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4 on 3 (in Fantasie Impromptu) (Read 8093 times)

Offline johnjamessmith0

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4 on 3 (in Fantasie Impromptu)
« on: May 08, 2010, 04:58:37 AM »
This is my first post!  :)

So yes, I did find this forum by searching "Fantasie Impromptu" on Google and reading the breadboy thread. And I did search up FI like you guys say to do in all the other FI threads. So I hope that people aren't annoyed with yet another FI thread, and that I haven't made an embarrassing oversight, my question already answered elsewhere.

I just started learning FI (I hope not for the wrong reasons), and the polyrhythm thing is just about killing me. Most of the internet suggestions I've read fall into one of the following two categories:

1) Hands Together:
First work out the 4 on 3 sequence in twelfths. Practice tapping the rhythm, tapping 3 times with your left hand for every 4 taps of the right hand. Then start slowly on the piano. Use a metronome if necessary. Get faster and faster slowly, until you reach the desired speed. This process is necessary so that you play accurately.

2) Hands Independently:
Practice each hand separately until you can play each part very fluently. Then just play them at the same time!

This is all nice,... except for the fact that the two are BLATANT CONTRADICTIONS  :(  I am very afraid of learning the entire piece too quickly, realizing it is super-sloppy, and not being able to correct bad habits. This suggests I follow (1). At the same time I can hardly imagine "feeling" the twelfth rhythm at high speeds. Besides this is hardly how the music is structured. And plus it seems very difficult to speed up. Even when I try to just go up a few bpm it just degenerates into... Someone please clear this up.

Much of the advice also says that after a bit it will just "click," and you will magically be able to play it. I can slowly play some of the measures with both hands, but it's nothing like a magical feeling of accomplishment. It's more like balancing a stick on the end of your nose... I feel like it's all going to come apart any millisecond, and I'm not even sure if I have it right---the moment I try to listen to one hand to see if it's even, the other hand forgets what it's supposed to do.

Am I panicking too early?

piano sheet music of Fantaisie-Impromptu


Offline stevebob

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Re: 4 on 3 (in Fantasie Impromptu)
«Reply #1 on: May 08, 2010, 05:25:55 AM »
As a matter of principle, I don't believe in learning a technically challenging piece by starting out hands-together and gradually building up speed.  Still, applying this approach needn't exclude using the lowest common multiple method to figure out a polyrhythm and gain an understanding of how the notes mesh in theory.

Once you know each hand fluently and feel ready to put them together, stay focused on the notes that coincide in both hands—i.e., the primary beats.  Feel those beats and think ahead to those primary beats as you play, and the notes that fall in between should take care of themselves.  If you find that doesn't happen for you, go back to more hands-separate practice at tempo.
What passes you ain't for you.

Offline gyzzzmo

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Re: 4 on 3 (in Fantasie Impromptu)
«Reply #2 on: May 08, 2010, 08:33:17 AM »
I dont believe in 'seperate hands' for polyrythm either.
As stevebob above already said, focus on those notes that do fall together and just start playing. That works for alot of people.
You can also just closely watch the notes on the sheetmusic and compare the left and right hand notes when they should be played. Start this slowly and also keep focus on when the right and left hand notes should be played together. If you do this more often, you'll get the feeling of it and can stop 'thinking'.
And just skip the 3 first G#-A-G# notes if it rythmicly confuses you, till you got the hang of the polyrythm.

have fun,

Gyzzzmo
1+1=11

Offline proftom

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Re: 4 on 3 (in Fantasie Impromptu)
«Reply #3 on: May 08, 2010, 11:49:10 AM »
Just take it slowly and perfect one thing at a time.  Try the easy bits and then ignore them and work on the hard parts.  Then try piecing little bits together and WA-LA!
it'll sound great if you give it your best!!

Good luck

Offline dss62467

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Re: 4 on 3 (in Fantasie Impromptu)
«Reply #4 on: May 08, 2010, 12:11:59 PM »
I haven't attempted this piece as I know it would just be a road paved in frustration for me at this point, but I've done other pieces with 4 on 3 and I groan every time I see it in the sheet music.  I just do it hands together very slowly until it clicks in my head how the notes are supposed to fall together.  I spend a bit of time cursing the composer while I'm doing it, but it does fall into place eventually and I never have trouble with it again.   

I don't think there's a magic formula that works for everyone.  We all learn differently, so just try different methods until you find the one that works for you.
Currently learning:
Chopin Prelude Op. 28, no. 15
Schubert Sonata in A Major, D.959: Allegretto

Offline proftom

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Re: 4 on 3 (in Fantasie Impromptu)
«Reply #5 on: May 08, 2010, 01:24:33 PM »
i agree with dss62467

Offline stevebob

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Re: 4 on 3 (in Fantasie Impromptu)
«Reply #6 on: May 08, 2010, 01:26:04 PM »
Just take it slowly and perfect one thing at a time.  Try the easy bits and then ignore them and work on the hard parts.  Then try piecing little bits together and WA-LA!
it'll sound great if you give it your best!!

Good luck

What's WA-LA?
What passes you ain't for you.

Offline proftom

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Re: 4 on 3 (in Fantasie Impromptu)
«Reply #7 on: May 08, 2010, 01:29:19 PM »
WA-LA is sometimes what you say when you've finished!

PRONOUNCED WAH - LAH

Offline dss62467

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Re: 4 on 3 (in Fantasie Impromptu)
«Reply #8 on: May 08, 2010, 04:12:35 PM »
Voila!
Currently learning:
Chopin Prelude Op. 28, no. 15
Schubert Sonata in A Major, D.959: Allegretto

Offline johnjamessmith0

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Re: 4 on 3 (in Fantasie Impromptu)
«Reply #9 on: May 08, 2010, 09:52:14 PM »
Thanks everyone for the tips and encouragement! I practiced some more and I feel confident that I can bring FI up to a level at which I'll be satisfied.

A question: when you play the piece fluently, do the hands more or less feel independent? 'Cause this is really scaring me. Even if I'm rubbing my stomach and patting my head, I feel like the motions are coordinated, in rhythm. Or if I'm playing some Bach invention, and each hand has its own voice, I feel like I can see how each part fits into the whole. But with this 4 on 3 thing, it's almost as if I have to be able to be two people at once. And even with the two hands coinciding 4 times a measure, I feel like I don't have any control over what's going on most of the time. Perhaps this is just because I haven't played much music at this level yet....

Offline gyzzzmo

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Re: 4 on 3 (in Fantasie Impromptu)
«Reply #10 on: May 08, 2010, 11:00:53 PM »
Thanks everyone for the tips and encouragement! I practiced some more and I feel confident that I can bring FI up to a level at which I'll be satisfied.

A question: when you play the piece fluently, do the hands more or less feel independent? 'Cause this is really scaring me. Even if I'm rubbing my stomach and patting my head, I feel like the motions are coordinated, in rhythm. Or if I'm playing some Bach invention, and each hand has its own voice, I feel like I can see how each part fits into the whole. But with this 4 on 3 thing, it's almost as if I have to be able to be two people at once. And even with the two hands coinciding 4 times a measure, I feel like I don't have any control over what's going on most of the time. Perhaps this is just because I haven't played much music at this level yet....

No, eventually you'll stop thinking as independent hands, since it will go automaticly. Now you have to concentrate on the polyrythm, but that wont be needed anymore after some time. Just like you (probably/hopefully) play 2/3 polyrythms.
1+1=11

Offline proftom

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Re: 4 on 3 (in Fantasie Impromptu)
«Reply #11 on: May 09, 2010, 01:59:21 PM »
Yes - you just start to do it automatically in routuine.  Just don't worry and give it your best shot - it sounds like its going well.

P.S - thanks to the person who corrected my spelling!!

Voila!

Offline raisinbrahms

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Re: 4 on 3 (in Fantasie Impromptu)
«Reply #12 on: May 25, 2010, 05:04:16 AM »
4 on 3 rhythm was one of my worst nightmares in musicianship classes in college.  Let's just say I have an awesome ear but really horrific rhythm skills.  If I can learn this, so can you  ;D

I finally mastered this by drawing out a diagram of 4 against 3 with an X on each of the 12 beats - scroll down on this page to find what I mean:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyrhythm

So if you have the 4-beat rhythm in your right hand and the 3-beat rhythm in your left hand, just count out each beat s l o w l y...you tap both hands on 1, count 2, 3, then RH on 4, LH on 5, count 6, RH on 7, count 8, LH on 9, RH on 10, count 11, 12...get the idea? 

Once you get comfortable with this pattern to the point where you can tap it out to say, one beat per second without looking at the diagram, then you can start feeling the composite rhythm.   "PASS the GOLden BUTter" is a common one.

The trick is to know EXACTLY where each hand goes on each beat and learn it SLOWLY, gradually speeding it up, until you can hear/feel the pattern.

Hope this helps you!   8)

Offline scottmcc

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Re: 4 on 3 (in Fantasie Impromptu)
«Reply #13 on: May 26, 2010, 02:23:35 AM »
if you're into pop music, just listen to muse's "knights of cydonia," that has polyrhythms all over it.  other notable fans of polyrhythms: the police.  :)

brahms 51 exercises #1 is all about various polyrhythms.  but if you can't do them you'll just hate that exercise--it doesn't work you into it by any means.

I'm no good at 4:3, but I personally think that if you can't do it slowly, you'll never be able to speed it up. 

"pass the golden butter" is featured in Ruth Slenzynska's book.  she argues for increasing the metronome 1 beat at a time, starting in the 40s and working up until you're past the needed speed.


Offline brogers70

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Re: 4 on 3 (in Fantasie Impromptu)
«Reply #14 on: May 26, 2010, 02:31:26 AM »
To learn polyrhthyms I always have to use the mathematical approach; find the LCM, write out exactly where each note comes, and then practice it by tapping with two hands slowly. At first I think of it as a single pattern of sounds, like "Pass the golden butter", but as I practice tapping it there eventually comes a point where I feel it clearly as, say, four impulses in the left hand against five in the right. It's almost like one of those optical illusion where you see a vase or two faces. Once I can feel it like that, I go to the piano and play hands together.

I believe there are people who can just practice HS and then put their hands together right away without getting confused. If there are such people, I envy them.

Offline wingawinga

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Re: 4 on 3 (in Fantasie Impromptu)
«Reply #15 on: June 05, 2010, 03:05:42 PM »
... I feel rather different, since what i did to learn the FI was to play each hand separately, however i practiced this way for over a month, until one day i just held my breath, closed my eyes, and somehow managed to figure out the timing. My Timing isn't perfect, but being able to play it (i started it like in march) is very impressing to people. (I'm 13. Lol)

Offline kris_k

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Re: 4 on 3 (in Fantasie Impromptu)
«Reply #16 on: June 13, 2010, 04:35:01 PM »
I tried the way wingawinga suggested, and It does work(for me).