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#471990 - 01/11/08 12:51 AM Getting musical ideas from the non-piano works.
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 3925
Loc: Haverhill, Massachusetts
Over the years I've discovered that is sometimes easier to get an idea of how a piece should sound on the piano by listening to a composers non-piano works. In many cases, the composer has incorporated the same idioms into his piano music that he uses in his orchestral or chamber works.

After listening how the composer phrases something, or uses a particular texture against another, I try to bring that out in his piano work.

A good example is Bach. When I play his English or French Suites, I incorporate some of the same phrasing found in his concertos or orchestral suites. The same with Haydn and his piano sonatas. I find a lot of similarity between his string quartets and the sonatas. With CPE Bach, who is new to me, I find his keyboard sonatas to be similar to his symphonies. In Beethoven, especially his later sonatas, I hear a lot of similarities between his piano concertos and his sonatas and string quartets.

Does anyone else do this, or I just crazy as usual?

John
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Nothing.

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#471991 - 01/11/08 01:01 AM Re: Getting musical ideas from the non-piano works.
Matthew Collett Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/04
Posts: 536
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
 Quote:
Originally posted by John Citron:
Over the years I've discovered that is sometimes easier to get an idea of how a piece should sound on the piano by listening to a composers non-piano works. In many cases, the composer has incorporated the same idioms into his piano music that he uses in his orchestral or chamber works.

[...]

Does anyone else do this, or I just crazy as usual?
[/b]
I do find that thinking about how the composer might have scored a certain passage for orchestra/quartet/choir/... can help with interpretation.

It doesn't work so well for Chopin or Clementi though ;\) .

Best wishes,
Matthew
_________________________
"Passions, violent or not, may never be expressed to the point of revulsion; even in the most frightening situation music must never offend the ear but must even then offer enjoyment, i.e. must always remain music." -- W.A.Mozart

212cm Fazioli: some photos and recordings .
Auckland Catholic Music Schola .

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#471992 - 01/11/08 01:50 AM Re: Getting musical ideas from the non-piano works.
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Some of it perhaps boils down laziness. Check out J C Bach's keyboard sonatas. He published 2 sets - op 5 and op 17. He made no concessions to the piano at all. It's just his regular opera style. Mozart learnt much from him.

CPE, on the other hand, would seem to be applying what he's learned through his idiomatic clavichord work. I don't know much of CPE's non-keyboard works though. One excitement - I just received Peter Wollny's Harvard PHD thesis on WF! That'll keep me busy this weekend.

John, I listened to your Mozart again last night. A real joy!
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#471993 - 01/11/08 11:11 AM Re: Getting musical ideas from the non-piano works.
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
not crazy at all John.

one thing i enjoy about my occasional lessons is that i get to hear mr. teacher interpret the piece orchestrally (appropriate because the composer (s) I like writes for multiple instruments and voice.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#471994 - 01/11/08 12:23 PM Re: Getting musical ideas from the non-piano works.
Janus K. Sachs Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/07
Posts: 1708
Loc: Betelgeuse, baby!
John, you're not crazy. This is the sort of thing every musician should do, IMO.

For example, so many people state that if you don't know and understand Mozart's operas, you cannot fully know his works in other genres. I once thought this was rubbish. Then I got to know and love Mozart's operas, and I found out that they're soooo right! You realize that Mozart employs certain gestures and devices to depict certain affects, and then the rest of his works become operas in their own right.
_________________________
Die Krebs gehn zurücke,
Die Stockfisch bleiben dicke,
Die Karpfen viel fressen,
Die Predigt vergessen.

Die Predigt hat g'fallen.
Sie bleiben wie alle.

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#471995 - 01/11/08 09:44 PM Re: Getting musical ideas from the non-piano works.
Tenuto Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 549
Loc: U.S.A.
John, I completely agree. Your fingers can create a mini-orchestra and they can vocalize as well.

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#471996 - 01/12/08 12:05 AM Re: Getting musical ideas from the non-piano works.
Loki Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/05
Posts: 1035
Loc: Texas
It makes perfect sense. There are lots of passages where Beethoven will write piano music in four parts resembling a string quartet, or where Schubert's music will be very similar to his lieder. It makes sense to listen to the other music to understand the piano music.
_________________________
Houston, Texas

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#471997 - 01/12/08 03:25 AM Re: Getting musical ideas from the non-piano works.
Ted2 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/04/02
Posts: 790
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
I listen to a lot of orchestral music too, and I have no doubt it imparts variety and interest to my playing. However, in my case, the correlation is neither direct nor specific with regard to composers, pieces or instruments. Over time, a general imaginative effect gets into the unconscious, then finds its own way out during playing via increasing diversity of touch, accent and figuration. It is far from a deliberate or conscious process for me.
_________________________
"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" - Aleister Crowley

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#471998 - 01/12/08 03:33 AM Re: Getting musical ideas from the non-piano works.
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
I spent 15 years of my youth playing oboe in fairly high standard youth orchestras. I often forget many pianists have never made music this way. Beethoven for me is an orchestral composer. I still remember my delight as a teenager in discovering Mozart had actually written music for the piano!
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#471999 - 01/12/08 08:24 AM Re: Getting musical ideas from the non-piano works.
Alexander Hanysz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/12/07
Posts: 141
Loc: Adelaide, South Australia
 Quote:
Originally posted by John Citron:
Over the years I've discovered that is sometimes easier to get an idea of how a piece should sound on the piano by listening to a composers non-piano works...Does anyone else do this, or I just crazy as usual?[/b]
No, not crazy. Perhaps more dedicated than many pianists.

But...

Don't stop at listening to those other works: play them! There's a wealth of accompanying and chamber music out there: lieder, violin sonatas, trios... Then there's arrangements: Brahms wrote his own piano duet arrangements of his symphonies, and they're a joy to play; you can find all the Beethoven string quartets in piano duet arrangements. And you can practice your score-reading: learn to play Haydn string quartets and Mozart symphonies off the full orcehstral score...


 Quote:
Originally posted by Matthew Collett:
...It doesn't work so well for Chopin or Clementi though ;\)[/b]
A good perspective on Chopin's music is the operas of Bellini and Donizetti, especially the way they use ornamentation in some of the colaratura arias.

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#472000 - 01/12/08 09:26 AM Re: Getting musical ideas from the non-piano works.
Auntie Lynn Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/04
Posts: 1096
Loc: San Francisco, CA
I use everything! Vocal, solo instrumental and orchestral...go for it!

BTW, that Arthur Pryor stuff for coloratura trombone is excellent...

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#472001 - 01/12/08 07:29 PM Re: Getting musical ideas from the non-piano works.
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 3925
Loc: Haverhill, Massachusetts
Thanks for the other perspectives on this. I guess I'm not as daft as I thought. \:\)

Keyboard Klutz, I'm glad you still like the Mozart. I have to check out JC Bach when I get a chance. I have a few of his sonatas so they should make a good read.

Janus, I discovered Mozart's operas the same way, and I hear a lot of the same ideas in them as well.

Alexander, I've played plenty of orchestral transcriptions. I find that Beethoven's symphonies transcribed for piano are very insightful into his music. I'll have to check out the Brahms two piano works. I've also transcribed (on sight) two-piano works for single piano, like Mozart's piano concertos, and I've sight read through orchestral scores as well. It can be a bit tough when things get beyond the finger/hand range, but it's fun non-the-less.

I also love chamber music, and have accompanied small ensembles and trios. This music gave me goose bumps when everyone was in that symbiotic state as everything flowed together as one being. Right now I have the MMO series of Mozart's piano quartets. (Heaven!)

Thanks Apple for your thoughts on this. My teacher did this for me as well.

Loki, I noticed that Schubert's piano sonatas are like his symphonies. I have some piano transcriptions of his symphonies, and the textures are very similar.

Interesting, Ted. I've never thought of it this way, but I can see where you're coming from. You're not necessarily copying a particular composer, but employing the symphonic effects right at the piano. Hmmm. That gives me some ideas. ;\)

John
_________________________
Nothing.

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#472002 - 01/12/08 08:05 PM Re: Getting musical ideas from the non-piano works.
Loki Offline
1000 Post Club Member

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


Loki, I noticed that Schubert's piano sonatas are like his symphonies. I have some piano transcriptions of his symphonies, and the textures are very similar.

[/b]
I have never listened to the Schubert symphonies, so I can't make that connection yet. When I wrote that, I was thinking more about his Impromptus.
_________________________
Houston, Texas

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#472003 - 01/13/08 02:59 AM Re: Getting musical ideas from the non-piano works.
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
 Quote:
Originally posted by Loki:
 Quote:
Originally posted by John Citron:


Loki, I noticed that Schubert's piano sonatas are like his symphonies. I have some piano transcriptions of his symphonies, and the textures are very similar.

[/b]
I have never listened to the Schubert symphonies, so I can't make that connection yet. When I wrote that, I was thinking more about his Impromptus. [/b]
Well, once you've heard the unfinished you may feel like throwing your Impromptus in the bin.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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