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Topic: Octave Passage in La Campanella  (Read 6914 times)

Offline ch101

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Octave Passage in La Campanella
on: March 07, 2011, 09:46:28 PM
Hi everyone. I am currently working on Liszt's La Campanella, which also happens to be my first Liszt piece. I got through fine until the octave passage in the last two pages and does anybody know how I can relax a little and maybe bring the speed up a bit? I know I am  pushing myself with this and maybe I shouldn't have, but I am really ambitious about this. This is my dream piece since 8 and I really would like to finish it off.
Thanks.
Pieces I am working on
Complete Chopin mazurkas
Pictures at an Exhibition
Beethoven Pathetique sonata
Schumann Papilions

Offline emill

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Re: Octave Passage in La Campanella
Reply #1 on: March 10, 2011, 04:13:03 PM
Hi ch101 !! ;D

My... the pieces in your "working on" list is FORMIDABLE even for any age.
Are you not pushing yourself too soon too much?  PLease do not get me
wrong ... dreaming of performing those pieces is good, but attempting
those at 11? or 12 years old may not be exactly appropriate; for one there is
that physical requirement for reach or span of fingers .... then that difficult
aspect of "maturity" which is definitely better with more time and exposure.

Hmmnnn .... my son Enzo recently turned 15, but he played the Chopin Ballade No.1
and La Campanella at about your age, 11 or 12 .... in fact if I remember correctly he
had a "reasonably" acceptable Ballade No.1 and La Campanella in about 3-4 months
on top of the other pieces his teacher assigned him ... yes, his teacher knew but would
not help him with the pieces ... but strangely since then and that was about 3 years
ago he has not touched those again nor even attempted to practice them again.

I asked him why??  His answer was simple .... I am NOT YET READY for those pieces.  He
came to that realization that he was not ready to do justice to those pieces only after
"learning" to play them. I was a happy father knowing that my son is indeed growing up
and maturing.  PLease forgive me if I seem to underestimate your abilities but I often hear
from experienced teachers that an 11 or 12 year old may be handicapped in terms of the
physical requirements of an advanced piece or the maturity required to express it or both. 

Here is Enzo attempting the La Campanella at 12:  


  
member on behalf of my son, Lorenzo

Offline ladypianist

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Re: Octave Passage in La Campanella
Reply #2 on: March 10, 2011, 08:25:49 PM
Hello Ch - A very formidable piece for one so young to be working on.  The octaves at the end require control, not velocity .  Anyone can push down a gas pedal and zoom off.  It is bringing the hands to a stop that is the secret.  Try little 3 note groups, accelerate , stop , accelerate stop.  When you can do that , tie several of the groups together.  See how that helps .

Also try doing some of the passages with your eyes closed. Your eyes simply cannot truly guide you and actually can interfere with your sense of touch.  And above all dont be in a hurry. Dont force things let them come.  And Listen to Emill to. You may finish this now , at least in the sense you can play to the end. Then you may come back to it in a number of years, and finish it again.  And in another 10 years you may come back to it and learn it all over with a different perspective and finish it again. 

As a last thought. Concentrate on the parts of your body that are not being used to play these passages. Make sure they are quiet relaxed , balanced, resting. 

There is a little bit of information you may find useful.  I will be posting a new recording of myself playing Lacampanella. I would love to hear yours and invite you to comment or critic on my playing.

Wishing you  a wonderful journey , in your musical explorations, Lady Pianist.
After a lifetime of learning, there is still more that I do not know , than I know.

Offline ch101

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Re: Octave Passage in La Campanella
Reply #3 on: March 10, 2011, 11:44:48 PM
Hi everyone. Thanks for the advices. I did not find that anything particularly bothers me in La Campanella until the octave passage. But yes, thanks for arising my concern about maturity. I know I am overly ambitious.

Emill: Hi. Your son did a good job there! The one difference that I have here is that my teacher knew about my attempts on both of those pieces and gave me advice. She said that some of the things in this piece she could not teach, only I could work my way through it. Maybe I will think about ceasing my attempt for now...but you did raise a good point here.

Lady Pianist: Hi. I will definitely try out your methods. I am not sure about playing with my eyes closed though. So if the eyes do not truly guide you then what should? I mean, you must be absolutely correct here but could you explain a little more on this point? Thank you so much. 
Pieces I am working on
Complete Chopin mazurkas
Pictures at an Exhibition
Beethoven Pathetique sonata
Schumann Papilions

Offline bleicher

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Re: Octave Passage in La Campanella
Reply #4 on: March 10, 2011, 11:52:32 PM
Practising with your eyes closed is brilliant for any passages with jumps. Do try it. You might find at first that you can only do it very slowly and feeling your way, but it's surprising just how much you can do with your eyes closed. Then when you open them again you find it much easier.

Offline john11inc

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Re: Octave Passage in La Campanella
Reply #5 on: March 11, 2011, 06:59:36 AM
Why don't you post a recording in the audition room so we can hear what is causing you the trouble.
If this work is so threatening, it is not because it's simply strange, but competent, rigorously argued and carrying conviction.

-Jacques Derrida


https://www.youtube.com/user/john11inch

Offline ch101

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Re: Octave Passage in La Campanella
Reply #6 on: March 12, 2011, 12:57:13 AM
I have tried. I have no idea why my recordings do not go on.
Pieces I am working on
Complete Chopin mazurkas
Pictures at an Exhibition
Beethoven Pathetique sonata
Schumann Papilions

Offline charvin

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Re: Octave Passage in La Campanella
Reply #7 on: March 14, 2011, 04:01:30 AM
Personally, growing up I always picked pieces harder than I could handle at the time. I thought of speedy octaves as a technique to learn that could be found in many of Liszt's piece, and many pieces too.


My LONG-TERM advice, then, would be to accept that you won't be able to play it as fast as you want to, right now, and instead strive to make it sound clean at a reasonable tempo. Then, you'll go off to learn another Liszt piece that might have a similar technique, and another after that, etc., until suddenly you realize  "hey, octaves are actually kinda easy!" That's how it happened for me, and now typical Liszt gigantic closer sections aren't my favorite parts: the cookie I get to eat after a troubling time through the rest of the piece.


If you're set on playing it fast, though, try improving the speed you arrive from note to note. Take it slow, but try to jump as fast as you can to the next octave and rest your hand on the notes before you play. Mastering this pre-jump instead of going note to note is a vital technique in performing virtuosic passages both cleanly and musically.

-Guy-
 

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