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#411530 - 12/17/07 06:00 PM Chord Attack
David Grant Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 24
Loc: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Can someone please explain clearly how to use the chord attack method as described in "Fundamentals of Piano Practice"?

Preferably it would be great to see a video of the technique in action.
_________________________
Bio: quit Grade 4 RCM in 1992 at age 13. Restarted Grade 4 RCM in 2007 at age 28. Am working towards Grade 8 RCM exam.

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#411531 - 12/17/07 08:36 PM Re: Chord Attack
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 3925
Loc: Haverhill, Massachusetts
I have the download. If you give the page numbers, I could read through it and perhaps explain it.

John
_________________________
Nothing.

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#411532 - 12/17/07 09:43 PM Re: Chord Attack
jazzyprof Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/04
Posts: 2644
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
A "chord attack" is when you play a sequence of notes as a chord. For example, consider the passage below:
Look at the first right hand triplet, E G# C#. What is the fastest way to play this sequence? The fastest way is to play it as a chord with the indicated fingering. In a chord there is zero delay between the notes and so you are playing this triplet infinitely fast. You can then slow it down from infinitely fast by introducing a small delay between the fingers. Chord attacks help to attain velocity. They can be used on any series of notes that can be played as a chord.
_________________________
"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP

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#411533 - 12/17/07 11:55 PM Re: Chord Attack
David Grant Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 24
Loc: Vancouver, BC, Canada
I'd still like to actually hear someone playing the chord (or intervals), then slowing it down and introducing larger spaces between the notes.

Usually when I can't play something fast enough I just break it down into the most difficult intervals or 3-note sequences and try to figure out what the problem is and work on that. Same way I work on a piece, if 2 bars are causing me difficulty I play those over and over again rather than playing the whole piece.

I just don't get how this chord attack helps. I tried doing it and had the instructions in front of me but I couldn't figure it out.

I did try it with a sequence of 4 descending 32nd notes followed by a quarter note that were causing me trouble. I played all five notes as 5 32nd note chords at the same tempo that I would play the 32nd notes broken. It seemed to help, although I think mainly because playing it as a chord forced all my fingers to come down in unison, thus forcing my somewhat slow 4th finger to get some exercise and teaching it to play at that tempo.
_________________________
Bio: quit Grade 4 RCM in 1992 at age 13. Restarted Grade 4 RCM in 2007 at age 28. Am working towards Grade 8 RCM exam.

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#411534 - 12/18/07 01:33 AM Re: Chord Attack
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
I just read C Chang's advice. It seems to boil down to 'dropping' on each note 1 of an Alberti Bass. I may do that sometimes. I got my video camera going yesterday. What would you like illustrating - your Haydn?
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#411535 - 12/18/07 02:27 AM Re: Chord Attack
David Grant Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 24
Loc: Vancouver, BC, Canada
That would be awesome! Although I'm not sure if that is the best example for the chord attack (only because I don't quite understand the chord attack technique). Or maybe it is a good example, as it is quite different from the Alberti bass example Chang and others on the forums have mentioned.

What is "droppong"?
_________________________
Bio: quit Grade 4 RCM in 1992 at age 13. Restarted Grade 4 RCM in 2007 at age 28. Am working towards Grade 8 RCM exam.

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#411536 - 12/18/07 03:41 AM Re: Chord Attack
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
I am having fun with it this morning. To understand early Haydn you need to know CPE Bach. He more or less created this style single-handedly (ha, ha). Haydn said as much himself. CPE once said he could imitate an argument and make it intelligible. That's what this is. Treat it like an opera duet. The runs your having trouble with are the husband (master) complaining/ordering. The thirds in bar 1 are wife/servants laughing at him. I can really hear the laughter.

I've changed the dynamics from bar 17. The A - G - E tune is dad/hubby remonstrating (so mf) the thirds wife/kiddies/servants refusing (so p). Obviously this also means big dynamic changes in the development (after the repeat sign). I know this must sound awfully far-fetched but I'm quite convinced.

Again this isn't much help as I'm sure if you did agree you'd find making the changes difficult. I may get to a music library today. If I do I'll search out an urxtext copy. I'm off on holiday tomorrow for 2 weeks. If I can't video it today I'm afraid you'll have to wait.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#411537 - 12/18/07 04:25 AM Re: Chord Attack
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Well there you go:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sf7-UVt8Bcc

Only a couple of glitches. You see what I mean about it being clavichord music? Even I had strength problems with some trills. Though a few days would have sorted that out.

The spikes (what they call strokes) are accents not staccato though they are that as well. The 2 bar coda I do louder on repeat. Softer to end seems silly.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#411538 - 12/18/07 09:26 AM Re: Chord Attack
jazzyprof Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/04
Posts: 2644
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
Well there you go:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sf7-UVt8Bcc
[/b]
kk: I'm not quite sure I see the connection to chord attacks. Perhaps you could explain a bit more.

DG: This may explain why chord attacks work. There are two components to achieving velocity. The first is mental...thinking quickly what the next notes are. The second is physical...getting your fingers quickly to the next notes. With chord attacks you've practiced thinking of the next cluster of notes as a chord and so you are sensing the entire sequence of notes at once. Next, you've practiced getting your hand in position over that sequence of notes as a chord. This way your fingers are already over the notes they are meant to play when it's time to play them. You don't have to think about getting each finger to its next note: it's already there. Your ultimate speed is then limited by how quickly you can shift your hand to the next sequence of notes, such as the second triplet in the example above, with your hand already formed in its "as if chord" position.
_________________________
"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP

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#411539 - 12/18/07 10:16 AM Re: Chord Attack
drumour Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/05
Posts: 862
Loc: Scotland
I think two very different things are being discussed here. One seems to be a technique for playing chords by dropping on them - I make no comment about that. The other seems to be about a way of practising a broken chord passage by, at some stages of the practising process, playing the notes simultaneously and not broken. I have heard it claimed (I think it was part of Abby Whiteside's woolly thinking) that by doing this you are playing the broken chord at its fastest and that you merely have to "slow this down" to achieve the required effect. This I'm far from convinced about. But, to turn it round a bit, here's a question: how do you expect to play such a pattern as written if you can't produce a rhythmic, in tempo rendition of a block-chord version? By being able to do so, you can be sure that fingers will be there with time to spare for most of the notes.

I would also recommend practising the above passage by taking the non-melody notes together as an interval.


John
_________________________
Vasa inania multum strepunt.

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#411540 - 12/18/07 11:17 AM Re: Chord Attack
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Jazzyprof, no connection I think. As I said earlier 'chord attack' just seem to be using arm weight every beat for Alberti (Chang uses Alberti as an example) and such like. DG is trying to learn a run from his grade 6. I don't think 'chord attack' is going to help.

DG, I checked with an urtext. There are no dynamic markings at all. So, I obviously disagree with your editor.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#411541 - 12/18/07 03:33 PM Re: Chord Attack
David Grant Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 24
Loc: Vancouver, BC, Canada
keyboardklutz: thanks for sharing that! I'm glad the piece has generated some interest. Now I have something to shoot for. I particularly liked your loud/soft variations during the bars 35-46 type of sections. I think the main thing I need to work on is the dynamics and memory, more so than the 32nd notes now (which I can get 80% of the time).

One thing that noticed the other day was that I have an easier time with the 32nd note sequences when my fingers are on the keys, reader to fire. For example bar 14 and 46 I normally find particularly easy. Bars 57 and 64 are the hardest. My teacher noticed that on bar 57 I tend to just move/cross my pink to the D rather than moving my entire hand over to GCBA and thumb on G quickly before playing.

Another thing that has helped has just been repeating these 32nd note sequences over and over again. Also playing just the 543 fingers helps too, since it is the 4th finger that is slow/weak. Somehow just doing 543 help isolate 4 more and forces it to play.

Sheet music for divertimento (from conservatory book, dynamics are the editor's):
http://www.box.net/shared/ibrnli9dgo
_________________________
Bio: quit Grade 4 RCM in 1992 at age 13. Restarted Grade 4 RCM in 2007 at age 28. Am working towards Grade 8 RCM exam.

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#411542 - 12/18/07 03:56 PM Re: Chord Attack
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Bars 57 and 64 you need to lift your wrist (not your hand) a little. The hand will follow. Place the finger 5 on the D with the wrist. If your hand was relaxed (hanging from your wrist) when you 'dragged' it, your fingers will be altogether and on the right keys.

P.S. Can you hear the laughing?
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#411543 - 12/18/07 04:08 PM Re: Chord Attack
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 3925
Loc: Haverhill, Massachusetts
I'm working on this sonata right now myself. I'll post a recording of it as played on the clavichord; bumps and all.

I also have the Urtext edition of the sonatas all without dynamic markings so I've had to come up with some of my own to make the music work.

I think of the 32nd notes as an upbeat to the following measure. This helps to solidify the direction that the hand needs to go in order to play the first beat in the next measure cleanly and slightly stressed to bring it out.

I've used the blocked chords in the past to firm up uncertainties with hand positions. By first playing the passage as chords, your hand gets a feel of where it should be. After I'm comfortable with the positioning, I then go back and play the notes as written. This method is partularly helpful when there are triplet passages such as those in Mozart's Piano Sonata in C-minor.

John
_________________________
Nothing.

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#411544 - 12/20/07 03:45 AM Re: Chord Attack
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
DG, don't miss the John Citron Show:

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?/topic/32/5568.html#000022

Hopefully he PM'd you.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#411545 - 12/20/07 08:29 AM Re: Chord Attack
DestinysPuppet Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/16/07
Posts: 41
Loc: Argentina
I have found that chord attack is useful for those kind of passages because it takes the focus off the fingers. After practising something like that (or an Alberti bass) with chord attack, my hand is able to reproduce it with minimum movement (of the fingers, the hand, etc) but with all of the arm involved (ie, my fingers don't move as much, but my hand and arm are much more involved). Thus, my hand is more relaxed and I can play it at speed without generating tension. As Chang points out, once your arm and hands figure out how you should play it fast, you should reproduce the same movements when practicing slowly. Otherwise it's of no use.

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