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#569602 - 05/15/06 06:23 PM Scales in Thirds
DoMakeSayThink Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 58
Loc: Cambridge, UK
Here's the problem:

My Piano teacher would like me to do grade 5 and 6 during the course of the next year(ish). Grade 5 is pretty much alright, but with grade 6 comes the double thirds. I find them impossible! Getting one hand reasonably accurate is challenge enough, and playing hands together I'm playing at less than a third per second, if I want it to be accurate.

Other than repeated practice of scales (which actually I find becomes quite uncomfortable for my fingers before too long), can anyone reccommend some exercises to practice and improve this aspect of my playing?

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#569603 - 05/15/06 06:38 PM Re: Scales in Thirds
phonehome Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/06
Posts: 921
Try isolating the first three thirds, and then the three thirds starting with the second note of the scale. Learn these quickly by themselves, and then try to put them together at a slow tempo. Then work your way up to a quicker tempo

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#569604 - 05/15/06 07:52 PM Re: Scales in Thirds
whippen boy Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 3886
Loc: San Francisco
I find it helpful to have an excercise at the ready whenever I sit down at any piano and have a few moments to warm up.

That means, an excercise so easy you don't need have music or to memorize anything complicated. These simpler, 'portable' excercises become part of my normal warmup routine.

My thirds exercise is this (assume rt hand):

3454
1232

then repeat, for a total of four times. There should be a feeling of steady eighth notes with no breaks. As you get stronger you can make them 16th notes.

First do major, then minor; then go up a half step and repeat major, minor - go through all keys.

The left hand should mirror the right, or for variety you might go in parallel.

The main thought about this excercise is to get the hand accustomed to the feel of thirds, to strengthen, and to increase finger independence.

Do NOT overdo it!
_________________________
Grotrian 225
S&S Hamburg-C
M&H "A" at home

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#569605 - 05/15/06 09:28 PM Re: Scales in Thirds
Varcon Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/15/04
Posts: 1931
Loc: Mount Vernon, Georgia 30445
I might suggest that you get the scales in double notes printed out, i.e., buy a book with them and follow the fingering exactly and very slowly at first. There are various fingerings so your teacher might suggest something that would suit you. But, once you adopt a fingering, stick with it until it becomes second nature to play. Double note scales require a light touch if speed is required.

You do want to make sure the fingers play together so hands alone first and then together might be advisable. The suggestion to do double thirds in the five-finger position first and in all the keys is a very good one! Do that first so you can synchronize your fingers and get the feel of all the positions, both Major and Minor!

You might try to find Moszkowski's School of Double Notes tho it's hard to do! As one of the finest pianists of his day, his technical ideas and exercises are superb! But, as suggested, do some preparatory exercises first and then go for the scales. While you're at it do the minor and major sixths as well. Now that will do something for you!
\:D \:D \:D

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#569606 - 05/16/06 09:03 AM Re: Scales in Thirds
drumour Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/05
Posts: 862
Loc: Scotland
Piano GRADE 6 (out of 8)

SCALES AND ARPEGGIOS (Published by the board) from memory:

Scales:
(i) legato, in similar motion with hands together one octave apart,and with each hand separately, in all keys, major and minor(both melodic and harmonic) (four octaves)
(ii) staccato, with each hand separately in the keys specified in one of the following groups chosen by the candidate (four octaves)
Group 1: C, A, F#, Eb majors
Group 2: G, E, Bb, Db majors
(iii) legato,in contrary motion with both hands beginning and ending on the key-note (unison), in the major and harmonic minor keys of the group chosen for (ii) above (two octaves)

****(iv) staccato, in thirds with each hand separately (fingered 2 and 4) in the key of C major (two octaves)****

Chromatic Scales: legato only
(i) in similar motion witn hands together one octave apart, and witn each hand separately, beginning on any note named by the examiner (four octaves)
(ii) in contrary motion with hands beginning and ending on C with the L.H. and E with the R.H., a third apart (two octaves)

Arpeggios: legato only, in similar motion with hands together one octave apart, and with each hand separately:
(i) the major and minor common chords of all keys, in root position only (four octaves)
(ii) diminished seventh chords beginning on B, C#, D# and E (three octaves)

So "double thirds" no big deal in this case. I copied it out in full in case non-ukers are interested. If the syllabus has changed recently - apologies.

John
_________________________
Vasa inania multum strepunt.

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#569607 - 05/16/06 09:12 AM Re: Scales in Thirds
drumour Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/05
Posts: 862
Loc: Scotland
For interest:

extract, Grade 7

(iv) legato only, in thirds with each hand separately in the key of C major (two octaves)
(v) staccato only, in sixths with each hand separately (fingered 1 and 5) in the key of C major (two octaves)


extract, Grade 8

(iii) legato only, in thirds with each hand separately in the keys of C and Bb majors (two octaves)


John
_________________________
Vasa inania multum strepunt.

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#569608 - 05/16/06 09:12 AM Re: Scales in Thirds
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
345,34,34
123,12,12 repeat going up

for a C major scale for instance, the commas indicating a phrase or wrist movement from down to up with the wrist and hand 'rotating upon the pivotal #3 finger. Brendan at one time printed out a very helpful 1/3rds scale exercise that has helped me immensely that explained this fingering more better. \:\)
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, ├Ľun (apple in Estonian)

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#569609 - 05/16/06 11:47 AM Re: Scales in Thirds
Josh Bish Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/08/06
Posts: 100
Loc: England
Schmitt has some brilliant 3rds exercises in his Op. 16 Preparory Exercises, I think numbers 120 to 130 are 3rds. They have helped my execution so much, I would definately recommend them.

And to repeat what everyone else has said, play them in different keys, but be comfortable with C major first, then try D major, E major, F, G etc......
_________________________
"If there is anyone here whom I have not insulted, I beg his pardon." - Brahms

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#569610 - 05/16/06 12:07 PM Re: Scales in Thirds
sheepdip Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/08/05
Posts: 267
Loc: Oregon
"more better" shame ;\)
_________________________
I'm a fool for Chopin. The biggest mistake in my life......Thinking that fishing was more fun than Bach when I was younger.

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#569611 - 05/16/06 01:33 PM Re: Scales in Thirds
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
I agree. The ABRSM exam thirds are easy - and not much use.

Some pieces (eg Grieg Am concerto) do require a couple of octaves of descending chromatic thirds to be played at high speed. Forget 2:4 fingering for something like this. Such passages are a good technical exercise and would be more relevant in an exam syllabus I feel.

Funnily enough I was trying out some fingering alternatives for playing a scale of thirds within a piece, with my teacher today.

Adrian
_________________________
S&S Hamburg D, Yamaha CLP 280


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#569612 - 05/16/06 03:17 PM Re: Scales in Thirds
drumour Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/05
Posts: 862
Loc: Scotland
"I agree. The ABRSM exam thirds are easy - and not much use."

I know. And then suddenly at diploma level you have to do proper double thirds in all keys, major and both minors and all chromatics - legato and staccato. (All of which, of course, is very useful.)

John
_________________________
Vasa inania multum strepunt.

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#569613 - 05/16/06 04:46 PM Re: Scales in Thirds
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
Fair point. I did Grade 8 at age 14 and then quit! I never did my Diploma - I discovered girls...

However, I am tempted to do it now, some years (OK decades) later, just for the sake of doing an exam!

Adrian
_________________________
S&S Hamburg D, Yamaha CLP 280


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#569614 - 05/16/06 09:00 PM Re: Scales in Thirds
DoMakeSayThink Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 58
Loc: Cambridge, UK
I've got the holy grail of scale books: The Manual of Scales, Arpeggios and Broken Chords. It has (printed) double thirds with 2 fingerings for every key. I've been working my way through it, slowly, one hand at a time.

Thanks very much for all the suggestions. I think I shall have to make a concerted effort to become more fastidious in my practicing, and I'll try the recommended techniques. I've finally found some more motivation, and might get round to practicing a reasonable amount each day, now!

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