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Explosive Piano and Percussion Rendezvous in Beijing

The rare combination of Yuja Wang and famous drummer and multi-percussionist Martin Grubinger performed together at the Concert Hall of NCPA in Beijing on August 18th. In this exceptional and particular formation, a special version of Bartók’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion was presented along with “One Study One Summary” by John Psathas. Read more >>

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Author Topic: Ah, vous dirai-je maman!  (Read 14728 times)
baroque
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« on: December 13, 2005, 12:58:57 AM »

Hello!

This is my first post here, but I have been reading the forum for a long time. Here is my background: I have played for about 6 months, essentially Bach (Ann Magdalena, little preludes, etc), some Burgmuller and some of Schuman's Album for the young.

I heard that Ah, vous dirai-je maman is 1. a technically useful piece ; 2. that variations are ordered in progressive order of difficulty.
So my question is: would these be too hard for me to tackle. I thought it would be useful to learn one variation each week, which would make me progress little by little. Does this sound like a good plan? I know the first variation is supposed to be easy, but how about the rest? And is it true that they are in progressive order of difficulty?

Thank you!
baroque
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canardroti
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« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2005, 03:54:15 AM »

I think it is the perfect piece for you to tackle.  Even thouhg  I am not a big fan of mozart,  I can tell that this piece is very beneficial to progress efficiently.
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debussy symbolism
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« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2005, 06:53:56 AM »

Greetings.

The Variations are an excellent way to improve technique, and are as well musical. They do generally progress in difficulty, however there are a few(2 of them) that are really technically easy. Doing them in order, paying attention to every technical demand of the piece, as well as sound is helpfull. I would gladly try to help you out if you have any questions(I also assume you study with a teacher). Glad to help you out. Smiley



Best Wishes to all.
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baroque
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« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2005, 06:22:37 AM »

Many thanks! That is truly useful. Could you please just specify which ones are really easy? I guess the first one,  and? Also, which ones are really hard and possibly out of reach for me? I do not want to tackle anything that I cannot play very well.

Thank you so much,
Baroque
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debussy symbolism
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« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2005, 06:32:07 AM »

Greetings.

Actually, the really technically easy ones are variations 5 and 9(5 being the easiest), for they demand less finger motion and dexterity. On practicing lets say the first 2 variations, make sure to train each finger the precise motion and always use the same fingering. Practice slow to make sure an eveness of sound and the lightness of sound. Practice hands apart first to make sure that you get the melody line and articulation. Put the hands together only when you have realized the melody and secured the correct fingering. Glad to help out. If you have any particular questions ask, I'll try to help. Smiley
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debussy symbolism
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« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2005, 06:43:20 AM »

Sorry I forgot to reply to your other question concerning the hard ones. You should do them in order I think. The second variation is harder in my opinion as it requires voice control and a fast, light touch on the left hand. The 3rd variation may not be as hard without paying attention to the staccato-legato passages. It requires a very delicate and light touch as well as delicate voicing. You should know when to play legato or staccato(Not to mention of course the crescendos, diminuendos, etc, as applies to other variations). The fourth one is in my opinion harder than the 3rd one, because not only to voicing in chords, the left hand needs to be very supple, fast and light(staccato), and practice jumping from bass staccato to legato(from measures 5). Of course you may not find some be more difficult then others. However every single detail of the pieces have to be perfect. These pieces are a great way to develop technique and as with all technical studies, striving for perfection and eventually speed is essential. I would gladly help you out with more of these variations if you are curious. I am just a student so this is my opinion only. Anyways, glad to help out. Smiley
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chadefa1
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« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2005, 09:21:54 PM »

Thank you very much Debussy, this is very useful. I played the theme with my teacher today, and she thought I  should play it legato rather than "detached" as I had intentionally done... Also, she thought the variations would probably be too hard for me to play up to speed at this point... Sad
So I will probably keep them sleeping for another 6 months, and then refer back to your advice...
Thanks again.
Cheers,

Baroque
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debussy symbolism
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« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2005, 12:00:28 AM »

It's an interesting approach to play legato. Different techniques have to be learned to play correctly, whether it's legato, non-legato, portato, etc. You can take as much time as you need to begin pieces. These pieces are real pieces and a lot of technical material, like the etudes. You shouldn't be expected to play these fast in a couple of tries. Slow practice leads to fast and sure performance. I'm sure that you will be able to execute these pieces and I'll gladly help out if you have any questions. Smiley
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chadefa1
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« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2005, 12:32:15 AM »

Thank you Debussy, this is very encouraging. I think I will give the first variation a try, despite my teacher's thoughts Wink If I really am too slow or cannot do it justice at full speed, I will wait a few more months.

As for the theme, I listened to Schiff and Hidy, and it sounded non-legato to me, but I shouldn't trust my ear!

I'm sure I'll ask for your thoughts when I get into trouble with variation 1!

Best,
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debussy symbolism
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« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2005, 05:15:02 AM »

Best Wishes and good luck with progress. Smiley
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princessdecadence
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« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2005, 12:10:25 AM »

They do generally progress in difficulty, however there are a few(2 of them) that are really technically easy.

Which ones are they?

I didn't think that they variations progress in difficulty.  I find variation 11 pretty easy to do when I don't play some of the variations before that.  In fact, that's the first one I try to tackle.

@Baroque - They are really lovely to play especially var 3, 7 and 11 (Those ones I found very easy to do where as the others are harder, strangely enough)  It's the speed that's hard for me to handle.
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debussy symbolism
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« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2005, 03:21:08 AM »

The technically less demanding ones are  variations 5 and 9 in my opinion. Variation 5 has the two voices "talking" to each other. Variation 9 is harder because it requires more dexterity and voicing is important. Some variations may be harder or easier for you. A challenge is to play all of the variations from beginning to end without any "long" rests. Working on the hard variations will be more benefitial then only doing the easy ones. Again for every person it's different. Anyways, this is just my opinion.


Best Wishes to all.
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gorbee natcase
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« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2005, 10:46:35 PM »

The technically less demanding ones are variations 5 and 9 in my opinion. Variation 5 has the two voices "talking" to each other. Variation 9 is harder because it requires more dexterity and voicing is important. Some variations may be harder or easier for you. A challenge is to play all of the variations from beginning to end without any "long" rests. Working on the hard variations will be more benefitial then only doing the easy ones. Again for every person it's different. Anyways, this is just my opinion.


Best Wishes to all.
Which ones are they?

I didn't think that they variations progress in difficulty. I find variation 11 pretty easy to do when I don't play some of the variations before that. In fact, that's the first one I try to tackle.

@Baroque - They are really lovely to play especially var 3, 7 and 11 (Those ones I found very easy to do where as the others are harder, strangely enough) It's the speed that's hard for me to handle.
Best Wishes and good luck with progress. Smiley
Thank you Debussy, this is very encouraging. I think I will give the first variation a try, despite my teacher's thoughts Wink If I really am too slow or cannot do it justice at full speed, I will wait a few more months.

As for the theme, I listened to Schiff and Hidy, and it sounded non-legato to me, but I shouldn't trust my ear!

I'm sure I'll ask for your thoughts when I get into trouble with variation 1!

Best,
It's an interesting approach to play legato. Different techniques have to be learned to play correctly, whether it's legato, non-legato, portato, etc. You can take as much time as you need to begin pieces. These pieces are real pieces and a lot of technical material, like the etudes. You shouldn't be expected to play these fast in a couple of tries. Slow practice leads to fast and sure performance. I'm sure that you will be able to execute these pieces and I'll gladly help out if you have any questions. Smiley
Thank you very much Debussy, this is very useful. I played the theme with my teacher today, and she thought I should play it legato rather than "detached" as I had intentionally done... Also, she thought the variations would probably be too hard for me to play up to speed at this point... Sad
So I will probably keep them sleeping for another 6 months, and then refer back to your advice...
Thanks again.
Cheers,

Baroque
I want to quote all of you but I don;t want to run out of typing space, I love Mozart and this piece is brilliant (stick at it); I am glad that there is such possitive comments on this thread  Smiley  The only thing I would say is that I hope you finnish what you begin, You say you played for 6 months, OK if you ever think of trying hannon dont this is the perfect alternative with sence and direction and it sounds great too and it will prepare you for most of mozarts sonatas, I have played for 18 years and love this piece still, it is Mozart at his best, you know how there is classical,romantic,beroque, etc, etc Mozart should be put in a bracket all of his own... as he is without a doubt the best feel good factor in all world

(Mozart is the only composer of music who makes me feel physicaly sick with joy) Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley
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princessdecadence
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« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2005, 07:19:58 PM »

Hanon is pretty boring in comparison to these variations and the fact that it's a helpful musical exercise just makes it perfect. 

I'm so sorry to those who don't believe in grades but which ABRSM grade would these variations fall into (clueless as I am) or would they differ depending of which variation?
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pianorama
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« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2005, 10:18:28 PM »

I know I'm getting a bit off topic, but does Ah, vous dirai-je maman sound just like Twinkle, Twinle, Little Star?
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gorbee natcase
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« Reply #15 on: December 24, 2005, 12:53:49 PM »

Yes thats right
I know I'm getting a bit off topic, but does Ah, vous dirai-je maman sound just like Twinkle, Twinle, Little Star?
as a guess I would say grade 6 or 7 I cant be far wrong Smiley
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baroque
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« Reply #16 on: December 25, 2005, 06:32:56 PM »

Do I lack self-confidence, or is grade 6-7 really too hard for a 6 month beginner? My teacher seems to think it will be too hard to play up to speed. Of course, that doesn't prevent me from playing it slower as an "exercise" and come back to it once I have improved... But in general, even though it sounds easy, I think it might be mistaken to consider it as a piece that beginner can take on to improve their technique. It might just be too hard (maybe not for breadboy though Wink )


Thanks,
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princessdecadence
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« Reply #17 on: December 26, 2005, 06:22:29 AM »

Ah, vous dirai-je maman! is the original, twinkle twinkle little star comes second. Smiley

Grade 6-7? that's better than my guess - I thought it was ranging from 3-6 but most around 4-5.  Doesn't matter.
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gorbee natcase
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« Reply #18 on: December 26, 2005, 07:42:21 PM »

Ah, vous dirai-je maman! is the original, twinkle twinkle little star comes second. Smiley

Grade 6-7? that's better than my guess - I thought it was ranging from 3-6 but most around 4-5. Doesn't matter.
I think you are right I have just crossed it with the one the sheet music sellection on this site and it is rated as level 5. Smiley
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zaba19
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« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2005, 10:48:45 PM »

I am currently learning this piece (almost finished) and I must say it's not that easy... You can probably pretty fast learn the right notes, but doing all the phrasing, dynamic, etc. is really difficult. To play even the theme so beautifully as it should be IS hard. You play one note too loud or too silent and it is immediately audible. You release a key too soon or too late and the whole mood is gone. There are not so many notes as in other works (speaking generally) and this is why somebody listening to you hear EVERY mistake.

I thought like you that it was an easy piece (I played some Chopin nocturnes, Liszt Liebestraume, Rachmaninoff Prelude) and I asked my teacher if I could play these Variations. She said I don't know what I'm up to and that it'll be a challenge. It was...
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debussy symbolism
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« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2005, 03:56:54 AM »

Greetings.

Yes articulation and dynamics needs to be there along with the correct notes. Sometimes at a fast tempo one might forget to articulate. Alot of slow practice with articulation is helpfull.







Best Wishes to all.
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gorbee natcase
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« Reply #21 on: December 29, 2005, 03:02:16 PM »

Greetings.

Yes articulation and dynamics needs to be there along with the correct notes. Sometimes at a fast tempo one might forget to articulate. Alot of slow practice with articulation is helpfull.







Best Wishes to all.
Which requires the virtue of patience Smiley
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princessdecadence
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« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2006, 05:14:41 AM »

I am currently learning this piece (almost finished) and I must say it's not that easy... You can probably pretty fast learn the right notes, but doing all the phrasing, dynamic, etc. is really difficult. To play even the theme so beautifully as it should be IS hard. You play one note too loud or too silent and it is immediately audible. You release a key too soon or too late and the whole mood is gone. There are not so many notes as in other works (speaking generally) and this is why somebody listening to you hear EVERY mistake.

I thought like you that it was an easy piece (I played some Chopin nocturnes, Liszt Liebestraume, Rachmaninoff Prelude) and I asked my teacher if I could play these Variations. She said I don't know what I'm up to and that it'll be a challenge. It was...

Much agreed.  I can sight-read them all and play it fine but to play it like Baremboim did is quite tricky.  I tend to play some variations a bit too fast (especially var. 11). 

Can this piece replace musical exercises (the boring ones e.g. Hanon and the like)
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