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Topic: Question on Memorization  (Read 2613 times)

Offline atticus

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Question on Memorization
on: December 08, 2004, 12:57:59 PM
Hi All,

This is my first post to the forum.  I've been reading the old posts on memorization and have learned a lot!  I would like to get your input on a couple of memorization questions.

1)  After memorizing a "non-recital" piece hands separate, is it "cheating" or inefficient to look at the score when putting hands together (as opposed to memorizing hands together without looking at the score)? 

I find that trying to memorize hands together without the score, is time consuming (although it is possible I question whether it is worth the time).  After playing hands together with the score the piece is memorized although not up to tempo from memory.  Is it familiar enough though for a non-recital piece?  Would there be a great improvement or advantage if one memorized hands together without looking at the score?

2)  Once a piece is memorized hands together is it non-beneficial to look at the score while playing?  Should one only refer to the score to check for accuracy or is it okay to play from the score to trigger reminders?

Any input is greatly appreciated!

Offline xvimbi

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Re: Question on Memorization
Reply #1 on: December 08, 2004, 01:29:31 PM
1)  After memorizing a "non-recital" piece hands separate, is it "cheating" or inefficient to look at the score when putting hands together (as opposed to memorizing hands together without looking at the score)? 

I would not consider it cheating if it gets the job done well and efficiently. Cheating, to me, is a term associated with playing/performing a piece, not with learning.

Quote
2)  Once a piece is memorized hands together is it non-beneficial to look at the score while playing?  Should one only refer to the score to check for accuracy or is it okay to play from the score to trigger reminders?

The benefits of not having to look at the score are that you can concentrate exclusively on the artistic aspects. If you need reminders, by all means, have the score ready (even well-seasoned pianists do this occasionally, even during big concerts). Unless it is required for specific reasons (exams, recitals), I don't think there is any need to bust your *** to get a piece perfectly memorized if you don't really want to. To achieve this often requires a lot of effort. One might just as well be pragmatic and use that time to learn another piece or work on technique or interpretation (or have a glass of good wine).

That's just my opinion.

Offline richard w

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Re: Question on Memorization
Reply #2 on: December 08, 2004, 02:21:13 PM
Following on from xvimbi's comments, I've not been much of a 'memoriser' recently, tending instead to work always with the score. But I've memorised my most recent piece and am now enjoying working on the musical aspects (and a bit of technique) with the score in a different room! The downside here is I've not exactly got the articulation and dynamics so securely memorised, but it feels good.  ;D


Anyway, I'm not as well read on any aspect of playing the piano as other people on this forum, and memorisation is no exception here. But, I'm not absolutely sure why you would want to learn a piece from memory hands separately. For starters, there will probably be sections that you can cope with at sight hands together (or nearly so) - why waste time learning, nay memorising, such sections separately?

It is also my opinion that extensive separate practise of the hands is generally a bad use of time. If you learn separately it does not follow that you can play together. Au contraire, in fact you then have to learn the piece all over again. Part of learning together is the co-ordination of moving both hands together - something which cannot be acquired with separate practise.

However, insofar as working on technique or difficult musical aspects, like voicing, are concerned, separate practise is of course indispensable.

I suppose I should admit that I'm not qualified to comment on whether separate practise aids memorisation in the long term, or not, but I certainly adopt a much more judicious use of separate practise, myself. If I'm wrong I guess others will say so.

Offline xvimbi

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Re: Question on Memorization
Reply #3 on: December 08, 2004, 03:06:06 PM
But, I'm not absolutely sure why you would want to learn a piece from memory hands separately.

Without going into the details, there are MANY reasons why it is beneficial to learn (this includes memorization) a piece hands, or even voices, separately. Search the forum, there must be about 100 threads on that issue.

However, this applys only to "beginners". Experienced pianists don't usually do this, unless they want to analyze a piece in every detail. If you can play everything at sight and hands together, there is no need to do any of this. If you can't, starting with hands separate has a lot of benefits.

Offline atticus

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Re: Question on Memorization
Reply #4 on: December 11, 2004, 03:32:20 AM
Thanks for the input xvimbi and Richard W.!

Offline Tash

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Re: Question on Memorization
Reply #5 on: December 11, 2004, 07:25:10 AM
my teacher always tells me to look at the score whilst playing every now and again just in case i've neglected some details, which tends to be the case sometimes if i'm too focused on getting the notes memorised. so i believe that it's important to refer back to the score every now and again.

i personally don't bother memorising my pieces hands seperately, cos your mind is in a different focusing state when its HT anyway so i don't see the point. but whatever suits you. and thus i don't attempt to memorise HT without the score. when i'm just starting to memorise, i'll keep the music in front of me, but look more at my hands so i can test to see how much i can do without looking at the notes, but then if i get stuck the music's there in front of me. and then when i'm more secure i'll get rid of the score all together
'J'aime presque autant les images que la musique' Debussy

Offline jlh

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Re: Question on Memorization
Reply #6 on: December 11, 2004, 10:08:54 AM
However, this applys only to "beginners". Experienced pianists don't usually do this, unless they want to analyze a piece in every detail. If you can play everything at sight and hands together, there is no need to do any of this. If you can't, starting with hands separate has a lot of benefits.

True.  One exception I see for advanced pianists is the fact that in learning more difficult passages, it is often helpful (if not absolutely necessary) to work hands seperate.  This includes places where excellent technique is required, places where the melody should be voiced more expressively and other places too numerous to mention.
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Offline Sketchee

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Re: Question on Memorization
Reply #7 on: December 12, 2004, 10:21:35 AM
True.  One exception I see for advanced pianists is the fact that in learning more difficult passages, it is often helpful (if not absolutely necessary) to work hands seperate.  This includes places where excellent technique is required, places where the melody should be voiced more expressively and other places too numerous to mention.

That's pretty.  Basically, try to have as many different ways of handling a section as possible.  Even for simple sections, if you have a dozen different ways to look at it, you'll memorize quickly.  This includes hands seperate, intervals, chords, and a lot of stuff that may seem pretty basic for an advance pianist.  Knowing that, you can make almost everything that simple. :)
Sketchee
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