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Topic: Practical speed for scales  (Read 3377 times)

Offline timothy42b

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Practical speed for scales
on: April 23, 2005, 02:41:10 PM
I've done a search, and questions near this one have been discussed, but I haven't found quite what I'm looking for.

In terms of practical find-it-in-the-literature speed, how fast do we need to do major scales?

I'm a beginner.  I can do my scales at that 50/4 method hands together, maybe about 80 HS.  I'm wondering what the practical useful goal wouild be?  (We're talking sixteenth notes at quarter = 50 here.)

Excluding some of the very advanced solo literature, which I will likely never play, is there a speed at which I can assume I'd be able to play 90% of music I'd want to play?  Like, sixteenths at quarter = 80 will cover 90%, 90 would give 95%, 100 would give 99%, maybe? 



Tim

Offline xvimbi

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Re: Practical speed for scales
Reply #1 on: April 23, 2005, 03:52:07 PM
I assume you are indirectly asking how much time you need to devote to speeding up your scales.

However, I don't think that's a good way to look at it. What good is it to be able to play scales lightning fast, but octaves or other motions are painfully slow. I think speed should be developed in all techniques either simultaneously, or when the need arises, otherwise you'll always have a bottleneck.

That is probably your real question, i.e. how fast does one have to be able to play the right notes in order to be able to cover, say, 90% of the mainstream repertoire?

Unfortunately, I don't have an answer to offer. I can only point out the three ways to go about it. Either constantly work on technical exercises that cover most/all technical aspects, or work on pieces that cover a wide range of techniques, or do both. As a motivational goal, you could choose a couple of highly virtuosic pieces (e.g. flight of the bumblebee, Rach3) or aim at playing Hanon at ridiculous speeds. That should allow you to play practically anything at speed.

Offline thierry13

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Re: Practical speed for scales
Reply #2 on: April 23, 2005, 04:19:02 PM
Fix a goal of about 160, it should be ok. Try to do octaves and thirds too. And don't forget minor scale, since you only mentioned major, but the minor are as important, and should be at the same speed. And don't forget the chromatic scale.

Offline lagin

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Re: Practical speed for scales
Reply #3 on: April 23, 2005, 05:22:27 PM
160!  Do you mean in sixteenth, like 4 notes for every tick at 160?  Wow, if you do!
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Offline tds

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Re: Practical speed for scales
Reply #4 on: April 23, 2005, 05:38:09 PM
i believe you should train your ears to hear it fast. AND hear it, clearly! its only when your ears get so virtuosic that you can play things, not just scales, really fast and clean. try to train your ears, it won't hurt. hope this helps. best, tds

important: you should hear it fast and clearly while staying calm. breath normally!
dignity, love and joy.

Offline robert

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Re: Practical speed for scales
Reply #5 on: April 23, 2005, 08:51:23 PM
Don't be too focused on speed as it is more important to be accurate. With accuracy, you speed will develop naturally.
But 50/4 is unfortunately way too slow. I would say that 120/4 both hands all 24 major/minor scales 3-4 octaves is needed to play intermediate piano pieces. Also, chromatic both hands scale in 120/4 is very useful as well but practise the majority of scale exercises hands separated.
For example if you do all 24 scales hands separated in a scale exercise (like every scale 4 times in 3 octaves), do C/C-, Db/C#-, D/D-, Eb/Eb- (1/4 of all scales) with one hand, then do the same scales with the other hand and let the first rest.

To be able to play really interesting pieces, presto is needed (176/4) hands separated or even more but if you can do presto with metronome, you can for certain have peaks up to about 208-220/4.

You need to be able to do mirror scales (opposite direction), all 24 scales in about 144/4, thirds and sixths, alternate speed (twice as fast with one of the hands, cross-rhythms like 2 scale with left hand and 3 with right) etc. in about this speed.

I also involve chromatic scales in my scale exercises. As chromatics scales 4 octaves both hands, mirror, interval (third away), alternate speed with. Note that these chromatic scales are very difficult.

But as an end, learn the 24 major/minro scales so well that you do not have to think at all about which keys to play for each scale. It should be in your muscle memory and once you are there, you can add all the different methods as I gave a few examples of above. These exercises will increase your maximum speed a lot.
Patience is needed my friend. A lot patience! :)
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Offline timothy42b

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Re: Practical speed for scales
Reply #6 on: April 24, 2005, 08:46:18 AM
It also seemed that 50 was probably slow.  On brass instruments we change from single tongue to double tongue for sixteenths notes somewhere between 108 and 120 quarter notes per minute.  But I didn't play at that speed my first year!

The 50/4 method was suggested by someone else here and that's what I've been using.  Set the metronome to quarter = 50.  Play one octave at quarter notes, continue with two octaves at eighth notes, switch to triplet eighths for a three octave scale, then sixteenth notes on the four octave scales.
Tim

Offline kghayesh

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Re: Practical speed for scales
Reply #7 on: April 25, 2005, 01:53:26 PM
Which are more important, harmonic or melodic minor scales??? and which are more difficult???

CLV391

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Re: Practical speed for scales
Reply #8 on: April 26, 2005, 04:40:35 AM
above, it was mentioned that 176 and upwards of 220 for scales is expected fo nearly all pieces i think this is a good estimate

but others said that things like thirds and octaves are importatn too
what would you say would be decent metronome markings for these two techniques?
(double thirds or ocataves for HS)

CLV

Offline thierry13

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Re: Practical speed for scales
Reply #9 on: April 26, 2005, 09:36:00 PM
Your left hand shouldn't have thirds AS good as your right hand, but it should have good third too. Try to get thirds the nearest to the single note speed you can get, octaves too. And I can do my scales way more than 160... not all tough, but it's sure for all I can do them at 160.

CLV391

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Re: Practical speed for scales
Reply #10 on: April 27, 2005, 03:35:47 AM
i doubt thought that many people short of dreyshock can do octaves at 160
and double thirds should probably be between octaves and scales id imagine since the technique required is halfway in between
how does 120-132 sound for octaves??
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