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Am I talentless? Grieg Piano Concerto (Read 6326 times)

Offline venik

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Am I talentless? Grieg Piano Concerto
« on: July 25, 2010, 02:10:57 AM »
I'm posting this as an unfinished work because I've become increasingly frustrated with the piano in the past few weeks. I feel like I'm getting nowhere. I want to give up almost. I'm not sure if this is me being a perfectionist, or that I need more discipline. So, please give me an honest opinion on whether I have potential or not, in addition to any criticism you have.

Personally, I am not satisfied at all with it. There is a 16th note added in, I play the rolling down 3rds horribly atm. In a few places I hit 2 notes instead of 1. I have trouble playing the triplet before the last chord. If you notice anything else please let me know I'm all ears. I am without a teacher atm.

Edit: technical difficulties

Edit2: fixed I think

piano sheet music of Piano Concerto


Offline venik

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Re: Am I talentless? Grieg Piano Concerto
«Reply #1 on: July 25, 2010, 03:10:58 AM »
Im having a hard time with the format

Anyone know a good wav to mp3 converter, or a website that takes 50 mb uploaded wav files?

Offline stevebob

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Re: Am I talentless? Grieg Piano Concerto
«Reply #2 on: July 25, 2010, 04:18:34 AM »
You seem to concede that your technical mastery of this piece is uneven.  But as you describe the performance as ďunfinished,Ē I canít tell whether itís a bit beyond your grasp or whether you simply need to put in more work.  How long have you been working on this, anyway?  Surely itís longer than the few recent weeks of frustration you mention, so I wonder what might have changed in the past few weeks.

Beyond the issue of some passages not being technically secure, though, thereís the underlying matter of rhythmic accuracy:  itís inconsistent overall, and strays significantly in some places.

I donít mean to discourage you at all; the sections where you have rhythmic and technical control are very expressive and musical, so hang in there!  In my opinion, the most important challenge you face may be the ability to feel and to project accurately the pulse of the music youíre playing.  Unfortunately, I donít have any advice to offer for refining it.

p.s.  I use Audacity for converting .wav to .mp3.  It's free at http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
What passes you ain't for you.

Offline venik

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Re: Am I talentless? Grieg Piano Concerto
«Reply #3 on: July 25, 2010, 09:15:28 AM »
You seem to concede that your technical mastery of this piece is uneven.  But as you describe the performance as ďunfinished,Ē I canít tell whether itís a bit beyond your grasp or whether you simply need to put in more work.  How long have you been working on this, anyway?  Surely itís longer than the few recent weeks of frustration you mention, so I wonder what might have changed in the past few weeks.

Beyond the issue of some passages not being technically secure, though, thereís the underlying matter of rhythmic accuracy:  itís inconsistent overall, and strays significantly in some places.

I donít mean to discourage you at all; the sections where you have rhythmic and technical control are very expressive and musical, so hang in there!  In my opinion, the most important challenge you face may be the ability to feel and to project accurately the pulse of the music youíre playing.  Unfortunately, I donít have any advice to offer for refining it.

p.s.  I use Audacity for converting .wav to .mp3.  It's free at http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
Thanks alot! I was hoping to hear *something* about it was decent, haha. Thank God. I think that in itself will help clear my head and work on my rhythm.

I've been learning the piece for about 6 months on and off. I'm a casual player, studying engineering but piano is a close 2nd passion. I'd say I played this an average of 20 minutes a day, whereas in the past week or two I've been playing it maybe an hour. The reason I'm frustrated is that for one I haven't made much of any progress in the past two weeks, and two is my rhythm problem you brought up. I think part of my problem too, is simple anxiety from working on it too hard, which I assume alot of pianists get every so often in their development stage. Perhaps I just need to take a deep breath and focus on rhythm. But also I've hit this paradox it seems, if I focus on the rhythm I lose the expression and vise versa.  In this recording I focused on expression. I assume this is a simple technical issue. that just requires some discipline.

Have you or anyone you know had this paradoxical problem? I'm glad you told me that I need to focus on rhythm, I think my anxiousness was kind of fogging my direction that needs to be taken. If you or anyone has any tips on keeping rhythm I'd love to hear, i.e. clapping, counting, etc. I've never counted in my head before, but I'm willing to try. Do you stop counting in your head once you've mastered a piece? Seems like it would be distracting.

Offline thalbergmad

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Re: Am I talentless? Grieg Piano Concerto
«Reply #4 on: July 25, 2010, 09:00:33 PM »
Yes you do have talent, but Grieg ran out of it with this piece.

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Online ahinton

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Re: Am I talentless? Grieg Piano Concerto
«Reply #5 on: July 25, 2010, 09:28:08 PM »
Yes you do have talent, but Grieg ran out of it with this piece.
Well, it was certainly not that wretched concerto that appealed to me when choosing a theme of Grieg on which to work some pianistic somethings-or-others, as no doubt you know...

I do not wish to appear unwarrantably disrespectful to Grieg, but that concerto seems to me forcefully to illustrate that one should never seek to write a piano concerto in A minor; we all know how Shcumann came a-cropper when he did this, so one ought accordingly to be inclined to wonder why Grieg didn't see the necessary warning signs before embarking on his own almost equally tiresome example...

Best,

Alistair
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Offline stevebob

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Re: Am I talentless? Grieg Piano Concerto
«Reply #6 on: July 25, 2010, 09:58:58 PM »
If the two previous posts are somehow imagined to be germane here or helpful to the member who posted the recording, I can't see how.  To me, they exemplify the noxious and self-indulgent tone of this presently benighted forum (often on the part of the handful of long-time members who continue to post here).

Those who imagine Thalberg to be a magnificent composer or believe that the Schumann and Grieg concertos (and, by extension, any concerto sharing their key signature) are rubbish might recall why opinions are said to be like the posterior orifice:  everybody has one, and everybody thinks somebody else's stinks.
What passes you ain't for you.

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: Am I talentless? Grieg Piano Concerto
«Reply #7 on: July 25, 2010, 11:45:05 PM »
You play with some affinity for the style, so that's a good start as it's hard to teach that. However you really need to sort out the rhythmic and tempo problems. I've got a lot of sympathy for your problem, because I didn't see a teacher for many years and when I finally got round to it he (justifiably) gave me really quite a hard time over such issues.

You should either practice with a metronome or count out loud when going through passages (practice them at half, quarter or even eighth speed if necessary.) You may find it useful to break down passagework to the lowest unit, and if that means counting at the demisemiquaver (1/32nd note) level then so be it. The rhythm is a fundamental building block of the music and yours is shaky. Practice without rubato and without pedal; that can be fitted in later. It sounds unpleasant, but stick at it and after a while (once you've fully internalised the rhythm) you will see the benefits. It seems to me that you may be trying to represent the rhythm intuitively (perhaps by imitation from recordings) without having actually thought it out properly. Good luck.

Offline venik

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Re: Am I talentless? Grieg Piano Concerto
«Reply #8 on: July 26, 2010, 06:31:41 AM »
You play with some affinity for the style, so that's a good start as it's hard to teach that. However you really need to sort out the rhythmic and tempo problems. I've got a lot of sympathy for your problem, because I didn't see a teacher for many years and when I finally got round to it he (justifiably) gave me really quite a hard time over such issues.

You should either practice with a metronome or count out loud when going through passages (practice them at half, quarter or even eighth speed if necessary.) You may find it useful to break down passagework to the lowest unit, and if that means counting at the demisemiquaver (1/32nd note) level then so be it. The rhythm is a fundamental building block of the music and yours is shaky. Practice without rubato and without pedal; that can be fitted in later. It sounds unpleasant, but stick at it and after a while (once you've fully internalised the rhythm) you will see the benefits. It seems to me that you may be trying to represent the rhythm intuitively (perhaps by imitation from recordings) without having actually thought it out properly. Good luck.

Thanks alot for your help. And your story is inspiring especially to me. There is hope, haha.

I decided to put the grieg aside for now, atleast in the progressive sense, and I'm going to work on my rhythm until I feel comfortable with counting before I work on it again. So I picked up lieberstraum for the first time, a nice piece with a steady rhythm and without grieg's jazzy tendencies. I can feel it really helping already. Do you use "and"'s when you count? The tempo's 6/4 and I'm counting 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 +. But sometimes I miss an "and" and finish on a 7 or 8 lol. Anyways, thanks again everyone. I'll do another recording in a month or two if I've got anything to show for it.

I don't tend to imitate people, although I'm very good at it. But I've really only heard the concerto played professionally a handful of times. But I did like the way Rubinstein played the F major (?) down and up staccato like, that is definitely imitated.

Just out of curiosity, which passages were good (if any) and which were worst?

Offline thalbergmad

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Re: Am I talentless? Grieg Piano Concerto
«Reply #9 on: July 26, 2010, 10:46:37 AM »
Those who imagine Thalberg to be a magnificent composer or believe that the Schumann and Grieg concertos (and, by extension, any concerto sharing their key signature) are rubbish might recall why opinions are said to be like the posterior orifice:  everybody has one, and everybody thinks somebody else's stinks.

If you think a post inappropriate, why not use the report to moderator button instead of adding nothing yourself, whilst publicly throwing your teddies out of your pram??

If my post served no purpose, yours served even less.

I do not recall claiming Thalberg was a great composer, only a great transcriber.

Thal
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Concerto Preservation Society

Offline stevebob

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Re: Am I talentless? Grieg Piano Concerto
«Reply #10 on: July 26, 2010, 12:17:08 PM »
If you think a post inappropriate, why not use the report to moderator button instead of adding nothing yourself, whilst publicly throwing your teddies out of your pram??

If my post served no purpose, yours served even less.

I already made a substantive and on-topic contribution to this thread.

Posting something irrelevant or smugly superior (like, say, a snarky comment about the piece someone chose to record rather than a critique of the performance) isn't a violation, to my knowledge, of any TOS.  I wouldn't think it worthy of a moderator's attention.

Neither does being unhelpful, unwelcoming and unfriendly violate any rule, but it's what makes this place what it is.
What passes you ain't for you.

Offline thalbergmad

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Re: Am I talentless? Grieg Piano Concerto
«Reply #11 on: July 26, 2010, 06:09:08 PM »
Indeed, it takes all sorts to keep this place going, so I don't understand why you waste your time responding to the odd irrelevant post with arsey comments. You do seem to have a problem with a "handful of long term members", so perhaps you might like to open a new thread to discuss it so we can learn how to improve.

As to the recording in the initial post, I would say that some of the foundations have been dug, but a fair bit more is needed before polishing begins. It is a shame that venik has put it to one side in light of the effort already involved. However, he obviously has some talent and has done well without a teacher who would undoubtedly help with the uneveness.

Hope this is not too smugly superior for you.

Thal

PS. I was advised of the content of your previous post before you completely changed it. Perhaps another thread??
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Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: Am I talentless? Grieg Piano Concerto
«Reply #12 on: July 27, 2010, 01:16:13 AM »
Thanks alot for your help. And your story is inspiring especially to me. There is hope, haha.

I decided to put the grieg aside for now, atleast in the progressive sense, and I'm going to work on my rhythm until I feel comfortable with counting before I work on it again. So I picked up lieberstraum for the first time, a nice piece with a steady rhythm and without grieg's jazzy tendencies. I can feel it really helping already. Do you use "and"'s when you count? The tempo's 6/4 and I'm counting 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 +. But sometimes I miss an "and" and finish on a 7 or 8 lol. Anyways, thanks again everyone. I'll do another recording in a month or two if I've got anything to show for it.

I don't tend to imitate people, although I'm very good at it. But I've really only heard the concerto played professionally a handful of times. But I did like the way Rubinstein played the F major (?) down and up staccato like, that is definitely imitated.

Just out of curiosity, which passages were good (if any) and which were worst?

In general terms, the lyrical passages come across better. Some of the more technical sections, like from 1.04, need work both on the rhythm and accuracy of the notes. Grieg isn't quite that jazzy.  ;)

I use "and"s when counting if necessary. However, if I was (for example) counting a 6/4 bar at the semiquaver level, I would count 1234 2234 3234 4234 5234 6234.
 
Neither does being unhelpful, unwelcoming and unfriendly violate any rule, but it's what makes this place what it is.

The place isn't perfect, but I wasn't aware it was all of the above adjectives. Seems harsh.

Offline venik

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Re: Am I talentless? Grieg Piano Concerto
«Reply #13 on: July 29, 2010, 08:29:25 AM »
In general terms, the lyrical passages come across better. Some of the more technical sections, like from 1.04, need work both on the rhythm and accuracy of the notes. Grieg isn't quite that jazzy.  ;)

I use "and"s when counting if necessary. However, if I was (for example) counting a 6/4 bar at the semiquaver level, I would count 1234 2234 3234 4234 5234 6234.
 
The place isn't perfect, but I wasn't aware it was all of the above adjectives. Seems harsh.
Lol.

I started looking at the rhythm of the grieg with a more empirical approach than before, and I can really appreciate now how off my rhythm really was. I was playing the part from 1.04 as if they were 1/8th notes even.  ??? Not only was I significantly off (from memory they are 32nds or 16ths) in that respect, I dont think I could keep the rhythm steady.

After learning and counting 3 pages of lieberstraum I felt like I was ready to start implement counting into the grieg (this was my plan but I didn't expect it so soon). Counting with the concerto is much harder, he IS JAZZY! :P. But I found it more comfortable to count the 4/4 bars as 1234 1234 1234 1234. I felt like I could much more focus on the chords and notes at hand rather than other things, as this was easiest/simplest for me. But with simplicity comes the problem of dealing with complex problems. I feel most comfortable with this and I don't forsee any problems with this counting in this specific peice. But as a much more experienced pianist is there any foresight you could give me on the possible problems of counting on this tunnel-vision like method?

Also I watched some of your performances, ronde, bravo! Wonderful to have gotten your opinion.

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: Am I talentless? Grieg Piano Concerto
«Reply #14 on: August 01, 2010, 05:03:55 PM »

After learning and counting 3 pages of lieberstraum I felt like I was ready to start implement counting into the grieg (this was my plan but I didn't expect it so soon). Counting with the concerto is much harder, he IS JAZZY! :P. But I found it more comfortable to count the 4/4 bars as 1234 1234 1234 1234. I felt like I could much more focus on the chords and notes at hand rather than other things, as this was easiest/simplest for me. But with simplicity comes the problem of dealing with complex problems. I feel most comfortable with this and I don't forsee any problems with this counting in this specific peice. But as a much more experienced pianist is there any foresight you could give me on the possible problems of counting on this tunnel-vision like method?

Also I watched some of your performances, ronde, bravo! Wonderful to have gotten your opinion.

Thanks :) The reason I suggested 1234 2234 3234, etc is that as opposed to the 1234 1234 1234 1234 (I assume that your 1234s are you counting at the semiquaver/16th note level) is that with my suggestion you keep a track of where you are within the bar at the level of the crotchet/quarter note [ONE two three four TWO two three four etc], and thus you are using the units which the bar is actually constructed from. With 1234 1234 1234 1234 you risk end up making each bar into bar subfragments by which you implicitly change the chracteristics of where the natural accentuations occur. I hope that makes sense.

Offline chris_goslow

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Re: Am I talentless? Grieg Piano Concerto
«Reply #15 on: August 08, 2010, 05:39:30 AM »
It's funny to me for anyone to ask the question "Am I talentless?"  It's either asking for trouble or inviting an immediate influx of positive encouragement to discredit such thoughts.

The thing that I don't think works about your question is that it's not and empowering one.  I don't think it gives you any room to go anywhere with.

Personally, if I were you, I would stop asking that question, and instead ask a more empowering one, such as:  "How can I most effectively express this piece of music?"  or "What are the areas where I can improve most to bring out what is magical in this piece?"

Good luck!
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Offline fenz

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Re: Am I talentless? Grieg Piano Concerto
«Reply #16 on: August 28, 2010, 12:23:04 PM »
for me it's good... please post this fully played on audition room  :)
Hope someday I'll be a good pianist ^.^

Offline pianist1976

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Re: Am I talentless? Grieg Piano Concerto
«Reply #17 on: August 29, 2010, 10:09:56 AM »
I encourage you to continue practicing. There were some good details... but you must work hard on the basis.

You said "I am without a teacher atm". Well, that may be the first point to be corrected. You need a good teacher who corrects all those basic measuring and counting rhythmic issues (you are skipping silences and cutting the duration of some notes), among many other problems.

So, I also think that Grieg's concert is now, in my opinion, a bit beyond your actual possibilities. Study some easier pieces that you can afford and in some years I'm sure you will can play Grieg pretty well. IMHO, the best advise here maybe is: be patient and wait. Practice another easier works that will give you a better background.

Offline chris_goslow

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Re: Am I talentless? Grieg Piano Concerto
«Reply #18 on: August 31, 2010, 04:23:37 AM »

You said "I am without a teacher atm". Well, that may be the first point to be corrected. You need a good teacher who corrects all those basic measuring and counting rhythmic issues (you are skipping silences and cutting the duration of some notes), among many other problems.


Very good point.
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Offline venik

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Re: Am I talentless? Grieg Piano Concerto
«Reply #19 on: October 24, 2010, 12:11:59 AM »
I just posted the liebestraum recording, I think I've made some progress. I've switched back to focus on the grieg, and I feel more capable now. I've worked on my technique a lot.

I encourage you to continue practicing. There were some good details... but you must work hard on the basis.

You said "I am without a teacher atm". Well, that may be the first point to be corrected. You need a good teacher who corrects all those basic measuring and counting rhythmic issues (you are skipping silences and cutting the duration of some notes), among many other problems.

So, I also think that Grieg's concert is now, in my opinion, a bit beyond your actual possibilities. Study some easier pieces that you can afford and in some years I'm sure you will can play Grieg pretty well. IMHO, the best advise here maybe is: be patient and wait. Practice another easier works that will give you a better background.
I feel that my ability was undercut by my frustration and rut I was in. I have played pieces at that difficulty. It was mostly the tempo I was having trouble with, I've never played a hard peice that jazzy before. I mastered ginastera's piano sonata, and Keith Emerson's creole dance and a portion of his enigma.

But thanks for the advice, I'll take that into consideration next time I'm not making progress.