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Liszt Sonata in B minor - HELP ME PLEASE (Read 14729 times)

Offline fenz

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Liszt Sonata in B minor - HELP ME PLEASE
« on: July 14, 2009, 01:09:44 PM »
I'm learning Liszt Sonata in B minor now. The term 'non legato' in bars 240 and 255 confused me. Is it mean that the right hand in bars 240 until 254 and the left hand in bars 255 until 276 play 'a little staccato' (sorry, I don't know exactly term of that)? And how about bar 277? Is the right hand play legato again or still non legato?

http://www.pianostreet.com/piano_sheet_music/Liszt-249/Sonata-B-Minor.html


Thanks for your help,
fenz
Hope someday I'll be a good pianist ^.^

Offline birba

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Re: Liszt Sonata in B minor - HELP ME PLEASE
«Reply #1 on: July 14, 2009, 08:55:32 PM »
It certainly doesn't mean staccato here.  It means "articolato" - softly hammered out, so to speak.

Offline fenz

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Re: Liszt Sonata in B minor - HELP ME PLEASE
«Reply #2 on: July 15, 2009, 04:58:16 AM »
It certainly doesn't mean staccato here.  It means "articolato" - softly hammered out, so to speak.

What do you mean by softly hammered out? How to play it (I mean the technique)? Sorry I don't really understand. Thanks birba.
Hope someday I'll be a good pianist ^.^

Offline birba

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Re: Liszt Sonata in B minor - HELP ME PLEASE
«Reply #3 on: July 15, 2009, 07:31:39 AM »
When I was a kid (in the dark ages) I played in a competition, and one of the judges said in a certain passage, that I needed "more space between the key and the finger".  What he was getting at is the articulated non legato that is required here.  It means the opposite of legato, where you press the following key almost before lifting the finger from the previous one.  When practising slowly, it means lifting the finger about a half inch and "striking" the note, percussively.  One percussive (albeit, gentle here, because it's soft) strike for each note.  Strike quickly, relax, strike quickly relax, etc.  The final result is like a soft sound of a machine gun!
SO difficult to explain here, but do you get the idea?

Offline fenz

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Re: Liszt Sonata in B minor - HELP ME PLEASE
«Reply #4 on: July 15, 2009, 08:34:47 AM »
When I was a kid (in the dark ages) I played in a competition, and one of the judges said in a certain passage, that I needed "more space between the key and the finger".  What he was getting at is the articulated non legato that is required here.  It means the opposite of legato, where you press the following key almost before lifting the finger from the previous one.  When practising slowly, it means lifting the finger about a half inch and "striking" the note, percussively.  One percussive (albeit, gentle here, because it's soft) strike for each note.  Strike quickly, relax, strike quickly relax, etc.  The final result is like a soft sound of a machine gun!
SO difficult to explain here, but do you get the idea?

Oh OK, I get the idea now. Thanks ;D
And how to play rapid octaves? I feel difficult to relax while play octaves simultaneously.

Thanks,
fenz
Hope someday I'll be a good pianist ^.^

Offline neardn

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Re: Liszt Sonata in B minor - HELP ME PLEASE
«Reply #5 on: July 15, 2009, 07:59:42 PM »
non legato means... non legato

basically you can read it as "stop holding the bloody pedal down and hit the damn notes without mixing the sounds together too much"

you can play it however you want though. Liszt is dead.

"And how to play rapid octaves? I feel difficult to relax while play octaves simultaneously."

my teacher always told me me to: relax your arms and let your wrists play, and sit back far enough that you can reach the entire keyboard without leaning or moving your body too much

another good way to practice is to play the octaves by tapping the keys and not actually pressing them down
it saves you and anyone in the area lots of headaches, and it's an excellent way to work on speed

Offline ahinton

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Re: Liszt Sonata in B minor - HELP ME PLEASE
«Reply #6 on: July 15, 2009, 08:41:37 PM »
"And how to play rapid octaves? I feel difficult to relax while play octaves simultaneously."

my teacher always told me me to: relax yours arms and let your wrists play, and sit back far enough that you can reach the entire keyboard without leaning or moving your body too much

another good way to practice is to play the octaves by tapping the keys and not actually pressing them down
it saves you and anyone in the area lots of headaches, and it's an excellent way to work on speed
One idea that was once put to me by someone who once had the grave misfortune to have to put up with giving me piano lessons (a brilliant teacher of a hopelessly incompetent student, to be honest) was the idea of playing them with just the fingers (and thumbs) - in other words, flexing from the first joints and using forearm weight in support only when dynamically necessary; this was not put to me as "how to do it" or anything as dogmatic as that, but as something about which to give serious thought. Whatever else it may achieve (if and when it might do so), it does embrace the possibility of dispensing with some of those wrist and forearm tensions often associated with the playing of rapid octaves (or indeed any other rapid succession of parallel intervals such as sevenths, ninths and tenths). I remember witnessing the late Ronald Smith doing something very like that once in the latter part of the Liszt Sonata, to stunning effect, particularly since it seemed to make almost no material physical demands on him. A similar approach could be adopted for the machine-gunfire of the chords that spatter the cataclysmic final pages of Sorabji's Third Sonata, provided that a lot of that kind of practice has first gone into it...

Best,

Alistair
Alistair Hinton
Curator / Director
The Sorabji Archive

Offline birba

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Re: Liszt Sonata in B minor - HELP ME PLEASE
«Reply #7 on: July 15, 2009, 08:56:42 PM »
Octaves involve upper arm, forearm, wrists and fingers.  Depending on the octaves in question, the degree of involvement of these 4 elements vary.  The Chopin etude, for example calls for upper arm and fingers more than anything.  The final part of the liszt calls for wrists, fingers and forearms.  Until the octave scales which involve upper arms and fingers.  As you can see the fingers are always involved as Anhinton said.  That is, IF you can manage an octave comfortably.  Because the movement consists in a sort of grasping with the thumb and fifth or fourth fingers.  A very small movement, but it's there, nonetheless.  It's difficult to explain on the written page - but in the slow work, it's important that there is a complete relaxation in the arm after each octave.  Only the tension in the finger tip remains.  All else is relaxed.  Then you work in rythms, groups of two, three, four etc.

Offline fenz

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Re: Liszt Sonata in B minor - HELP ME PLEASE
«Reply #8 on: July 16, 2009, 01:02:07 AM »
Thanks all for your help, I'll try it  :D
Hope someday I'll be a good pianist ^.^

Offline thierry13

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Re: Liszt Sonata in B minor - HELP ME PLEASE
«Reply #9 on: July 16, 2009, 01:21:27 AM »
I don't want to offend you, but the Liszt sonata is a piece that demands enormous musical maturity and if you are still to the point where you are asking such basic questions, you definitely should stick with much easier pieces...

Offline retrouvailles

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Re: Liszt Sonata in B minor - HELP ME PLEASE
«Reply #10 on: July 16, 2009, 02:18:29 AM »
I don't want to offend you, but the Liszt sonata is a piece that demands enormous musical maturity and if you are still to the point where you are asking such basic questions, you definitely should stick with much easier pieces...

That is exactly what I was thinking. If you are learning such a piece, you should be pretty self-sufficient as far as mending your technique. I think it is disrespectful to the music to attack something out of your reach.

Offline thierry13

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Re: Liszt Sonata in B minor - HELP ME PLEASE
«Reply #11 on: July 16, 2009, 03:04:03 AM »
That is exactly what I was thinking. If you are learning such a piece, you should be pretty self-sufficient as far as mending your technique. I think it is disrespectful to the music to attack something out of your reach.

My toughts exactly.

Offline fenz

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Re: Liszt Sonata in B minor - HELP ME PLEASE
«Reply #12 on: July 16, 2009, 03:14:21 AM »
It's OK. I'll learn it little by little  ;) Sorry I don't really understand basic but it doesn't mean that I cannot learn it (I'd learn easier pieces before, like Chopin Minute Waltz, Chopin Scherzo, Beethoven Pathetique Sonata, etc). But honestly, I play those piece with strain (not relax at all) :( It is the first huge piece I learn serriously.

Thierry and retrouvailles, do you have any suggest for easier pieces I should learn first before? And what pieces should I learn to improve my skill and technique?

The problem I have is I cannot play relax because I'm afraid I hit the wrong notes.

Thanks,
fenz
Hope someday I'll be a good pianist ^.^

Offline birba

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Re: Liszt Sonata in B minor - HELP ME PLEASE
«Reply #13 on: July 16, 2009, 05:21:31 AM »
  I think it is disrespectful to the music to attack something out of your reach.
:o Please explain.

Offline retrouvailles

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Re: Liszt Sonata in B minor - HELP ME PLEASE
«Reply #14 on: July 16, 2009, 05:53:26 AM »
:o Please explain.

Well, it's just a personal opinion. Interpret it as you wish.

Offline birba

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Re: Liszt Sonata in B minor - HELP ME PLEASE
«Reply #15 on: July 16, 2009, 07:34:36 AM »
I'd prefer to think of it as just a momentary slip of the tongue!

Offline scottmcc

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Re: Liszt Sonata in B minor - HELP ME PLEASE
«Reply #16 on: July 16, 2009, 12:17:16 PM »
I think it is disrespectful to the music to attack something out of your reach.

I disagree.  when one is learning music (or any skill, for that matter), everything is initially out of reach.  after all, when one starts with nothing, what can they reach?  in order to progress in our abilities, we have to challenge ourselves.  this means playing things that are outside our current abilities, and in the process of learning how to play them, our technique becomes better.  during this learning process, the piece will as a rule not sound good, but what is important is that there is progress being made. 

finally, music doesn't have feelings.  it is a thing, an abstract concept, impervious to any insult.  while I firmly believe that a performer should do his or her best to play well and offer a faithful interpretation of a work, a bad performance doesn't disrespect "the music," but rather reflects poorly on the performer.

that said, the counter argument is that one makes more rapid progress by devoting more practice time to works that are only a small step above one's current abilities, as opposed to trying to leap into terribly difficult things from the get-go.  I agree with this partially, and think that the most rapid learning comes from playing a mixture of things:  easy pieces requiring little effort, pieces already well-learned ("finished"), modestly challenging pieces, and a few really tough bits.  if you don't push yourself past your limits, how will you even know where they are?  this approach also allows for one of the most important things in music--enjoying oneself.  :)  not everything should be hard work.

Offline fenz

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Re: Liszt Sonata in B minor - HELP ME PLEASE
«Reply #17 on: July 16, 2009, 01:12:13 PM »
I disagree.  when one is learning music (or any skill, for that matter), everything is initially out of reach.  after all, when one starts with nothing, what can they reach?  in order to progress in our abilities, we have to challenge ourselves.  this means playing things that are outside our current abilities, and in the process of learning how to play them, our technique becomes better.  during this learning process, the piece will as a rule not sound good, but what is important is that there is progress being made. 
Agree with this one  ;D

while I firmly believe that a performer should do his or her best to play well and offer a faithful interpretation of a work, a bad performance doesn't disrespect "the music," but rather reflects poorly on the performer.
And this one too.

Thanks scott  ;D
Hope someday I'll be a good pianist ^.^

Offline thierry13

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Re: Liszt Sonata in B minor - HELP ME PLEASE
«Reply #18 on: July 17, 2009, 07:13:13 PM »
The fact is that playing pieces that are out of your reach will make you play them awfully. And playing a piece awfully is disrespectful for the music. Now, someone who can't even play chopin scherzos and the beethoven sonata without strain is DEFINITELY not ready to tackle the liszt sonata wich is way harder than those pieces.

Offline birba

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Re: Liszt Sonata in B minor - HELP ME PLEASE
«Reply #19 on: July 17, 2009, 08:45:59 PM »
I remember when I was 10 years old, I was going to play the 3rd movement of the moonlight, come hell or high water.  I did it on the sly, of course, but the urge was too great.  My teacher found out, (thanks to my blabber-mouth mother) but she was very understanding and even encouraged my private excursions into forbidden territory.  I don't think that just because a piece is out of our reach, we are not pure enough to touch it and play with it at will.  We certainly have to be aware of our own capabilities and not expect the impossible.  But a personal confrontation with these works of art can only do us good.

Offline thierry13

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Re: Liszt Sonata in B minor - HELP ME PLEASE
«Reply #20 on: July 17, 2009, 09:26:31 PM »
The problem is that people usually publish/play publicly/privately these pieces in a less-than-poor state.

Offline retrouvailles

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Re: Liszt Sonata in B minor - HELP ME PLEASE
«Reply #21 on: July 17, 2009, 10:40:47 PM »
The problem is that people usually publish/play publicly/privately these pieces in a less-than-poor state.

Yeah, that is exactly what I was referring to. I actually agree with all of the statements that were said against my statements. It was just a simple case of missing the point.

Offline makeanote

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Re: Liszt Sonata in B minor - HELP ME PLEASE
«Reply #22 on: July 18, 2009, 01:50:36 AM »
This thread is one of a number which brings up a few important points:

* should people be allowed to play whatever they would like?
* should people be allowed to post whatever quality performance they like?

Of course on face value the answer to these questions is 'yes'. What right does one pianist have to tell another the pieces they should play, or one forum member to tell another what audition material they should post?

However, in regards to the first point, people should take seriously the advice of their peers (and teachers) in choosing material to study and play. Pianists all should aspire to learning the great pieces of music - my teacher used to play performances of great works to inspire me and show me how much bigger the music world was than the Grade pieces I was learning. She would point out the importance of doing scales well when listening to Classical Sonatas, broken arpeggios in Beethoven Piano Concertos, octaves when listening to Romantic virtuosity - in essence, the reason why I had to spend so much time developing my technique on what seemed so boring and monotonous at the time would actually benefit me in the future to play (and learn) formidable works with ease and for my own personal satisfaction (as well as protecting my joints from injury and strain).

I agree with Birba's remarks about his quest to learn the 3rd Movement of the Moonlight (it's so much more exciting and carries a higher level of kudos than Kuhlau in the mind of a child) - it does us good to realise that bigger pieces await us. I bought the music for the Liszt Sonata when I was 12 because I heard it played and thought - that's what I want to learn next.  I was so disappointed when my music teacher gently put it to one side and opened up my Clementi instead.

Fenz, clearly you must enjoy playing the piano, and clearly you aspire to playing some great pianistic works - you should not be dissuaded from wanting to pursue this. But in all practical seriousness, the Liszt Sonata is not a work for you at the moment. I would go so far as to say that the Beethoven Pathetique Sonata or even the Minute Waltz are not works for you at the moment. My reason for saying this is that playing the piano is not about ticking off the pieces like a todo list - yep, I can play the notes of that one and impress some.

You know within yourself that you are not satisfied in playing them - you're not relaxed and you're technique doesn't stand up to the works. You yourself state that this is the first huge piece you are planning on learning seriously - but how about you start learning some simple pieces 'seriously'. This means focussing on your technique, your timing, your hand positions and tempos. Get the most enjoyment out of easier pieces and you'll learn what there is to enjoy in the harder ones.

It can be a huge letdown when you realise that after playing 'a Chopin Scherzo' and now moving on to the 'Liszt Sonata' that you probably shouldn't have even started the Minute Waltz. It can also be an emotional struggle to realise that you should be learning a 2 piece Bach Invention after trying to embark on 40+ pages of sheer virtuosity - but do it. I'm not necessarily saying 'don't learn the piece', but what I am saying is, 'don't invest the amount of time required for a piece that your technique doesn't support, instead, invest the time in developing your technique so you will be able to play such a piece - and play it well.'

Also, in regards to the second point, in the big bad world of YouTube everyone is a professional, awesome pianist who should write a tutorial and submit their music to BMG. That's often why they post whatever quality performance because their is no benchmark amongst the group. Such poor work does not reflect badly on YouTube as such, but on the performer. Those who post comments might be endearing friends / relatives / sympathisers of mediocrity, but their credentials are generally unknown or unsubstantiated - and that's pretty much what appeals to people to post poor work on YouTube.

I guess I'm appealing also to the credibility of this forum - it needs to be representative of something better. I feel it was designed to be a place where piano playing and music making would be taken seriously. It is tiring (and frustrating) to have claims of "I can play Liszt's 'Piece X' or Beethoven's 'Piece Y'" when clearly the piece is a poor reflection of musicality.

When posting in the Repertoire thread, this message appears up the top:

"Please note: This board is primarily intended for professional pianists and piano teachers as well as piano students and amateures at an advanced level. If you are not part of this group, consider posting in the Student's Corner instead."

I admire the fact that the owners of this board do offer a service to Student's, but it needs to be understood that the integrity of the board depends on the quality of posting - and perhaps needs to be moderated as such.

My apologies if this appeared to be a rant.
Ian

Offline fenz

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Re: Liszt Sonata in B minor - HELP ME PLEASE
«Reply #23 on: July 19, 2009, 10:03:15 AM »
Sorry I didn't notice that this board is professional pianists and piano teachers as well as piano students and amateurs at an advanced level. Sorry that I post in the wrong board. I'll notice it if I want to post another. Thanks.
Hope someday I'll be a good pianist ^.^