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"Look back.... and ahead" ("Fur Elise". "Moonlight" by Bee... The end. (Read 5012 times)

Offline vladimirdounin

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Continuation. The beginning is in "Congrats! We have made history. ("Fur Elise", "Moonlight" by Beethoven) ........To understand the real significance of our tiny event and the fascinating future which INEVITABLY will follow, (even if all of us have not wanted it) we have to look back.

Perhaps, music is as old as humankind itself. However, we will never know the music performed at the solemn openings of Egyptian pyramids or during the triumphal closing ceremonies of Ancient Olympics. Their music was not written down not because it was really impossible to do so at their time, but just because the idea of writing down music never happened to strike anybody’s head. The total absurdity of such suggestion was so obvious for everyone, that poets proudly declared: "To describe the beauty of (their) fair lady by words is as impossible as to write music on the paper!"

However, after thousands years of musical illiteracy, the day came when somebody invented the way to make visual musical Pitch (frequency) using specially shaped crochets. Since then, we can see at least something in the darkness of the musical past. However, the real dawn of a new era in music came later, when man invented the way to visualize Timing as well. Could you imagine anything in the present musical world without this upgrade?

E.g., let us try (imaginatively) to learn or teach Prelude and Fugue by Shostakovich.  How long would it take for students to "catch by ear" and memorize the right pitch and timing of each note and then play back this super-complicated piece if no script was available? If we want a decent level of accuracy, then the majority of the teachers would say that even a hundred years would not be enough for this single work. I can only join them in this estimation.

 The invention of musical literacy has opened unprecedented opportunities. However, is the present musical notation perfect or at least satisfactory? No, not at all.
Music is a language based on correlations between tones. Any of these musical tones has 3 dimensions: Pitch, Timing and Note Strength (=INDIVIDUAL volume of each particular note). However, the existing system of musical notation provides an accurate indication only for Pitch and Timing, but completely ignores the Note Strength. (Except some rare indications of accents or sforzando, but even they are unclear: to which particular note in a chord we have to attribute them).
 We have no confidence regarding each note - whether it should be played louder or softer in relation to the previous and the following note, and by how much? For example, between just two random consecutive notes, or between two notes in particular chord: which one of the two should be softer or louder?  No single existing textbook will answer these questions either.

At the same time, any musician has to “answer” these questions practically as many times as there are notes that he/she has to play. Since all pianists play (at least should play) the same notes on the same beat, it is obvious that the different individual volumes of the same notes make the only difference between the best and the worst pianist in the world. Any (sometimes even the smallest) violation of the musical rules and laws: wrong pitch, timing etc., ruins the music. And any examiner can confirm the fact that wrong correlation in volume between notes can be as annoying as wrong pitch or timing. "Let any pianist play for me not one, but two notes and I can say immediately whether this is a good musician or a bad one." (H.Neuhaus)

Proper stressing or softening in music is as important as the proper stressing in the words of any language. (Nobody will understand even very familiar words with wrong stressing such as: AmerIca , TorontO, SonAtina, etc. Similarly, no one will understand or enjoy music with wrong stressing or softening either).
However, this situation changes dramatically if we have a very simple (even for 5-7year old beginners) method based on an accurate indication of note strength of any given note in a chord or melody. This method provides the same accuracy for Note Strength as it has been provided for Pitch and Timing. Introduction of this method does not take long: all that we have to do is to "calibrate" our students’ and our own ears in the same way. There are many variants of "dynamics scale" and all of them work. Let us look at one of them:
It is based on an analogy with the Celsius temperature scale (from zero to one hundred degrees). One hundred degrees corresponds to the maximum volume, and zero – to silence. It seems difficult to define one degree but in fact it is not: one degree is the smallest difference in volume that we can feel. (Feel, not “hear”, because we do it with our fingers as well, and students understand and “feel” it better.)
To teach a student to use this "dynamics scale", we ask him/her to play several pairs of notes with exactly the same volume. After the student has done it faultlessly, we ask him/her to play the same pairs of notes with the tiniest difference between them that he/she can feel/hear. Now that we’ve got the "minimal step" in the volume scale, all the rest is simple and logical: two degrees, three and so on. Even the very beginners do it with amazing accuracy. It proves that Mother Nature has given us a wonderful instrument for these tiny gradations.

The next step is to write the proper "temperature" (at least in all the complicated spots of the piece) and our work is done. Any "uncivilized" student turns into a sophisticated professional instantly.

Accomplished musicians do not need detailed and accurate indications of the volume: they have their gift, intuition and culture (from their education and experience) instead. Unfortunately, not everyone is gifted, accomplished, educated and experienced at the same time. The accurate indication of note strength effectively fills the gap between "the intuition of the gifted" and the perfect vacuum of musical knowledge in many students.
The accurate indication of Note Strength gives all that is necessary to play beautifully. A good mother does not teach her kids how to play outdoors; she knows that the kids will never remember her instructions for more than 5 minutes and always will play in their own way. Therefore, she insists on only a few things that “should not be done under any circumstances”. (E.g. “Newer play the ball on the road”!)

The same idea has inspired a few short and easy rules based on the accurate indication of Note Strength:  “How to avoid some typical mistakes in musical performing". (20 - 30 of these rules cover roughly 50% of such mistakes and work for any music that students will play in their lives. After the student has learned a practical implementation of these rules, all the new pieces will need sometimes only 1-3 new rules for each, and quite often no new rules at all).

Even very beginners can play wisely, with decent, convincing phrasing after a few simple and easy rules, symbols or numbers have turned them on the right path. However, the best news is that after a short period of time students no longer need all these numbers or symbols (a kind of "Dynamics Alphabet"), because they have understood the basic logic of the musical language. Now they can apply the same rules to each similar situation in other pieces of different styles.

This method allows the student to look for the first time at any score and write (or imagine) immediately, WITHOUT playing or singing, the proper volume for each note in any voice/part or chord. Traditional teachers usually refuse to fulfil such an assignment and insist that it is impossible in principle. However, it definitely does not mean that they do not know the proper Note Strengths – many of them can play very beautifully, so they DO know it practically. But their knowledge is SUBCONSCIOUS, and they can not express it in words. This method will help them to do it easily.

This method is very helpful in immigrant countries such as Canada and the USA. I have worked with many Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, African, and other languages speaking students without knowing 10 words of their languages and they (without knowing English or any of my languages) have fulfilled all of my instructions. This system has proved to be extremely useful in "non-standard" situations: when I was teaching blind students, working with groups of children and individuals starting from the age of 3, etc.

This method is especially valuable nowadays. The method is perfectly compatible with modern technologies, recently developed software, and scientific and musical equipment. Successful introduction of this method together with technical innovations can ultimately boost the whole musical culture and bring high musical standards to anyone who loves music.

I have been using this method for over 40 years and it has worked equally well for conservatory and university students, international opera stars, competition winners, and for absolutely uneducated people. (We always had to invite them for our opera and oratorio productions, when I worked as an opera and resident chorus master.)

Almost everyone around us has tried (at least once in a lifetime) to make friends with music, and almost all of them have failed and said "never again" after their contact with our existing musical pedagogy. Why? It has happened because we could not teach them (before) simply and reliably. Now, we can, and we no longer need to lose 99% of our potential students.
I realize that for many of us it sounds too good to be true – any conventional teacher should “know perfectly well that it is impossible”. Therefore, I invite everybody to have a look at this method in action (absolutely free) at any time.

Vladimir Dounin.


Piano Street's Digital Sheet Music Library

Beethoven: Für Elise
piano sheet music of Für Elise


Piano Street's Digital Sheet Music Library

Beethoven: Sonata 14 (Moonlight), opus 27 no 2
piano sheet music of Sonata 14 (Moonlight)


Offline Bob

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Um, ok.... How do we take a look at this method in action Vladimir?
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline vladimirdounin

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Um, ok.... How do we take a look at this method in action Vladimir?

In any way you would like: you can come to any of my lessons in Toronto, On. Canada, you can invite me to your city, you can order video or TV broadcasting. It is entirely up to you.

It can be a master-class for pianists, or work with any ensemble or choir of any level - in any case you will notice undoubtedly the obvious difference in standard one hour of our work. I do not ask for any money, I have enough - I am looking for the persons holding the same views and compatible with my ideas, for co-operators, who want to make our musical life better, unfortunately, they are rare. My tel. is 416-321-56-27.

In my opinion, it is a shame, that any Driver's School can teach everyone  to be a decent driver in a few days, and we, music teachers (even of the best conservatories and universities) can teach only a few "specially gifted" people out of thousands "who want to play and pay".  And  the result never is guaranteed.

Which other educational institution has even the worst ratio between newcomers and successfully graduated students than our musical ones? I think, no one!

It is impossible to teach without understanding what you are doing self. But no one (available for me by telephone) professor around the globe could answer my simpliest question: which note of the melody of the National Anthem of his country should be played louder and which should be softened? In 5 minutes time each of them changed opinion on 180 degrees a few times. Is it normal for any other area of human knowledge?

The reason for all this is that the existing system of musical notation gives indication for only 2 out of 3 vitally important co-ordinates of each note: for Pitch and Timing.  However without knowledge of 3rd dimension - individual note volume - music is a complete nonsense. Thousands of frustrated students around us prove it. And the human nature is that we do not think about anything else, except what was printed on the paper or seen on TV. And TV, you know, does not care about the problems of classical pianists. So, let us at least print the necessary information for each student. If you know how to play better - do it. But with these indications you will not play in ugly way at least.

In Bach's time it was better because organ and harpsychord were built in accordance with the most important rule of the music:  the higher is the pitch - the louder should be the volume. Any vocalist and woodwind player does it automatically as well. However, many pianists prefer to "selfexpress themself" in randomly chosen individual note strength - this is the reason of their frustration and general hatred (of the majority of the global audience) towards classicasl pianists, except good ones, of course  - see "Congrats".

With my best wishes and hope to meet in person,

Vladimir Dounin
 

Offline jeremyjchilds

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I get the same feeling from this as I do when a "friend" asks me out for coffee and then ten minutes into the conversation says... "have you thought of opening another stream of income?" :P
"He who answers without listening...that is his folly and his shame"    (A very wise person)

Offline xvimbi

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I wish we could consolidate these threads. Makes it easier to talk about this subject.

Offline i_m_robot

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Offline Torp

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Seems a lot like MACRO :P
Don't let your music die inside you.

Offline vladimirdounin

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I wish we could consolidate these threads. Makes it easier to talk about this subject.

ANSWER

Yes, it would be definetely much better! However this Forum does not except more than 2 pages of text and it is the reason of this irritating division.

If somebody can help to consolidate these  two texts, I would very appreciate it.

Vladimir Dounin

Offline Dazzer

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what i suggest vlad, is you record a video. and post it up.


Offline Skeptopotamus

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the rain man doesn't need your crazy stuff.

Offline mound

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Re: "Look back.... and ahead" ("Fur Elise". "Moonlight" by Bee... The
«Reply #10 on: July 26, 2005, 10:28:47 AM »
yes, sir, if you want anybody to take you seriously and stop thinking that you have simply re-invented MIDI, please get yourself a website and post some legit materials that we can all access quickly and easilly w/o having to travel to you, make long distance phone calls or purchase anything from you

otherwise you are wasting your time
-Paul

Offline Dazzer

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Re: "Look back.... and ahead" ("Fur Elise". "Moonlight" by Bee... The
«Reply #11 on: July 26, 2005, 11:13:07 AM »
or maybe lets all bombard him with awesome rebuttals till he spends more time answering then sleeping.

Offline luc

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Re: "Look back.... and ahead" ("Fur Elise". "Moonlight" by Bee... The
«Reply #12 on: July 26, 2005, 01:37:22 PM »
So, in not more than three sentences, what do you want us to do?
OSMOSE NOW

Offline dveej

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Re: "Look back.... and ahead" ("Fur Elise". "Moonlight" by Bee... The
«Reply #13 on: July 26, 2005, 02:06:08 PM »
Vladimir has an interesting idea. After the fall of Rome, when the Greek musical notation (letters of the alphabet representing scale degrees of the melody combined with simple marks for duration) fell into disuse, our own system of notation began with simple points over the words of a sung text moving higher or lower to represent pitch only. 1500 years later it has evolved into a precise system for notating pitch and relative duration, but some aspects like relative intensity are only crudely indicated. If I understand Vladimir's thinking, he would like to change our current notation to make it reflect intensity (that is, dynamics) more precisely.

There would be huge resistance to any change, for several reasons. Our notation is already difficult to learn for people of only average intelligence, and many of those reading this forum count on this fact to make our money!! By "difficult" I mean "detailed". Adding another ...what would you call it, a "vector" or a "parameter"?...to the current notation would just make it that much more overwhelming for many people. And classical musicians tend to be small-C conservatives, seeing ourselves as preserving a tradition that has evolved into something miraculously beautiful, which we don't want to fix if it isn't broken.

Personally, I enjoy the fact that I get to teach people about phrasing (crescendo - diminuendo within a phrase, the arc of the emotion reflecting the dynamics, small arcs of phrases being a microcosm of the bigger arcs of the entire section of the piece). For better or worse, there is a temptation to treat "peripheral" information (emotion, dynamics, intensity, tempo, etc.) as secret knowledge which only those of us who are properly initiated can know. The gradual revelation of this sort of knowledge (how to phrase, for example) can form the basis of many years of teaching a student. Is this good? or should we boil it all down to something visually represented in the music that reflects the relative loudness of each note, so that it is apparent for everybody immediately?

Let's assume that on January 1st, 2006, every classical musician in the world wakes up and starts using this new notation which incorporates dynamics into the notes. One possible problem is: it makes the music of all those who DIDN'T use such a notation that much farther away from us. Beethoven's music would then have to be taught and explained as having been written in a different notation; he only used dynamic markings, not this new way of Vladimir's relative intensity. Do we want to make future generations even more different musically than Bach and Beethoven, or do we want to ensure that future music students will feel comfortable with the music Bach and Beethoven wrote in the way that they notated it?

I think a bigger problem than the notation of fine degrees of relative intensity is the lack of improvisation in the classical world. We are all so busy learning the tiny details of the performance practices of music since 1500; yet we are very neglectful (most of us, anyway) of an essential aspect of the classical music tradition that forms the basis for most of what Bach,
Beethoven and Mozart did. That aspect is the ability to improvise within a particular harmonic and stylistic framework, and most pianists today can't do it at all or not very well.

But let's not shoot down innovation before seeing what it entails. Maybe Vladimir has something here.

Offline vladimirdounin

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Re: "Look back.... and ahead" ("Fur Elise". "Moonlight" by Bee... The
«Reply #14 on: July 26, 2005, 02:44:43 PM »
what i suggest vlad, is you record a video. and post it up.



ANSWER

You are right and I am thinking to do here the same that I do always to each my new student. After s/he have played for me a piece, I am playing the same piece back and then ask: do you like this way to play or not? One out of 10 say "Yes", I love it. S/he is "my student".

One out of twenty says: I like this way to play, but I know that it is wrong. S/he is "my student" as well.

 However one out of twenty says - "I hate it, I am used to play differently!"
Usually parents are trying to change the mind of such a student in this situation, but usually I am losing such a student at the end of all our efforts. If I will post my recordings - everybody will have chance to decide has s/he any reason to continue reading of my posts or not. This would better and for the readers and for  me.

So I have a big desire to make my recent recording and post it on this forum (in relevant department of it). I even have bought eqipment to make digital recordings (before I did just tapes, today they are hopelessly outdated). If somebody can hear me in Toronto, On. Canada - I would appreciate help and advise: how to operate this modern equipment. I am not good in English (my from School to University language was German) and do not understand technical lingo of manual yet.

Video will be my not tomorrow, but after tomorrow. However I would be very happy if somebody will come and make video of my lesson, for example, his/her own  one. There are a lot of nice chinese restaurants in my area and I can promise to reimburse the energy of my "video makers". My tel. is 416-321-56 27

Vladimir Dounin

Offline vladimirdounin

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Re: "Look back.... and ahead" ("Fur Elise". "Moonlight" by Bee... The
«Reply #15 on: July 26, 2005, 02:57:45 PM »
or maybe lets all bombard him with awesome rebuttals till he spends more time answering then sleeping.

ANSWER

I really like your wonderful idea. In this way you will train me to answer any "difficult question" from the audience at any university during my next demonstration of the method. My problem is not the answer itself but the right translation.

Thank you once more!

Vladimir Dounin.

Offline vladimirdounin

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Re: "Look back.... and ahead" ("Fur Elise". "Moonlight" by Bee... The
«Reply #16 on: July 26, 2005, 03:04:02 PM »
So, in not more than three sentences, what do you want us to do?

ANSWER

Today I want you to read my answers to my other opponents, to understand what I am talking about and to help me in writing "Dynamics Rules". Other readers helped me a lot already.

Thank you for readiness,

Vladimir Dounin.  

Offline vladimirdounin

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Re: "Look back.... and ahead" ("Fur Elise". "Moonlight" by Bee... The
«Reply #17 on: July 26, 2005, 03:19:12 PM »
Vladimir has an interesting idea. After the fall of Rome, when the Greek musical notation (letters of the alphabet representing scale degrees of the melody combined with simple marks for duration) fell into disuse, our own system of notation began with simple points over the words of a sung text moving higher or lower to represent pitch only. 1500 years later it has evolved into a precise system for notating pitch and relative duration, but some aspects like relative intensity are only crudely indicated. If I understand Vladimir's thinking, he would like to change our current notation to make it reflect intensity (that is, dynamics) more precisely...


ANSWER

I wish to have your English vocabulary and knowlege to answer your  very interesting comments immediately.

Let me think and translate, please

Yours Sincerely,

Vladimir Dounin

Offline mound

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Re: "Look back.... and ahead" ("Fur Elise". "Moonlight" by Bee... The
«Reply #18 on: July 26, 2005, 06:08:47 PM »
How about, first of all, please refrain from that god-aweful yellow font color. It is painful on the eyes. Secondly, how will posting your recordings help us to understand what you are talking about? So you recorded yourself, or your students, performing a piece of music. That is not relevant to this discussion.

What *would* be relevant, is to see a video, of yourself, with a student, and a piece of music, notated using the system you describe and having not yet been seen by your student.  A complete verbal introduction to the system of notation and the plan of attack . In other words, a complete lesson.

A simple audio recording of the end-result is completely useless.

thanks!
-Paul

Offline jeremyjchilds

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Re: "Look back.... and ahead" ("Fur Elise". "Moonlight" by Bee... The
«Reply #19 on: July 26, 2005, 09:14:04 PM »
I can see how this system would make for good playing, but I don't at all understand how it is better than what we already know.
What teacher does not tell his students to play some notes louder than the others...It seems to me to be common sense good musicianship... ::)

I agree that notes should have different strengths, but to assign a universal conception of what this should be is ridiculous...let's all just buy toyota corollas then...how exciting would that be...

You also state that the difference between good and bad pianists is note strength. Glen Gould's mozart was generally considered "bad" but there were a lot of reasons other than note strength.

Also, are you claiming that this system is universal? Are Jazz pianists good or bad depending on note strength?? Cause there are many other important things in Jazz (Chord viocing, rythmic fluency, playing all notes of a chord at the exact same time...)

Note strength is a big thing, and paying close attention to it will take a good performance up to an excellend performance, but It's always been that way. (What teacher doesen't tell his students to vioce the tops of the chords to bring out melody)

So thanks for the good reminder to remember note strength...

"He who answers without listening...that is his folly and his shame"    (A very wise person)

Offline omnisis

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Re: "Look back.... and ahead" ("Fur Elise". "Moonlight" by Bee... The
«Reply #20 on: July 26, 2005, 09:30:25 PM »
Ok here's an easy fix Vlad:

You need a compact notation that is easily taken in by the reader, doesn't clog the (already cluttered) score and can represent a reasonable number of graduated levels.  Here's what you do.

1) Take a regular piece of sheet music in a composition program. 
2) Make up a special font so that all the notes come out as "borders only", meaning they
     aren't opaque but more like a coloring book. 
3) Grab your trusty box of crayolas and start coloring.

Assign a logical scheme to your colors Sky blue == pp and Magenta == ff for example.  Now just figure out a way to encode existing MIDI data as colored notes and viola!  There you have it.  Viva la revolution!

~omnisis

Offline shoshin

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Re: "Look back.... and ahead" ("Fur Elise". "Moonlight" by Bee... The
«Reply #21 on: July 27, 2005, 06:46:10 AM »
one question:
Why do you feel dynamics are SO important to concentrate on when teaching a student how to play?

I mean if I could teach a student to play a piece absolutely perfect EXCEPT the dynamics were not as refined(just using the normal dynamics the old fashioned way on the music) I would be very satisfied.

Why are these "micro" dynamics(on each note) so imporant for instruction? Isn't this something a veteran player should be concerned about? And if you are a veteran player why do you need some goofy computer program with goofy dynamic notation on EVERY note to tell you how to play?

It doesn't  make sense.

Offline JCarey

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Re: "Look back.... and ahead" ("Fur Elise". "Moonlight" by Bee... The
«Reply #22 on: July 27, 2005, 07:28:13 PM »
For some odd reason, Mr. Dounin reminds me of Alistair Hinton. I don't plan to elaborate on this, but anybody who has seen Alistair at Gamingforce should have some understanding of what I'm talking about...

Offline pita bread

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Re: "Look back.... and ahead" ("Fur Elise". "Moonlight" by Bee... The
«Reply #23 on: July 27, 2005, 09:44:25 PM »
Dounin's post is longer than anything I've seen Hinton type up.

Online lostinidlewonder

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Re: "Look back.... and ahead" ("Fur Elise". "Moonlight" by Bee... The
«Reply #24 on: July 28, 2005, 02:33:42 AM »
Trying to find the exact volume to play each note is USELESS. Why???? I was thinking and then bang there is the answer. The room you play it changes constantly. The instrument you play on changes. How on earth can you say, ok strike this note at 53 Newtons that will be perfect. You cant! Because on another piano you may have to play it at 30 to produce the same effect. If you are in the larger room you may have to strike it at 70 to get the same effect, if you are in a smaller room you may have to strike it at 20. So to find the excact strengths is absoluetly useless, what the point is to understand the sound that needs to be produced and WITH YOUR EARS, control that sound. That is why deaf people cannot peform music at a masters level, because these factors keep changing, they need to be controlled by the ear.
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Offline vladimirdounin

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Re: "Look back.... and ahead" ("Fur Elise". "Moonlight" by Bee... The
«Reply #25 on: July 28, 2005, 04:49:17 AM »
a
one question:
Why do you feel dynamics are SO important to concentrate on when teaching a student how to play?

I mean if I could teach a student to play a piece absolutely perfect EXCEPT the dynamics were not as refined(just using the normal dynamics the old fashioned way on the music) I would be very satisfied.



ANSWER

In my opinion, normal student should play the right notes at the very first lesson. If any wrong note happens in my class, I just ask my student if his/her name is Vladimir? They understand, smile and fix the mistake. I do not think that it is the point of teacher's concentration.

I do not think that teacher has to substitute the metronome as well. The student will understand any timing without a problem if s/he will set the metronome not in usual 2-3-4 beats in a bar but one click for the smallest note that we've got on the page.

If  the notes are proper and timing is right, what else teacher has to do - only dynamics.
And here we have an ocean of work.
 
The modern "normal dynamics" is not old fashioned. If you listen to Rachnaninov's, Hoffman's, Horovitz"s and other old-fashioned recordings and compare them, for instance, to Lang-Lang, you will notice that they speak different musical languages (in spite of attempts of the majority of modern pianists to copy old masters). Modern pianists are living in another different world; therefore many of them simply do not know "old fashioned language".

In old time each pianist was completely dependent on the reaction of his audience. If audience did not like his music - s/he had to change the way of play or go away from this business (concert stage).

Nowadays musical industry has powerful tools of brainwashing. TV, Broadcasting and other media make easily "stars of first magnitude" of anybody. Pianist depends not on the public opinion but on the opinion of the managers of musical industry. And for any normal manager of any industry the most important criteria is "does s/he fit to our standards or not?"

This system is very good for the pianists that "fit to the standards" and for the managers, but it is not good for public because its opinion is ignored or faked in false reports. The entire prosperity of the mentioned system is based on government's subsidies and private sponsorship. There is no real market with real competition, therefore not the best are on the top, and not the worst are out of business.

The final result of this situation is that out from any car on the street you can hear idiot-like musical garbage and never classical music, especially piano music. The majority of piano concerts mean automatically a lot of empty seats in the hall, etc. The absolute majority of the piano students drop eventually piano classes and hate piano music for the rest of their lives.

The usual explanation of this phenomenon is that "classical music is not for the crowd, it is for elite". Fortunately it is not true. I have seen at least 15 classical performers during my own life who were able to make an enthusiastic worshiper out of any enemy in a few minutes with their music. All of these performers were very different but all of them had one thing in common. They did not play like industrial robot: Strong-soft-Strong-soft-Strong-soft etc. Their language was alive like any human language and any audience appreciated this language, they understand and love this way to play immediately.

I would like to attract attention of all pianists to this problem and push specialists to make relevant studies, scientific search to find out: what all the popular performers have in common. I hope the result of this search can improve the situation.

QUESTION?
 

Why are these "micro" dynamics (on each note) so important for instruction? Isn't this something a veteran player should be concerned about? And if you are a veteran player why do you need some goofy computer program with goofy dynamic notation on EVERY note to tell you how to play?

It doesn't  make sense.


ANSWER

I told already before that you can not teach me English without teaching me the right stressing in the words. The "expression marks" PP,P,F,FF etc. for the whole phrase will not work for this purpose. Your  "tool" must be more accurate.

The mentioned computer program we need because even good musicians can not say: which of their notes do they play louder and which softer? Ask anybody, for example yourself, and you will see that we are not used to realize what we are doing on our keys. How can we teach in this case?

We do not need goofy dynamics notation if dynamics is not goofy. However, we need some tool to correct the obviously wrong dynamics on some played in goofy way note. We can use in this case a SINGLE sign of Note Strength. At the very first lesson we can ONE TIME write Note Strength signs for every note of some short note just to explain: how does it work.   

Offline vladimirdounin

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Re: "Look back.... and ahead" ("Fur Elise". "Moonlight" by Bee... The
«Reply #26 on: July 28, 2005, 05:32:10 AM »
 How on earth can you say, ok strike this note at 53 Newtons that will be perfect. You cant! Because on another piano you may have to play it at 30 to produce the same effect. If you are in the larger room you may have to strike it at 70 to get the same effect, if you are in a smaller room you may have to strike it at 20. So to find the excact strengths is absoluetly useless....

ANSWER

O.K. I will explain again that this all is about right/wrong stressings and softenings in music. Imagine that you are not pianist but a declamator and have to read from the stage some poem. Have you right to read "decemb-E-r" instead of dec-E-mber, florid-A instead of fl-O-rida, driv-I-ng insted of dr-I-ving etc. You can do it in volume 20, 40 or 80 but still good m-O-rning will be wright and g-O-od  morn-I-ng will be wrong. People don't like and understand such stressings in music as well and accurate indication fix this problem instantly.
V.D.

Offline vladimirdounin

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Re: "Look back.... and ahead" ("Fur Elise". "Moonlight" by Bee... The
«Reply #27 on: July 28, 2005, 06:12:18 AM »
quote author=omnisis link=topic=10919.msg115646#msg115646 date=1122413425]
Ok here's an easy fix Vlad:

You need a compact notation that is easily taken in by the reader, doesn't clog the (already cluttered) score and can represent a reasonable number of graduated levels.  Here's what you do.

1) Take a regular piece of sheet music in a composition program. 
2) Make up a special font

ANSWER

I do not copy music with the computer - it is illegal. All what I (and other teachers) have in the class is a pencil. So my question about easily taken in by the reader marks is about traditional score and pencil.

In any case thank you for your suggestion! V.D.

Offline omnisis

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Re: "Look back.... and ahead" ("Fur Elise". "Moonlight" by Bee... The
«Reply #28 on: July 28, 2005, 02:55:11 PM »
Vlad,

If you don't want to use a computer, you can circle every note on the page with a color pencil indicated the dynamics value you'd like to assign.  This would avoid your copyright fears and give you as many levels as you have pencils.  Again I will say what others have said essentially:

Getting a beginning student to respect very basic dynamics markings  (p vs. f eg)  in a piece is hard enough....How do you expect him/her to respect a new system with even more dynamic levels?  For me personally I play according to the metric accents and the dynamics marked on the the page.  If I am doing this am I usually doing pretty good.  If I come to a part that needs more dynamic attention I mark it up accordingly.  ppp-fff is a GIANT range, and it is plently expressive for me.

You keep harping on "absolute dynamics" but I think you are missing the point.  All dynamics are RELATIVE.  Say I apply 45g (arbitrary number) of force to the first note which is meant to be played pp.  If I am immediately to asced to forte I might progress as follows (across 4 notes) 45g,50g,55g,60g .  These numbers are obviously made up but my point is THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS ABSOLUTE DYANMICS!.  If I am playing a Bosendorfer concert grand then I will not hit the keys with the same EXACT weight as if I were playing a cheap spinet.  Of course in the electronic world we can make an arbitrary absolute dynamic value and in fact we do and it's called MIDI NOTE VELOCITY.  Now what if we have two different MIDI soundcards and they don't sound the dynamics at the same level?  What do we do to equalize them?  Yup, you guessed it, we change the volume by using a volume control switch. 

You see the fact that the dynamics were absolute wasn't terribly important, because we can always change the overall volume.  What is important is that the relative strength amoungst notes was maintained across all volume levels.  The same is true in piano playing.  I don't like numbers because they are too hard to think about while playing but it may be useful to do the following.

1) Take a disclavier recording of some famous pianist.
2) View all the velocity settings for every note
3) create a graph of velocity settings for each voice and superimpose below/above the
    score (think stock market graphs here).

The graph approach gives you the information you need (visual representation of dynamic level), without having to think about something like 60% velocity because that is very dependent on that piano you are playing.  Personally, I think the use of cresc. and dim. signs with dynamic levels from ppp-fff is enough for most pianists.  The virtuosos play scores with things like ffffff and, if they are playing them correctly, this is a very effective system.

If your focus is on learning *CORRECT* dynamics I think it would be more suitable (and profitable for you if that is your goal) to design and digital piano or piece of MIDI software that correlates the RELATIVE strength a player uses on notes to the MIDI velocity setting for that note.  It is easy to say "play this note at 60% of the overall dynamic strength value" but much harder to train your hands and ears to do all of this effortlessly and that is the real problem isn't it?


~omnisis






Offline Dazzer

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Re: "Look back.... and ahead" ("Fur Elise". "Moonlight" by Bee... The
«Reply #29 on: July 28, 2005, 04:31:35 PM »
I'm starting to feel some sympathy. I'm thinking alot of this debate comes from language misunderstandings

When vlad says Absolute Dynamics, i'm guessing he means Absolute dynamics relative to each other.

As he states above,


Quote
O.K. I will explain again that this all is about right/wrong stressings and softenings in music. Imagine that you are not pianist but a declamator and have to read from the stage some poem. Have you right to read "decemb-E-r" instead of dec-E-mber, florid-A instead of fl-O-rida, driv-I-ng insted of dr-I-ving etc. You can do it in volume 20, 40 or 80 but still good m-O-rning will be wright and g-O-od  morn-I-ng will be wrong. People don't like and understand such stressings in music as well and accurate indication fix this problem instantly.

So, what this is is simply an indication of how loud each note should be in relation to each other. Hence, absolute dynamic relationships (confusing, no?) Or which notes in a phrase to stress.

so i'm guessing what this program will do, is check your recording to see if you've stressed your phrases correctly. there. plain simple. gimmicky though...

Offline vladimirdounin

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Re: "Look back.... and ahead" ("Fur Elise". "Moonlight" by Bee... The
«Reply #30 on: July 29, 2005, 02:14:43 PM »
<quote author=omnisis link=topic=10919.msg116246#msg116246 date=1122562511]
Vlad,

If you don't want to use a computer, you can circle every note on the page with a color pencil indicated the dynamics value you'd like to assign.  This would avoid your copyright fears and give you as many levels as you have pencils./> 

ANSWER

Even with plain pencil we have a big problem because examiners do not allow to have any marks in the books they look at. So my students have to erase each my mark before each exam or competition. And do you think they are able to memorize the number, attributed to some certain colour?





 <Again I will say what others have said essentially:

Getting a beginning student to respect very basic dynamics markings  (p vs. f eg)  in a piece is hard enough....How do you expect him/her to respect a new system with even more dynamic levels?  For me personally I play according to the metric accents and the dynamics marked on the the page.  If I am doing this am I usually doing pretty good.  If I come to a part that needs more dynamic attention I mark it up accordingly.  ppp-fff is a GIANT range, and it is plently expressive for me./>

I appreciate accuracy in "macro-dynamics", but do not care about all of this ppp-FFF. Beatiful music is still beautiful and in pp and in f, with FF the situation is a bit more complicated.
The scientific research proved that the guy in the first row of you concert hall hears 80 times more loud sound than the guy in the last one.

Human has a perfect "sensivity regulator" in his/her ear - tiny -1,5 mm in size bone. It will adjust any ear to any your volume an enjoy with your beautiful music as long as you do not exceed the lower and the highest treshhold of the sensivity. And it is unknown here, but some greatest musicians insisted that "the better musician is - the smaller are the differencies between his "maximum" and "minimum" in volume. It sounds strange, but try to speak to somebody with crescendo, diminuendo pp and FF. the person you are talking to will call ambulance or police just in case, that you can start to bite him as well.Music is just one of languages. The rules and logic are the same. In some period of my life I played as a "social pianist" in some open hall or even on the grass in the garden, many, up to 13 hours a day. It was a wonderful research laboratory to learn: what do the people like and what they do not like. (It is easy - if they do not like , they stop putting money into your pocket).So I learned a lot from my experience and do not mind to share it.

All the rest I will answer later.

All the best!

Vladimir Dounin.
Quote

Offline lionel_hartley

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Re: "Look back.... and ahead" ("Fur Elise". "Moonlight" by Bee... The
«Reply #31 on: August 08, 2005, 07:49:27 AM »

I solve the problem of marking the music by putting the sheet music in a plastic sleeve folder and marking on the clear pages of the folder rather than the actual music sheets. I use a chinagraph pencil (but a white-board marker would do if the tip is fine enough). Not only can this be rubbed off if required, but by removing the music to a new folder, the clean pages can be used for exams, etc or for another student. Sure beats copyright worries, the pages don't get dog-eared and my students don't loose their music sheets, as none of the pages are loose.
Lionel.
http://p.webring.com/forum?forum=toponlineartist

Offline vladimirdounin

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Re: "Look back.... and ahead" ("Fur Elise". "Moonlight" by Bee... The
«Reply #32 on: August 08, 2005, 10:54:47 AM »
<quote author=lionel_hartley link=topic=10919.msg120393#msg120393 date=1123487367]
I solve the problem of marking the music by putting the sheet music in a plastic sleeve folder and marking on the clear pages of the folder rather than the actual music sheets. I use a chinagraph pencil (but a white-board marker would do if the tip is fine enough). Not only can this be rubbed off if required, but by removing the music to a new folder, the clean pages can be used for exams, etc or for another student. Sure beats copyright worries, the pages don't get dog-eared and my students don't loose their music sheets, as none of the pages are loose.
Lionel.
http://p.webring.com/forum?forum=toponlineartist/>


ANSWER

Thank you very much for interesting idea with plastic sleeve. However I have the problem to put on the page small (like one letter) signs, that my student will read as:

1.This note should be played louder than previous one. The difference should be as small, as possible.
 
2.This note should be played louder than previous one. The difference should be twice bigger than "as small, as possible".

3.This note should be played louder than previous one. The difference should be 3 times bigger , than "as small, as possible".

I need another 3 signs of the same content  for "should be played softer, than previous".

These signs must not interfere with fingering, tenuto, staccato etc., that we can see on the page.

I would very appreciate if somebody will invent such marking.

v.D.