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Barcarolle no 4 in Ab Major- Fauré (help please?) (Read 4482 times)

Offline thinkgreenlovepiano

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Barcarolle no 4 in Ab Major- Fauré (help please?)
« on: May 05, 2011, 06:13:54 PM »
My first recording posted on Pianostreet :)
Barcarolle no 4 op 44 in Ab Major by Faure recorded on a Zoom H1, at home, on my piano.
A work in progress.

Ok so I wasn't sure if I should post this or not because I'm not happy with it at all. Some parts make me cringe.
It has a ton of mistakes and some notes are too loud/soft/shaky and the rhythm is off and it's too slow and I just got really nervous in front of my little recorder for some reason.   :(
And I couldn't make a second recording because the recorder was on really low battery.  

 But I'm going to be performing it in TWO weeks at this place where I volunteer for French week (my teacher insisted on this piece because Faure's French), and there's going to be a lot of people there... so I'd like to hear some of your comments/advice before my performance so I can fix it before it's too late. Especially because we don't work on this piece much during piano lessons.. it's kind of getting ignored.

Also, I'm still learning how to use my recorder, so I'd appreciate it if you have any tips on recording settings and stuff.

So thanks for listening... and enjoy... I guess ;D

*clicks post before changing mind*
"A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence."
~Leopold Stokowski

piano sheet music of Barcarolle 4


Offline littletune

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Re: Barcarolle no 4 in Ab Major- Fauré (help please?)
«Reply #1 on: May 05, 2011, 07:35:18 PM »
It's cool that you posted your first recording on Pianostreet!  8)  :P I hope someone will give you some advice about it! But I'm sure you'll play great!  :) And you shouldn't say that sooo many things are wrong with your recording!  :) I mean everyone makes some mistakes  :) But it still sounds nice!  :)
Congratulations for your first recording on Pianostreet!  :P

Offline pianisten1989

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Re: Barcarolle no 4 op 44 in Ab Major- Fauré (help please?)
«Reply #2 on: May 06, 2011, 09:09:39 AM »
First: Good job, I really liked it!
Second: You probably know the piece better than most of us, so change the things you mentioned yourself. Only you know how you want it to sound.
Third: It sounds like you are scared of the piano (it might be the recording as well), and the tone isn't really going through. Play it slowly, and with a full tone on every note. When you've done that, make it smaller and more intimate (as you play it now), though with a sining tone.

Don't worry about the concert, you're fine already :)

Offline thinkgreenlovepiano

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Re: Barcarolle no 4 in Ab Major- Fauré (help please?)
«Reply #3 on: May 06, 2011, 10:07:30 PM »
It's cool that you posted your first recording on Pianostreet!  8)  :P I hope someone will give you some advice about it! But I'm sure you'll play great!  :) And you shouldn't say that sooo many things are wrong with your recording!  :) I mean everyone makes some mistakes  :) But it still sounds nice!  :)
Congratulations for your first recording on Pianostreet!  :P
Thanks littletune!!! :) :) :)

First: Good job, I really liked it!
Second: You probably know the piece better than most of us, so change the things you mentioned yourself. Only you know how you want it to sound.
Third: It sounds like you are scared of the piano (it might be the recording as well), and the tone isn't really going through. Play it slowly, and with a full tone on every note. When you've done that, make it smaller and more intimate (as you play it now), though with a sining tone.

Don't worry about the concert, you're fine already :)
Thanks for your advice!! Although I'm not completely sure how I want it to sound. I'm kind of unsure about my pedaling especially... and I haven't quite figured out which dynamics are best. Also, sometimes I'm not sure which notes to bring out...

I don't think I'm scared of my piano :P But thanks for bringing up the tones not sounding full! I'll work on that! My teacher did say that tone was really important in the piece, I remember her saying something about having "warm" fingers...

I think a problem might be that some of the chords are kind of big for me so when I play them I either accidentally hit the difficult to reach notes too hard or not enough... if that makes sense.

Oh and I was listening to my recording and noticed that this note sounded kind of choppy. (It's near the beginning of the piece). I use the fingering 1 2 5 so I have to hop from the lower E to the higher E and I don't really like how it sounds... I can't reach an octave with 2 5 fingering, and I know the high E is supposed to be louder but sometimes it sounds really accented. And I feel like my pedaling might be contributing to that too... Do you (or anyone else :) ) have any advice on that?





** silly question unrelated to my playing... why isn't the link to the score showing up at the bottom of my post? Just curious, because it seems like whenever I post about a certain piece it never shows up  :-\
"A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence."
~Leopold Stokowski

Offline rachfan

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Re: Barcarolle no 4 in Ab Major- Fauré (help please?)
«Reply #4 on: May 07, 2011, 01:37:10 AM »
Hi tglp,

I've only played/recorded the Barcarolle No. 6, but I've heard No. 4 so can probably make some general comments as I have the score here.

This piece rhythmically is a sicilienne, a peasant dance form that is graceful, slow, soothing and pastoral in character.  So that character is what you want to portray throughout.  The tempo is allegretto, so yes, it is a bit slow at the moment, but only play within the limits of your capability.  If you force speed, it'll invite more errors.  A way to get it a little faster is to turn on the metronome and move it up from your current speed just two notches at a time at the most. See if you can then play through the piece with the metronome.  (The end-game is not to play in a metronomic way, of course, only to see if you can keep up the speed without getting into trouble.)  Depending on your success or failure, move it up again one or two notches, or move it back a notch for another trial.  Once you find your new plateau, put the metronome away, as you already have that pulse in your head.  Only go as high with the metronome as you are comfortable while maintaining complete control--no faster.  

Give even more attention to the balancing of the hands.  There are times that the melody is in the right hand, but also occasions with it shifts to the left hand.  Wherever the melody resides, make sure it is etched clearly in the foreground.  The other hand doing accompaniment is merely background, so tone it down.  The trick here is not to attempt to amplify the foreground hand to drown out the background hand.  It'll just increase competition between the hands such that both get louder!  Instead, lower the volume of the background hand, and then the melody will soar like magic on its own.  Thus, think of the solution in reverse rather than in terms of what seems obvious.

Bear in mind at all times that Faure is a Late Romantic composer.  There are times that he expects some very effective romantic surges in the playing.  For example, on page 2 starting at the cresc. in the second line, working up to the f in the third line, but really culminating in that wonderful B flat tonality in the first measure of the fourth line--all of that has to be a very calculated and effectively executed big romantic surge.  Think like Rachmaninoff there.  You find that again over on page 6 before the coda.

On page 2, top line, third measure and elsewhere in the piece, note the tenuto markings over the melodic notes playing a partial scale. The ascending/descending chromatic scales underneath those notes is accompaniment within the same hand as the melody.  So the underlying scale is more deemphasized. That means you have a layering of sound: The tenuto notes are loudest, the underlying scales are quieter, and the LH accompaniment is still quieter. Tenuto has an obvious meaning which is to hold those notes for full value while the underlying figuration is played.  But there is a hidden meaning too.  To ensure that those notes are sustained and heard for their expected durations, you need to impart a bit of accent to ensure their success.  The idea is to prevent premature tone decay.  

On page 3 top line, make sure you're voicing the tops of the RH octaves' scale.  Note that you have a contrary scale in the LH, also of interest to the listener.  I'd consider that passage to be a duet and would enable both hands to be equally balanced there as you do the crescendo. On page 3, on line 4 at the cantabile (playing in a singing style), play the RH leggiero--lightly, lightly so that the LH melody can dominate.

Bottom of page 4, the LH is so much in charge there that Faure even indicated rinforzando accents.  So don't be bashful in the execution, BUT notice the entrance of the diminuendo and rallentando and execute them accordingly.

Page 4 last measure and page 6 line 2 last measure and line 3 first three measures, you have dots under the legato slur marks indicating portato touch there. To me your portato sounds more like staccato. Portato is more of a weighty, pressing touch using relaxed arm weight rather than staccato's detached sound. Be sure to differentiate the portato touch.  

Coda: Be sure in measures two and three for the rolled chords that you voice the bottom notes forming the partial descending scale there.

I think you've got the basics of this piece pretty well in order.  What you mostly want to focus on now is the musicality or the expressiveness of the music.  Do slow practice, everything at forte to assure proper articulation.  If you have breakdowns, do four or five slow repetitions, waiting a few seconds before each repetition, to fix them.  Then leave that and turn to making music, attending to phrasing, voice leading, expression, dynamics, nuances, etc.  Again, try to increase the tempo, but only within your level of confidence and limit of capability.  One of the hallmarks of Faure is is ever shifting centers of tonality.  As a result he has accidentals everywhere, and the pianist has the nightmare of keeping them all straight. You've done well with that!  

You've still got practice time before your performance.  Make the most of it by practicing intelligently and efficiently, all the while having your ears on high alert listening to every note you play to ensure that each one is conforming to your musical intent in playing your interpretation of the piece. This is the polishing phase.  You're almost there.  :)

I hope this is helpful.



Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities.

Offline furtwaengler

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Re: Barcarolle no 4 in Ab Major- Fauré (help please?)
«Reply #5 on: May 07, 2011, 10:25:52 PM »
I did enjoy the piece, and your playing. It's a very nice first recording!
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Offline thinkgreenlovepiano

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Re: Barcarolle no 4 in Ab Major- Fauré (help please?)
«Reply #6 on: May 07, 2011, 11:32:06 PM »
@ Rachfan
Wow you wrote a lot! :P Thank you for giving me so much advice, I read your post a few times and didn't miss a word. I found it really helpful in my practise today. You brought up a lot of things I was having trouble with/ unsure about.

I know I really need to work on balancing the hands better. Sometimes when I try to play the accompaniment too soft I can't really express the dynamics in the accompaniment, or I end up not playing to the bottom of the keys.  So I have to practise, practise, practise :D
I wasn't happy about how loud some parts of my performance was when it was supposed to be p, but I think it got a little better when I tried to play the accompaniment softer rather than drown it out with the melody! 

About the portato, it sounded a lot less staccato when I was sitting at the piano playing compared to when I listened to the recording, so thanks for bringing that up! Does the audience hear something different because they're sitting at a different spot?

Also I was confused about the balancing of hands on the top of page three, now I understand :)

Thanks again :) :)

@ furtwaengler, Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it. I love Faure!!!!
"A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence."
~Leopold Stokowski

Offline rachfan

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Re: Barcarolle no 4 in Ab Major- Fauré (help please?)
«Reply #7 on: May 08, 2011, 01:44:31 AM »
Hi tglp,

Yes, your assumption is correct.  When playing on a grand piano, as you probably will be in your performance, even if the music desk is in down position, what you hear coming from the piano will be a bit different from the way the audience perceives it.  For one thing, you're sitting parallel to the strings, while the audience is sitting perpendicular to them.  You're acutely aware of the stereo effect of the bass notes to the left and the treble to the right.  The audience is hearing more of a combined impact, as the mixing of the tones and overtones will seem different.  Also, they get the benefit of the open lid reflecting the sound out to them.  Too, the timbres of the sound can be different between the two positions.  Where you're up close to the string terminations, you might hear a slightly "stringy" sound.  But when the sound reaches the audience at their angle and distance, the sound will likely be more blended and refined.  In other words, you're close enough to hear sound in the making.  The audience is hearing blended, finished sound.  If someone else plays the piano while you get in front of the curve of the piano and move back from it, you'll hear the difference for yourself.  That's why the sound is a bit different as captured by excellent microphones placed 8 or 10 feet out in front of the instrument as you listen to playback.  So yes, that difference is not imagined, it's quite real.  
Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities.

Offline thinkgreenlovepiano

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Re: Barcarolle no 4 in Ab Major- Fauré (help please?)
«Reply #8 on: May 09, 2011, 02:11:31 AM »
Hi tglp,

Yes, your assumption is correct.  When playing on a grand piano, as you probably will be in your performance, even if the music desk is in down position, what you hear coming from the piano will be a bit different from the way the audience perceives it.  For one thing, you're sitting parallel to the strings, while the audience is sitting perpendicular to them.  You're acutely aware of the stereo effect of the bass notes to the left and the treble to the right.  The audience is hearing more of a combined impact, as the mixing of the tones and overtones will seem different.  Also, they get the benefit of the open lid reflecting the sound out to them.  Too, the timbres of the sound can be different between the two positions.  Where you're up close to the string terminations, you might hear a slightly "stringy" sound.  But when the sound reaches the audience at their angle and distance, the sound will likely be more blended and refined.  In other words, you're close enough to hear sound in the making.  The audience is hearing blended, finished sound.  If someone else plays the piano while you get in front of the curve of the piano and move back from it, you'll hear the difference for yourself.  That's why the sound is a bit different as captured by excellent microphones placed 8 or 10 feet out in front of the instrument as you listen to playback.  So yes, that difference is not imagined, it's quite real.  

Very interesting. Thanks for your explanation!
What about for upright pianos? Where would be the best place to put my recorder? I'm thinking I should have at least put something soft under my recorder because you can kind of hear vibrations and buzzing noise...
"A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence."
~Leopold Stokowski

Offline goldentone

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Re: Barcarolle no 4 in Ab Major- Fauré (help please?)
«Reply #9 on: May 09, 2011, 06:28:46 AM »
I enjoyed your playing, TGLP.  My impression is that you're playing as someone who is speaking run-on without any pauses.  Let the music breathe.  Rhythmically it is a bit stiff.  Advice that Wolfi once gave, which I believe was given to him, is golden:  In music we have always time.
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come

Offline thinkgreenlovepiano

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Re: Barcarolle no 4 in Ab Major- Fauré (help please?)
«Reply #10 on: May 09, 2011, 09:25:20 PM »
I enjoyed your playing, TGLP.  My impression is that you're playing as someone who is speaking run-on without any pauses.  Let the music breathe.  Rhythmically it is a bit stiff.  Advice that Wolfi once gave, which I believe was given to him, is golden:  In music we have always time.
Thank you!
you know, a lot of times I actually do talk like that  ;D
But you're right, I need to remember to let the music breathe! My teacher actually drew waves of air on my score and wrote underneath it "breathe!" But then she was also saying that I paused way too long before all my arpeggiated chords so I guess I was trying to play all the chords and hit all the notes without too many pauses, and then I forgot all about the breathing.
Thanks for the advice, I'll remember what you said! :)
"A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence."
~Leopold Stokowski

Offline rachfan

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Re: Barcarolle no 4 in Ab Major- Fauré (help please?)
«Reply #11 on: May 09, 2011, 09:56:22 PM »
Hi tglp,

Recording renditions on an upright requires a lot of experimentation (just as it does with a grand).  The pianist, piano, recorder, microphones and room acoustics are all variables.  So there is no one right answer.  It also calls for different strategies if you're using a small portable recorder, or table top recording equipment with microphones on stands.  I've not recorded on an upright, but know that some people using portable recorders have placed it top of the upright, pulled the piano away from the wall and placed the recorder facing the soundboard, and some have even taken off the front panels and put the recorder on a table or stand behind the pianist.  As I say, it all comes down to hours of experimentation and then listening to outtakes to see what sounds best.  Once you find the "sweet spot" in your music room, memorize where it is and how to replicate it again. 

Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities.

Offline floydcramerfan

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Re: Barcarolle no 4 in Ab Major- Fauré (help please?)
«Reply #12 on: May 11, 2011, 07:22:25 PM »
Ugh, I make recordings of myself playing all the time and it always sounds like crap.  My husband is a DJ and he's been involved in radio for years, so he can't bear bad audio quality.  He doesn't know C from G when it comes to the way it's played, but I think God Himself could make a tape for him and if the audio quality was bad, he would hate it. *Exageration* I thought you sounded good, but maybe you were a little bit nervous playing into the recorder.  I can understand.  I do the same thing.  Sometimes you can rock it out when you're just playing, but then when you get in front of the recorder you get scared and mess up.
I don't practice.  I call it play because I enjoy it. --A quote by Floyd Cramer.

Offline thinkgreenlovepiano

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Re: Barcarolle no 4 in Ab Major- Fauré (help please?)
«Reply #13 on: May 14, 2011, 02:32:59 PM »
Thanks again Rachfan! In the summer, when I have time, I'm going to have a lot of fun experimenting with that! :)

Thanks floydcramerfan! If my recorder didn't run on batteries/electricity, maybe I would just leave it on the whole time while I played. Then I would probably forget abuot the recorder in a few minutes and play more naturally ;D

"A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence."
~Leopold Stokowski

Offline floydcramerfan

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Re: Barcarolle no 4 in Ab Major- Fauré (help please?)
«Reply #14 on: May 17, 2011, 10:19:42 PM »
Usually if I'm just having fun jamming with friends I forget about the recorder, but when I try to play something that is trying to be sort of professional I get nervous and have to redo it.  This mostly happens when I'm singing.  I'll forget the words or something or either go flat, but you don't have to worry about that.  Have you ever played in a recording studio?  If you go in a studio or have editing software you can go back and rerecord the part you messed up on, but this wouldn't have worked for me when I played classical because I had to play the whole piece to even remember where I was.
I don't practice.  I call it play because I enjoy it. --A quote by Floyd Cramer.

Offline thinkgreenlovepiano

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Re: Barcarolle no 4 in Ab Major- Fauré (help please?)
«Reply #15 on: May 17, 2011, 11:40:28 PM »

The problem with recorders and cameras is that I have such bad luck with them. They either run out of batteries, or memory, or something!
I've never played in a recording studio, but that'd be really really cool! Although I would feel like of weird about getting my pieces edited. To me, my recordings are like entries in a piano journal where I capture exactly how I played at one moment in my life. If that makes any sense :) About having to play the whole piece, I tend do to that too, so my piano teacher usually makes me start playing from memory from the most random parts of my pieces, sometimes mid-bar!

Anyway, I've been practicing this piece like crazy in the past week. Hopefully my piano teacher will think it's ok tomorrow when I have lessons. Otherwise she's going to worry for the rest of the week before the performance! I can't believe I have less than a week...
 
"A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence."
~Leopold Stokowski

Offline floydcramerfan

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Re: Barcarolle no 4 in Ab Major- Fauré (help please?)
«Reply #16 on: May 18, 2011, 12:43:15 AM »
Wow, good luck on your performance.  I remember my high school days when I had recitals and I would be so nervous.  Usually my teacher would let me play whatever I wanted during the practice times as long as she could tell that I had been practicing my classical, but a few weeks before the recital I was only allowed to play the piece I was going to play for the performance *cry*.  I was always so nervous, but after the recital I would hit the practice room and play my heart out.  It's a huge relief after a performance.
I don't practice.  I call it play because I enjoy it. --A quote by Floyd Cramer.