Are there any pianists around here?

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Are there any pianists around here?

#1  Postby Kazaman » Apr 17, 2010 10:55 pm

I've been playing for a few months under two years, loosely following the curriculum of the Royal Conservatory of Music (by loosely, I mean that my teacher and I mostly use other resources for finding compositions to play and that I skip grades: I started in one, obviously, then skipped to four this year and will be in eight or nine next year). Anyhow, my main reason for starting this topic was to ask who among the pianists or classical music enthiusiasts here enjoys Chopin? He is quite possibly my favourite musician (it's a tough call between himself, Bach, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky), whose "Polonaise HéroÏque" I am currently learning. Does anyone have any tips for learning this other than to take it in sections and go slowly?
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Re: Are there any pianists around here?

#2  Postby GenesisNemesis » Apr 19, 2010 4:52 am

I'm not a pianist officially yet. I have, though, skipped a few grades and have come to ignore the grades altogether. I enjoy Chopin, but my favorite composer is Rachmaninov.
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Re: Are there any pianists around here?

#3  Postby THWOTH » Apr 19, 2010 5:38 pm

I tickle the ivories here and there. I had some lessons some years ago, but mainly I just fiddle and work out my own arrangements of tunes from top-line and chords, or by listening to stuff on Youtube. Trying to nail this one at the moment...

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhQgta94IG8[/youtube]


I've also set myself the task of learning 1 of the 32 Goldberg variations a year for the next 31 years (but hopefully the practice involved will see me knocking a few years off that)!
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Re: Are there any pianists around here?

#4  Postby Kazaman » Apr 19, 2010 9:09 pm

@ GenesisNemisis: Have you ever looked at his Prelude in C# minor? I've been considering learning it, but haven't yet arrived to doing so. I like the large, heavy chords which he has in it, along with the variation in the amplitude.


@ THWOTH: I've never really been able to play songs by ear, aside from simple ones like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Mary Had a Little Lamb, etc. It's all muscle memory and sight reading for me. Have you ever listened to Gould's recordings of the Goldberg Variations? He's quite honestly the best at Bach, hands down.
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Re: Are there any pianists around here?

#5  Postby THWOTH » Apr 19, 2010 9:32 pm

Kazaman wrote:@ THWOTH: I've never really been able to play songs by ear, aside from simple ones like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Mary Had a Little Lamb, etc. It's all muscle memory and sight reading for me. Have you ever listened to Gould's recordings of the Goldberg Variations? He's quite honestly the best at Bach, hands down.

Developing the skill of playing by ear is just the same as developing any other skill. Practice, practice, practice! :D One is just associating the muscle memory of the inner ear with the muscle memory of the limbs by repetition. As for the Goldberg; Yes, I have both Gould recordings and swing between the 1955 recording and the 1981 version. I also have what some consider the definitive harpsichord recording by Ralph Kirkpatrick form 1959 (where he plays most of the repeats!), and the more recent Keith Jarrett harpsichord version and András Schiff's beautifully balanced and considered, and beautifully recorded rendition. But I keep coming back to Gould's later recording - not to put the others down, but they just don't speak to me like he does...

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7LWANJFHEs[/youtube]
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Re: Are there any pianists around here?

#6  Postby GenesisNemesis » Apr 19, 2010 11:07 pm

Kazaman wrote:@ GenesisNemisis: Have you ever looked at his Prelude in C# minor? I've been considering learning it, but haven't yet arrived to doing so. I like the large, heavy chords which he has in it, along with the variation in the amplitude.


Yes I have. I've wanted to learn it at one point, but then I realized there are so many other preludes to learn, such as his Prelude Op 23 No. 1 in F minor. Here's a youtube vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xCR3HjYwyw
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Re: Are there any pianists around here?

#7  Postby misanthropic_clown » Apr 19, 2010 11:24 pm

I had lessons when I was younger, but stopped learning formally after a short while. I've kept on playing since then, but in a very loose way where I have made minimalistic progress in terms of playing ability. One of my rather ambitious life goals is to get to the level of being able to play Chopin's Etude op 10 no 12 'Revolutionary' which is one of my favourite pieces. I am miles away and I think I would have to start taking lessons again to help pick up good classical technique since I have no doubt picked up many bad habits, and also my theoretical knowledge of music is very shoddy which I am starting to find quite limiting.
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Re: Are there any pianists around here?

#8  Postby THWOTH » Apr 19, 2010 11:32 pm

This is on my to-do list as well... (yeah, I wish!) :D

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4xyhA2pzdA[/youtube]


Gabriela Montero, one of the most interesting interpreters of the romantic repertoire, plays Chopin's Nocturne in C minor Op. 48, Nº 1 at her Köln Philharmonie debut, August 10, 2007.
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Re: Are there any pianists around here?

#9  Postby starr » Apr 19, 2010 11:37 pm

THWOTH wrote:I tickle the ivories here and there. I had some lessons some years ago, but mainly I just fiddle and work out my own arrangements of tunes from top-line and chords...


That's exactly what I do.... top line and chords. If I had to read the bass clef these days and play the music as written it would take me ages... :?
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Re: Are there any pianists around here?

#10  Postby Beatsong » Apr 20, 2010 12:22 am

I'm a music teacher and semi-professional pianist and keyboard player.

I don't do much classical music any more, but in the days when I did I far prefered the baroque and classical eras to Chopin and his ilk. I do however sometimes dust off my copies of the nocturnes and waltzes and play through the ones I learnt at music college, and I have to admit they give my spine more of a tingle now than they did then.
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Re: Are there any pianists around here?

#11  Postby epistrophy » Apr 23, 2010 7:41 pm

kazaman:

Don't overlook ear training. Probably the most important musical skill you can learn.
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Re: Are there any pianists around here?

#12  Postby THWOTH » Oct 05, 2011 11:49 pm

Beatsong wrote:I'm a music teacher and semi-professional pianist and keyboard player...

That gives a context to your username now, Beaty. :D

I've been working out Monk tunes from an old fake book. If I get anywhere near up-to-scratch I'll post one here for general amusement.

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Re: Are there any pianists around here?

#13  Postby CookieJon » Oct 06, 2011 1:45 am

Kazaman wrote:whose "Polonaise HéroÏque" I am currently learning. Does anyone have any tips for learning this other than to take it in sections and go slowly?

Jesus Christ! You're throwing yourself in the deep end aren't you! Take it in sections, go slowly, of course, and learn it without referring to the score, and start learning from both the beginning AND the end, then meet up in the middle.

But if you want a Chopin piece with a high show-off-to-difficulty ratio (sounds harder to play than it is!), then try the Revolutionary Etude (op 10 no 12)... In lieu of attaining technical virtuosity, you can go for speed with liberal application of the sustain pedal to blur all your mistakes into one amazing wall of sound, unlike the HéroÏque which ought to be crisp and clear and in which every wrong note sticks out like a sore thumb.

Good luck! :cheers:
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Re: Are there any pianists around here?

#14  Postby aban57 » Oct 06, 2011 2:23 pm

I went to music school for 10 years when I was young, but didn't play piano at this time. Just watched (and help) one of my brother learning piano.
But lately, I bought a keyboard and started playing a song I like. I won't take lessons or use books to learn to play, just play the songs where there's a piano part I like.
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Re: Are there any pianists around here?

#15  Postby Globe » Oct 06, 2011 3:15 pm

Kazaman wrote:
@ THWOTH: I've never really been able to play songs by ear, aside from simple ones like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Mary Had a Little Lamb, etc. It's all muscle memory and sight reading for me. Have you ever listened to Gould's recordings of the Goldberg Variations? He's quite honestly the best at Bach, hands down.

Blindfold yourself and do your scales and cadences over and over and over till your parents start screaming, and then do them for a few hours more.
Do that every day for a few months.
Not kidding.

It sounds like the longs way around it, but it achieves three things.
1. You will have perfect muscle memory of every key and note on the piano. You'll never have to look at your fingers ever again.
2. It will strengthen your ear, help perfect your musical memory, to a point where you will be able to hear the music you read in the score afterwards.
3. It will help you gain one of the most important skills in playing the piano. Have the ability to exert the SAME pressure with each and every finger.

Never ever lose sight of the basics. You can't play ANYTHING well unless you achieve perfection is the basics. And maintain it.
My parents nearly threw me out the summer I turned 16. I did the above for 6 hours a day all through June and July.
But it worked. Helped me memorize music from the sheet almost without playing it.

Of course I can't say that it will help everybody, but the better you know your keyboard, the better you are at remembering the music. You wont need little black dots on paper to tell your fingers how to move. ;)
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Re: Are there any pianists around here?

#16  Postby THWOTH » Oct 06, 2011 4:19 pm

I think to train one's ear one only needs to focus as fully as one can on the sound one is making. We know when it sounds wrong, and a bit of dogged determination will lead to us getting it right in the end. Repetition, repetition and a bit of repetition usually accomplishes most things in music I find.
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Re: Are there any pianists around here?

#17  Postby Thinking Aloud » Oct 06, 2011 7:37 pm

Took lessons from 5-18 or so, and did grades up to 5 (failed 6 due to playing a concert an hour before the exam!!). I don't play classical any more, but do play by ear and record my own stuff. More a "piano player" than a pianist these days!! ;)
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Re: Are there any pianists around here?

#18  Postby HughMcB » Oct 06, 2011 8:42 pm

Sixteen posts in and not one pianist joke. Shame on all of you. :naughty:
"So we're just done with phrasing?"
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Re: Are there any pianists around here?

#19  Postby THWOTH » Oct 06, 2011 8:49 pm

Richard Clayderman.

How was that? :D
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Re: Are there any pianists around here?

#20  Postby DeepSpaceDreamer » Dec 20, 2011 2:23 am

Trudging along with Debussy's Arabesque #1. Such a pretty song.. when you can play it! Currently it just frustrates me. I am a huge fan of Chopin. Also Clementi (played his Sonatina Op.36 No.4 last year) and Mozart, and, Debussy, if I must say so. Oh, and Grieg. Lyric Pieces, Op. 12 No. 3 (Watchman's Song). Always gets me.
I've been playing for 9 years.. but I still hate reading notes.

Can anyone else here play almost entirely by ear? *waves hands around*
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