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Barenboim’s Chopin Recital in Warzaw

Daniel Barenboim marked his new affiliation with Decca and Deutsche Grammophon labels with four releases. Two releases were devoted to Chopin: a solo recital recorded in Warsaw, with Waltzes, a Polonaise, a Fantasia, a Nocturne and the B flat minor Sonata, as well as Chopin’s two Concertos, accompanied by the Berlin Staatskapelle under Andris Nelsons. Read more >>

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Author Topic: Liszt Technical Excersizes: my experience  (Read 11856 times)
musicsdarkangel
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« on: July 26, 2005, 05:30:05 AM »

I used to hate technical excersizes...........

but every since a month ago, when I saw Jemboy write in one of his posts, that practicing these Liszt excersizes was his "technical secret", I had to try them out.


Here is my conclusion:
I am amazed by these excersizes, and believe that they are genius.

His opening excersizes, for finger dexterity, and mainly independance, are the hardest of their type....... not only do they do this, but he also has dynamics marked in to help improve control of the fingers (and dynamics).

A month ago, my weakness was by far octaves, but now, after this last practice of the octave excersizes, I'm starting to wonder.  They have helped me improve so much, that I can take speeds much faster and more accurate than I could a month ago.

The Liszt excersizes cover all sorts of great stuff...............

1.   Finger independance
2.   Scales, 3rds, 6ths, contrary, pretty much everything.  arpeggios in 3rds, 6ths, etc
3.   Sightreading (excersizes are in different keys! unlikes Hannon and crap like that)
4.   Trills
5.   Octaves
6.   Repeated notes
7.   Passing the thumb under
8.   Using different fingerings
9.   Tremelos
10. Endurance

.... the list goes on and on.  No wonder Liszt was so good........ these are the excersizes that he was said to have practiced for 4 hours a day.

Already, my finger strength has improved, my speed, my octaves, trills are coming easier.  This is from practicing just for the last 2 weeks for an hour a day.  I'm going to move it up to an hour and a half a day.   

What is wonderful is how Liszt puts these excersizes in different keys, so they are great for sightreading, and knowledge of the keyboard.  I look at the music, don't look at my hands, and follow the directions, so I get the technical work out, as well as sight reading.  This coupled with all of the techniques, and the scales, helps my playing greatly. 

My memorization is improving as well because of all of these scalar patterns Liszt puts in, and chord shapes, I remember them, the inverstion, and can recognize it in music.  Also, at the very end of the book, I actually get a work out from the octaves!  Because there are sections where you have to change direction in the octaves each time you hit one (c, e, c, g, c, c, then e, g, e, c, e, e etc) the arms get a great workout.

There are sections I skip (mostly repeated, scalar sections), but eventually I will go back to them. 

I thought I should let you all know my experience with these excersizes, because Liszt was technically one of the (if not THE) most brilliant pianists, and these excersizes are worth checking out.

If you do these though, be cautious, the excersizes are HARD so you have a possibility of tendonitis........... if you ever feel pain, don't keep playing. 

Anyone else have experience with these?
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donjuan
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« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2005, 05:59:30 AM »

Well, I bought them - that big thick book - a while back.  I was and still am amazed at their complexity.  It seemed Liszt practiced every single scenario possible at the keyboard.  it makes me wonder if there is an easier way to get the exercise without having to do all the busy work..

but your post almost makes me want to take out the book and check it out.

Where do you suggest I begin?  The first page?  I remember looking at it and saying ' oh hell no' so please help me appreciate them as much as you have.  I sort of recall that the first exercise involved holding down fingers while excerising other specific ones.. very exhausting and frustrating..  Tell me, do they get easier with practice?
thanks
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Kassaa
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« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2005, 06:42:38 AM »

Well, I bought them - that big thick book - a while back.  I was and still am amazed at their complexity.  It seemed Liszt practiced every single scenario possible at the keyboard.  it makes me wonder if there is an easier way to get the exercise without having to do all the busy work..

but your post almost makes me want to take out the book and check it out.

Where do you suggest I begin?  The first page?  I remember looking at it and saying ' oh hell no' so please help me appreciate them as much as you have.  I sort of recall that the first exercise involved holding down fingers while excerising other specific ones.. very exhausting and frustrating..  Tell me, do they get easier with practice?
thanks

I have played the first excercise for two weeks (now busy with playing thirds while keeping your hand quiet) and they definately improve. I do the pianissimo a lot softer, and the fortissimo a lot harder, and everything is way faster than 2 weeks ago.
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musicsdarkangel
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« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2005, 12:15:50 AM »

Well, I bought them - that big thick book - a while back.  I was and still am amazed at their complexity.  It seemed Liszt practiced every single scenario possible at the keyboard.  it makes me wonder if there is an easier way to get the exercise without having to do all the busy work..

but your post almost makes me want to take out the book and check it out.

Where do you suggest I begin?  The first page?  I remember looking at it and saying ' oh hell no' so please help me appreciate them as much as you have.  I sort of recall that the first exercise involved holding down fingers while excerising other specific ones.. very exhausting and frustrating..  Tell me, do they get easier with practice?
thanks

Well, yes, these excersizes are incredibly difficult...........

but they have gotten so much easier over time, because of practice, and improvement!

Anyway, those beginning excersizes are excellent............... if it's too strenuous, just don't lift your fingers as high as you do.  ALSO remember it doesn't matter what tempos you take.  Take it slow if it's too tough on you.  I would recommend playing through all of these excersizes over time......... BUT, it really depends how much time you have.

How much time do you devote to practice?  I can give you a good way to divide the books by time.

Just skip all of the scalar stuff or excersizes you find pointless.  Really, all of it's great, but there is better stuff and worse.


Don't worry....... I thought that I'd never be able to play these excersizes, but over time, it sure helps you improve.  If you regularly devote time to it, you can do it........ and IMO it's so worth it.
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musicsdarkangel
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« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2005, 03:33:40 PM »

people hate the thought of technical excersizes that much eh?
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stevie
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« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2005, 04:56:36 PM »

i think the benefits are interesting, but have you seen/tried other exercise book?

i have seen quite a few and the most comprehensive is CORTOT's without question

dohnanyi is the most succinct, dealing rigorously with only the most practical and useful figurations.

i have liszt's and i think hes closer to cortot, but still, cortot is way more comprehensive.

im not saying its the most useful, but it is essential reading for any pianist interested in technique.

of particular interest are the polyphonic exercises, and the extreme double notes, such as major 7ths, minor 2nds, etc.
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raffyplayspiano
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« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2005, 05:06:51 PM »

do these excersices have an opus number?

raffy
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**Raffy plays the piano**
fliszt
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« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2005, 06:14:03 PM »

i cant seem to find it somewhere on the internet. Are those exercises just the etudes?
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Kassaa
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« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2005, 06:50:37 PM »

i cant seem to find it somewhere on the internet. Are those exercises just the etudes?
No.

http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/pages.html?cart=33314645586143134&target=smp_detail.html%26sku%3DAP.630&s=pages-www.google.nl/search&e=/sheetmusic/detail/AP.630.html&t=&k=&r=wwws-err5

These are the complete studies, but all the studies are only written in one tonality, so you have you transpose them yourself. I have the first book of an other edition, which has all tonalities written out.
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tocca
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« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2005, 09:45:30 PM »

It would be nice to have theese, but the whole set would be even better. Transposing difficult Liszt etudes on the fly isn't something i'm particulary looking forward to!  Smiley
Sure would be a real challenge though.

I really lack in technique to play many of Liszt pieces, and yet i very much like his music. Perhaps this would be a good way to go about getting closer to managing some of his work.

I have a REALLY large (probably most of his stuff actually!) collection of liszt sheetmusic, i inherited most of it from my grandfather (who was a pianist) who was very fond of Liszt. But it seems i miss theese etudes.

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thierry13
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« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2005, 09:51:14 PM »

I have a REALLY large (probably most of his stuff actually!) collection of liszt sheetmusic, i inherited most of it from my grandfather (who was a pianist) who was very fond of Liszt. But it seems i miss theese etudes.

They are not etudes. They are exercises. Probably why your grandfather didn't have them.
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musicsdarkangel
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« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2005, 12:16:56 AM »

i think the benefits are interesting, but have you seen/tried other exercise book?

i have seen quite a few and the most comprehensive is CORTOT's without question

dohnanyi is the most succinct, dealing rigorously with only the most practical and useful figurations.

i have liszt's and i think hes closer to cortot, but still, cortot is way more comprehensive.

im not saying its the most useful, but it is essential reading for any pianist interested in technique.

of particular interest are the polyphonic exercises, and the extreme double notes, such as major 7ths, minor 2nds, etc.

Unfortunately, I've only seen/tried Czerny and Hannon, which I think are nothing compared to the Liszt.

I'll have to try these Cortot and Donanyi excersizes.

Do you know of any website with a clip of the sheet music?  I would like to see it.
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brsmpianist
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« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2005, 01:57:15 AM »

Can you specifically recommend the numbers of exercises thats helped you so much?  Esp. in terms of the octaves, or thirds, etc... that would be a big help... thanks
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stevie
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« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2005, 12:58:31 PM »

Unfortunately, I've only seen/tried Czerny and Hannon, which I think are nothing compared to the Liszt.

I'll have to try these Cortot and Donanyi excersizes.

Do you know of any website with a clip of the sheet music?  I would like to see it.

sorry, i dont.

but as i said, the dohnanyi are probably the most time-efficient method, dealing with the most essential techniques in a shorter time.

cortot's is, as i said, frighteningly comprehensive.

i believe koji(thracozaag on this forum) grew up doing the dohnanyi exercises, and meiting sun did the cortot.

make of that what you will.
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Goldberg
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« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2005, 01:24:02 PM »

I can also testify to the brilliance and helpfulness of the Liszt exercises, for even though I tend to not follow a close routine (and practice them on and off throughout a various week, rather than every day), I essentially improve, in one way or another, no matter how small, each time I try an exercise. They also helped my octaves, before I played the HR6, and taught me everything about finger independence and playing scales properly...etc.

Very difficult, but I would say that one of the most rewarding features of Liszt's book is that it is not so thorough and comprehensive as to make it instantly accessible to the student; that is, especially in my case of being self taught, I had to work hard and *think* about what I was playing, and why Liszt thought it would be useful, and only then could I improve--there are no extensive instructions, or drawings of certain hand positions, or whatever else could make the exercises more accessible--so the student is required to think for himself.

I also wanted to throw in Godowsky's exercises which seem to be relatively unique (some, at least), although I haven't really played through any of them yet. Really the best part about them is they're free:

http://www.leopoldgodowsky.com/downloads.shtml

AND they're by Godowsky...

Plus, that's one wicked site. Check it out. Videos of people playing demonic Godowsky pieces, including one of Bolet! Plus, there are some wonnnnderful articles from contemporary (Godowsky's time, I mean) magazines and newspapers, and even a few personal letters...they make for great reads.
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musicsdarkangel
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« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2005, 03:30:23 PM »

thanks Goldberg!
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scientificpianopractise
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« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2015, 07:08:30 PM »

I am a scientist and also a good amateur pianist. 

The big issue, as I see it, is the relative absence of science supported piano practice.  Does it really take 8 hours a day for 16 years to become a concert pianist?  Or is there a more efficient way?  As far as I understand there is no grant monies to be had so progress in this area will be very slow.

I have taken a first stab at it by re-examining Hanon's "The Virtuoso Pianist in 60 Exercises" and simplified it.  I published "Hanon in 60 seconds".

If there is any interest in my work, I will continue with a next stab at finger angles.
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keypeg
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« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2015, 02:39:01 AM »

I have taken a first stab at it by re-examining Hanon's "The Virtuoso Pianist in 60 Exercises" and simplified it.  I published "Hanon in 60 seconds"....
There is no way of examining this, let alone discuss it, without purchasing it.
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