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Embracing the Past Now The Messenger Paul McNulty in Warsaw
The Chopin Institute engaged highest possible expertise for the instrumental part of the 2nd International Chopin Competition on Period Instruments which included inviting historical instrument builder Paul McNulty. We asked Paul a few questions about the Pleyel renovation as well as his role as a technician and instrument provider during the competition. Read more >>

Topic: NO ONE KNOWS THE ANSWeR!  (Read 1687 times)

Offline saints

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on: March 08, 2003, 11:55:17 PM
I've asked everyone from my piano teacher to my Music Theory teacher but no one can help me. I'm playing a version of "Aquarium" by Saint-Saens in an upcoming competition.

In much of the song,

the right hand is playing 32nd notes in 4 groups of 8 per measure
the left hand is playing 16th notes in 4 groups of 6 per measure

How do I do this?!
if it aint baroque, don't fix it

Offline rachfan

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Reply #1 on: March 09, 2003, 06:43:04 AM
I'm not familiar with the piece (but it's good that you select unusual repertoire).  Mathematically, you've got a mismatch there, assuming no rests are notated in the LH in each measure.  In that case, my solution would be to play the RH 32nds at the dynamic indicated.  I would then play the LH at two dynamic levels less.  Why?  You'll find in doing that the RH will take command and prominence in the foreground, relegating the LH to very quiet background for you (enabling you to more easily bring precision to the RH) and the listener, who will pay much less attention to the LH--this assumes, of course that the RH is melodic there.  (If not, reverse and play the LH at the louder dynamic.)  As to the subdued LH, I would start each 16th group on its first note against the first note in the corresponding first note in the 32nd note group in the RH.  That's where simultaneous playing of notes in each group would end.  The remaining 16ths in the left would be "fitted" into the duration of the measure, with both hands prepared to strike together the first note of the next measure again.  So I would roughly apply the principle of playing three against four, for example, same basic idea but much more extended in this case.  If your teacher and theory prof had no better ideas, chances are the competition jury won't either, so this one might work for you.
Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities.

Offline willster

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Reply #2 on: March 25, 2003, 07:37:52 PM
Strange choice for a competition. I've just had a look at the original version for 4 hands and an orchestra. The first measure is basically 3's against 2's but the 2nd is tougher. I had this problem with the cadenza in grieg's piano concerto-roughly the same sort of ryhthmical problem. Mark down on the score(in pencil incase you get it wrong first time) where each note in the right hand lands in relation to the time signature and then draw a line against the left hand. Practise hands seperately and slowly. The piece itself is only andante. However, if you are playing an arrangement for solo piano of somesort you probably need to play it a little faster to hold the line together and get the 'watery' effects. If worse comes to the worse just make sure the first and last notes land together!

good luck
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