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Topic Options
#596918 - 06/07/04 01:09 PM Freshening up techniques
Ollie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/14/01
Posts: 78
I am OK player and such training as I have had is classical. I was discouraged by my teacher from playing 'by ear' and so this facility was never developed. My difficulty now is that in respect of church music (organ and piano) I probably adhere too closely to the written music (as if were sitting a practical exam). My music therefore is very correct but perhaps a little boring and predictable. 'Ear players' certainly think so. Any tips to liven up the music? A good keyboard course you can recommend?

Ollie

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#596919 - 06/07/04 05:31 PM Re: Freshening up techniques
neciebuggs Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/30/04
Posts: 620
Loc: Chula Vista
I have a similar type of "disadvantage". My friend, a professional pianist (jazz... but accomplished classically) told me to transcribe... IE... play what you hear... use a recording... listen, breath it in, pick out the patterns then try to play it. Windows media (LATEST EDITION) can slow down the recording without changing the pitch, so you can hear it better. I have done a couple songs... and granted i still am not up to snuff on playing by ear... i am much better. One thing I can do is sit down and play nursery rhymes and ad left hand comping... without music ... my kids love it... and it gets my ears and brain going...

just some ideas... may or may not work for you
_________________________
Denise

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#596920 - 06/07/04 10:49 PM Re: Freshening up techniques
aerlinndan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/01/04
Posts: 47
Loc: Florida
Ollie, have you ever tried composing a piece of music of your own? I find that composition is a good way to get creativity flowing. If free improvisation does not work for you, composing may do the trick. It helps you begin to see yourself as a creator of music, not just an interpreter, and the skill surely spills over into playing pieces from the repertoire.

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#596921 - 06/08/04 02:27 AM Re: Freshening up techniques
RKVS1 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/01
Posts: 3192
Loc: Topeka, Kansas
I haven't read this entire thread yet, but usually new underwear and a little squirt of cologne works for me, if not for those around me. If its Wendnesday, I might go ahead and shave, as well.

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#596922 - 06/08/04 11:03 AM Re: Freshening up techniques
Ollie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/14/01
Posts: 78
Denise and Aerlinndan, thanks for your thoughts. I have tried a little composing. However, there seems to be a 'sameness' about each peice I try. I think what is lacking primarily is for my left hand to be doing something more exciting than arpeggios.

Ollie

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#596923 - 06/08/04 11:04 AM Re: Freshening up techniques
Mikester Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/17/04
Posts: 1254
Loc: Minneesooota
Sit down with your music and write a story out of it. Tragedy, comedy, drama, thriller.... doesn't matter, just don't make it boring. Tell the story with your hands and piano keys instead of with your mouth and hand gestures.

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#596924 - 06/08/04 11:25 AM Re: Freshening up techniques
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
I took a improvisation workshop from a church organist and learned some techniques I would never have thought of on my own... never. I also bought the following and it saves so much time to have techniques handed to you on a silver platter.

http://www.giamusic.com/scstore/P-3890.html

I found the information to far extend the scope of the liturgical arena.....definitely more options than arpeggios
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#596925 - 06/08/04 02:20 PM Re: Freshening up techniques
neciebuggs Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/30/04
Posts: 620
Loc: Chula Vista
Ollie, Its funny, all the pieces I have "made up" have arpeggios too... I have tried doing a little "stride" nothing too complicated though.. but my left hand is beginning to get a bit more variety.

You really sound like where I was last year... and im not to far from it right now!

I have been on and off, learning different chord progressions... and one thing I find really enriching and fun to do... is just use the chord progression and inprovise on it... it may sound good, it may sound icky... and i always have manuscript paper near by, on the rare occassion I REALLY like the phrase, because, with one day and a little more knowledge, and a little more faith in myself, I may actually build on it!

I love music... wish that never put it on the back burner... I lost 17 years... At least now I know I want to make it "my own" so to speak... I want to get past the point of being dependent on sheet music. I am taking lessons at the community college in applied piano... and love it! I may try to find a jazz player when I am done with my AS (december) and concentrate on improv. I love classical, its my passion, but I would love to sit down with a lead sheet or a fake book and make it sound good... not just chords and melody.

Good luck! Keep me posted if you find anything that works!!
_________________________
Denise

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#596926 - 06/08/04 08:20 PM Re: Freshening up techniques
Ollie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/14/01
Posts: 78
 Quote:
Originally posted by apple:
I took a improvisation workshop from a church organist and learned some techniques I would never have thought of on my own... never. I also bought the following and it saves so much time to have techniques handed to you on a silver platter.

http://www.giamusic.com/scstore/P-3890.html

I found the information to far extend the scope of the liturgical arena.....definitely more options than arpeggios [/b]
Apple,

Thanks. They don't give very much information on the course on the website. I assume it was worth the $40?

Ollie

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#596927 - 06/08/04 08:24 PM Re: Freshening up techniques
Ollie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/14/01
Posts: 78
 Quote:
Originally posted by neciebuggs:
Ollie, Its funny, all the pieces I have "made up" have arpeggios too... I have tried doing a little "stride" nothing too complicated though.. but my left hand is beginning to get a bit more variety.

You really sound like where I was last year... and im not to far from it right now!

I have been on and off, learning different chord progressions... and one thing I find really enriching and fun to do... is just use the chord progression and inprovise on it... it may sound good, it may sound icky... and i always have manuscript paper near by, on the rare occassion I REALLY like the phrase, because, with one day and a little more knowledge, and a little more faith in myself, I may actually build on it!

Good luck! Keep me posted if you find anything that works!! [/b]
Sounds like we came from the same mould, Denise \:\) . I think I am going to check out the course apple mentioned. I will keep you posted.

Ollie

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#596928 - 06/08/04 09:52 PM Re: Freshening up techniques
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
 Quote:
Originally posted by Ollie:
 Quote:
Originally posted by apple:
I took a improvisation workshop from a church organist and learned some techniques I would never have thought of on my own... never. I also bought the following and it saves so much time to have techniques handed to you on a silver platter.

http://www.giamusic.com/scstore/P-3890.html

I found the information to far extend the scope of the liturgical arena.....definitely more options than arpeggios [/b]
Apple,

Thanks. They don't give very much information on the course on the website. I assume it was worth the $40?

Ollie [/b]
I bought the book only and thought it worth 24$.. definitely... It covered much I did not know. She writes excellent challenging arrangements of churchmusic and is an excellent musician herself. She came well recommended. I am pretty slow to spend more than 4 dollars on anything.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#596929 - 06/09/04 09:06 AM Re: Freshening up techniques
Ollie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/14/01
Posts: 78
apple,

Sorry to be a pest but are the techniques and knowledge you gained transferable to any peice or do you simply learn new ways to play certain peices?

Ollie

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#596930 - 06/09/04 09:21 AM Re: Freshening up techniques
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
no definitely transferable... In fact the workshop I went to was conducted by a student of hers. Her methods are concretely presented, well illustrated or exampled.

Here are some examples:

-add "1" extra note to your chord thru the piece... i.e. every add a 6 (A note in the key of C) every time you play C major ... you can get more complicated by adding a 6 to some other chords.

- accompanying melody with the left hand playing 3rds or 6ths up and down the keyboard in little patterns... sounds weird, but sounds great.

- the use of grace notes in the melody line

- create ostinato patterns to play under or over a melody..

- using the middle pedal to play bass notes (actually a excellent thing to practice for piano accompaniment)

- how to change into a relative minor key

-how to play in different composer styles..


This book is very good, ...lots of examples.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

Top
#596931 - 06/09/04 11:34 AM Re: Freshening up techniques
RKVS1 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/01
Posts: 3192
Loc: Topeka, Kansas
A lot of Broadway musical numbers will have a particular extended chord (or differing extensions to the same basic chord) that is repeated throughout the song as a 'characteristic'.
In the (not very well known) verses of Bewitched,Bothered&Bewildered (rogers/hart) there is a 2 bar pattern of d7, G9, e7, A that is repeated 4 times. The first 3 chords (d,G,e) stay the same, but the A is played as A9 first, then A13flat9, then a(minor)7 and am7 again.

This is similar to Apple's first suggestion about adding the 6th, in that there is always "something" about that A chord. (the song is in key of C, so the set of A chords IS the 6th of the scale .. which would be the relative minor of C)..ooee ooee ooee ooee

Her comment about the middle pedal reminded me of another thing you can do to create a little tension, though its different than her suggestion.

If you're playing a " 2, 5, 1 " progression, which is about the most common one that happens, you can play the "rootiest root' in the base for the entire progression, i.e. if the song is in the key of Eb, 2, 5, 1 would be (in the simplest form) fminor7, Bb7, Eb. The 'rootiest root' is Eb ... that's what I meant with that stupid little phrase. :eyeroll: :eyerolls: :pecanrolls: crap! :eggrolls: wtf? :rolleyes: Anyway, play Eb as the lowest note in ALL those chords.

The Eb fits right into the fminor7 and the Eb chord but you wouldn't normally put an Eb in a Bb7 chord cause its the 4th, but with it tucked way down in the base ( 2 octaves, maybe more, below the D in the Bb chord with which it clashes) it doesn't sound quite so dissonant and that constant Eb tone gives an edge to the whole phrase.

I know I've heard this done in church music, but don't remember which songs. Not often though. Cole Porter used it in the trio of "I've Got You Under My Skin" (the triplets part) so maybe that was the religious experience I'm recalling.

Apple, what's an "ostinato pattern"? I know them pesky EyeTalians mean business when they start moving their vowels (around), but I don't know how to spell sostunuto anyway, so is it related to that somehow?

I just love 3rds. There like a 6th sense to me .... a minor miracle. relatively speaking, off course.

There's a guy named Daniel Mason that wrote Yankee Doodle in the styles of Grieg, Tchaikovsky, Brhams, both the French D's (well, maybe Dvorak was Belch, but I know Debussy was French) MacDowell, and Liszt. I can't play it, but the score looks hilarious.

I'll send you a .pdf of it Apple, cause you fawned all over me earlier this morning. \:D


Bob

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#596932 - 06/09/04 11:58 AM Re: Freshening up techniques
Ollie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/14/01
Posts: 78
Apple and Bob,

Thanks ever so much. I am now looking forward to receiving my order. Maybe by Christmas I'll have a new sound!

Ollie

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#596933 - 06/09/04 12:51 PM Re: Freshening up techniques
MusicMagellan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1159
Loc: NY
aerlinndan: excellent advice!!
_________________________
(watch this space)

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