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#387706 - 11/12/07 11:35 PM Which era of piano music is the hardest for you?
Loki Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/05
Posts: 1035
Loc: Texas
Which era of music do you guys find the hardest?
Baroque
Classical
Romantic
Impressionistic
Contemporary

Personally, I find Classical music the hardest. In classical music, everything can be heard and there has to be lots of clarity and precision.
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Houston, Texas

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#387707 - 11/12/07 11:41 PM Re: Which era of piano music is the hardest for you?
blacvi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/11/07
Posts: 48
Inpressionistic/contemporary for me. I can't play music unless I "get it." And I definitely don't "get it" with the more modern stuff.

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#387708 - 11/13/07 12:23 AM Re: Which era of piano music is the hardest for you?
Brendan Offline



Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5325
Loc: McAllen, TX
For me, Beethoven is the hardest composer to play. His music almost always reaches beyond my means.

Ugh, I'm actually starting to feel more comfortable working on Ligeti etudes than on Beethoven's first concerto. It simply will not stick[/b].
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#387709 - 11/13/07 12:31 AM Re: Which era of piano music is the hardest for you?
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Bach (but otherwise the era's fine)
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#387710 - 11/13/07 12:41 AM Re: Which era of piano music is the hardest for you?
pianist.ame Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 1166
Loc: Singapore
Bach
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Mastering:Chopin Etudes op.10 nos.8&12 and op.25 no.1, Chopin Scherzo no.4 in E major op.54, Mozart Sonata in B flat major K.333& Khachaturian Toccata

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#387711 - 11/13/07 01:07 AM Re: Which era of piano music is the hardest for you?
Tenuto Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 550
Loc: U.S.A.
I think when you play Bach you've got to have well thought-out fingering, imaginative phrasing, lot's of contrasting staccatos and legatos, and refined dynamics. The rest is spiritual.

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#387712 - 11/13/07 01:16 AM Re: Which era of piano music is the hardest for you?
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
No, it's following his sublime thought that's the difficulty. I wouldn't know about spiritual.
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#387713 - 11/13/07 02:00 AM Re: Which era of piano music is the hardest for you?
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8925
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Brendan:
For me, Beethoven is the hardest composer to play. His music almost always reaches beyond my means.

Ugh, I'm actually starting to feel more comfortable working on Ligeti etudes than on Beethoven's first concerto. It simply will not stick[/b].
Yes, Brendan. I've seen you play Messiaen too.

"Ugh", the Mozart K503 won't "stick" either.

For my own pleasure and satisfaction I've been working on that Mozart concerto. Yesterday evening I almost gave up. The teens on the board will no doubt think it too easy, and the sovereign masters on the board might say "we told you so".

Whatever. I'm stuck in the middle, and there is scarcely a measure in Mozart's divine inspiration that does not pose a severe challenge.

It is very depressing.

At least I'm in the company of Anda, Brendel, Perahia, Uchida, and Argerich who have all successfully negotiated this mine field. I guess perhaps I know it can be done... and good on them...
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Jason

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#387714 - 11/13/07 07:21 AM Re: Which era of piano music is the hardest for you?
Robert Kenessy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/07/07
Posts: 394
Loc: Enebyberg Sweden
For me anything polyphonal, so I guess the hardest on average is baroque.

But I greatly admire (late) Beethoven pieces that also have fugues and fugato parts. I once tried to study Beethovens op. 101 and I could play the notes of the extraordinary development of the last movement, but it was too hard to make music out of it.
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.. it seems to me that the inherent nature [of the piano tone] becomes really expressive only by means of the present tendency to use the piano as a percussion instrument - Béla Bartók, early 1927.

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#387715 - 11/13/07 08:12 AM Re: Which era of piano music is the hardest for you?
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
 Quote:
Originally posted by Brendan:
For me, Beethoven is the hardest composer to play. His music almost always reaches beyond my means.

[/b]
glad you said that..

his hands must have been huge and so strong. it seems to me he thought in orchestral terms with the piano playing all instruments as loud as possible at all times.
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accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#387716 - 11/13/07 08:49 AM Re: Which era of piano music is the hardest for you?
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13811
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Non-German Romantic

I'm more comfortable with Beethoven Op. 101 than most Chopin Preludes. Go figure...
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"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#387717 - 11/13/07 09:49 AM Re: Which era of piano music is the hardest for you?
drudged Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/20/06
Posts: 116
Beethoven basically is a lot harder. In fact, I'd place Beethoven's 1st concerto above Rach 3, Appassionata above Islamey, Hammerklavier above Gaspard De La Nuit, Waldstein above Hungarian Rhapsodies, And his late sonatas above Ligeti/Alkan Etudes.

There is something in his music which seems to be beyond my technical and musical grasps...despite me playing them for a long time now...

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#387718 - 11/13/07 11:20 AM Re: Which era of piano music is the hardest for you?
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
Baroque and Bach. i like Bach, but find his music just so difficult to get under fingers and memorize, and so easy to slip away even if i did memorize some... i think the difficulty with Bach is kind of mental, and it's not entirely technical.

for me Beethoven and Romantic are not mentally difficult but technically, but technical difficulties can be practiced and mastered eventually though... it's still different from what's with Bach.

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#387719 - 11/13/07 11:27 AM Re: Which era of piano music is the hardest for you?
playadom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/21/06
Posts: 1366
Loc: New Jersey
 Quote:
Originally posted by drudged:
Beethoven basically is a lot harder. In fact, I'd place Beethoven's 1st concerto above Rach 3, Appassionata above Islamey, Hammerklavier above Gaspard De La Nuit, Waldstein above Hungarian Rhapsodies, And his late sonatas above Ligeti/Alkan Etudes.
[/b]
I agree with everything except for the Alkan. You should study deeply the score of his etudes.

Disregarding that, Beethoven is some of the best, and deepest music. It is the depth that adds difficulty and that keeps me coming back for more.

For me, Bach is cruel and unusual punishment. But I love it just the same.

I haven't played any contemporary music, so I can't judge the difficulty, but I've seen the score to Ligeti's etudes, and they look wicked.
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Practice makes permanent - Perfect practice makes perfect.

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#387720 - 11/13/07 01:33 PM Re: Which era of piano music is the hardest for you?
iconoclast Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/05
Posts: 389
Loc: Ancramdale, NY
Anything from the Classical period. While they certainly have their moments, I generally don't 'get' Mozart, Haydn, Schubert or Beethoven. You may now gasp in abject horror........

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#387721 - 11/13/07 02:54 PM Re: Which era of piano music is the hardest for you?
gabytu Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/05
Posts: 1522
Loc: Portland, Or.
Bach. I just can't seem to get it memorized. Also, I am so busy trying to remember which fingers to use that the spiritual part of the compostion gets lost. One finger on the wrong key and I am in trouble. Yet, I absolutely adore Bach. Gaby Tu

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#387722 - 11/13/07 07:01 PM Re: Which era of piano music is the hardest for you?
Loki Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/05
Posts: 1035
Loc: Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by gabytu:
Bach. I just can't seem to get it memorized. Also, I am so busy trying to remember which fingers to use that the spiritual part of the compostion gets lost. One finger on the wrong key and I am in trouble. Yet, I absolutely adore Bach. Gaby Tu [/b]
I also have the same problem with memorizing Bach's music. It takes me quite a bit of time to do.

Musically though, haydn and mozart sonatas (not so much with beethoven) will just eat me alive.
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Houston, Texas

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#387723 - 11/13/07 07:05 PM Re: Which era of piano music is the hardest for you?
Anders39 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/13/07
Posts: 188
Loc: Norway
Definately the Baroque-period.
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#387724 - 11/13/07 09:59 PM Re: Which era of piano music is the hardest for you?
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8925
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Typically Mozart gets the short change... as I expected in this thread.

Mozart is really too easy for any consideration here and I apologize for wasting people's time. A fraction of the notes in Rach 3... therefore Mozart must be a walk in the park...

Musical challenges be damned.

But when does the pomposity ever end?
_________________________
Jason

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#387725 - 11/13/07 10:24 PM Re: Which era of piano music is the hardest for you?
Antonius Hamus Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 2230
Mozart, who was he? African maybe. That would explain the Turkish rhythms. He played camel's hide pianos and the viola a little. What did *he* know about anything? Musical challenges, he couldn't even make coffee without dancing on the beans, and tripping...

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#387726 - 11/13/07 10:42 PM Re: Which era of piano music is the hardest for you?
LiszThalberg Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/13/06
Posts: 3288
Baroque is the toughest for me.

I'm a Mozart guy! \:D

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#387727 - 11/13/07 10:43 PM Re: Which era of piano music is the hardest for you?
Loki Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/05
Posts: 1035
Loc: Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by argerichfan:

Mozart is really too easy for any consideration here and I apologize for wasting people's time. A fraction of the notes in Rach 3... therefore Mozart must be a walk in the park...

Musical challenges be damned.
[/b]
The clarity needed for Mozart is just incredible. On top of that, because of the "simpler" (can't think of a better word for it) harmonies in Mozart's music, an audience can hear every little thing.
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Houston, Texas

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#387728 - 11/13/07 10:48 PM Re: Which era of piano music is the hardest for you?
LiszThalberg Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/13/06
Posts: 3288
Mozart is not simple (In my opinion). Although the quantity of notes may be small, the quality and placement of each is what gives each sonata its own charm and dificulty. No note can be left out or misplayed, any unclarity can ruin a sonata. This is intellegent music, this is Mozart.
\:D

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#387729 - 11/13/07 11:09 PM Re: Which era of piano music is the hardest for you?
Jeff135 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/05
Posts: 912
Loc: Oregon
Baroque and Contemporary.

The fugues in Baroque music such as Bach are especially tricky but are good practice for learning to spot hidden melodies and bring them out.

Prokofiev and such composers are difficult because, for one, their music does not follow the typical pattern that previous composers followed. Not only that, but it requires a lot of tricky passages in terms of hand positioning and awkward fingering.

Romantic has always seemed to be my strongest period, I enjoy it the most and I seem to have more of an affinity towards it.
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The clown is watching you.

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#387730 - 11/14/07 08:19 AM Re: Which era of piano music is the hardest for you?
Fleeting Visions Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/06
Posts: 1501
Loc: Champaign, IL
 Quote:
Originally posted by argerichfan:
Typically Mozart gets the short change... as I expected in this thread.

Mozart is really too easy for any consideration here and I apologize for wasting people's time. A fraction of the notes in Rach 3... therefore Mozart must be a walk in the park...

Musical challenges be damned.

But when does the pomposity ever end? [/b]
Ever actually looked at a Mozart score, like his Fantasia in C Minor (Not the K475)... or the K475 for that matter? Monstrous!
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Amateur Pianist, Scriabin Enthusiast, and Octave Demon

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#387731 - 11/14/07 10:11 AM Re: Which era of piano music is the hardest for you?
Janus K. Sachs Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/07
Posts: 1711
Loc: Betelgeuse, baby!
I'll probably shock everyone by saying that I find the Romantic era (with the exception of Brahms, who is part of my pianistic bread and butter, along with Beethoven and Mozart) incredibly difficult. Most of the composers that are usually thought of as "pianistic" (Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninov) I find next to impossible to play. I wouldn't touch any Liszt with a ten foot pole (the B minor Ballade, maybe). I'm starting to make some inroads in Chopin (second Ballade, a few etudes), but it's still a long way ahead.
And let me put in another vote for the difficulties of Mozart. The old saying concerning Mozart and children and adults really is true. Most particularly the piano concerti -- goodness knows how often I had to bear with a typically mechanical performance of those masterpieces! And another thing about Mozart -- if one doesn't thoroughly know his operas (especially from Idomeneo onwards), one doesn't know his rhetoric and his musical syntax, and therefore one cannot truly appreciate and understand his music. Mozart is perhaps my favorite composer of all time, but that only became true when I got to know his operas, and then listening to the rest of his works with new ears.
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Die Stockfisch bleiben dicke,
Die Karpfen viel fressen,
Die Predigt vergessen.

Die Predigt hat g'fallen.
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#387732 - 11/14/07 06:40 PM Re: Which era of piano music is the hardest for you?
Loki Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/05
Posts: 1035
Loc: Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by Debussy20:
Mozart is not simple (In my opinion). Although the quantity of notes may be small, the quality and placement of each is what gives each sonata its own charm and dificulty. No note can be left out or misplayed, any unclarity can ruin a sonata. This is intellegent music, this is Mozart.
\:D [/b]
Well, i didn't mean that the music was simple, just the harmonies (compared to composers of all the other eras). It's this harmonic simplicity that allows every nuance in the performance to be heard, which makes it difficult.

Mozart isn't the only composer with "intelligent" music. Take a look at Bach.
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Houston, Texas

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#387733 - 11/14/07 11:14 PM Re: Which era of piano music is the hardest for you?
Emanuel Ravelli Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/15/04
Posts: 687
Loc: Virginia
It's been more than 35 years since I last brought a Mozart sonata up to something like performance standard, and I still haven't recovered from the experience. My comfort zone lies between Chopin and Rachmaninoff, though Prokofieff, Stravinsky, Messaien and other moderns also get me going. But there is a lightness of touch, a precision of timing and the absolute inability to hide your mistakes in Mozart's piano music that scares me away.

It may be mostly in my head, since I love (and do fairly well) playing Haydn sonatas. But I'm afraid that for me, Mozart will always be a passion enjoyed on CD rather than at the keyboard. Whenever I feel the need of a dose of musical clarity, I play my favorite recordings of the Haffner and Jupiter symphonies, the Requiem, the last 3 violin concertos, any piano concerto from no. 9 up, or sonata performances by Mozart greats like Haskill, Uchida and Perahia. It always does the trick for me, and it saves Mozart the trouble of spinning in his grave. Maybe in the next life.
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Phil Bjorlo

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#387734 - 11/14/07 11:48 PM Re: Which era of piano music is the hardest for you?
Antonius Hamus Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 2230
Gould, the great humanist (may he rest well), got Mozart a self-spinning grave, before em-barking on his Mozart sonata traversal. So it's no trouble, no trouble at all, he would say.

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#387735 - 11/15/07 01:53 AM Re: Which era of piano music is the hardest for you?
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
 Quote:
But there is a lightness of touch, a precision of timing and the absolute inability to hide your mistakes in Mozart's piano music that scares me away.
[/QB]
Yep, the lightness but firmness of touch. But mostly the timing. The more accurate you are the more you hear, then the more accurate you need to be, and so on. With Mozart there seems no end. With Bach it's revelation after revelation.
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