM Re: Scales in Thirds/Sixths and Contrary Motion? (And WTC) [Re: DanS]
Art_Vandelay Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/13/14
Posts: 127
Loc: Stillwater, OK
Originally Posted By: DanS
[quote=GifGaffeGiraffe]
Additionally, are you supposed to practice melodic minor scales in contrary motion as well?


It's advanced, but it's not as hard as you might think, if you work your way up to it. It all depends on what you want to learn.

I find 10th easier than 3rds. 6ths are the most difficult. You should learn them all.



Originally Posted By: TwoSnowflakes




Weird, I usually find sixths the easiest. Thirds are fairly easy, but difficult to get sounding good, cause the intervals are so close together. If you don't voice the left hand, it will sound like a muddy mess.

If it's a scale I haven't worked on a lot, I find tenths more difficult, cause I can't see what both hands are doing, but of course they sound more pleasing acoustically.
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#2313657 - 08/09/14 11:57 PM Re: Scales in Thirds/Sixths and Contrary Motion? (And WTC) [Re: GifGaffeGiraffe]
Art_Vandelay Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/13/14
Posts: 127
Loc: Stillwater, OK
Btw, Lola Astanova is incredible, and her playing's not bad either. Can't believe I haven't seen her videos before.


Edited by Art_Vandelay (08/10/14 04:18 AM)
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