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Muddy sounding passages in Fantasie Impromptu (Read 1157 times)

Offline danielo

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Muddy sounding passages in Fantasie Impromptu
« on: June 24, 2016, 07:37:09 PM »
Just wondered if anyone might have a little advice. I have been drawn into (yet another!) go at Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu, I have tried several times over the years to truly master this piece. One of the problems I have is that in the past I learned it poorly, and developed some bad muscle memory habits, which I am now trying to overcome.
One of the issues I have is my pedalling, as my score doesn't have pedal suggestions and I am struggling to find the best way to pedal the passages, or not as the case maybe.
The other issue is that the fast runs can sound muddy, with or without the pedal, and I am trying very hard to achieve clarity but it is a tough battle at the moment.

I would be very grateful for anyone who has mastered this piece, either playing it in performance or even in private, and could give me some practice and/or performance tips to get the best out of it.
Learning:

Rachmaninov Preludes Op10 1, 4 and 5
Chopin Ballade in G Minor
Chopin Etude Op10 No 2
Schubert Impromptu No 3

Offline anamnesis

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Re: Muddy sounding passages in Fantasie Impromptu
«Reply #1 on: June 24, 2016, 08:17:08 PM »
Do they sound muddy hands alone or only hands together?

Most people will just tell you to slow it down and clean it up, but that advice doesn't help if you don't know what it is you have to clean up and how to actually do it. 

A video of a specific passage and specific measure numbers would also be helpful.

Offline briansaddleback

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Re: Muddy sounding passages in Fantasie Impromptu
«Reply #2 on: June 24, 2016, 08:55:45 PM »
Dont use pedal. Slow it down and clean it up.
Work in progress:

Rondo Alla Turca

Offline anamnesis

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Re: Muddy sounding passages in Fantasie Impromptu
«Reply #3 on: June 25, 2016, 12:36:28 AM »
Dont use pedal. Slow it down and clean it up.

 :P ;D

Offline danielo

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Re: Muddy sounding passages in Fantasie Impromptu
«Reply #4 on: June 25, 2016, 10:05:25 AM »
OK.....pretty unanimous advice! I will do as you suggest. Will post a recording of it if I'm happy with the outcome......but thinking it will take a little time  ;D
Learning:

Rachmaninov Preludes Op10 1, 4 and 5
Chopin Ballade in G Minor
Chopin Etude Op10 No 2
Schubert Impromptu No 3

Offline briansaddleback

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Re: Muddy sounding passages in Fantasie Impromptu
«Reply #5 on: June 25, 2016, 11:00:22 PM »
Sorry I was kidding above but it is true. I'll give a little 2 cents maybe it'll help , but when I practice FI I have same issue too as the fast parts just have too many notes and it can sound all over the place so I practice forcibly to accent first and second beats of every measure ( as this is a cut time time signature ) so you can know at least in sound a clarification of some sort of organization of notes , and as you practice to refine later or performance you smooth out those accents but still know them in your head. I am trying to post a MP3 of my play right now here but having difficulty. It is an example of my suggestion above of a part of this piece.
Work in progress:

Rondo Alla Turca

Offline danielo

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Re: Muddy sounding passages in Fantasie Impromptu
«Reply #6 on: June 26, 2016, 03:10:22 PM »
Thanks Brian! I would definitely be interested in hearing a recording.....I will try to upload a recording of my own (just the first section before the slower part) once I get a disk to store the recording.
I will try out your suggestion of accenting as well.....
Learning:

Rachmaninov Preludes Op10 1, 4 and 5
Chopin Ballade in G Minor
Chopin Etude Op10 No 2
Schubert Impromptu No 3

Offline briansaddleback

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Re: Muddy sounding passages in Fantasie Impromptu
«Reply #7 on: June 27, 2016, 05:19:23 PM »
Here got it in mp3 format and just listen for the accenting on the first and second beats of every measure (i really didnt do it for every measure i realize) to organize in your head to work out those distinctions of all the notes in and between the hands. Then as you refine it later and speed it up it should help in keeping it clean , clear and less muddy.
Work in progress:

Rondo Alla Turca

Offline anamnesis

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Re: Muddy sounding passages in Fantasie Impromptu
«Reply #8 on: June 27, 2016, 06:52:16 PM »
Sorry I was kidding above but it is true. I'll give a little 2 cents maybe it'll help , but when I practice FI I have same issue too as the fast parts just have too many notes and it can sound all over the place so I practice forcibly to accent first and second beats of every measure ( as this is a cut time time signature ) so you can know at least in sound a clarification of some sort of organization of notes , and as you practice to refine later or performance you smooth out those accents but still know them in your head. I am trying to post a MP3 of my play right now here but having difficulty. It is an example of my suggestion above of a part of this piece.

My point is more along what exactly has to be cleaned up and refined.  Just practicing it until it sounds clean gives very little clarity to your brain on what exactly you need to achieve.

Clarity with regards to consistency in the timing of the main beats provides some of the answers, but the real problematic issue with this piece is the reconciliation of the concordance and dissonance both within a single a line of melodic structure as well as between lines (with the main melodic line vs the bass line being the most important and obvious).  

The reason performers should study counterpoint, is to more deliberately study and pay attention to this during practice, rather than just winging it based on what sounds good. Understanding what is happening note-against-note both on local and more global levels will more clarify the minute timing differences needed to bring clarity. In particular, comparing the way polyrhythms shift things around when compared to pieces without it will show why more careful study of this in pieces with polyrhythms requires more careful study and less winging.