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Topic: How to learn to play 3 against 2?  (Read 5120 times)

Offline mishamalchik

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How to learn to play 3 against 2?
on: January 10, 2017, 01:49:47 AM
So today I had an interesting lesson. I received the approval of my teacher to continue working on such pieces as Chopin's etude op 10 no 1 and Op 25 no7...... I also got to experience the exasperation of my teacher as he learned that while I can play very difficult things with proficiency, I cannot play scales with triplets in one hand and eighth notes in the other. It's bad. It's really bad. We spent ten minutes on trying it as a scale in c major, then he graded it down to a simple C-E-G and I STILL struggled so badly with it!

I've been playing for 6 months now, and I spent a solid 7 weeks practicing 6-8 hours a day because I was trapped on campus over break. I practiced so hard on improving my technique and really put all I could into learning piano but this is still so difficult for me! He then suggested the Brahms exercises, which scare me more than opus 10 no 1!!!

I think one of my problems is that I tend to think of piano as a very intuitive thing and sometimes that's a very good thing, since I can hear a note and know what it's called it's easy for me to learn the notes and to hear progressions and patterns in pieces like op 10 no 1, but at the same time I can't count and play at the same time, and I find that the analytical side of playing really alludes me.

Any advice for this snaffu? What helped you learn 3 versus 2 ? Or just advice for how to play more analytically in general?
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Offline brogers70

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Re: How to learn to play 3 against 2?
Reply #1 on: January 10, 2017, 02:24:59 AM
Three against two is the simplest possible polyrhythm, so it's perfectly possible to figure it out mathematically. Divide a beat into sixths. Then tap your right hand on 1 3 and 5, and your left hand on 1 and 4. You can practice that at odd times all day long, tapping on your knees or what have you. Then go to the piano and tap it out both hands in octaves. Completely simple. Then do the first few notes of a scale (C major is the hardest because you have no black keys to orient your fingers, I'd try E major or B major). At first, go very slowly, and think of the pattern you've been tapping on your knees all day long. It will be uneven at first, and you'll be thinking of a single pattern (Yump budda bump/yump budda bump/yump budda bump) instead of two independent rhythms. But after a while it will feel freer and then all at once you'll hear the two rhythms separately in your two hands and from then on it's easy.

This approach works for other simple polyrhthyms, too. I used it to learn 3 against 4, 3 against 5, and 4 against 5. For more complex ones like 11 against 6, it's not really practical to divide a beat into 66ths, so you take a less accurate approach. Just figure out the order in which the notes occur in the two hands, play the slower hand in strict time and fit the other notes in, in the order they belong. That will not be mathematically precise at first, but as you get more comfortable and relaxed you'll start to feel the hands becoming independent, just like with he easier polyrhythms. With each polyrhythm I felt extremely frustrated at first, but then all at once there would be this great moment when the rhythms in the two hands felt completely independent. It feels nice. Good luck.

Offline starlady

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Re: How to learn to play 3 against 2?
Reply #2 on: January 10, 2017, 06:42:32 AM
Brogers70 gives a good approach for all polyrythyms, but it may take time to absorb.   A quick fix for the case of  3 against 2 is that the second note of the "2" comes halfway between the second and third notes of the "3".   Hope this helps---s.

Offline adodd81802

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Re: How to learn to play 3 against 2?
Reply #3 on: January 10, 2017, 10:17:52 AM
Together, Left, Right, Left, Together, Left Right Left


Togethe,r Right, Left, Right, Together Right Left Right

Which ever hand has the triplet comes first

You could also look it as hops (one note), skips (a quick succession of 1 note from each hand) and jumps (2 notes together in unison). in 3 against 2 the most basic there is only jumps and hops, in the order jump, hop, hop, hop!

Don't try and think about the 2 separate rhythms, just playing the notes in their correct place and what it feels like.

If your technique is solid, take a quick look at the Debussy Arabesque, it has a lovely run about 10 bars in that's 3 against 2.

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