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#442575 - 07/26/07 12:04 AM Octave Gliss?
Mr_Kitty Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/07
Posts: 667
Loc: Toronto
Is anyone here able to pull of a convincing octave glissando? in both hands? in both directions?
I was wondering cause I'd like to do it in the Waldstein 3rd movement. Trouble is, I don't really get how to do them.
Thoughts?

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#442576 - 07/26/07 12:41 PM Re: Octave Gliss?
Per Tengstrand Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/26/07
Posts: 4
Loc: Princeton
That is a good question, and it's a difficult thing to play those glissandos. I'm having a techique seminar on August 6, where the answers are put up on youtube.
http://pertengstrand.wordpress.com/helsingborg-piano-festival/ Could I use your question, maybe? I'm sure it will interest ALL pianists there...

Per

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#442577 - 07/27/07 12:38 AM Re: Octave Gliss?
Mr_Kitty Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/07
Posts: 667
Loc: Toronto
Ask it!
so far the only advice I've been given on how to do them is "don't"!
going inward isn't that brutal, but going outward you'd have to use 3,4 and 5 all at once...
anyone ever pulled these off in rep?

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#442578 - 07/27/07 12:55 AM Re: Octave Gliss?
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8936
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Mr_Kitty:
anyone ever pulled these off in rep?
The Waldstein was the last Beethoven sonata I studied at uni. I played the octave glissandi as written, but I could only pull them off on a light action Steinway. And believe me, it took a lot[/b] of work to get that passage right.

I can do them on my heavier action Yamaha at home, but it is really it a "hit or miss" (so to speak) proposition. I tried them just now... the less said...
_________________________
Jason

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#442579 - 07/27/07 01:34 AM Re: Octave Gliss?
Mr_Kitty Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/07
Posts: 667
Loc: Toronto
lol then you must be a beefcake!
please post vids or recordings!!!

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#442580 - 07/27/07 01:54 AM Re: Octave Gliss?
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8936
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Mr_Kitty:
lol then you must be a beefcake!
please post vids or recordings!!!
Gracias, Mr_Kitty, you're too kind. My mum has a cassette recording of me playing the Saint-Saƫns C minor with second piano, but the sound is gawd-awful and the "other" pianist could have played the orchestral part a lot better. Frankly I don't have the bollocks to upload it and post it here.

Only a few months later -ask Reaper978- I switched from piano to organ and church music. Other members here know about the sheer emotional hell I went through in giving up the professional study of piano, and I simply cannot rehearse this scenario again.
_________________________
Jason

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#442581 - 07/27/07 02:11 AM Re: Octave Gliss?
drudged Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/20/06
Posts: 116
Ah, yes, the Waldstein's octave glissando is an extremely difficult (But physically possible) feat to do. The Waldstein alone is 1/3 of the WAH which makes you pull your hair off (The other 2 being the Appassionata and the Hammerklavier)

You don't have to listen to the people who tell you not to play the glissando and to just play it separately. Because based from my experience, even with heavy yamaha or kawaii action, I could pull these things off, but there was a lot of work involved.

First, do a glissando with both thumbs. The right hand glissando goes down, while the left hand glissando goes up. Pretty easy, eh? Now let's try doing it with the pinky. This is hard, but just slide your pinky through, and DONT do it too hard or else you'll end up in a world of hurt...

Finally, let's combine the two fingers. First of all, when you will begin the glissando, Don't start with a quarter note, but merely a light tough then slide. Let the arm move (With some body help) and let the thumb guide your pinky. As long as your thumb gets a nice glissando, your pinky will automatically follow.

Just remember to keep the arm movement at a constant speed. Don't play it too fast, and don't play it too slow either since both could hurt from a little to a lot. Yes, you WILL experience blisters from the pinky if you overpractice and if it's your first time to do these. But as time goes on, you'll learn how to glissando correctly. Practice is all it takes. ;\) You can do it, I've seen my piano teacher (Who is in her late 70s by the way, hehe) do it, and these are what she told me and I was able to do them. ;\)

And, if it's your first time, don't overdo it because once you feel pain coming from the fleshy part of your pinky, stop...Put cold compress, and when it's well again, resume practice.

Also, I recommend licking your pinky during your early sessions. After you somehow got it, play with scotch tapes. Then when you master it with scotch tapes, remove them. It's a tedious experience but it's worth it. You'll dazzle people around you when they see you sliding your hand through the piano ;\)

Good luck, and hope this helps!

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#442582 - 07/27/07 02:13 AM Re: Octave Gliss?
Mr_Kitty Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/07
Posts: 667
Loc: Toronto
drudged.
thank you.
you must be a wonderful teacher!
scotch tape idea is particularly brilliant!

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#442583 - 07/27/07 03:14 AM Re: Octave Gliss?
Ferdinand Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/23/07
Posts: 945
Loc: California
 Quote:
originally posted by drudged
First, do a glissando with both thumbs. The right hand glissando goes down, while the left hand glissando goes up. Pretty easy, eh? Now let's try doing it with the pinky. This is hard
Glissando with 5th finger alone seems easy, but thumb is hard. I've never seen an octave glissando executed. How do you position the thumb? Do you flex the last joint so the nail touches the keys, or is the thumb straight and touching the keys as it normally does?

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#442584 - 07/27/07 04:30 AM Re: Octave Gliss?
drudged Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/20/06
Posts: 116
For doing it with the thumb, make sure that you use your nail, and not the fleshy part ;\)

For the fifth finger, it is the fleshy part.

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#442585 - 07/27/07 04:34 AM Re: Octave Gliss?
Loki Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/05
Posts: 1035
Loc: Texas
www.medici-arts.tv

i personally cant help you with the question, but watching nelson freire's live performance of this piece might help. just thought id throw that out there. (props to opus119 for sharing the link)
_________________________
Houston, Texas

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#442586 - 07/28/07 03:57 AM Re: Octave Gliss?
Ferdinand Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/23/07
Posts: 945
Loc: California
Loki, thanks for the link to Nelson Freire and the Waldstein. Good performance. But it looks like he didn't really play an octave glissando - I think he did one-finger glissando and a simultaneous scale with the other hand.

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#442587 - 07/30/07 04:55 PM Re: Octave Gliss?
Loki Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/05
Posts: 1035
Loc: Texas
sorry, im not familiar enough with the third movement to know the part kitty was talking about.

_________________________
Houston, Texas

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#442588 - 03/17/08 10:20 AM Re: Octave Gliss?
LuPianist Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/13/08
Posts: 2
Loc: Brazil
In fact, Nelson Freire didn't play the octave glissando exactly, but there is a video in YouTube in which Claudio Arrau plays it. The links are:

http://br.youtube.com/watch?v=ztIT9RLuhD4

http://br.youtube.com/watch?v=nMaKH9dVkBs

http://br.youtube.com/watch?v=1qW2z5xd9yM

(the video has three parts, for the whole work). In the third part at 6:24, we can see it. In fact, this recording is a little bit slow, in my opinion, but still is a great interpretation.

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#442589 - 03/17/08 10:31 AM Re: Octave Gliss?
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 3925
Loc: Haverhill, Massachusetts
 Quote:
Originally posted by argerichfan:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Mr_Kitty:
anyone ever pulled these off in rep?
The Waldstein was the last Beethoven sonata I studied at uni. I played the octave glissandi as written, but I could only pull them off on a light action Steinway. And believe me, it took a lot[/b] of work to get that passage right.

I can do them on my heavier action Yamaha at home, but it is really it a "hit or miss" (so to speak) proposition. I tried them just now... the less said... [/b]
You hit the nail on the head here. Beethoven's pianos had a very light action. At the Frederick Collection in Ashburnham, www.frederickcollection.org , there are pianos there dated from the time around Beethoven, or slightly afterwards. Patricia Frederick, who is a wonderful pianist, demonstrated the octave glissando showing how easy it was to do on those pianos. The keys are even beveled make it easy to glide over them!

John
_________________________
Nothing.

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#442590 - 03/17/08 11:01 AM Re: Octave Gliss?
playliszt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/01/06
Posts: 450
Loc: Oh/Fla
...and the Octave on those period pianos was only about 7/8's the distance it is on a modern piano?

We get much more sound fullness and richness out of the modern instrument, but there is a price (no pun) we pay for it.

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#442591 - 03/17/08 11:42 AM Re: Octave Gliss?
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 3925
Loc: Haverhill, Massachusetts
 Quote:
Originally posted by playliszt:
...and the Octave on those period pianos was only about 7/8's the distance it is on a modern piano?

We get much more sound fullness and richness out of the modern instrument, but there is a price (no pun) we pay for it. [/b]
Very true, but the keyboard size doesn't matter so much as the lightness. As you said there's that price we have to pay for heavier actions and louder pianos. ;\)

John
_________________________
Nothing.

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#442592 - 03/17/08 12:04 PM Re: Octave Gliss?
Guendola Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/06/08
Posts: 39
Hmmm, I think the main challenge is to learn glissando at all, then figure out the correct timing and have a very controlled arrival at the finishing chord.

When I play glissandi I have the involved fingers vertically above the keys. There is no need to depress the keys completely, they get enough momentum by a light touch when you "sweep" them. Only the first key has to be pushed down. Once you understand this, your fingers won't hurt, even if you don't use the nail of the finger or play an instrument with heavy action. For the octaves, hold thumb and 5th finger as if you wanted to grab the keys in between. It worked fine for me right away and this is the first time I ever tried an octave glissando.

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#442593 - 03/17/08 02:44 PM Re: Octave Gliss?
yok Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/01
Posts: 464
Loc: New Zealand
Can't help on how to do it, but the best octave glissando I've ever seen was by Stephen Kovacevich in the first movement of Beethoven C major concerto. It was as even and in time as if played with two hands. I guess this one is slightly easier than the Waldstein because you can sit on the first octave and get anchored on it. Kovacevich really dug in and dropped the wrist on that one. He also sits really low - maybe this helps?

One of Moritz Rosenthal's party tricks was a black key octave glissando. He used to use it at the end of Chopin 10/5.

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#442594 - 03/17/08 02:47 PM Re: Octave Gliss?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
Has anyone encountered octave glissandi in music before Beethoven?
_________________________
Sam

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#442595 - 03/17/08 02:55 PM Re: Octave Gliss?
Jan-Erik Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/18/05
Posts: 1302
Loc: Finland
Not being able to do the glissando myself, I dare say that the Arrau-glissandos were far from perfect.

Glissando occur, luckyly, very seldom in serious music. I think they are dangerous for your fingers and for the action as well (keys getting excessive side motion as a result of vear).

Am I wrong?

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#442596 - 03/18/08 04:50 AM Re: Octave Gliss?
Ferdinand Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/23/07
Posts: 945
Loc: California
You can see an octave glissando, at about 5:30 in this video

Alicia de Larrocha, MTT, LBV concerto #1

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#442597 - 03/18/08 06:20 AM Re: Octave Gliss?
wr Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 8027
 Quote:
Originally posted by John Citron:
 Quote:
Originally posted by playliszt:
...and the Octave on those period pianos was only about 7/8's the distance it is on a modern piano?

We get much more sound fullness and richness out of the modern instrument, but there is a price (no pun) we pay for it. [/b]
Very true, but the keyboard size doesn't matter so much as the lightness. As you said there's that price we have to pay for heavier actions and louder pianos. ;\)

John [/b]
And, perhaps most importantly for glissandi, the actual distance the key traveled (I think it's called key dip) was significantly less, which makes a HUGE difference. Ever played on a fortepiano? On some, it's like playing on feathers, and octave glisses are ridiculously easy.

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#442598 - 03/18/08 06:35 AM Re: Octave Gliss?
wr Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 8027
 Quote:
Originally posted by Mr_Kitty:
Is anyone here able to pull of a convincing octave glissando? in both hands? in both directions?
I was wondering cause I'd like to do it in the Waldstein 3rd movement. Trouble is, I don't really get how to do them.
Thoughts? [/b]
Here's a practice idea: start by sounding only the end-points of the gliss, and very lightly dragging the hand, keeping octave hand-shape, over the intermediate notes without making them sound. Then, very gradually, start adding weight until they begin to sound. Eventually, it'll be the entire gliss, and it'll be fairly even.

Actually, the most difficult thing about the Waldstein octave glisses aren't that they are there, but that they are pianissimo. Even if you can do them as a glissando, a fingered substitute may be the best solution to keep it really quiet and well-controlled enough to get that little stop in the middle done correctly. And, too, don't forget that Beethoven didn't actually specify a gliss in his manuscript, but just indicated a fingering of 1 and 5 for all the octaves, which people seem to have assumed means a gliss, but I think could conceivably have meant very fast octaves executed via a very small bouncing motion. But then, without a piano of his era to test that theory out on...

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#442599 - 03/18/08 07:21 AM Re: Octave Gliss?
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5429
Loc: Europe
I'll be honest here. I've also played Waldstein in my diploma examsn/audition (which was 7 years ago) and I don't recall any glissando. :$ I'm embarassed of that and don't have a score to see it, but is it glissando? I really don't remember it...

Any online score to check that page at least, please? It should fall right into the educational purpose of sharing, so no copyright issue, and I'm asking only for that page. And I have the scores (the Blender edition I believe) back in Greece. \:\)
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#442600 - 03/18/08 08:12 AM Re: Octave Gliss?
Jan-Erik Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/18/05
Posts: 1302
Loc: Finland
Once again we see how this trendy heavy action sets limits to what we can perform.

I cannot understand how anyone can prefer a heavy action to a light - and that seems to be the case, according to earlier discussion.

(Because some pianos fro some reason (bad design, poor finish) are heavier than others to play on, you must exercise on a heavy action, hence you get more used to a heavy action and cannot longer control a light action. A bad spiral....)

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#442601 - 03/18/08 08:49 AM Re: Octave Gliss?
Numerian Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 1075
The coda of the third movement has what are often printed as C major runs an octave apart, meant to be played rapidly at pp. I don't have access to an online score but someone will probably post the page here. They are easy to find in the score. Depending on the editor, they are either labeled gliss. or fingered 1/5 as mentioned by wr above.

Up to 90% of the trick to doing them is getting the right piano action. John Citron mentioned the Frederick Collection and I have tried the circa 1805 piano there that was once in the Esterhazy palace and probably used by Beethoven for performance. The glissandi were very easy to perform because, as he pointed out the action is very light and the beveling of the keys removes some impedance. The very shallow key dip also seems to help, in my opinion.

I was quite shocked one day playing the Waldstein on my Fazioli that I could do these glissandi at tempo quite easily, whereas on my previous instrument (a Bosendorfer) it would have been painful to try. This particular Fazioli has been modified with a Stanwood Touch Design and while it is not noticeably light, it does allow for extremely rapid passage work, cadenzas and so forth, with easy control over dynamics. Since discovering this I've been playing a lot of classical and early Romantic literature (Beethoven, Weber, Schubert, Hummel) because these pieces now make so much more sense and are such a delight to play. Debussy and related literature of that period is also great fun because of the black key glissandi that you can do. I've noticed most modern Faziolis have actions set up this way, and I've seen the same possibilities on some Steinway D's or instruments with Stanwood modifications.

If I were to see a concert pianist perform these glissandi properly my first reaction would be "Wow, what a great piano they have and who is their technician?" Similarly, no student in a competition should be marked down for performing these glissandi the usual way with two hands, at a moderate speed.

By the way, once you get the right piano set up the glissandi are easy to do, but maintaining the held note from octave to octave that Beethoven requires is still a tricky thing to accomplish.

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#442602 - 03/18/08 10:29 AM Re: Octave Gliss?
Jan-Erik Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/18/05
Posts: 1302
Loc: Finland
The heavy piano action - discussed before and having many supporters - is clearly is showing its disadvantages.

Although actions are generally heavier nowadays there are big variations. You still find pianos with nice light action.

Mostly the heavy action is chosen because some pianos have heavy action (bad design or poor finish) and thus you must exercise on a heavy action and hence you get used to the heavy action. A bad spiral!

Perhaps compositors should use more octave glissandos - it might have a beneficial effect on pianos' construction.

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#442603 - 03/25/08 12:33 AM Re: Octave Gliss?
blacvi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/11/07
Posts: 48
I think that if you can't remember it, you probably haven't played it. =p

The glissando, I mean.

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#442604 - 03/25/08 07:00 PM Re: Octave Gliss?
Palindrome Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3916
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Nikolas:
I'll be honest here. I've also played Waldstein in my diploma examsn/audition (which was 7 years ago) and I don't recall any glissando. :$ I'm embarassed of that and don't have a score to see it, but is it glissando? I really don't remember it...

Any online score to check that page at least, please? It should fall right into the educational purpose of sharing, so no copyright issue, and I'm asking only for that page. And I have the scores (the Blender edition I believe) back in Greece. \:\) [/b]
It's just the passage with octave scales near the end of the final movement. Beethoven doesn't write "glissando," but the music seems to cry out for it. (Well, perhaps that's a bit of an exaggeration.)
_________________________
There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians

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