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Garrick Ohlsson live in Fort Worth

In this season-closing concert of the Cliburn Live series in Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, Texas on Tuesday, April 5, 2016, Ohlsson performs works by Beethoven, Schubert, and Chopin. Read more >>

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Author Topic: moonlight 3rd mov  (Read 4809 times)
Sekoul
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« on: June 06, 2004, 02:28:26 AM »

My friend is learning the 3rd movement of the moonlight sonata and he seems to think that he's really good just because he can play the notes. He still makes a lot of mistakes, has no expression, but i admit he hits the right notes. Am i wrong or is there more to playing a song then hitting the right notes... i wouldnt really say i know a piece unless i can play it well enough to have expression.. either way how hard is the moonlight 3rd mov? it sounds pretty impressive but i dont think its comparable to what im learning at the moment; rach prelude in g minor op 23 #5
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piano sheet music of Sonata 14 (Moonlight)
JK
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« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2004, 03:06:30 AM »

You're bang on, just playing the notes of a piece is really only the beginning! Music is not about playing notes but rather about expressing an emotion that comes from having an understanding of the piece. You're probably correct to say that technically speaking the Rach prelude is harder than moonlight, however the moonlight could well be harder from an interpretation and musical point of view, it's such a well known piece that it has to be something special and different in order to pull off a successful performance. Smiley
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janice
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« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2004, 03:14:31 AM »

Rach prelude in G minor is FAR more difficult than the 3rd movement of Moonlight Sonata.  YOU are exactly right, music is much more than just hitting the right notes.  It involves interpretation, expression and emotion, to name a few.  I have a hunch that your friend thinks that music needs to be "fast and loud" in order to sound impressive.  And sadly, non-musicians are impressed when they hear music that is played fast and loud.  Audiences love this kind of stuff. (btw--it is called a "piece" and not a "song".  One PLAYS a piece, while one SINGS a song. Wink )  I have a feeling that your friend doesn't have a teacher.  If not, he needs one.
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Co-president of the Bernhard fan club!
f0bul0us
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« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2004, 03:51:53 AM »

What are you defining "difficult" by Huh To get "note-perfect", out of the two, I would definitely say the "Moonlight Sonata" is much more difficult. As far as interpretation goes, both of them are very well-known pieces so to be able to deliver an original and engaging interpretation without pulling dynamic markings "out of your ass" would be difficult in either case.

It involves interpretation, expression and emotion, to name a few.
(I.M.O) Any student who attacks a Beethoven sonata without knowing that basic information should not be playing the piano.
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Motrax
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« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2004, 05:35:27 AM »

Having a few years of experience with both pieces, I'd much rather be playing Rach's prelude than the third movement. Could just be me, but the very repetetive nature of Beethoven's sonata makes it very difficult to remain purely focused. As far as pure technical aspects go, the difficulty really depends on your preferences. The fifth prelude seems to fit my hands naturally - although it's tough work on a piano with hard action, I generally do not make many mistakes with the piece. The Moonlight always feels like a chore when I'm playing it - like shovelling snow or something.

Uhh, to answer your question...  Smiley There's obviously more to music than hitting the right notes. That's why we don't just stick everything in a computer and hear a perfect performance every time. In my opinion, the third movement of the Moonlight is particularly difficult in tihis respect. I've been playing it for about 5 years, and still I don't hear very much music in it. Maybe I'm burnt out with the piece, but the more likely case is that I just am not "tuned" to that piece as I am with Rachmaninoff's works.
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"I always make sure that the lid over the keyboard is open before I start to play." --  Artur Schnabel, after being asked for the secret of piano playing.
willcowskitz
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« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2004, 03:47:30 PM »

Rachmaninoff's Op.23 No.5 is difficult to play well, so is the Moonlight Sonata (every movement, especially 2nd and 3rd). By playing well I mean the music succeeds to reach the listener. You can play the third movement of the Moonlight with just fury without sensitivity and it can be 创impressive创 yet not musical. About the technical difficulty of these two pieces: Moonlight has a lot of repetition (as mentioned) and doesn't require as much from technique as the Prelude. Also the rhythm in Sonata is constant for the most part of the piece, whereas when playing the Prelude the "flat beat" doesn't work with it - the piece craves rhythmical punctuation.

What I think of the Rachmaninoff's Prelude, the most difficult things about it are the (relatively) slow illustrious melodies on left hand around the middle of piece that you have to be able to phrase both accurately and lyrically, and the perioding of the piece as a whole - Its a short story, a miniature picture of what the composer's Piano Concertos deal with in more detail. You have to pack the piece with much emotion, but at the same time need to rationalize the flow of the storytelling to guide the listener to experience both the "listener" and "opinion holder" voices (roles) of/in the piece - without logically irrational alterations in playing when the obvious mood changes occur during the performance, this meaning not to exhaust oneself before the climaxes and always create a link between the temperamentically and 创lyrically创 expressive phases.
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Motrax
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« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2004, 11:11:26 PM »

Your post just gave me a funny thought... I have always found Rachmaninoff's piano works much easier to play muscally than any other composer. Perhaps the complexity of the music lends itself to allow more leeway with a pianist's interperetation, instead of the more rigid musically that earlier classical pieces tend to have. So, although the musicality in the Prelude is (arguably) more complex than that of the 3rd Movement, it is more "human" and thus is more naturally expressed. The 3rd Movement, having a more rigid, linaer structure, requires massive concentration to continue in a single frame of mind for seven or eight minutes (depending on how fast you play it).
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"I always make sure that the lid over the keyboard is open before I start to play." --  Artur Schnabel, after being asked for the secret of piano playing.
willcowskitz
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« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2004, 11:36:27 PM »

This is somewhat true, Motrax.

As I referred to Rachmaninoff in another thread by the word "primitive", somebody (ayahav?) corrected me (excuse the limitations my self-expression faces in form of English vocabulary) that the better expression to use would be that the music communicates to our primal instincts. When I listen to Rachmaninoff, the music draws pictures in my mind, it doesn't even ask me how do I feel, it just takes the role of a teacher and shows me this imagery (I am a "visual listener") of life and it's fascinating phenomenas. It is so emotional that its hard to rationalize, unlike for example Prokofiev's modernistic works (I've written an essay on Prokofiev's Toccata and my high school teacher gave it an "F" cause he was sure I had ripped it from the Internet Grin).  These are probably the same things that you described with words "being human", therefore close to our 创hearts创 and being "naturally" playable.  

Also, "linear" is a good word for Moonlight Sonata's 3rd movement, when compared to the Prelude. Rachmaninoff's rhythmic progression is more free-form-like, while the Moonlight has a predictable note for almost every sixteenth throughout the score.

On the other hand, what is difficult about Rachmaninoff's expressively "trivial" music, is that if you don't have the emotional charge that it takes, the music can also sound very ugly. Its like an exceptionally good piano:  it has the potential to sound superb but if you don't have the ability to play real well, the beautiful sound of the piano and the broken fluency in handling it create a contrast that serves neither.
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jennbo
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« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2004, 05:37:01 AM »

anyone can hit the right notes
but you must also have the right techniques to have contrasting dynamics, evenness of the beats, supple wrists, able to control your arm weight, yadda yadda yadda.
also like you said interpretation is important as well.  i've heard this girl play it so dryly it was really yucky.  
yeah it's hard being friends with someone closeminded and believe they're god's gift to music.
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benbenben9752
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« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2004, 12:44:15 AM »

a kid played the moonlite 3 in the 7/8 grade performance ontest at state level here in texas.. new his notes but didnt even place!!! i hate it when ppl murder a piece like the moonlite with no emotion when beethoven put so much emotion into it... u need to play ur friend some good recordings of it

i played the rach piece in 6th grade, its not as hard technically as the moonlite 3 but the middle bit requires more maturity and emotion in the middle bit so many cant play it as early as i did
it depends on how u r as a pianist... if u have good technique then the moonlite owuld be easier but if u dont then the rach would be easier. although it still requires some good technique too with that funny octave run with the octaves in the rh aah thats hard
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larse
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« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2004, 02:06:40 AM »

When I was young...13 I think, I played the 3rd mvt of Moonlight. However, I would now say that I 'murdered' it. Because it demanded the whole of my pianistic skills just to play the notes correctly. But after it, I played Rach Gm, which I made a much greater success with. Somehow I found the Rachmaninov alot easier than Beethoven. Just as I find Chopin alot easier than Beethoven.

Another pinpoint. Beethoven's relation to his music and performances were not romantic. Which means: Beethoven did not put ANY of his own emotions into the Moonlight Sonata whatsoever. The Beethoven Sonatas like Moonlight and Pathetique are often played like Chopin had written them. Which is totally 'wrong'. Though, being the romantic I am, I really like it better that way...
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