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Brahms Variations on a theme by Paganini (Read 8108 times)

Offline perfect_pitch

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Brahms Variations on a theme by Paganini
« on: June 05, 2010, 06:43:56 AM »
Okay... I'm just having a little trouble with the 14th variation of Book 1... In particular, this part of it:



Mainly getting from one position properly without over-stepping or under-stepping... and trying to get it to speed is really f#cking crucifying me. Are there any little methods that anyone can think of that might be able to help me for this variation??? I would be damn, bloody grateful.


piano sheet music of Paganini Variations Book 1


Offline pianoamit

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Re: Brahms Variations on a theme by Paganini
«Reply #1 on: June 05, 2010, 09:10:31 PM »
This is probably just stating the obvious but:

I would try working in hand positions, first hands separately (then together, of course). Make sure you choose your fingering carefully for the repeated notes - because of the changing intervals between these and the top note of the octaves, the most efficient fingering might not always be the same. For example, E-E to A might be best played 3-2-5, but D-D to F might be best played 4-3-5.

After you feel comfortable jumping between the positions, do the same thing, but hold the octaves and play the repeated notes with your chosen fingering.

The last thing I can suggest, off the top of my head, is to play the snippets consisting of the slurred octave interval, continuing immediately to the repeated notes and ending on the next octave with it's notes played simultaneously. (I am not sure if what I mean is clear, but this is the best way I have found of phrasing it).

Offline furtwaengler

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Re: Brahms Variations on a theme by Paganini
«Reply #2 on: June 06, 2010, 07:01:08 AM »
For whatever reason this happens to be, among both sets, my favorite variation to play. I say this even as I have never officially performed book 1, though I periodically return to it with interest. I have in the past been able to play this variation to the end reasonably well, though it is actually the last variation which more frequently troubles me, for the genetic disadvantage of my too small hands...sliding the thumb on the first G-sharp A 16ths in the left hand...but that's not what you asked about.

One of my laments is an inability to expound on the process of learning such lines. I know that I roll out of the octave onto the repeated notes (that is rotating over the pinkie (LH) and thumb (RH)). It has been the first two measures which provide the most difficulty for accuracy, because of the octave + 5th jumps and because it's so exposed, and the issue of distance for their being two octaves apart instead of one. The repeated notes in the left hand which follow against the right hand's continuation were extremely difficult the first time I learned it. I had to crawl excessively slowly with the metronome, memorizing at such until there was some sense of coordination, and then repeating the passage over and over a higher click at time on the metronome. Once I got that coordination I never lost it, and it has not been the main difficulty since.

I have no revolutionary techniques I employ, but will make this one suggestion: practice the page with your eyes closed or blind folded, starting at a very slow tempo, with metronome. By slow, I mean start at 1/32 = 120 with the metronome on and play it without looking, and repeat getting faster in small increments (120, 126, 132, and then after 1/32 = 208, 1/16 = 108, then 112, 116, etc...1/8 = 108...etc). Just focus and try as best as you can to not manipulate the tempo on the jumps until it's absolutely impossible not to. It's a lot of time on one passage and requires patience, but on the other hand it is sort of putting the approach to tempo increments in the process you've been doing for the past 6th months or year (however long you've been working it) into one practice session.

Sometime in the next week I may pull it out and work on it a little bit to see if anything that would be helpful emerges.

Hope it helps!
Don't let anyone know where you tie your goat.

Offline ramseytheii

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Re: Brahms Variations on a theme by Paganini
«Reply #3 on: June 06, 2010, 11:16:59 AM »
In this variation each hand position shows you that Brahms intended you to go from a long finger to the short fingers (the short fingers are employed in the octave intervals).  To practice it, just reverse it and go from short fingers to long.  Play the octave invervals as one chord, and you will have a better perspective on the physical motion he is trying to both use and abuse.

If you like I can type up a short example to show you what I mean.

Walter Ramsey



Offline perfect_pitch

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Re: Brahms Variations on a theme by Paganini
«Reply #4 on: June 06, 2010, 11:55:03 AM »
Thanks for the comments so far... The thought of trying to play it blind-folded is kind of creepy and frustrating, but I'll give it a shot.

Offline miken49

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Re: Brahms Variations on a theme by Paganini
«Reply #5 on: June 06, 2010, 02:28:37 PM »
I think it's creepy too but if you check the notes on the Godowsky-Chopin etudes, Godowsky also suggest practicing with your eyes closed. ;D

*sigh* The road to super-virtuosity is a hard one. ::)

Offline slow_concert_pianist

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Re: Brahms Variations on a theme by Paganini
«Reply #6 on: June 10, 2010, 03:59:20 AM »
Don't worry SCP to the "rescue". I'll put up a recording at the auditions room ROTLAOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!! ;D
Currently rehearsing:

Chopin Ballades (all)
Rachmaninov prelude in Bb Op 23 No 2
Mozart A minor sonata K310
Prokofiev 2nd sonata
Bach WTCII no 6
Busoni tr Bach toccata in D minor

Offline perfect_pitch

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Re: Brahms Variations on a theme by Paganini
«Reply #7 on: June 10, 2010, 05:57:40 AM »
Don't worry SCP to the "rescue". I'll put up a recording at the auditions room ROTLAOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!! ;D

Wow - your comedy routine is coming along just fine!!!    ;)

Do us all a favour... Do NOT post up a recording of it!

Offline pianist1976

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Re: Brahms Variations on a theme by Paganini
«Reply #8 on: June 10, 2010, 09:29:14 AM »
Don't worry SCP to the "rescue". I'll put up a recording at the auditions room ROTLAOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!! ;D

That would be very educational: the perfect example of how NOT to play the Paganini variations   ;D

Offline scottmcc

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Re: Brahms Variations on a theme by Paganini
«Reply #9 on: June 10, 2010, 10:14:00 AM »
I'll caveat this remark by saying that I'm nowhere near the technical level to even contemplate a piece like this...but...

have you tried the brahms 51 exercises?  this looks very much like one of those, although I'm away from the music right now so I can't remember which exercise number.  if nothing else, I think that having a look at them will make you better at playing brahms' music.

good luck with it!  this is a frightening passage!

Offline perfect_pitch

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Re: Brahms Variations on a theme by Paganini
«Reply #10 on: June 10, 2010, 12:05:12 PM »
I'll have a look at the Brahms exercises... It's been a while since I've seen them, but I'll look at them.

Offline slow_concert_pianist

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Re: Brahms Variations on a theme by Paganini
«Reply #11 on: June 11, 2010, 03:35:49 AM »
Wow - your comedy routine is coming along just fine!!!    ;)

Do us all a favour... Do NOT post up a recording of it!

You worried it would be too good? I dare you to listen ;) ;D
Currently rehearsing:

Chopin Ballades (all)
Rachmaninov prelude in Bb Op 23 No 2
Mozart A minor sonata K310
Prokofiev 2nd sonata
Bach WTCII no 6
Busoni tr Bach toccata in D minor

Offline perfect_pitch

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Re: Brahms Variations on a theme by Paganini
«Reply #12 on: June 11, 2010, 03:38:02 AM »
You worried it would be too good?

Not in the slightest!!!    8)

And if you don't have anything substantially relevant to contribute to this thread - bugger off!

Offline slow_concert_pianist

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Re: Brahms Variations on a theme by Paganini
«Reply #13 on: June 11, 2010, 03:49:23 AM »
Not in the slightest!!!    8)

And if you don't have anything substantially relevant to contribute to this thread - bugger off!

My dear boy, I already have. I have offered a recording of my approach PRIOR to tending performance advice. That way you can listen and say...."wow that's just what I am looking to achieve"....or not as the case may be.

If there was something you were looking for....I would be oblidged to provide an explanation of what I was doing. How do you know the advice you are given WORKS?

But to listen you must be objective and you are very, very prejudiced PP. That's your current crutch.
Currently rehearsing:

Chopin Ballades (all)
Rachmaninov prelude in Bb Op 23 No 2
Mozart A minor sonata K310
Prokofiev 2nd sonata
Bach WTCII no 6
Busoni tr Bach toccata in D minor

Offline perfect_pitch

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Re: Brahms Variations on a theme by Paganini
«Reply #14 on: June 11, 2010, 06:21:45 AM »
My dear boy, I already have. I have offered a recording of my approach PRIOR to tending performance advice.

And if it's up to your usual sh!tty quality (both the recording quality and the pianistic quality) then I doubt that you could offer me anything of ANY substance. I've heard how bad most of your Chopin Preludes are, and for you to even attempt this variation would be a travesty against pianism... and I'm sure many would agree with me.

But to listen you must be objective...

HAAA HAAA HAAAAAAA HAAAAA....     

This... Coming from YOU?!? Most of the people on this thread have tried to be civilised in offering you advice on your pieces and you have shot them down, simply because they point out your inadequacy in performing some of your pieces...

The only difference between you and I is... that I listen to that advice, You DON'T!!!

So do not patronise me and attempt to turn me into the uncivilised, uncouth ignoramus who seems to belittle everyone like a pretentious git... because I am objective - I do everything I can to help support other pianists in this forum, whether it's something little like fingering, or offering suggestions to better someones performance. So you won't convince anyone that you're objective, because you simply don't care about a) what people tell you in an effort to better your playing and b) your shoddy performances that you seem to churn out week after week.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I will end this by saying that to argue with me is pointless considering that there are countless threads with your really bad recordings, multiple posts about you highly boasting yourself despite the fact that your recordings tell us who you really are. You want to try and argue about your objectivity??? You won't win!

But if you truly feel compelled to post your recording of this variation - then feel free. I could always do with a good laugh.

Offline pianisten1989

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Re: Brahms Variations on a theme by Paganini
«Reply #15 on: June 11, 2010, 09:52:01 AM »
Have you tired to play it only with one finger? That use to help me, especially the thumb. Somehow the arm learns where the rest of the hand is..-ish. Or staccato? or playing each note twice?

Since I haven't played this piece, I just give random advice...