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#483183 - 09/14/01 10:37 AM Mozart problem
Rachelle Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/18/01
Posts: 38
Loc: singapore
I have been trying to play Mozart pieces like Sonata K533 and find many problems trying to master the piece. And I sometimes wonder if if it is too diffcult for my standard, as I have started learning piano four years ago.
I am trying to get into more serious pieces but encounter many diffcultes,like rhythm and certain parts need to run fast and I find myself lacking co-ordination. I would like to know if there are others in the forum playing Mozart pieces and like to know how long you take to master a sonata?,like just for one movement. I find myself to dependant on CD and unable to interpret well.

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#483184 - 09/14/01 11:20 AM Re: Mozart problem
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5484
rachelle,
take it a bit easier on yourself. mozart sonatas are very--and deceptively!--difficult. i'm now on my second one, and i never did "master" the first one!

for me, the key to improving my mozart sonatas has been

1. to play extremely slowly, so slowly that my counting and dynamics are always precisely correct and my hands are always prepared and in position to play the next notes. do this regularly, even after you know the piece fairly well, and it will stregnthen your ability to play smoothly through all the sections. use a metronome.

and 2. to use one hand or the other as a "metronome" for the other. this is a bit difficult to explain without looking at the score together, but basically, on those difficult run parts, you take the hand that has the most automatic part and let it go do its thing while using it as a benchmark to keep you in place with the other hand.

hm, i didn't explain that very well. perhaps someone else here can do it better.
_________________________
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#483185 - 09/14/01 01:54 PM Re: Mozart problem
Mat D. Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 512
Loc: Sterling Heights, Michigan
Pique is correct, I find 'fingering' Mozart very difficult for some reason; it doesn't fall under the fingers like Chopin, though theoretically, many of Chopins pieces are much more difficult.

Keep at it, as we all try to do--that is the key!

Mat D.

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#483186 - 09/14/01 03:20 PM Re: Mozart problem
CrashTest Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/01
Posts: 4111
Mozart is perhaps the hardest composer to interpret correctly. You must not just memorize the notes and listen to CD's, but you must study (emphasis on study) the piece, all relationships and technical problems.

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#483187 - 09/14/01 06:37 PM Re: Mozart problem
Brendan Online   content



Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5331
Loc: McAllen, TX
 Quote:
Originally posted by Mat D.:
Pique is correct, I find 'fingering' Mozart very difficult for some reason; it doesn't fall under the fingers like Chopin, though theoretically, many of Chopins pieces are much more difficult.

[/b]


I think that fingering matters just as much in Chopin as it does in Mozart. In some of the lighter pieces such as the waltzes, sections of the scherzi (especially #4) and some of the etudes, the graceful character and feathery sound that Chopin achives are a direct throwback to Mozart (whom Chopin admired). As with a Mozart sonata or rondo with similar passagework, smooth fingering is of prime importance if you want to get an equally smooth sound.

There are, of course, instances where the technique is idiomatic to the time period (parallel octaves and weight technique), but in general I feel that good fingering is of equal importance in order to successfully play both composers.
_________________________
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#483188 - 09/14/01 11:39 PM Re: Mozart problem
Nina Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 6467
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Hi Rachelle:

I find it useful to start slowly and count out loud, and always start with hands alone (that is, right hand alone, left hand alone, then put together). Another great tip I got from one of my teachers helps me a lot with fingering some of those long "gooseberry" passages. Start slow, and play around with different rhythms, like short-short-long, short, long, short, long-long-short, etc. This really helps me to get the notes under my hands. Once I no longer have to sight-read so heavily, I find I can concentrate a lot more on interpretation (and of course, the correct timing!). I hope this makes sense-- it's sort of hard to explain.

Nina

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#483189 - 09/15/01 01:48 AM Re: Mozart problem
Mat D. Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 512
Loc: Sterling Heights, Michigan
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Brendan:
[QB]

I think that fingering matters just as much in Chopin as it does in Mozart

Brendan,

I didn't mean to imply that fingering is not as 'important' in Chopin as Mozart---it is important in ALL music! I meant that I find that fingering of some of Mozart's music more difficult (especially to memorize). Chopins music feels more natural under the hand IMO---in other words, the fingering comes more naturally in Chopin than Mozart-----for me, anyway.

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#483190 - 09/15/01 11:50 PM Re: Mozart problem
Rachelle Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/18/01
Posts: 38
Loc: singapore
It seems to me that all of you like Chopin and I want to know any pieces that are interesting and not too diffcult to master.
I have not been exposed to Chopin . I find Mozart pieces are very tune-catchy and like to know more about Chopin pieces.

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#483191 - 09/16/01 02:42 AM Re: Mozart problem
jgoo Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/23/01
Posts: 3974
Loc: Seattle, Washington, USA
Chopin is very nice to listen to (he is my favriote composer) but most of his pieces are difficult to play. You need good fingering skills to quickly move around the keyborad and to hit all the big chords. If your looking for a good peice by Motzart that is not too difficult to play, try the Sonata No. 15 in C Major K.545. This is an easy Mozart peice to play. Another one of a bit more moderat difficulty is Mozart's Fantasia in D minor. This is a very beautiful peice.

[ September 16, 2001: Message edited by: jgoo ]
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#483192 - 09/16/01 09:10 AM Re: Mozart problem
Amy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/07/01
Posts: 433
Loc: Upstate New York
Try some Chopin noctures or the waltz in C# minor
_________________________
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*Visit my page! http://www.expage.com/pianopalace

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#483193 - 09/16/01 10:20 AM Re: Mozart problem
magnezium Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 722
Loc: Singapore
yeah the nocturnes are best. some like the Op. 37/1 in G minor, the posthumous C minor, C Sharp minor and the Op. 72/1 in E minor aren't too difficult and they are extremely beautiful... some of the preludes are also fairly easy and musical as well, like Op. 28 No. 4 in E minor and the No. 6 in B minor... just start playing one piece and u should be hooked on Chopin...=]

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#483194 - 09/16/01 04:28 PM Re: Mozart problem
Rick Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/01
Posts: 559
Loc: Chicago
Yes, I agree very much with what Pique said about using a metronome. I found that after struggling with Mozart's K545 sonata for months, using the metronome (per teacher's advice) at a fairly slow clip really helped me improve. BTW, I don't find the K545 as easy as people say. I still haven't totally perfected it, while I've nearly "perfected" several Chopin pieces, including Nocturne 55-1 and also Brahms' most famous waltz. I think (goes back to the metronome advice) the rhythm is the main obstacle with much of Mozart, and maintaining "evenness".

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#483195 - 09/16/01 09:27 PM Re: Mozart problem
MacDuff Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 560
Loc: Southeast, U.S.A.
I usually feel well "over the keys" in Mozart, moving each key to produce the right tone is the tricky bit!

Musically, the notes in Mozart tend to just sit there on the score staring at you, they don't immediately grab you with the same feeling as Beethoven, for example.

Mozart should flow like oil, not pour like grease.

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#483196 - 09/16/01 10:12 PM Re: Mozart problem
Brendan Online   content



Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5331
Loc: McAllen, TX
If I remember, "it should flow like oil" was a phrase that Mozart used to describe how to correctly play legato lines in his compositions. Intersting how we get pristine, brittle interpretations of his music instead...
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#483197 - 09/16/01 11:32 PM Re: Mozart problem
MacDuff Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 560
Loc: Southeast, U.S.A.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Brendan:
If I remember, "it should flow like oil" was a phrase that Mozart used to describe how to correctly play legato lines in his compositions. Intersting how we get pristine, brittle interpretations of his music instead...[/b]


It seems through the late 70s and early 80s, Mozart was played more smoothly connected (and heavily pedalled). About the time the movie "Amadeus" came out, we started to get short phrases and percussive detached notes. Was this to sound more "authentic?"

By the way, have we ever had a debate around here about the meaning of wedge-shaped versus dot staccato in Mozart? Doesn't the wedge-shaped staccato suggest a slight accent and more duration than notes with dots?

[ September 16, 2001: Message edited by: MacDuff ]

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#483198 - 09/17/01 12:40 AM Re: Mozart problem
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5484
"It seems through the late 70s and early 80s, Mozart was played more smoothly connected (and heavily pedalled). About the time the movie "Amadeus" came out, we started to get short phrases and percussive detached notes. Was this to sound more "authentic?" "

i usually don't use a pedal in mozart. it makes it too "heavy". mozart needs a very light touch.

"Doesn't the wedge-shaped staccato suggest a slight accent and more duration than notes with dots?"

yes.

i forgot to mention the part about hands separately! that is a very important aspect. hands separately, extremely slowly, then hands together.

how slowly? as slow as you must go to have all fingerings, notes, dynamics, and counting exactly correct. slow enough so that it is solid under your hand and you are relaxed and confident.

iow: pretty darn slow!

;\)
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#483199 - 09/17/01 05:31 AM Re: Mozart problem
Rachelle Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/18/01
Posts: 38
Loc: singapore
Thanks alot of all the feedback. I have tried playing K545 but have not really master it. As I fell in love with k533 ,I got very fustrated after pratising for quite sometime but unable to play decently. I think that I may want to try Chopin But heard that the pieces have chords that require big hands for one to reach, so if anyone can give any advice on that?

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#483200 - 09/17/01 09:40 AM Re: Mozart problem
Brendan Online   content



Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5331
Loc: McAllen, TX
 Quote:
Originally posted by MacDuff:


It seems through the late 70s and early 80s, Mozart was played more smoothly connected (and heavily pedalled). About the time the movie "Amadeus" came out, we started to get short phrases and percussive detached notes. Was this to sound more "authentic?"[/b]


Possibly...I was but a wee lad in the early 80's, so I can't say for sure. I'll listen to some recordings before and after and see.

 Quote:
By the way, have we ever had a debate around here about the meaning of wedge-shaped versus dot staccato in Mozart? Doesn't the wedge-shaped staccato suggest a slight accent and more duration than notes with dots?[/b]


I agree with the first part. The wedge appears more in Beethoven than it does in Mozart, and I've always interpreted it to mean more attack and a more focused, rigid sound than stacatti notes.

I know there's little comparison between the composers, but Bartok and Messiaen use it almost exclusively to mean that. I can't remember encountering it very much in Mozart...I'll leaf through some Sonatas again one of these days.

[ September 17, 2001: Message edited by: Brendan ]
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#483201 - 09/17/01 10:31 AM Re: Mozart problem
magnezium Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 722
Loc: Singapore
about Chopin's big chords, generally it isn't quite true... some of the more virtuosic works like some Polonaises and the Ballades may have some large chords, but most of his works like the Nocturnes, Waltzes and Mazurkas don't... this shouldn't be a reason not to touch Chopin's music...

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#483202 - 09/17/01 03:15 PM Re: Mozart problem
yok Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/01
Posts: 464
Loc: New Zealand
Rachelle,

If you were unable to play K545 successfully (and that piece is not as easy as it's made out to be) you probably will find it hard to make progress with K533, which is a very hard piece. For a very nice Mozart piece which is not too hard, you could try the first movement of K282 in E flat - the only sonata to begin with a slow movement. Overall, I think K283 in G is Mozart's easiest complete sonata, but it is not his best.

Another idea would be to try a shorter sonata by Haydn, or a sonatina by Clementi or Kuhlau. Many of these are charming and a lot of fun to play and will develop the sort of technique required in Mozart (musically and mechanically) while not being quite so demanding.

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#483203 - 09/18/01 01:41 PM Re: Mozart problem
MacDuff Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 560
Loc: Southeast, U.S.A.
On the staccato issue, I looked at the Broder edition of the sonatas (an early urtext edition), which more or less states there is not really any difference between staccato dots and STROKES. These strokes don't mean the same thing as the wedge in Beethoven. The Broder edition renders everything with dots and doesn't use strokes.

The Vienna Urtext edition retains Mozart's original dots and strokes. I'd have to do more research, but I think dots were used under slurs and strokes appear when no slurs are used. This probably goes back to some old violin bowing distinctions that influenced piano articulation marks.

Now, if anyone brings up pre-Tourte bows vs. modern bows, I'm going to scream!

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#483204 - 09/18/01 05:21 PM Re: Mozart problem
Brendan Online   content



Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5331
Loc: McAllen, TX
So I was thinking the other day about the musicological significance of pre-Tourte bows and their subsequent abandonment, and came up with these vital inquiries which duly pertain to our modern musical society and/or aesthetic:

1. If pre-Tourte bows were still in use, would violists be able to play anything else aside from whole notes?

2. Would violinists still use the piano as a pice of furniture to put their cases on?

3. Might cellists be even a tad more sociable?

4. Would double bass players be less burly and belch less?

5. On second thought, who gives a rat's a$$ about double bass players anyway?

I feel that these issues are quite pressing indeed. Currently, I am in the process of a pre-Tourte revival here at CCM. So far, I've only been mauled by four times!

Edit:
I sure can spell!

[ September 18, 2001: Message edited by: Brendan ]
_________________________
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#483205 - 09/18/01 08:30 PM Re: Mozart problem
MacDuff Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 560
Loc: Southeast, U.S.A.
AAAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH!!!

 Quote:
Originally posted by Brendan:

2. Would violinists still use the piano as a pice of furniture to put their cases on?

[/b]


Not only violinists: I love the story about James Gallway leaving his gold-plated flute on the piano lid and his accompanist unknowingly raising the lid-- swish plunk!

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#483206 - 09/21/01 03:29 PM Re: Mozart problem
Amy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/07/01
Posts: 433
Loc: Upstate New York
I'm learning the Mozart sonata in a minor. I can never remember the numbers. I have only learned the first movement so far and I find it very enjoyable to play. My teacher told me that to make it exciting, I have to have many different characters. I made my different characters by analyzing the dynamics and sound and naming some parts as being a flute, trumpet, cello, or bassoon. I found that when I did that, it made the piece come together nicely.
I find the fingering difficult to make perfectly even. My thumbs always give me trouble. Lately, I've been practicing with a metronome at a slow tempo. I think that is the best way to learn it well.
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#483207 - 09/23/01 02:20 PM Re: Mozart problem
CarolinaSprings1 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/29/01
Posts: 14
Loc: Edmonton, Canada
Rachelle,

I have small hands too so I understand you hesitation about big chords. Here are some of Chopin's pieces that require hardly any large chords and are quite beautiful:

Nocturne Op. 72 No.1
Mazurakas: many of them : Op. 24 No.1
Grande Valse Brillante op 34 no.2
Prelude Op 28 no.3 or No. 8 or 23

Good luck \:\)

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#483208 - 09/25/01 02:33 PM Re: Mozart problem
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5484
Amy, i love your mentioning the part about giving the piece many different characters. i think this is indeed the key to understanding and playing mozart well.

in fact, the best thing you can do if you are interested in mozart interpretation is listen to the operas. then, when you are playing the sonatas, think of the different sections as being like opera characters entering upon the stage. i even gave them names from the mozart operas--here's the bombastic count from "marriage of figaro;" here's the piping voice of papagano from "the magic flute"--etc. it really helps pull it all together!
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now in paperback:


Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey

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