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Topic: Digging up an old Bernhard post on thirds  (Read 2845 times)

Offline andhow04

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Digging up an old Bernhard post on thirds
on: July 09, 2005, 02:26:20 AM
Bernhard wrote:

Quote
This time, start by pressing CE with 1-3.

Now, instead of lifting 1-3, lift the whole forearm (use the biceps and the brachialis – the muscles at the topside of the upper arm). The effort and movement of the forearm will be tiny, since a small displacement at elbow level will cause a major movement at the hand level. Then bring the fingers down, this time 2-4 on DF, by letting the arm drop (not like a dead weight – but in a controlled fashion). Next lift the forearm again (by hinging it at the elbow by using the biceps-brachialis), and let it drop again on 3-5 on GE.

4. The problem you have to solve with this new approach is of a completely different nature. You have to learn how to keep the fingers that are going to hit the keys firm, while the other fingers are relaxed. And you have to learn how to fine-tune your upper arm movement (it is a tiny movement) to move your hand at the extremity accurately. And finally you have to co-ordinate the arm movement with the firming of the appropriate fingers.

I was wondering if you could clarify the usage of that, Bernhard, a little, by helping me apply it to the Chopin etude in thirds op.25. For excample, at the very beginning, RH alone, is the arm rotating back and forth?
Problems I am having in this piece include: individual notes inthirds often not together;
repeated thumb can really mess me up, especially in the downward non-chromatic scales (2nd page schirmer edition); fingers get "mixed up" and I get 3/4 up a fast chromatic scale, only to jumble it all at the end; having a real hard time controlling the dynmaics. I hope you can help a little bit
!
andrew howzer
 ;D

Offline pianohopper

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Re: Digging up an old Bernhard post on thirds
Reply #1 on: July 09, 2005, 02:39:39 AM
Oh man I'm working on the same Etude and it's been driving me nuts!!!

My teacher says to split the right hand thirds up and just work the chromatics seperately until they are up to speed...

Do the same with the left hand until it's possible to combine.

And make it all legato
"Today's dog in the alley is tomorrow's moo goo gai pan."  ~ Chinese proverb

Offline allchopin

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Re: Digging up an old Bernhard post on thirds
Reply #2 on: July 09, 2005, 03:57:27 AM
I came a long way on thirds (to the level of the 25/6) and I owe it all to repeated practice.  Do thirds, and then do them more - that is how you'll get the coordination. I just spent 5 straight minutes once repeating thirds (just two, back and forth, in preparation for this etude) - after doing this a while it just becomes natural and your whole mindset changes.  Like riding a bike.

Offline ted

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Re: Digging up an old Bernhard post on thirds
Reply #3 on: July 09, 2005, 07:38:32 AM
Two most useful tricks were posted by Brendan of Pianoworld some time ago in relation to these things. I don't THINK they have been mentioned here. They are "wrist flapping" and "microsleeps".

Wrist flapping is when the tips of the fingers stay more or less on or near the keys while the wrist joint moves loosely up and down. It is sometimes helpful for people who have difficulty with getting double notes up to speed.

"Microsleeps" refers to the trick of practising in short, separated (even by just a gap of one note)  but optionally rapidly played groups - in the case of 25/6, handfuls of a few thirds. For some reason it is often possible to work up to full speed more easily this way, joining the sections together as time goes on, than by playing everything uniformly slowly and gradually speeding up as a whole. At least some people find it helpful - might not work for everyone of course.

Credit for these things must go to Brendan.

"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline bernhard

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Re: Digging up an old Bernhard post on thirds
Reply #4 on: July 09, 2005, 08:14:12 AM
As I have said many times, it is very difficult (if not impossible) to describe movements in writing so that they can be safely be imitated by a reader who has never seen the movement before. As I reread this old post of mine, I still think it is a good description. But will someone reading it be able to reproduce the movement I am trying to describe without a demonstration? Most likely not.

The idea of breaking the thirds in lines and working on them separately is a very good one (pianohopper – although I don’t see any triplets in the right hand…) If you do so you must of course preserve the original fingering, for when you join the notes to make up the thirds.

Allchopin is absolutely right as well: consistent practice will work wonders. The only proviso is that you aim your practise at effortlesness. If you have the wrong movements, consistent practice will not make that much of a difference in how labored your playing is. However, you will know you are on the right path if as you practise, it becomes easier and easier (which seems to be allchopin's experience).

Usually our unconscious – given the chance – can find out by itself the best movements if you investigate enough. The worst one can do is get a fixed idea of what the movement is and stick to it no matter what. Try different things and go for the ones that feel the easiest. You must do that on very small, representative sections so that you can do it at the final speed (So Ted’s – Brendan’s suggestion of “microsleeps” is also good) in a very short time – the movement at speed must be figured out, since at slow speeds you will get away with inappropriate movements.

Once you figure out the movements, do repeated note groups, which is a very good strategy for this study – but brace yourself: you will have to work in very small sections (7-10 thirds at a time) and it will look like it will take forever to master the full study. Fortunately there is a lot of repetition, so make sure you analyse (in the sense of identifying repeats) the study first to decrease your workload.

Finally, the movement you will end up using (which is to a certain extent personal) will also depend on the fingering you use. I strongly suggest you use Chopin;s original fingering, but if you look up Cortot’s “Edition de Travail”, he provides 10 different fingering possibilities (Chopin’s included) for you to investigate. He also has many interesting preparatory exercises for this study.

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline pseudopianist

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Re: Digging up an old Bernhard post on thirds
Reply #5 on: July 09, 2005, 01:29:38 PM
As I have said many times, it is very difficult (if not impossible) to describe movements in writing so that they can be safely be imitated by a reader who has never seen the movement before. As I reread this old post of mine, I still think it is a good description. But will someone reading it be able to reproduce the movement I am trying to describe without a demonstration? Most likely not.

The idea of breaking the thirds in lines and working on them separately is a very good one (pianohopper – although I don’t see any triplets in the right hand…) If you do so you must of course preserve the original fingering, for when you join the notes to make up the thirds.

Allchopin is absolutely right as well: consistent practice will work wonders. The only proviso is that you aim your practise at effortlesness. If you have the wrong movements, consistent practice will not make that much of a difference in how labored your playing is. However, you will know you are on the right path if as you practise, it becomes easier and easier (which seems to be allchopin's experience).

Usually our unconscious – given the chance – can find out by itself the best movements if you investigate enough. The worst one can do is get a fixed idea of what the movement is and stick to it no matter what. Try different things and go for the ones that feel the easiest. You must do that on very small, representative sections so that you can do it at the final speed (So Ted’s – Brendan’s suggestion of “microsleeps” is also good) in a very short time – the movement at speed must be figured out, since at slow speeds you will get away with inappropriate movements.

Once you figure out the movements, do repeated note groups, which is a very good strategy for this study – but brace yourself: you will have to work in very small sections (7-10 thirds at a time) and it will look like it will take forever to master the full study. Fortunately there is a lot of repetition, so make sure you analyse (in the sense of identifying repeats) the study first to decrease your workload.

Finally, the movement you will end up using (which is to a certain extent personal) will also depend on the fingering you use. I strongly suggest you use Chopin;s original fingering, but if you look up Cortot’s “Edition de Travail”, he provides 10 different fingering possibilities (Chopin’s included) for you to investigate. He also has many interesting preparatory exercises for this study.

Best wishes,
Bernhard.


Speaking of which... did you ever get my last pm or just didn't feel like typing. ;)
Whisky and Messiaen

Offline thalberg

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Re: Digging up an old Bernhard post on thirds
Reply #6 on: July 09, 2005, 02:21:46 PM
What a nice and informative thread.  If I may add to  all the wonderful help being given:

I find that with double thirds it works well to use what Seymour Fink calls "unfolding fingers" as opposed to "pulling fingers."  Many bookstores carry his book, so drop by sometime and just take a look at his illustrations.  I find that this makes double thirds a lot easier for me personally.  Of course, don't neglect what Bernhard said.

Offline andhow04

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Re: Digging up an old Bernhard post on thirds
Reply #7 on: July 09, 2005, 02:41:06 PM


Allchopin is absolutely right as well: consistent practice will work wonders. The only proviso is that you aim your practise at effortlesness. If you have the wrong movements, consistent practice will not make that much of a difference in how labored your playing is. However, you will know you are on the right path if as you practise, it becomes easier and easier (which seems to be allchopin's experience).

Once you figure out the movements, do repeated note groups, which is a very good strategy for this study – but brace yourself: you will have to work in very small sections (7-10 thirds at a time) and it will look like it will take forever to master the full study. Fortunately there is a lot of repetition, so make sure you analyse (in the sense of identifying repeats) the study first to decrease your workload.

Thanks so much bernhard and everyone else who gave me lots of new things to try. Just a couple more questions: in fast scalar or arpeggiated apssages, in single notes that is, we all know its helpful to play groups in chords - to build up speed or accuracy -  according to the hand position, so the practiced is that between those grouped chords. as its been said something like, "playing consecutive notes together in a chord is the fastest possible way to play them."
I was wondering if such a pratice method would be useful, or practical, in this case, where it seems like so often the hand is going up an dover itself, and all about, hardly ever the fingers going in just one direction. i mean is it going to be a waste of time, to play a couple of thirds in a bunch, and then practice moving to the next bunch?  or is that really not what this is about.

The second questions is about trhe concept of repeated note groups, which i've seen mentioned in many posts. could someone point me to a prevous post, that explains exactly what thispractice method is? i haven't been able to deduce it from the few i've seen. THanks!!!!!!!
andrew howzer
 :-*

Offline bernhard

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Re: Digging up an old Bernhard post on thirds
Reply #8 on: July 09, 2005, 06:51:56 PM
Thanks so much bernhard and everyone else who gave me lots of new things to try. Just a couple more questions: in fast scalar or arpeggiated apssages, in single notes that is, we all know its helpful to play groups in chords - to build up speed or accuracy -  according to the hand position, so the practiced is that between those grouped chords. as its been said something like, "playing consecutive notes together in a chord is the fastest possible way to play them."
I was wondering if such a pratice method would be useful, or practical, in this case, where it seems like so often the hand is going up an dover itself, and all about, hardly ever the fingers going in just one direction. i mean is it going to be a waste of time, to play a couple of thirds in a bunch, and then practice moving to the next bunch?  or is that really not what this is about.

The second questions is about trhe concept of repeated note groups, which i've seen mentioned in many posts. could someone point me to a prevous post, that explains exactly what thispractice method is? i haven't been able to deduce it from the few i've seen. THanks!!!!!!!
andrew howzer
 :-*

I don't think that clustering the thirds in chords will yield good results (the fingering is not conducive to it).

Repeated note groups.

Have a look here:

https://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,1867.msg14268.html#msg14268
(Getting technique from pieces – several important tricks: hand memory, dropping notes, repeated note-groups)

https://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,2449.msg21204.html#msg21204
(repeated note-groups as a way to tackle Czerny op. 740 no. 2)

https://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,3064.msg26866.html#msg26866
(Repeated note-groups applied to Gottschalk)

There are other threads :P, but these should get you started.

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline bernhard

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Re: Digging up an old Bernhard post on thirds
Reply #9 on: July 09, 2005, 06:58:40 PM
Speaking of which... did you ever get my last pm or just didn't feel like typing. ;)

Sorry. :-[

I am having trouble opening the file (I get a "This page cannot be displayed message". I thought it might be some temporary internet thing and left it to try later. I've just tried it again, and it is still unavailable). :-\
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline andhow04

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Re: Digging up an old Bernhard post on thirds
Reply #10 on: July 09, 2005, 09:36:41 PM
Sorry. :-[

I am having trouble opening the file (I get a "This page cannot be displayed message". I thought it might be some temporary internet thing and left it to try later. I've just tried it again, and it is still unavailable). :-\

Incidentally, ever sinced they changed piano forum to pianostreet, a lot of links you give to articles aren't coming through.  Well it seems to be the "links within the links," that are the missing link. links posted in new messages always work, but sometimes you link to a link with other lin,...... ok you get the idea.
Anyways i have some ideas on practicing this etude in thirds, so what I am going to do is study it intensively over the next few days, or week, and then post what i did exaclty, and how it was successful or not. I think other people are interested in this topic and maybe someone can learn from my own ridiculousness, but above all hopeflly i can figure this out.
Similar thing happened when i went to learn chopn op.10 no.7, I became obsessed with the fact that i couldnt play it - at all-, and eventually it did all work itself out. this one seems to be taking longer tho.
talk to you all soon!
andrew howzer
 8)

Offline ramseytheii

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Re: Digging up an old Bernhard post on thirds
Reply #11 on: July 10, 2005, 06:25:03 PM

Finally, the movement you will end up using (which is to a certain extent personal) will also depend on the fingering you use. I strongly suggest you use Chopin;s original fingering, but if you look up Cortot’s “Edition de Travail”, he provides 10 different fingering possibilities (Chopin’s included) for you to investigate. He also has many interesting preparatory exercises for this study.

Best wishes,
Bernhard.


Thanks for the interesting information on the Cortot fingerings.  Does anyone have any idea where I can find the Godowsky fingerings for this etude?

Walter Ramsey
 

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