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Brahms 51 Excercises (Read 4710 times)

Offline cloches_de_geneve

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Brahms 51 Excercises
« on: December 06, 2006, 12:23:52 PM »
Hi Everyone,

In reviewing finger-excersise books to keep my fingers in shape, I recently came across the 51 excercises by Brahms. I have volume 1, containing excersices from 1 to 25. It is impossible to play 25 (let alone 51) excersises every day, at least to me! Rather, my goal is to pick a small selection, up to 10 excersices, which I can repeat with reasoable regularity.

Is anybody familiar with the Brahms excersises? If so, which ones did you find particularly useful for aquiring finger strength, independence and mobility? Put in terms of the 20/80 rule: Which 20% of the excersises cover 80% (or at least a big part) of what is to be gained by the exercises?

Thanks.
"It's true that I've driven through a number of red lights on occasion, but on the other hand I've stopped at a lot of green ones but never gotten credit for it." -- Glenn Gould

piano sheet music of 51 Piano Exercises


Offline mephisto

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Re: Brahms 51 Excercises
«Reply #1 on: December 06, 2006, 04:42:11 PM »
People who have played them say that they can be very dangerous.

Offline mikey6

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Re: Brahms 51 Excercises
«Reply #2 on: December 06, 2006, 11:37:37 PM »
They're helpful, just rather awkward (het, It's Brahms!) and hard.
When you start to master them - My Teacher said her teacher used to make his students play no.1 with the same fingering for each scale - so it get's even more uncomfortable!
Never look at the trombones. You'll only encourage them.
Richard Strauss

Offline pianowelsh

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Re: Brahms 51 Excercises
«Reply #3 on: December 07, 2006, 04:20:06 PM »
No excercises (with the exception of the hold down and trill with this finger etc) are dangerous if you practice them properly.  All of them can be used to build finger strength its how you practice them and not which ones you practice that does the strenth building.

Offline andrewg

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Re: Brahms 51 Excercises
«Reply #4 on: December 08, 2006, 01:16:01 AM »
Decades ago I learned and played most of them. Yes, these are very hard and exceedingly helpful if taught right.

Idil Biret played this set flawlessly on Naxos. You can go online listen to her super smooth rendition.

Offline burstroman

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Re: Brahms 51 Excercises
«Reply #5 on: December 08, 2006, 01:51:46 AM »
I use the Brahms "51" in small doses daily. 

Offline cloches_de_geneve

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Re: Brahms 51 Excercises
«Reply #6 on: December 08, 2006, 07:54:18 PM »
Hi Burstroman,
Are there any excersies you could particularly recommend, or some that you found especially useful?
"It's true that I've driven through a number of red lights on occasion, but on the other hand I've stopped at a lot of green ones but never gotten credit for it." -- Glenn Gould

Offline kriskicksass

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Re: Brahms 51 Excercises
«Reply #7 on: December 08, 2006, 09:05:48 PM »
Hi Burstroman,
Are there any excersies you could particularly recommend, or some that you found especially useful?

I know you didn't exactly ask me, but Dohnanyi are my personal favorite.

Offline cloches_de_geneve

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Re: Brahms 51 Excercises
«Reply #8 on: December 08, 2006, 09:49:29 PM »
Actually I meant the most useful ones within the Brahms set.

I've tried Dohnany and even if the excersices may be useful, personally I don't like this "hold down one or two fingers and move the rest" - kind of stuff. I like to see my fingers and wrist move up and down, lateraly and horizontally while excercising.

I use Godowsky finger excercises now, they are great I think, but suspect that Brahms is a good complement.
"It's true that I've driven through a number of red lights on occasion, but on the other hand I've stopped at a lot of green ones but never gotten credit for it." -- Glenn Gould

Offline burstroman

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Re: Brahms 51 Excercises
«Reply #9 on: December 09, 2006, 03:28:18 AM »
When I started writing down the numbers, it seems that I play most of them: 1,2,7,8,9,13,22,23,24,25,26,28,30,31,33,34,35,36,39,40,41,42,44,47,48,49,50,51.  I spend only 10 minutes a day on them, and so it takes a while to get through the set. What are really fun to play are Brahms' Studies after Bach's "Presto" BWV 1001, and the arrangement of the Bach Chaconne for the L.H.

Offline cloches_de_geneve

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Re: Brahms 51 Excercises
«Reply #10 on: December 09, 2006, 10:00:22 AM »
Went through some of them. Thought 3a and 3b are gems for buidling finger strength, articulation, mobility (a); and wrist flexibility + passage of thumb (b). In addition, requires a hell of a lot of concentration if not already automatized.
Of course it's all quite subjective, for me 3 seems a really good antidote to some of my weaknesses but there must be a good reason why you did not include it in your collection.
"It's true that I've driven through a number of red lights on occasion, but on the other hand I've stopped at a lot of green ones but never gotten credit for it." -- Glenn Gould

Offline piano121

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Re: Brahms 51 Excercises
«Reply #11 on: December 09, 2006, 07:12:04 PM »
Hi Everyone,

In reviewing finger-excersise books to keep my fingers in shape, I recently came across the 51 excercises by Brahms. I have volume 1, containing excersices from 1 to 25. It is impossible to play 25 (let alone 51) excersises every day, at least to me! Rather, my goal is to pick a small selection, up to 10 excersices, which I can repeat with reasoable regularity.

Is anybody familiar with the Brahms excersises? If so, which ones did you find particularly useful for aquiring finger strength, independence and mobility? Put in terms of the 20/80 rule: Which 20% of the excersises cover 80% (or at least a big part) of what is to be gained by the exercises?

Thanks.

Answering to you question, the 20% that covers 80% are numbers 2, 3a, 3b, 5, 6,a, 6b, 6c, 7, 8a, 8b, 8c, 9, 10a, 15a, 16a, 16b 16c,  17a, 17b and 18.

I have being studing focusing on these numbers, and  i think it does a great job on keeping your fingers in good shape. Definately, Brahms knew what he was doing. ;)

Offline iumonito

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Re: Brahms 51 Excercises
«Reply #12 on: December 10, 2006, 02:35:56 AM »
Not what you asked, but I would say it would be much more enjoyable and productive to pic the Brahms Paganini variations apart and do, for example, one a day.

Now, if what you really want is dry excercises, Hanon is not worse than anything else.

A waste of time IMO.
Money does not make happiness, but it can buy you a piano.  :)

Offline cloches_de_geneve

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Re: Brahms 51 Excercises
«Reply #13 on: December 10, 2006, 10:20:32 AM »
I am currently combining both approaches, finger excercises and Chopin Etudes. In my experience, large-scale etudes such as those by Chopin, Liszt, Brahms-Paganini tap other areas of technique compared to finger excercises; and vice versa of course. To build and maintain technique both are necessary imo. I should also add that, in contrast to Hanon and Dohnany etc.., the Brahms excercises are not uninteresting musically.
"It's true that I've driven through a number of red lights on occasion, but on the other hand I've stopped at a lot of green ones but never gotten credit for it." -- Glenn Gould

Offline iumonito

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Re: Brahms 51 Excercises
«Reply #14 on: December 10, 2006, 11:03:22 PM »
Most certainly.  Brahms has modulation and harmony, which require great concentration, but for musical interest, I like much better the Chopin side of your current approach.

Find your own path, of course, and best wishes.
Money does not make happiness, but it can buy you a piano.  :)

Offline mandaa

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Re: Brahms 51 Excercises
«Reply #15 on: January 04, 2007, 10:55:55 AM »
HI! GUYS! Can you find me Sabre Dance sheet for piano? 'cause it very important!