Piano Forum

Topic: How to play thirds?  (Read 5453 times)

Offline richard w

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 200
How to play thirds?
on: November 23, 2004, 05:40:14 PM
Hello guys. I must confess that my discovery of this forum has been an inspiration to me. I'm spending far too long at the piano, once again. While I'm there I thought I ought to address some of the technical problems I never really got on top of, and this is one of them.

I'm working on Chopin's Polonaise-Fantaise (Op.61) at present, and bars 52-55 offer a bit of a challenge for thirds in the right hand. I'm fairly sure this section is short and slow enough for me to bluff my way through it, but it seems sensible to master it with the proper technique, so that I can go on and learn Op.25 No.6. ;D

I've searched the forum and read most of what I can find on thirds. A very informative post written by Bernhard (https://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,2477.0.html) has got me off on the right track, but I would very much appreciate a bit of further clarity.

When tackling something like Op.25 No.6 (and of course my little passage in Op.61), is it possible to get a legato sound with the fingers alone, or is any joining of the thirds achieved with the pedal? My suspicion is that the technique described will result in a detached effect.

That's it for now. Any help would be greatly appreciated.



Richard.

Offline julie391

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 390
Re: How to play thirds?
Reply #1 on: November 23, 2004, 06:07:06 PM
good to see someone thoroughly using the search feature ;)

legato 3rds are perfectly possible, and part of the secret is the fingering

some of the fingerings fooled me - when i saw the 1-1 fingering in the lower voice - i assumed that the thumb should be restruck - but it is actually slid...silly me  :)

Offline richard w

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 200
Re: How to play thirds?
Reply #2 on: November 23, 2004, 07:03:27 PM
Wow. A response already. Thanks Julie. Are legato thirds achievable at speed then, as in the Op.25 No.6? If so then I understand less well how it is that the weight for playing the notes comes from the arm, and not the fingers.

Offline m

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1107
Re: How to play thirds?
Reply #3 on: November 23, 2004, 07:45:46 PM
The "problem" with thirds and double notes is that you have to find a right coordination, when your hand stays completely relaxed. Very often, with someone with even loose technique, as soon as it comes to double notes, the hand becomes like a shovel.

Another problem is control over "weak" fingers. I'd start with that. First, play trills with in triplets with 3-4, and 4-5, with accents on each downbeat. Than chromatic scales with only 3-4-5. Work slowly and find the shortest way of fingers going into the keys. Don't raise your fingers even 0.5 mm--it is waste of energy, and insufficient work. Once you reach a key bottom, immediately take any weight, leaving only as much, as it enough to hold the key down. You hand should feel calm and relaxed. In fact, it would be actually a good idea to start with stronger fingers, as it will be easier to see and analize the "feel", and then try to feel the same with "weaker" ones.

Next step, exactly the same, but in thirds--start with slow triplets trills, and then go for a chromatic scale. The tempo should be only as fast, as you can feel absolute comfort and enjoy relaxed feeling of fingers going into the keys.
Before you start with Chopin op.25/6, I'd do some Czerny. Open op.299 or op.740 and see what you can find suits your level of advancement.

Also, one of my favorite excersises is playing trills in thirds, where the upper voice is group of three, and lower goup of two, i.e:

3-4-3-4-3-4-3
1------2-------1
etc.

Then reverse them, i.e:

3------4------3
1-2-1-2-1-2-1

Then do the same with 2/4-3/5 pair.
Then modify them with triplets against duplets, i.e:

3-4-3-4-3-4-3
1--2---1--2--1

etc.,etc.

It will help you to get a "feel".
Some other excecersises would be more than appropriate. Here I cannot stress enough the use of imagination--the more you invent, the better your technique is.

Re: Legato
I strongly believe that legato is not a matter of mere physical connection, but musical connection between notes, when bunch of notes is built into music phrase--when you talk, it is much easier to say a whole phrase, rather than to spell one word. To illustrate it, take for example Joseph Lhevinne playing Czerny octave etude, or Chopin op.25/10. It is absolutely astounding--his octaves sound perfectly connected. It is just amazing, how he can create this sense of absolute, unbelivable legato in octaves.
Or take any recording of Josef Hoffman's Chopin (better, earlier recordings, when he was in good shape). All the passages he plays on staccato, but still, there is this perfect sense of legato, meaning that everything melodically is connected, creating sense of amazing perle, fluidity and clarity.

Offline ted

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3919
Re: How to play thirds?
Reply #4 on: November 23, 2004, 10:40:57 PM
Richard:

I play Op 25 No 6 quite often. The answer is yes, I can play it completely with nothing but finger movement and position jumps if I want to, probably a consequence of years of using my practice clavier (some would say a very misguided activity but I shan't enter that debate here).

Of course these days I have learned that it isn't necessary to bust my guts in this way and that a judicious application of weight technique, relaxation and flexibility in the whole anatomy adds immeasurably to expressive range and power.
"Everything in music should be fun, a celebration of life....”  - Cecil Taylor

Offline julie391

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 390
Re: How to play thirds?
Reply #5 on: November 25, 2004, 01:29:53 AM
Wow. A response already. Thanks Julie. Are legato thirds achievable at speed then, as in the Op.25 No.6? If so then I understand less well how it is that the weight for playing the notes comes from the arm, and not the fingers.

listen to cziffra play that etude...your question will be answered about the speed ;)

Offline Ludwig Van Rachabji

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 502
Re: How to play thirds?
Reply #6 on: November 25, 2004, 05:04:48 AM
I wish I could help too, but I hate thirds!  ;D

- Ludwig Van Rachabji
Music... can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable. Leonard Bernstein

Offline richard w

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 200
Re: How to play thirds?
Reply #7 on: November 25, 2004, 10:15:54 PM
Ok, thanks for the comments. You've given me something to work on.

Meanwhile, I had the lame idea of using my digital camera to video the 'thirds' passage in the Op.61. (I'll leave Op.25 No.6 for the time being). If you do dare to download it, you'll notice that the quality is pretty appalling, especially the sound. I've recorded it without pedal so that you can better hear what is going on with the fingers. It is a bit out of context, so I don't feel I've really captured it in a highly musical way, but.... Anyway, I might as well post it now I've done it.

https://ezshare.de/files-en/98143/PICT0319.MOV.html (click on PICT0319.MOV, half way down the page - it's only 15 seconds long, but that equates to over 3Mb)

Anyway, any comments on my technique thus far?


If I went on to do the Op.25 No.6 I think I would struggle to play it twice through, back to back, but then I'd have that trouble with all the Etudes - I have in the past!

Offline chromatickler

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 560
Re: How to play thirds?
Reply #8 on: December 07, 2004, 11:22:49 AM
Da Thracz X-rated SDC mastahclass on da 25/6:

https://www.dasdc.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=700

Essential Viewing  8)

Offline thracozaag

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1311
Re: How to play thirds?
Reply #9 on: December 07, 2004, 12:38:08 PM
  Apologies for the um...gesture at the beginning, heh.

koji (STSD)
"We have to reach a certain level before we realize how small we are."--Georges Cziffra

Offline bravuraoctaves

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 75
Re: How to play thirds?
Reply #10 on: December 07, 2004, 07:48:52 PM
I don't really know. 

What I do know is that you can't put what you've experienced at piano into words(or anything).

When I try to copy a virtuoso pianist playing thirds,  I try to mimic his movement, yet my thirds are still clumsy; it is as if all the muscles, joints etc.  were not moving in harmony : the movements are too fine to copy.

Hence my motto:  Good playing comes from experience,  and experience usually comes from making a lot of mistakes (and correcting yourself).

Offline Joffrey

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 15
Re: How to play thirds?
Reply #11 on: December 10, 2004, 12:20:21 AM
Malcolm Kandzia's views on the thirds etude can be found at;

https://www.pianosociety.com/index.php?id=112

joff

Offline BoliverAllmon

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4155
Re: How to play thirds?
Reply #12 on: June 05, 2006, 01:48:28 PM
Da Thracz X-rated SDC mastahclass on da 25/6:

https://www.dasdc.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=700

Essential Viewing  8)



repost it
 

Logo light pianostreet.com - the website for classical pianists, piano teachers, students and piano music enthusiasts.

Subscribe for unlimited access

Sign up

Follow us

Piano Street Digicert