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Topic: Looking for advice on Debussy  (Read 21725 times)

Offline mark1

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Looking for advice on Debussy
on: February 29, 2004, 07:48:57 AM
I just recently fell in love with Debussy's piano works but my playing level is on the lower intermediate to intermediate... I'm looking for some advice on what would be a good, technically easy piece? I like his slow, delicate pieces if that helps any. Thanks for your help!                                                             :)  Mark
"...just when you think you're right, you're wrong."

Offline schnabels_grandson

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Re: Looking for advice on Debussy
Reply #1 on: February 29, 2004, 11:30:31 AM
La Plus Que Lente, Reverie, Valse Romantique, Jimbo's lullaby, Des Pas Sur la Neige, and Clair de Lune.
Those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head.  
You don't have to eat garbage to know it's garbage.-Old Proverb
A good composer does not imitate; he steals.- Igor Stravinsky

Offline bernhard

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Re: Looking for advice on Debussy
Reply #2 on: February 29, 2004, 12:31:14 PM
Debussy's easiest pieces (around grade 5 - and therefore not that easy, but you probably would be able to cope) are:

Le Petit Negre (The little negro) - It is a rhythmic piece with lots of syncopations (and similar to the more difficult - grade 7 - Golliwog's cakewalk). It is not that delicate, but it has a nice slow and lydircal contrasting middle section.

Page d'album (Album leaf) - This is probably what you are looking for. It is a small, ellegant. delicate and very effective miniature. It is immediately recognisable as Debussy's style.

If you can cope with these easily, than you may try the next notch up (around grade 7 - 8). My favourites are:

Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum – This is not exactly delicate, but has a beautiful lyric middle section flanked by  fast brilliant sections. Debussy was poking fun at technical exercises  - which he hated and was forced to practise when learning the piano – in this case Clementi’s Gradus. Much easier to play than it sounds  - exhilarating! (you will have to work at it though).

La fille aux cheveux de lin (The girl with the flaxen hair) - This is a beautiful piece, as delicate as they come. Very wistful and atmospheric. It is actually surprisingly easy to play once you can sort out all those flats and accidentals! (It has six flats in the key signature!).

Reverie – Hauntingly beautiful melody, the main difficulty are a few sections with three against two. Easier than Clair de Lune. Debussy actually disliked this piece (it was published without his permission) and thought it was of inferior quality (How wrong can a composer be?)

Arabesque no. 1 – A much longer piece where again the main difficulty are the sections with three against two. However this is such a beautiful piece that it is worth slaving away at the piano in order to play it.

Best wishes,
Bernhard.


The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline nujdp

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Re: Looking for advice on Debussy
Reply #3 on: February 29, 2004, 01:52:57 PM
yep, i would go for Arabesque No1. really beatiful, even know a modern Downbeat/chillout group using the melody. the only difficulty is the mentioned rythm...

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Looking for advice on Debussy
Reply #4 on: March 02, 2004, 01:21:24 PM
What about that Piano exam piece in Grade 8 - Prelude: General Lavine.  It's not that hard, I'm sure of it.  I've never taken an exam in my life and it's what I consider to be easy.  The three-stave noting is a bit confusing and knowing the words "right" and "left" in French would be great, too.  (It's droit and gouche, isn't it?)

But it's  funny piece.  I'm really starting to appreciate Debussy because of this piece.

minsmusic

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Re: Looking for advice on Debussy
Reply #5 on: March 02, 2004, 02:34:10 PM
Ooh ooh oooh! Do the Reverie, do the Reverie!  It's beautiful!

Offline ravel

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Re: Looking for advice on Debussy
Reply #6 on: March 02, 2004, 07:46:46 PM
 i was wondering if u could tell me how hard some of his preludes are,
currently, i have played his arabesque no.1 , claire de lune and  the girl with the flaxen hair from preludes book 1.
how do some of the preludes compare to them,
how about minstrels, how hard is that??
how about feux d'artifice (haha, right now i know  that is definitely beyond  me)

Offline bernhard

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Re: Looking for advice on Debussy
Reply #7 on: March 03, 2004, 12:33:03 AM
Book 1 is not very difficult – at least as far as playing the notes(not very easy either). Here are the easiest ones (all around grade 8 – similar to La fille aux cheveux du lin):

Danseuses de Delphes
Les sons et le parfums tournent dans l’air du soir
Des pas sur la neige
La Cathedrale engloutie
Minstrels

Book 2: The preludes in this book are in general more difficult than the ones in book 1.

These are the easiest, all of similar difficulty (around grade 8) to the ones above.

Bruyéres
General Lavine, eccentric
Hommage a S. Pickwick
Canope

All the other preludes are way over grade 8 and therefore quite advanced pieces. By the way the most difficult prelude in book 1 is Ce qu’q vu le Vent d’Ouest, and the most difficult in book 2 (and overall), you guessed it… Feux d’artifice! :(

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline ravel

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Re: Looking for advice on Debussy
Reply #8 on: March 10, 2004, 06:32:48 PM
thanks,  i am practising minstrels now,
its real fun, and not that  hard at all  till now.

Offline scriabinsmyman

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Re: Looking for advice on Debussy
Reply #9 on: March 16, 2004, 03:20:38 PM
CLAIR DE LUNE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! need I say more? ;D it's simple and gorgeous

Offline PoSeiDoN

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Re: Looking for advice on Debussy
Reply #10 on: March 20, 2004, 07:45:10 AM
With all due respect, I have some advice for you regarding Debussy:

DITCH IT!

In my book, Debussy and Gershwin teamed up to create the "lower colon of piano repertoire."

Again, no harm meant to anyone.   ;)

Offline MikeLauwrie

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Re: Looking for advice on Debussy
Reply #11 on: March 20, 2004, 04:42:50 PM
No Debussy is good, not as good as Ravel as far as I'm concerned, but he has written some good stuff.

As for Debussy Preludes, I heard a bit of his 'Voiles' one which sounded really nice, and pretty easy as well. It's all wholetone.

Mike

Offline newsgroupeuan

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Re: Looking for advice on Debussy
Reply #12 on: March 20, 2004, 10:35:38 PM
Quote

Le Petit Negre (The little negro) - It is a rhythmic piece with lots of syncopations (and similar to the more difficult - grade 7 - Golliwog's cakewalk). It is not that delicate, but it has a nice slow and lydircal contrasting middle section.


I preferred Golliwog's Cakewalk to Le Petit Negre....but it's a matter of taste.  Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum was my favorite out of that book (but I've forgotten the last bit because I've not played it for a year or three)

Offline alkanite

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Re: Looking for advice on Debussy
Reply #13 on: March 20, 2004, 11:21:20 PM
Take Bernhard's suggestion above:

Page d'Album

This is the right level for you, and very rewarding to play (and a great ending).  It won't frustrate you like just about everything else.
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