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#500336 - 09/11/08 05:14 PM The hardest thing for you
phanofbeethoven Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/12/05
Posts: 143
What is the hardest technical aspect of piano playing for you (i.e. linear passages, octaves, big chords, dynamic contrast, etc.)? What are you doing to solve this problem?

For me it is octaves. I have quite a rough time playing octaves at rapid speeds. My elbows always get locked up (not so much my left arm but my right arm) and my forearm gets extremely tired.

To solve it I have been playing the octave passage in the first part of the Rhapsody espagnole and practicing sliding up to each octave rather than lifting my hand and moving my forearm to get there. I am also considering taking up the chopin octave etude as an exercise in my warm ups.
_________________________
"Nothing is more intolerable than to have to admit to yourself your own errors."

~Ludwig van Beethoven~

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#500337 - 09/11/08 05:31 PM Re: The hardest thing for you
Janus K. Sachs Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/07
Posts: 1708
Loc: Betelgeuse, baby!
You might want to do what von Bulow did to improve his octaves: play all the Bach two part inventions in octaves.
_________________________
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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#500338 - 09/11/08 05:38 PM Re: The hardest thing for you
phanofbeethoven Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/12/05
Posts: 143
wow! what a great idea! \:\) i'm going to try that right away...i'm serious. Did he even play the ornaments do you think?
_________________________
"Nothing is more intolerable than to have to admit to yourself your own errors."

~Ludwig van Beethoven~

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#500339 - 09/11/08 05:44 PM Re: The hardest thing for you
Janus K. Sachs Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/07
Posts: 1708
Loc: Betelgeuse, baby!
Good question. He probably had to simplify some ornaments, or maybe only the bottom notes of the left hand and/or the top notes of the right hand executed the more problematic ornaments.
_________________________
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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#500340 - 09/11/08 05:48 PM Re: The hardest thing for you
phanofbeethoven Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/12/05
Posts: 143
this is great advice. I never even considered this possibility. Thanks!
_________________________
"Nothing is more intolerable than to have to admit to yourself your own errors."

~Ludwig van Beethoven~

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#500341 - 09/11/08 05:51 PM Re: The hardest thing for you
Janus K. Sachs Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/07
Posts: 1708
Loc: Betelgeuse, baby!
You're very welcome. Just don't push yourself so hard and injure yourself -- remember that the pianos of von Bulow's day had lighter actions.
_________________________
Die Krebs gehn zurücke,
Die Stockfisch bleiben dicke,
Die Karpfen viel fressen,
Die Predigt vergessen.

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

Top
#500342 - 09/11/08 05:55 PM Re: The hardest thing for you
phanofbeethoven Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/12/05
Posts: 143
lol, yeah, i'll try and keep it to one invention/day \:\) . What about you? What is your biggest challenge?
_________________________
"Nothing is more intolerable than to have to admit to yourself your own errors."

~Ludwig van Beethoven~

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#500343 - 09/11/08 05:59 PM Re: The hardest thing for you
Janus K. Sachs Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/07
Posts: 1708
Loc: Betelgeuse, baby!
Probably "conventional" passagework that involves great finger dexterity. Trying to solve it via Dohnanyi's exercises, Mozart, Chopin, etc.
_________________________
Die Krebs gehn zurücke,
Die Stockfisch bleiben dicke,
Die Karpfen viel fressen,
Die Predigt vergessen.

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

Top
#500344 - 09/11/08 07:10 PM Re: The hardest thing for you
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4649
Loc: South Florida
Anything with conventional scale fingering or related that I learned before the age of 18 may be a problem, because everything I played up until the time had faulty fingering (bad teaching).

Anything I play well now, that I also learned before that age of 18, I have had to relearn. This was due to an abolutely horrendous teacher who gave me zero help with any technical problems.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#500345 - 09/11/08 08:41 PM Re: The hardest thing for you
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 3925
Loc: Haverhill, Massachusetts
For me it's playing crossed-hands. For some reason the wiring gets messed up in my head and my fingers get confused!

I can do it, but it takes extra work to make it happen.

John
_________________________
Nothing.

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#500346 - 09/11/08 08:51 PM Re: The hardest thing for you
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
I have problems with trills or even mordents that use the "weaker" fingers, especially in the left hand.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#500347 - 09/11/08 09:39 PM Re: The hardest thing for you
phonehome Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/06
Posts: 921
I have trouble keeping inner melodies evenly shaped in really complex passages.

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#500348 - 09/11/08 09:42 PM Re: The hardest thing for you
phonehome Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/06
Posts: 921
Oh.

What I'm doing to solve this problem:

Absolutely nothing

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#500349 - 09/11/08 09:57 PM Re: The hardest thing for you
Brendan Offline



Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5228
Loc: McAllen, TX
For some reason, my left-hand has felt out of shape lately. I started working on the Chopin-Godowsky Revolutionary transcription (LH alone), and that's been fun and helpful.

Godowsky's transcriptions fit the hand in the most perfect way, it's so wonderful.
_________________________
http://www.BrendanKinsella.com

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#500350 - 09/11/08 10:25 PM Re: The hardest thing for you
Evan70 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/18/02
Posts: 99
Loc: California
For me it's playing a series of changing chords. The more notes, the harder. All those notes! Difficult at slow tempo. Impossible at anything faster than a crawl. Multiple, simultaneous movements of the fingers. It brings the music to a screeching halt. How does one keep track of all those fingerings and notes at the same time?

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#500351 - 09/11/08 11:23 PM Re: The hardest thing for you
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17670
Loc: Victoria, BC
 Quote:
Originally posted by sotto voce:
I have problems with trills or even mordents that use the "weaker" fingers, especially in the left hand.

Steven [/b]
... same problem here! I'm working on the Bach First Partita and the left hand trills in the Praeludium are really a stumbling block to an otherwise acceptable level of performance, so far.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190 in satin ebony
Writing from Paris until 15 May, 2014

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#500352 - 09/11/08 11:24 PM Re: The hardest thing for you
Age_of_Anxiety Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/25/07
Posts: 273
Loc: home
Descending left hand scale passages.

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#500353 - 09/12/08 01:05 AM Re: The hardest thing for you
concertpianist12988 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/24/04
Posts: 343
Loc: NY
 Quote:
How does one keep track of all those fingerings and notes at the same time?
practice.
_________________________
Yundi Li (http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/play.htms?LINK=rtsp://ra.universal-music-group.com/dgg/yundiLi-liszt-W-COVER.rm)

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#500354 - 09/12/08 01:06 AM Re: The hardest thing for you
Loki Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/05
Posts: 1035
Loc: Texas
Ornamentation is my weak area, especially in Bach, Mozart, and Haydn. I can't always get the clarity of sound that I want. I guess I just have to keep working at it.
_________________________
Houston, Texas

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#500355 - 09/12/08 08:02 AM Re: The hardest thing for you
Iain Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/06
Posts: 545
Loc: London, UK
 Quote:
Originally posted by concertpianist12988:
 Quote:
How does one keep track of all those fingerings and notes at the same time?
practice. [/b]
Thinking ahead.

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#500356 - 09/12/08 09:22 AM Re: The hardest thing for you
Silent Thoughts Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/05
Posts: 314
BruceD, it is with that partita I overcame my difficulty with ornaments. I practiced those things incessantly in order to once and for all fix my left hand's inability to move gracefully; after perhaps four months of tortured ornamentation, I finally figured out how to do it smoothly.

With that said, if I go too long without working specifically on left hand ornaments (I use some modified Dohnanyi exercises for this, or I sightread slow Baroque works and improvise embellishments in poor taste just for the practice), they become clumsy again.

The first partita is perhaps my favorite keyboard work of Bach's.

- Silence

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#500357 - 09/12/08 09:26 AM Re: The hardest thing for you
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19099
Loc: New York City
Playing softly and still making all the notes sound.

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#500358 - 09/12/08 09:40 AM Re: The hardest thing for you
Minaku Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/07
Posts: 1226
Loc: Atlanta
Accuracy and consistency. Performing a piece 100% without mistakes, every single time. The repetitive mechanical side of this discipline sometimes eludes me.
_________________________
Pianist and teacher with a 5'8" Baldwin R and Clavi CLP-230 at home.

New website up: http://www.studioplumpiano.com. Also on Twitter @QQitsMina

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#500359 - 09/12/08 09:47 AM Re: The hardest thing for you
Iain Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/06
Posts: 545
Loc: London, UK
 Quote:
Originally posted by Minaku:
Accuracy and consistency. Performing a piece 100% without mistakes, every single time. The repetitive mechanical side of this discipline sometimes eludes me. [/b]
I think you may be either asking too much of yourself, or too little.

By that I mean to get every detail of expression correct (not just playing the right notes, but also at the right time, at the right volume, and for the right duration) is in my opinion impossible to do exactly the same way every time. If you ask of yourself to get the expression right every time, you will quickly find that note mistakes matter less and less, as you realise that they are just symptoms of unclear thinking.

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#500360 - 09/12/08 10:06 AM Re: The hardest thing for you
Minaku Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/07
Posts: 1226
Loc: Atlanta
The technical aspects - that is, hitting the chord, making sure my hand gets down to where it needs to be and back in that split second - are what detract from the artistic performance. I won't always play something the same way artistically every time. What I'd like to have there is that technical foundation that WILL be there at least 99% of the time. Whether that means I need to drill more or approach the piece in a different way, I'm not sure.

I don't care about making little slips here and there. It's large sections (read: lots of big chords, moving at fast tempos) that are a headache for me because my hand span is exactly one octave. To be accurate and consistent is something I really have to work for.

Edit: I suppose if I wanted to be the most clear, I should say that if you listened to me play, and the beginning was great, you wouldn't want to hear "splat splat splat CHORD splat" towards the middle, and then the next time hear "splat CHORD CHORD splat CHORD". I'd like it to be "CHORD CHORD CHORD CHORD CHORD" *TRIUMPHANT* you know?
_________________________
Pianist and teacher with a 5'8" Baldwin R and Clavi CLP-230 at home.

New website up: http://www.studioplumpiano.com. Also on Twitter @QQitsMina

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#500361 - 09/12/08 11:41 AM Re: The hardest thing for you
Mizzle Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/14/08
Posts: 86
Loc: Philadelphia
Ornaments with the weak fingers when the thumb is holding an inner voice. I usually have to spend much more time on these than the surrounding material. When I do chord/voice leading excercises I often add these ornaments, knowing that it is a weak point.
_________________________
"Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once"

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#500362 - 09/12/08 02:01 PM Re: The hardest thing for you
Iain Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/06
Posts: 545
Loc: London, UK
 Quote:
Originally posted by Minaku:
Edit: I suppose if I wanted to be the most clear, I should say that if you listened to me play, and the beginning was great, you wouldn't want to hear "splat splat splat CHORD splat" towards the middle, and then the next time hear "splat CHORD CHORD splat CHORD". I'd like it to be "CHORD CHORD CHORD CHORD CHORD" *TRIUMPHANT* you know? [/b]
It sounds to me like your arm isn't moving fast enough. The only good way to move quickly is to sort of 'throw' your arm. This is because it absolutely must be relaxed (muscular tension will only slow it).

Try to practice throwing your arm between 2 chords without actually playing them until your fingers are absolutely square in the middle of their keys. i.e. play one chord, then throw your hand at the other one and aim to land on it, but don't play it until you have gotten all of your fingers onto their notes (in the middle of the key), leisurely if need be. Rinse and repeat.

You will soon find that you are getting your hand to the chord BEFORE you have to play it, and this is absolutely paramount.

Note that this may not apply in all situations. I think that for instance at the end of Chopin's 4th ballade it may not be possible to prepare all of those chords.

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#500363 - 09/12/08 02:27 PM Re: The hardest thing for you
Minaku Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/07
Posts: 1226
Loc: Atlanta
Well, I'm aware of how to do it. My fingers won't reach and the best way to really get it into my head is to practice the section eyes closed. It's helped a lot, I just need to do it more. My arm and hand preparation is fine.

Like I said, accuracy and consistency.
_________________________
Pianist and teacher with a 5'8" Baldwin R and Clavi CLP-230 at home.

New website up: http://www.studioplumpiano.com. Also on Twitter @QQitsMina

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#500364 - 09/12/08 03:10 PM Re: The hardest thing for you
Iain Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/06
Posts: 545
Loc: London, UK
Well if you are not consistently accurate, to me it either means that physically you are struggling, e.g. your hand is smallish for the piece, or your method of practice needs something.

Presumably you practice with your eyes open but from memory...?

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#500365 - 09/12/08 03:25 PM Re: The hardest thing for you
Minaku Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/07
Posts: 1226
Loc: Atlanta
My hands are small for the piece, so it's already a struggle to get the chords into the hands. I've had to make adjustments, hopefully it won't sound too off. I practice with eyes open and closed, with music and without, pretty much in any way possible.

(I'm sure if my hands were just a teeeeeensy bit larger things would be easier.)
_________________________
Pianist and teacher with a 5'8" Baldwin R and Clavi CLP-230 at home.

New website up: http://www.studioplumpiano.com. Also on Twitter @QQitsMina

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