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Debussy Arabesque #1 at 3:00 AM (Read 4116 times)

Offline violinist

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Debussy Arabesque #1 at 3:00 AM
« on: September 24, 2005, 10:47:32 AM »
Okay... I have a first performance on my piano (in almost 25 years) to try "today" at 2pm.  I've been practicing this thing all night.  Finally got it memorized.

Here's what I have so far, memorized.

Debussy Arabesque #1 (take one.. first time I've memorized it and recorded it.)

Jane, Thanks for posting this first... it inspired me to play it.  That's the only reason I downloaded the sheet music from the internet (sheet music archive - no fingerings).  So thank you very much Jane.  I actually never remembered hearing this piece before (ignorant violinist before).

Any comments welcome.
Practice!

piano sheet music of Arabesque


Offline violinist

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Re: Debussy Arabesque #1 at 3:00 AM
«Reply #1 on: September 25, 2005, 10:16:04 PM »
This recording is played on a Steinway B.  I just posted my playing of this same piece on my Yamaha P-200 digital piano.  For those interested in comparing sounds... look for the other thread entitled Yamaha P200.. or something like that.

Hope this helps people who want to compare sounds between acoustic and digital.

Let me know what you think.  Talk to me!
Practice!

Offline leahcim

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Re: Debussy Arabesque #1 at 3:00 AM
«Reply #2 on: September 26, 2005, 02:14:17 AM »
Let me know what you think.  Talk to me!

I think it's a difficult call for digital v acoustic - not the least because we're comparing a Yamaha and Steinway, without any criteria. e.g Live v recording, listening v playing.

I know which I'd want to be sat in front of :) Live, I've no doubt which I'd prefer to listen to.

But, if I wanted to record my playing a lot in a home environment, and listening to it mattered as much as playing it live did. I'd be tempted to go for the digital - there are sampled Steinways and the like - and what's lost is, imo, often more than gained in the quality of the recording you can get without much effort.

OTOH, it's fairly clear to hear despite the typically bad recordings of pianos in the Audition room that the Grands are better - and there is a lot you can do to improve the recording of acoustic instruments - but even some commercial recordings of acoustics are bad.

Offline violinist

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Re: Debussy Arabesque #1 at 3:00 AM
«Reply #3 on: September 26, 2005, 06:56:38 AM »
Thanks for replying.  I also had a slightly harder time getting the sound I wanted from the digital piano.  The touch wasn't quite right..  The loud and soft became too dramatic.  But it might be because I've been playing mostly on the steinway for the last 3 weeks.  But I was playing on the P-200 before.   Even the sampled steinway sounds (on a technics) doesn't sound right, live... coming out of speakers and such.

My ability to tell the difference in sound now is so much better now that I have both instruments side by side in the same room (as you might have seen in the pictures I posted of my Steinway B in the instrument board)
Practice!

Offline leahcim

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Re: Debussy Arabesque #1 at 3:00 AM
«Reply #4 on: September 26, 2005, 08:44:06 AM »
Thanks for replying.  I also had a slightly harder time getting the sound I wanted from the digital piano.  The touch wasn't quite right..  The loud and soft became too dramatic.  But it might be because I've been playing mostly on the steinway for the last 3 weeks.

Yeah, you can hear that in the playing.

If you can capture the midi data from the p200, you might be able to see from the velocities of the notes, whether it's the dynamic range of the p200 reacting too harshly to a relatively harder touch or your fingers used to different action.

If that makes sense? i.e, you might generate velocities, for a particular phrase around 50, and perhaps 60 or 70 for an accent creates a clunk [like my thumbs :)] - whereas on the Steinway perhaps the same touch gives you a far more subtle highlight.

Offline JPRitchie

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Re: Debussy Arabesque #1 at 3:00 AM
«Reply #5 on: September 26, 2005, 12:02:16 PM »
The RH may need to be played a little harder to get the melody more up out of the bass on the digital. This might be a simple difference in the response characteristics of the instruments. A little, but just little, more reverb may also help. Do you know how many sound layers the YAMAHA has? If different sample layers are being used in passages of different dynamic, that can lead to greater than intended contrasts and non-smooth transitions.
Regards,
Jim Ritchie

Offline didier_brest

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Re: Debussy Arabesque #1 at 3:00 AM
«Reply #6 on: September 26, 2005, 09:36:03 PM »
Nice playing and nice recording. Could you explain how you did this record (room, harware, mic placement, ...) ? Thanks in advance.

Offline violinist

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Re: Debussy Arabesque #1 at 3:00 AM
«Reply #7 on: September 27, 2005, 05:16:42 AM »
Nice playing and nice recording. Could you explain how you did this record (room, harware, mic placement, ...) ? Thanks in advance.

Let me dig up a picture of the room: (same picture I posted in Instruments)

Practice!

Offline violinist

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Re: Debussy Arabesque #1 at 3:00 AM
«Reply #8 on: September 27, 2005, 05:21:45 AM »
Nice playing and nice recording. Could you explain how you did this record (room, harware, mic placement, ...) ? Thanks in advance.

This room is basically my dining room... it has average height ceilings like 9 feet.  then it opens up in to the living room which has 20 feet or so ceiling  (two floors).  Hardwood floors.  Nothing much on the wall.  A bunch of plants to add humidity to the room.


Mic placement:  I had it sitting to the right of the steinway about 4 feet on a sitting chair.  The steinway lid was open.  For the P-200.. I had it 3 feet directly to the left of the P-200 (Yamaha) on the same chair.

Recording equipment.  I used the ZOOM ps-04 portable multitrack recorder.  It's so difficult to use (at least for me) I'm not currently recommending it.. but I like it because it records onto a computer memory card... then I can download it through my multicard reader onto the computer... then use software from ZOOM to conver to wAVE.. the use another softward to convert to mp3.

Thanks for your interest!

You can search for Zoom ps-04 palmtop studio on the web to see what it looks like.  The mic is the condenser mic... it tends to make things more shrill... not what I really like, esp. for violin recording... eeek.

Practice!

Offline violinist

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Re: Debussy Arabesque #1 at 3:00 AM
«Reply #9 on: September 27, 2005, 05:24:02 AM »
The RH may need to be played a little harder to get the melody more up out of the bass on the digital. This might be a simple difference in the response characteristics of the instruments. A little, but just little, more reverb may also help. Do you know how many sound layers the YAMAHA has? If different sample layers are being used in passages of different dynamic, that can lead to greater than intended contrasts and non-smooth transitions.
Regards,
Jim Ritchie

From what I remember of the Yamaha layers.. I think it had three layers.  But this was a while ago..  I think the specs are exactly the same as the p-250 which is the newer model of the same piano.  Does anyone out there know?  Help! 

Thanks for the tip on the RH...   I couldn't believe how much more awkward it was to play on the digital after having played on the grand almost exclusively for three weeks..  And I actually haven't played as much as I've wanted.  Mostly on the weekends.  I dream about playing the piano a lot more than I actually get to.
Practice!

Offline violinist

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Re: Debussy Arabesque #1 at 3:00 AM
«Reply #10 on: September 27, 2005, 05:28:57 AM »
Yeah, you can hear that in the playing.

If you can capture the midi data from the p200, you might be able to see from the velocities of the notes, whether it's the dynamic range of the p200 reacting too harshly to a relatively harder touch or your fingers used to different action.

If that makes sense? i.e, you might generate velocities, for a particular phrase around 50, and perhaps 60 or 70 for an accent creates a clunk [like my thumbs :)] - whereas on the Steinway perhaps the same touch gives you a far more subtle highlight.

I think the fault is mostly in my finger velocities.  And that's caused by the much "lighter" action of the Yamaha P-200 compared to the Steinway.

My comparison of the differences.. is that the yamaha p-200 has a much lighter - plastic feel - action... but then to break the "springs" on the yamaha p200 action there's a lot more force required to just initiate  a key press.  On my grand piano... the key press doesn't have that feel of "breaking" the inertia of the keys being up.  Does this make any sense?

But there are certainly a lot of suprising clunks in my yamaha p-200 recording.  I think these clunks are from me being no longer used to breaking this inertia barrier.

I'm so much more sensitive to how piano's feel and their touch these days.

Practice!

Offline JPRitchie

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Re: Debussy Arabesque #1 at 3:00 AM
«Reply #11 on: September 27, 2005, 11:15:29 AM »
I found with a quick search that the P120 and P250 both use three layers of stereo samples. ( Your manual will likely call out this spec.) With this few, in some cases, one can hear the switch between layers - despite the overall good quality of the sound. Changing absolute velocities can move the switch point around, while leaving the relative velocities unchanged. P200 advertising mentions the quality of the reverb samples.

Just to mention that, if you haven't tried it already and there's something unsatisfactory, the touch is selectable.

Regards,
Jim

Offline violinist

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Re: Debussy Arabesque #1 at 3:00 AM
«Reply #12 on: September 28, 2005, 04:33:18 AM »
I found with a quick search that the P120 and P250 both use three layers of stereo samples. ( Your manual will likely call out this spec.) With this few, in some cases, one can hear the switch between layers - despite the overall good quality of the sound. Changing absolute velocities can move the switch point around, while leaving the relative velocities unchanged. P200 advertising mentions the quality of the reverb samples.

Just to mention that, if you haven't tried it already and there's something unsatisfactory, the touch is selectable.

Regards,
Jim

Thanks so much for looking into the number of layers.  I believe I remember there was three.  I've since lost the manual in my many moves.  I do enjoy playing on the P-200, and I've changed the sensitivies a few times in the past.   I think right now it's at the factory default.  When I owned the P-200 only, I never imagined that a grand/steinway could sound and feel so different. 

But I'm overall still very happy with the digital piano.  I can still play till 4am if I want to and not bug the other people in the house if there are others here.

Any comments on the playing of the Arabesque on the steinway recording?  I feel that I may have rushed the first part (ie. first page).  But I was a bit nervous right when I pressed the buttons to record.  I could feel my hands shaking when I was trying to get the recorder to work.

Funny how recording, even in ones own home makes me nervous!
Practice!

Offline JPRitchie

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Re: Debussy Arabesque #1 at 3:00 AM
«Reply #13 on: September 28, 2005, 12:23:48 PM »
I do a MIDI from an authentic score or one related before I comment on a performance. Haven't done any Debussy yet, so "no comment" on your work. The digital v acoustic comparison sparked the question about the layers and other technicalities.
Regards,
Jim

Offline zheer

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Re: Debussy Arabesque #1 at 3:00 AM
«Reply #14 on: October 17, 2005, 12:15:47 PM »
Hi violinist, nice piano playing , am working on this piece at the moment and i think our instincts are the same but unfortunetly they are wrong. Like you am ading rubbato and accelerando in the same place, when i played it to my teacher she asked me to play with a metronome and to my suprise my performance  was grotesque.This error usually occures on bar 6 - 17 + bar 34 - 38 and bar 95 -99.
You are clearly musical, but i think you mentioned that you dont have a piano teacher , i have recently found a second piano teacher and she has made aware of many thing which go unnoticed. Since you perform in public you may benefit from some piano master classes.
            Nice music room by the way,all the best.
" Nothing ends nicely, that's why it ends" - Tom Cruise -

Offline violinist

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Re: Debussy Arabesque #1 at 3:00 AM
«Reply #15 on: October 18, 2005, 06:33:35 AM »
Hi violinist, nice piano playing , am working on this piece at the moment and i think our instincts are the same but unfortunetly they are wrong. Like you am ading rubbato and accelerando in the same place, when i played it to my teacher she asked me to play with a metronome and to my suprise my performance  was grotesque.This error usually occures on bar 6 - 17 + bar 34 - 38 and bar 95 -99.
You are clearly musical, but i think you mentioned that you dont have a piano teacher , i have recently found a second piano teacher and she has made aware of many thing which go unnoticed. Since you perform in public you may benefit from some piano master classes.
            Nice music room by the way,all the best.

Thanks Zheer!  I'm still working on this piece.   I think you're going to be working on the Chopin Nocturne 72 #1 with me... or you already played it - I can't remember at the moment.  There's so much more to this piece.   I recorded it here after a few weeks with the piece, about 1 day after I was able to memorize it.  I'm still working on polishing it.  And how can you and I have the same ideas and be wrong?  Maybe your teacher is wrong?  (just kidding... nobody's wrong).  I wish I had a teacher, but I don't think any teacher would want a student who's got a super limited time to practice.  I want to go to a piano masterclass.  I've been to a ton of violin ones and chamber music ones, but never been to one for just piano.  Any one know of any free ones in Northern California?  I'm willing to drive 2 hours to go see a few of these. 
Practice!

Offline ch0p1n 0wnz u

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Re: Debussy Arabesque #1 at 3:00 AM
«Reply #16 on: October 21, 2005, 02:18:26 PM »
i like your playing, nice piano too lol, is playing a grand any different to playing an upright(of course it is, i mean to feel etc) , coz im playin in a competition after the weekend and im playing on a steinway concert grand! will it confuse me because it feels different or is  it basically the same on grands and uprights.

Offline violinist

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Re: Debussy Arabesque #1 at 3:00 AM
«Reply #17 on: October 21, 2005, 06:15:37 PM »
i like your playing, nice piano too lol, is playing a grand any different to playing an upright(of course it is, i mean to feel etc) , coz im playin in a competition after the weekend and im playing on a steinway concert grand! will it confuse me because it feels different or is  it basically the same on grands and uprights.

Hello!  To me, the uprights and grands have a very different feel.  I still don't have the grasp of the vocabulary to describe it.  But I've heard many people who don't have too much problem going from upright to a grand and they love it and feel that they can do so much more with a Grand's action.

There are others here that are certainly more experienced and qualified to answer this wonderful question of yours.

Perhaps you can tell us.  Good luck on the competition!
Practice!

Offline zheer

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Re: Debussy Arabesque #1 at 3:00 AM
«Reply #18 on: October 21, 2005, 06:45:07 PM »
Yes the sound and action are usually different, you really should practice on a grand piano for atleast one hour the day before the competition. In an ideal world you should spend some time on the piano which you will be playing on the night. This way you will be in a better position to express what is in your mind rather than be at the murcy of the instrument, hence your idea of the piece of music will not be changed as a result of your lack of experiance on the instrument.
You will play rather than be played by the piano.
" Nothing ends nicely, that's why it ends" - Tom Cruise -

Offline ch0p1n 0wnz u

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Re: Debussy Arabesque #1 at 3:00 AM
«Reply #19 on: October 21, 2005, 10:16:59 PM »
im not sure if they allow you to play on it before hand! which i think is stupid, oh well ill letu know how i go anyways,

thanks