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Topic: Hating a New Piece  (Read 2617 times)

Offline chopinlover

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Hating a New Piece
on: May 11, 2004, 04:50:11 AM
Hi.  I'm new to posting.  Been lurking for a couple of months.  Greetings to all.  :)  My question that I'd like some feedback on is:  Have you ever had a piece that you were learning that you absolutely hated?  I am working on Bach's C Major three- part invention and can't stand it.  I have done a lot of his two-part inventions and liked them okay but I can't stand this composition.  Part of the problem may be the fingering difficulities.  I'm hoping that this passes because it makes for a long practice time.  Anyone had this problem and what did you do?

Offline Antnee

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Re: Hating a New Piece
Reply #1 on: May 11, 2004, 05:43:04 AM
Well, I also had this problem (in fact it was just a few months ago) with a scarlatti piece. It was I believe K 3. I just didn't like it like the other scarlatti sonatas and the more I played it the more I hated it. What you shouldn't do is laboriously play it. Find some of the  good points about it. Find parts are the least interesting to you and find different ways to bring out the feelings and music in it and try to make it into something you will personally enjoy, however this is Bach so don't go too crazy. Other than that just realize that when you finish the piece you will have completed a very helpful exercise. And your tastes will always be changing so maybe someday you'll pull the music out again and find that it wasn't as bad as you thought.

-Tony-
"The trouble with music appreciation in general is that people are taught to have too much respect for music they should be taught to love it instead." -  Stravinsky

Shagdac

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Re: Hating a New Piece
Reply #2 on: May 11, 2004, 12:56:02 PM
I try not too play anything I absolutely hate....unless of course you are required to do so. Is this something you have been requested to perform, or you were given to learn.  If it is a piece assigned by an instructor possibly you could choose another piece which you find more enjoyable that would meet the same guidelines, teach the same technique, etc.

Also, it's important to understand WHY you hate it. You mentioned fingering difficulties. If this is the reason, it's probably not this piece that you hate....you'd probably feel the same about any piece which had the same fingering techniques. In this case, you would need to find different methods of practicing and learning the fingering techniques regardless of the piece you were learning. If you just don't care for the "sound" of the piece, I don't think there's anything wrong with choosing a different one.

Also, if a piece is extremely challenging it may be frustrating, and in that case I'd probably choose something slightly easier, but that would help me practice difficult techniques that are required in this piece and then come back to it.
Not sure if any of this helps....just a few suggestions.

Good luck!

S :)

Offline Tash

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Re: Hating a New Piece
Reply #3 on: May 11, 2004, 01:03:28 PM
personally i just don't play pieces i don't like. but i have encountered a few that i at first liked but then realise that i prefered listening to it than actually playing it because i didn't find it interesting to play. so i'll usually just end up dropping them and finding something better to play.  
but i also find i have period of frustration with pieces that aren't working, so then you just have to work on the problematic parts and think of how good it'll be when it starts to work.
'J'aime presque autant les images que la musique' Debussy

Offline chopinlover

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Re: Hating a New Piece
Reply #4 on: May 11, 2004, 03:03:06 PM
Thanks guys.  This piece is something that my teacher gave me to learn.  Maybe I will just have to tell him that I don't like it.  Or maybe I will at least ask him why he wants me to learn it.  I appreciate all the feedback about choices of other pieces and information about finding some of the good parts about the piece.  I will look for those good parts!  I have liked Bach in the past so I don't think it is the composer.  I also don't think that the piece is too hard for me right now.  What I'm interested in now is finding different ways of practicing pieces that have difficult fingering.  I have been practicing it hands seperately and at a slow tempo just to make sure that I get it right.  Any suggestions on ways of practicing pieces with difficult fingering?  Thanks

Offline bernhard

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Re: Hating a New Piece
Reply #5 on: May 12, 2004, 12:55:35 AM
Shagdac is right. You must understand why you hate the piece in the first place.

Personally I cannot say I hate any piece. My negative reactions to pieces tend to fall in these categories:

i.      Dull. Certain pieces (personal taste of course) I find unbearably dull. For instance, most of Bartok’s Mikrokosmos. Being now at a position where I do not have to learn this sort of stuff, my heart sinks when I come across a student who actually loves the stuff.

ii.      Mediocrity. Certain pieces (usually pop) are simply not up to standards (not personal opinion, I am afraid). Again my heart sinks when a student will not rest until s/he has learnt the “Titanic” theme.

iii.      Overplayed pieces. Certain pieces are now definitely no-no. Fur Elise for instance.

Any of these negative emotions are justifiable grounds to refuse to learn a piece. Life is short and the piano repertory vast enough that one does not need to waste time on dull, mediocre and overplayed pieces.

There is a fourth kind of piece that generates some pretty strong negative emotions in myself, but this kind I always make a point of learning:

iv.      Difficult (for me, at that time) pieces. Pieces that I look at the score, or sight read through and I immediately realise they will take forever to learn. Dismay, despair, discouragement and suicidal thoughts are not unknown to cross my mind when faced with one of these pieces. Yet, these are the pieces that are bound to teach me the most and to advance my piano skills the farthest. The only reason to avoid such a piece is if it also belongs to one of the three categories above. (Yes, believe me, there are plenty of pieces that besides being extremely challenging to play are also dull, mediocre and overplayed).

So, what is it that you dislike about this 3-voice invention? Is it just the difficulty? (It is difficult). Or even listening to it on a CD grates on you? If it is just the difficulty, go for it, because it will teach you much. Otherwise just choose another 3-voice invention that you like (to listen to – it will be equally or more difficult).

Also remember that Bach’s music is motif based. Part of the fun in learning it is in following the motif: How it gets inverted, transposed, turned backwards, augmented, developed, etc. I am always amazed how so many students just dive straightaway into Bach’s pieces without ever bothering to isolate the voices, and the motifs, and the several ways that he manipulates them.

Finally bear in mind that these pieces (and the 2 voice inventions) were originally meant as composition exercises first , and only second as technical exercises. Analysing how they are built is at least as important (if not more important) than practising them at the piano (in fact the analysis will guide and inform your practice of them). In short , do not approach them with a simplistic emotional attitude (like/dislike), but with intellectual curiosity. I cannot understand how anyone who approaches Bach with intellectual curiosity can ever dislike his pieces.

Finally you mention fingering. There are two main difficulties with fingering:

1. The fingering is awkward or uncomfortable. If so, change the fingering (sometimes it is not possible though)

2. The fingering is ideal, you do not want/need to change it and yet it seems almost impossible to memorise the fingering. It seems as if one cannot help but use the wrong fingering (this is quite commom with Bach). If this is the case, then you have to work in small sections ( and in the case of this invention, you must think separate voices, not separate hands) and repeat them endlessly making sure you are using the same fingers all the time until you simply cannot use the wrong fingering. Your fingers "just learned" the correct one.

I hope this helps.

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 dgk88

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Re: Hating a New Piece
Reply #6 on: May 12, 2004, 03:45:35 AM
TIP- Don't play anything you don't like.

Offline chopinlover

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Re: Hating a New Piece
Reply #7 on: May 12, 2004, 06:20:45 PM
Thank you for the great tips.  Bernard, I hadn't even thought of analyzing the piece and looking for motifs, etc.  I will give it a shot and get more familiar with the piece.  I will also ask my teacher why he wants me to learn this particular piece of Bach's.  I have liked other compositions of his.  I have had one lesson with this new teacher although I have been practising on this piece for about a month.  I don't want to question his authority but I have to get past this.  I was glad to hear that it was a difficult piece because I was beginning to think that I was an idiot for having so much trouble with it.  I will give it more time but I still want to know why he thinks it would be good for me to learn it.  Thanks for the wonderful ideas.  The piece is definately not dull, mediocre or overplayed.  So it must fall into the last catagory.  Another good idea that you gave me is to listen to it on a CD.  I haven't done that yet.  Thank you all.

Offline ahmedito

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Re: Hating a New Piece
Reply #8 on: May 12, 2004, 11:53:07 PM
I have run into that problem lately, because in competitions you are sometimes required to play some horrible contemporary piece. Sometimes they are cool, but in the last 2 competitions Ive played in, the pieces were utter crap! just do what you can and bear it. of course, Id never call that particular bach sinfonia Crap....
For a good laugh, check out my posts in the audition room, and tell me exactly how terrible they are :)

Shagdac

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Re: Hating a New Piece
Reply #9 on: May 16, 2004, 10:51:59 AM
I find it kind of interesting and have to wonder....do we actually "play" pieces we like the most...better? Or do we "like" them because we play them well? Might sound kind of strange, but thinking back, I can't recall a piece that I play extremely well that I don't care for, and I'm sure there are pieces that are not my favorite, but I play fine....Often I think it has been my uncertainty of the piece which has cause my reluctance in playing it. Of course it is different when I am judging a piece by actually listening to it, or whether I want to play it....why, I'm not quite sure. And at times the pieces I absolutely love, have been the most difficult for me to learn...but I loved the piece so much I made myself learn it. I have also had pieces that were fun to play, but I really didn't like "hearing" them (unless I was playing), and vice versa.....Anyone notice this?

s :)

Offline chopinlover

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Re: Hating a New Piece
Reply #10 on: May 16, 2004, 05:15:22 PM
I have nticed that some of the pieces that I love the most are the most difficult to learn.  But I have also had pieces that I play extremely well that I don't care for.  Reflets dans l'eau "Reflections in the Water" by Debussy was one of them.  Never did like that piece and I haven't tried anything else by him again.  Maybe it's time to do that.  Does anyone like Debussy and does anyone have a recommendation of one of his pieces to learn?

Offline bernhard

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Re: Hating a New Piece
Reply #11 on: May 17, 2004, 02:05:54 AM
Quote
Thank you for the great tips.  Bernard, I hadn't even thought of analyzing the piece and looking for motifs, etc.  I will give it a shot and get more familiar with the piece.  

 Another good idea that you gave me is to listen to it on a CD.  I haven't done that yet.  Thank you all.


You are welcome.

Yes, listen to it, it is one of nicest abmongst the 3 voice inventions.

Also have a look at this thread, where I go into detail on how to learn a two-voice invention. Most of it applies equally well to a three-voice invention.

https://www.pianoforum.net/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=teac;action=display;num=1081198385

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)
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