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Rach2: Getting started (Read 3466 times)

Offline racky2

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Rach2: Getting started
« on: October 19, 2008, 01:29:54 PM »
Rach2, getting beyond the eight chords for whom the bells toll, how do you play the rippling con passione section?    My copy doesn't show fingering.   Do you just play the notes slowly until your fingers sort it out or is there a time-honoured approach to studying the whole work which all challengers need to be privy to?
   

Greetings from Perth, Western Oz

piano sheet music of Piano Concerto 2


Offline cmg

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Re: Rach2: Getting started
«Reply #1 on: October 19, 2008, 03:39:09 PM »
Depends on the size of your hand, and, yes, go at it slowly to feel out the proper distribution for you.  For starters (and this is my personal solution -- others may disagree), in the first measure of the "con passione," left hand takes the octave as written, then 532 (LH), followed by 2124 (RH).  That's the first group, and first beat of that first meansure.  Second group, 5321 (LH), then 2135 (RH).

In the second measure -- and thereafter -- it gets thornier with groupings of 4 notes, then 5 notes within each bar.  (Fingering falls logically under the hand.  You get to choose what feels best.)  Subdivide the beat into two beats (4/4 for the entire bar), but make sure the quadruplet and quintuplet fit the beat evenly.  You'll notice that Rachmaninov fills the second part of beat with the quintuplet to give this passage its "passione" feel.

Later bars, you encounter mixtures of triplets and quadruplets and somewhere a sextuplet sneaks in.  Just feel 4/4 until you nail it.

Reading this, it sounds complicated, but it isn't really.  It takes a while to work out, but it fits in a very pianistic way.  Just concentrate on the accents Rachmaninov notates that accent each beat of the bar.  You know, those deep bass notes that launch each beat.

This is my personal solution, btw, for my not-so-large hand.  Other sized hands may have different solutions.
Current repertoire:  "Come to Jesus" (in whole-notes)

Offline franzliszt2

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Re: Rach2: Getting started
«Reply #2 on: October 19, 2008, 09:04:51 PM »
The opening of Rach 2 is annoying!

I play it exactly as written, and had to finger a few of the arpeggios. Play it with a metronome a lot, to get a feeling for the beat, so your bass notes fall on teh beat, and sing the melody whilst playing a lot. This is very good becasue you will get a feeling for the shaping and phrasing etc...It will also keep you in time.

The real nasty bit comes straight after this section! That just takes time, and you need to study the movements of the arms and wrist, and avoid using only the fingers.

The 2nd subject is a little annoying to learn, but it's not too bad once you know what the LH is doing.

2nd mvt, just after the cadenza flourish thing, the semi quavers are tricky.

3rd mvt has a few really nasty passages. The opening few pages are really awkward. The bit in the middle is also nasty.

It's not too bad to play, but I think it's really annoying to learn! I'm practicing it quite a lot at the moment, and it is annoying me a lot!

Have you ever heard the Zimerman recording?? The opening of the 3rd mvt is actually one of the funniest things I have ever heard. It's quite amazing! He plays it perfectly in time hahaha


Offline cmg

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Re: Rach2: Getting started
«Reply #3 on: October 19, 2008, 09:40:39 PM »
The opening of Rach 2 is annoying!

I play it exactly as written, and had to finger a few of the arpeggios. Play it with a metronome a lot, to get a feeling for the beat, so your bass notes fall on teh beat, and sing the melody whilst playing a lot. This is very good becasue you will get a feeling for the shaping and phrasing etc...It will also keep you in time.

The real nasty bit comes straight after this section! That just takes time, and you need to study the movements of the arms and wrist, and avoid using only the fingers.

The 2nd subject is a little annoying to learn, but it's not too bad once you know what the LH is doing.

2nd mvt, just after the cadenza flourish thing, the semi quavers are tricky.

3rd mvt has a few really nasty passages. The opening few pages are really awkward. The bit in the middle is also nasty.

It's not too bad to play, but I think it's really annoying to learn! I'm practicing it quite a lot at the moment, and it is annoying me a lot!

Have you ever heard the Zimerman recording?? The opening of the 3rd mvt is actually one of the funniest things I have ever heard. It's quite amazing! He plays it perfectly in time hahaha



Yeah, I've been working it back up lately, too.  You know what I hate most?  Those totally sadistic semi-quavers after the second mvt cadenza.  ARRRRRRGH.

Don't mind the first mvt all that much.  Frankly, I think it's a breeze compared to the pitfalls in the other two mvts.

SUCH AS:  the last mvt opening, which is a huge pain, only rivaled -- and surpassed -- by that torture section two pages into the Presto.  The huge chords coming in fast succession and those flying-bat-out-of-hell, wide-spaced, ultra-fast arpeggiated figures in both blasted hands really tire me out.

I've heard Zimmerman play this live (specatacular!).  Irritatingly perfect performance.  Don't know his recording.

Current repertoire:  "Come to Jesus" (in whole-notes)

Offline retrouvailles

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Re: Rach2: Getting started
«Reply #4 on: October 20, 2008, 12:23:43 AM »
Zimerman's (spell his name correctly!) recording is one of the best out there, I think. Everything seems extremely calculated and thought out. The only quip I have about it is that sometimes it can sound a bit too mechanical, but it is great otherwise.

Offline argerichfan

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Re: Rach2: Getting started
«Reply #5 on: October 20, 2008, 02:42:22 AM »
I've heard Zimmerman play this live (specatacular!).  Irritatingly perfect performance.  Don't know his recording.
Don't know it either, but good on you for the opportunity of hearing a superb artist play this glorious work live.

And now for something completely different, check out the old Julius Katchen recording.  (I bought it on a Decca bargain disc coupled with a rather ratty Paganini Rhapsody.  Don't know if it is currently available in the States.)

It's very fast -I'll warn you- but it will take your breath away.  This is white-hot Rachmaninov, no prisoners taken.  After Katchen's opening, rolled chords, Solti enters with the most sumptuous orchestral statement you can imagine, and at the end of the development the onrush towards the huge peroration of the main theme has a drive which is almost Wagnerian. 

The slow movement maintains the intensity -this is not a performance for the complacent or weak of heart- and the finale makes a grand meal out of Rachmaninov's outstandingly fresh inspiration.  With the exception of Richter's magisterial DG performance, I'm rather impatient with the other recordings. 

I never formally studied Rachmaninov 2 -Saint-SaŽns 4 was my last concerto at uni, so obviously I could have tackled the Rachmaninov had I been assigned it- though I will keep any advice to the opening chords.

I can take them (just barely) without breaking, but I really feel for musical reasons they should be broken.  Properly done, they increase the tension leading to the orchestral entry.  And of course Rachmaninov's own recorded example is there for us all to study...

Good luck and cheers! 

Offline cmg

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Re: Rach2: Getting started
«Reply #6 on: October 20, 2008, 04:27:13 PM »
Zimerman's (spell his name correctly!) recording is one of the best out there, I think.

Okay.  Z-I-M-E-R-M-A-N.  Sheesh.  Thank you, Miss Grundy!  ;D


@ argerichfan:  I heard the last mvt of Saint Saens 4th is about as treacherous as it gets.  Any truth to that?  I love the piece myself and I'd like to work on it.
Current repertoire:  "Come to Jesus" (in whole-notes)

Offline argerichfan

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Re: Rach2: Getting started
«Reply #7 on: October 20, 2008, 09:16:03 PM »
@ argerichfan:  I heard the last mvt of Saint Saens 4th is about as treacherous as it gets.  Any truth to that? 
Well I wouldn't go quite that far.  It's definitely an exercise in athleticism (and endurance), but the piano writing and musical demands are considerably less complex than in, say, concertos of Liszt, Brahms or Rachmaninov. 

Wonderful piece, isn't it?  Say what one will about Saint-SaŽns, he was a master at his craft.  All his music is just so well written



Offline gyzzzmo

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Re: Rach2: Getting started
«Reply #8 on: October 22, 2008, 06:18:39 PM »
If you're asking fingering-questions for a passage like this, you probably shouldnt be even thinking about playing a rach concert.

gyzzzmo
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Offline thierry13

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Re: Rach2: Getting started
«Reply #9 on: October 22, 2008, 07:10:07 PM »
If you're asking fingering-questions for a passage like this, you probably shouldnt be even thinking about playing a rach concert.

gyzzzmo

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Offline racky2

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Re: Rach2: Getting started
«Reply #10 on: October 23, 2008, 03:22:16 AM »
I bow to your judgement entirely, but when one is teacher-free, life in music is a wonderful journey of discovery, and finding one's way into things beyond the scope of one's ability is an adventure all on it's own.     I bought Chopin's B Minor sonata last year because I'd never seen it in print and wanted to know just how much was involved - what a nice surprise it was to be playing the first two pages from memory within a few weeks, what a revelation !   There's some rough weather ahead obviously, but I'm loving it.

Many thanks everyone , I've just discovered this on-line community and have no doubt I'll spend many hours reading what pianists around the world are getting up to.

Online lostinidlewonder

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Re: Rach2: Getting started
«Reply #11 on: October 23, 2008, 03:54:05 AM »
I'll pop around and give you some tips :) You live in my city ahaha
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Offline thierry13

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Re: Rach2: Getting started
«Reply #12 on: October 23, 2008, 04:29:54 AM »
I bow to your judgement entirely, but when one is teacher-free, life in music is a wonderful journey of discovery, and finding one's way into things beyond the scope of one's ability is an adventure all on it's own.     I bought Chopin's B Minor sonata last year because I'd never seen it in print and wanted to know just how much was involved - what a nice surprise it was to be playing the first two pages from memory within a few weeks, what a revelation !   There's some rough weather ahead obviously, but I'm loving it.

Many thanks everyone , I've just discovered this on-line community and have no doubt I'll spend many hours reading what pianists around the world are getting up to.

I so understand you. My first two years of piano, the major part of all the time I sat at the piano was dedicated to discovering huge pieces that were wayyy beyond me. I could play many page from memory ... but believe me, that does not make you ready to learn a piece! I actually knew many pages from memory of the Liszt sonata, and even today I wouldn't learn it yet ... Anyways I understand how you feel, but I wouldn't suggest getting too serious with pieces like that ... no careful study or careful tought of fingering. You better do this on pieces your level if you want to progress!

Offline gyzzzmo

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Re: Rach2: Getting started
«Reply #13 on: October 23, 2008, 02:12:48 PM »
I bow to your judgement entirely, but when one is teacher-free, life in music is a wonderful journey of discovery, and finding one's way into things beyond the scope of one's ability is an adventure all on it's own.     I bought Chopin's B Minor sonata last year because I'd never seen it in print and wanted to know just how much was involved - what a nice surprise it was to be playing the first two pages from memory within a few weeks, what a revelation !   There's some rough weather ahead obviously, but I'm loving it.

Many thanks everyone , I've just discovered this on-line community and have no doubt I'll spend many hours reading what pianists around the world are getting up to.

I can second this, i have had only few years of lessons (from my 4th till 11th) so i had to discover and learn alot myself too. But one of those things i learned is that you should definitely not spend much time on a piece wich is A) technically FAR too difficult and B) not improving anything.

Its good to have a piece wich you cant play yet, it can be a guide for you since that piece can learn you what your flaws are, and thus information for you on what you should (technically) study on. But a piece like a Rachmaninov concert is just too difficult to get any reflection of progress from. A piece like Chopin's ballade no1 would suit much better for that purpose.

With point B i ment that you can start on difficult pieces, if its etude like. For example, to be able to finish a Chopin etude on proper speed is for many of us far too difficult. But if you practise something like this the right way and can control your speed, you will definitely see an improvement in your technique wich makes that Chopin etude very usefull to 'learn', even if its way too difficult to finish.

But the Rachmaninov concert........  :P

anyway, good luck. I hope i have given you some usefull advice,

Gyzzzmo
1+1=11

Offline db05

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Re: Rach2: Getting started
«Reply #14 on: October 23, 2008, 02:51:09 PM »
With point B i ment that you can start on difficult pieces, if its etude like. For example, to be able to finish a Chopin etude on proper speed is for many of us far too difficult. But if you practise something like this the right way and can control your speed, you will definitely see an improvement in your technique wich makes that Chopin etude very usefull to 'learn', even if its way too difficult to finish.

But the Rachmaninov concert........  :P

I'm interested in Rach 2 also, as it's the only concerto I like so far. And one of the few high-level pieces that I really like. Most all virtuoso pieces sound contrived to me, especially concertos, where the piano sounds so detached to the orchestra... Uh-oh, I'm babbling...

To get to the point. Someone mentioned on another thread that FI is useful no matter what speed you play it. I find it similar to what you say about Chopin etude. I am still not sure what "something like this" is. Something useful to learn, even if you can't finish.

*looks for more tips in this thread*

Edit:
Teacher said I should wait at least 4 more years to try it. Rach 2, I mean.
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Offline thierry13

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Re: Rach2: Getting started
«Reply #15 on: October 23, 2008, 03:21:25 PM »
Edit:
Teacher said I should wait at least 4 more years to try it. Rach 2, I mean.

The most important thing to remember from what your teacher told you, is AT LEAST.

Offline db05

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Re: Rach2: Getting started
«Reply #16 on: October 23, 2008, 03:36:26 PM »
The most important thing to remember from what your teacher told you, is AT LEAST.

He underestimates me. He also said I should wait 3 years for a Beethoven sonata, but I'm going to prove him wrong next year!!  >:( Grrrrrrr... Am I going to churn out only sonatinas and Bach for the next 3 years? I think not...
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Offline thierry13

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Re: Rach2: Getting started
«Reply #17 on: October 24, 2008, 02:04:13 AM »
He underestimates me. He also said I should wait 3 years for a Beethoven sonata, but I'm going to prove him wrong next year!!  >:( Grrrrrrr... Am I going to churn out only sonatinas and Bach for the next 3 years? I think not...

Bad attitude. Trust him. He knows better than you. You would need to double your practice time and improve your practice technique greatly if you want to prove him wrong. And trust me, changing this is very hard and takes time. Even fitting more practice time in your schedule, may it be busy or not, is an hard task. And waiting to play beethoven sonatas does not mean playing bach inventions.  There is plenty of stuff to learn before you play beethoven sonatas! Of course you can play it by yourself for fun, but don't expect to learn it with your teacher, even if you're doing great on your own. Personnal experience speaking.

Offline gyzzzmo

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Re: Rach2: Getting started
«Reply #18 on: October 24, 2008, 10:31:41 AM »
I'm interested in Rach 2 also, as it's the only concerto I like so far. And one of the few high-level pieces that I really like. Most all virtuoso pieces sound contrived to me, especially concertos, where the piano sounds so detached to the orchestra... Uh-oh, I'm babbling...

To get to the point. Someone mentioned on another thread that FI is useful no matter what speed you play it. I find it similar to what you say about Chopin etude. I am still not sure what "something like this" is. Something useful to learn, even if you can't finish.

*looks for more tips in this thread*

Edit:
Teacher said I should wait at least 4 more years to try it. Rach 2, I mean.

Basicly all chopin etudes are 'something like this'. They will all improve a part of the spectrum of piano technique, AS LONG AS YOU DONT PLAY THEM TOO FAST ;)

About your reply above, abit of stubborness from the student is always good. It requires stubborness to get better and to finish certain pieces. And most people have to experience learning mistakes themselves before realising the value of some teacher advices.

gyzzzmo
1+1=11

Offline db05

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Re: Rach2: Getting started
«Reply #19 on: October 24, 2008, 01:42:48 PM »
Bad attitude. Trust him. He knows better than you. You would need to double your practice time and improve your practice technique greatly if you want to prove him wrong. And trust me, changing this is very hard and takes time. Even fitting more practice time in your schedule, may it be busy or not, is an hard task. And waiting to play beethoven sonatas does not mean playing bach inventions.  There is plenty of stuff to learn before you play beethoven sonatas! Of course you can play it by yourself for fun, but don't expect to learn it with your teacher, even if you're doing great on your own. Personnal experience speaking.

Sorry, I am angry lately about people's obsession with learning hard pieces and calling easy ones "No substance, nothing to work on, no concrete challenge." I can only call something easy once I've finished it. And even then, I can't say it's no substance.

Teachers can only help so far. If I follow teacher advice exactly, like a trained monkey, it would indeed take me so long. I don't trust teachers anymore since they're the ones that started this "obsession with technical difficulty". I hate myself. Saying I want to learn a sonata is like fighting fire with fire. :P So I take it back.

I do believe that you don't have to play all those Hanon, Czerny and beginner books to build to higher stuff. But I'll save that for another thread.

About your reply above, abit of stubborness from the student is always good. It requires stubborness to get better and to finish certain pieces. And most people have to experience learning mistakes themselves before realising the value of some teacher advices.

Actually it's the opposite. I'm too frustrated, I hate the way we're taught and I'm hanging on a thread. I check back on my goals, which is to play music that I like (not a bunch of popular/ virtuoso pieces to show off), but no one understands that. I wonder if teachers exist that can help you with your own vision. Everyone is obsessed with technique and getting things right.  >:(
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Offline thierry13

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Re: Rach2: Getting started
«Reply #20 on: October 24, 2008, 03:39:18 PM »
Sorry, I am angry lately about people's obsession with learning hard pieces and calling easy ones "No substance, nothing to work on, no concrete challenge." I can only call something easy once I've finished it. And even then, I can't say it's no substance.

Teachers can only help so far. If I follow teacher advice exactly, like a trained monkey, it would indeed take me so long. I don't trust teachers anymore since they're the ones that started this "obsession with technical difficulty". I hate myself. Saying I want to learn a sonata is like fighting fire with fire. :P So I take it back.

I do believe that you don't have to play all those Hanon, Czerny and beginner books to build to higher stuff. But I'll save that for another thread.

Actually it's the opposite. I'm too frustrated, I hate the way we're taught and I'm hanging on a thread. I check back on my goals, which is to play music that I like (not a bunch of popular/ virtuoso pieces to show off), but no one understands that. I wonder if teachers exist that can help you with your own vision. Everyone is obsessed with technique and getting things right.  >:(

Playing difficult pieces requires a lot of technique, or you'll just be hacking trough them. Now, why are you so frustrated about people who want to play difficult pieces instead of easier one, when you yourself want to play a rachmaninoff concerto and a beethoven sonata? Doesn't make sense to me, and you'll need to do a lot of things before you tackle a rach concerto or a beethoven sonata, and yes do a lot of technique. You won't get to rach 2 by playing fur elise masterfully, that's simply not going to happen. That's why piano students are allways after challenges, difficult pieces etc. It makes us progress to one day have the technique to master pretty much anything in the common repertoire. There is no interest in WORKING ON fur elise for someone who has a lot of experience. It's simply not something that will make you progress and stimulate you, even if it is definitely not easy to play masterfully.

Offline db05

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Re: Rach2: Getting started
«Reply #21 on: October 24, 2008, 04:00:07 PM »
Playing difficult pieces requires a lot of technique, or you'll just be hacking trough them. Now, why are you so frustrated about people who want to play difficult pieces instead of easier one, when you yourself want to play a rachmaninoff concerto and a beethoven sonata?

Yes, I want to but not too soon (as in right now). In 2-3 years maybe. (Yes I think long-term when I am away from the piano.)

I'm sick of hearing people hacking through pieces already, let's just say some guy is still hacking fur elise, and wants to start moonlight 1st mvt and a classical sonata. With regards to "getting things right", he's not even there yet with the first piece, and there are 3 of them (or more). I wonder what sort of technique you'll get from THAT practice...  ::)

Technique, technique, technique... Is there really such a technique that you can master pretty much anything? That I'd like to know so I can forget about it. Being frustrated I mean.

PS. I feel so terrible. My apologies.  :(
I'm sinking like a stone in the sea,
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Offline thierry13

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Re: Rach2: Getting started
«Reply #22 on: October 24, 2008, 05:46:48 PM »
Technique, technique, technique... Is there really such a technique that you can master pretty much anything? That I'd like to know so I can forget about it. Being frustrated I mean.

Yes it does exist, and it does take a lonnnngggg time. You must study carefully all sorts of music and technical challenges.

Offline j.s. bach the 534th

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Re: Rach2: Getting started
«Reply #23 on: October 24, 2008, 11:14:23 PM »
'sigh' I can't even play Rach 2; I can't stretch my hands over a 10th for the beginning left-hand chords...

Offline db05

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Re: Rach2: Getting started
«Reply #24 on: October 25, 2008, 12:33:30 AM »
'sigh' I can't even play Rach 2; I can't stretch my hands over a 10th for the beginning left-hand chords...

In that case, I give up. I can't play Moonlight either, and that requires a 9th.

Yes it does exist, and it does take a lonnnngggg time. You must study carefully all sorts of music and technical challenges.

Never miiiiiiind (see above).......
Guess I'll stick with Fur Elise and other pieces within my reach.  ::) *sigh*
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Offline mad_max2024

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Re: Rach2: Getting started
«Reply #25 on: October 25, 2008, 01:06:49 AM »
Stretching your limits is great, aiming for the unreachable is inviting trouble.
I've been asking my teacher for a Beethoven sonata for years and only now has he suggested I could be ready to try and tackle one movement. "Try" being the key word there.

Is Rach2 and Beethoven all you want to play? There are so many beautiful pieces out there that are less challenging.
Why don't you try a Rach Etude, a Chopin Waltz, Mendelssohn's songs without words, etc?

Discuss it with your teacher and find something both you would like to play and he would think would be good to develop your playing.
That's what I do... And it's usually not hard to find something.
I am perfectly normal, it is everyone else who is strange.

Offline j.s. bach the 534th

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Re: Rach2: Getting started
«Reply #26 on: October 26, 2008, 01:10:15 AM »
In that case, I give up. I can't play Moonlight either, and that requires a 9th.

well, that makes me feel a little better, at least I can do a 9th...

Offline gyzzzmo

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Re: Rach2: Getting started
«Reply #27 on: October 26, 2008, 12:16:23 PM »
The 'annoying' thing about playing piano is that you need ALOT of technique to play pieces well and musically. Its right for teachers to let their students alot of etudes, but they usually do it the wrong way.

For most advanced students it is important to know WHY you are playing an etude and what you will improve with it. Thats why it is good to have a slightly too hard (but beautiful) piece to act like your guide, and play etudes wich support that piece. That way you notice the progression and actually start enjoy playing etudes.

An other way of making etudes interesting is by playing melodic etudes, like chopin etudes. Pity there are only few composers that made etudes wich are nice to play and that require/improve only a small part of technique, like the chopin etude op 10/2: the 3-4-5 fingering.

But etudes/technique is the way of being able to play pieces really well and really beautiful. I hope you'll start understanding that point and start enjoying them for that reason.

gyzzzmo
gyzzzmo
1+1=11

Offline db05

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Re: Rach2: Getting started
«Reply #28 on: October 26, 2008, 12:17:26 PM »
Sorry for infecting this thread!

SIs Rach2 and Beethoven all you want to play? There are so many beautiful pieces out there that are less challenging.
Why don't you try a Rach Etude, a Chopin Waltz, Mendelssohn's songs without words, etc?

LOL, no. You misunderstand me. There are many pieces I plan to play.
True, but I am confident that those "easier pieces" are technically within my reach. Both literallly and figuratively.

The reach of a 9th or 10th... They say in some pieces you can roll the chords... I think pieces are only either challenging or impossible. :P

Thanks.
I'm sinking like a stone in the sea,
I'm burning like a bridge for your body