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Hands crossing in Ondine (Read 776 times)

Offline skryabyn

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Hands crossing in Ondine
« on: June 27, 2017, 03:46:52 PM »
I'm having problems in mm 15-16. Very frustrating! Now that I'm analyzing it, the most frustrating parts of other pieces that I never felt comfortable on were similar - hands clumsily bumping into each other (I'm thinking of Petrushka and Une Barque Sur L'Ocean). It's possible my hands are just too small to play an octave with my left hand and fit my right hand underneath. Or maybe I just haven't spent enough time crossing my arms in front of me, or intertwining my hands at the piano to really "get it."

Does anyone have some sage advice for me?

Offline malabdal

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Re: Hands crossing in Ondine
«Reply #1 on: June 28, 2017, 12:11:23 AM »
These two measures appear after an extended introduction where the right hand has the “shimmering” water figuration. This figuration (until measure 14) changes harmonic color often but nevertheless stays rather static (register wise). The first time, this shimmering figuration turns into a figuration of a dynamic movement is in these two measures you indicate (think of the motions the surface of the water is capable of doing).

Above this motion, you have the main melodic line from measures 3-4  but now more active and more sonorous achieved by Ravel by writing the melody in broken octaves. The ascending motion reaching to the upper note of the broken octave is vital to make the melodic line ever so slightly more active. This ascending interval and the gesture of the hands crossing is, I believe, an essential musical gesture in Ondine that cannot be genuinely achieved when passagework is divided over two hands.

I have tried several fingerings for this passage, trying to realize the best way to divide the passage and cheat by avoiding crossings. All this was futile. I never achieved the sound I wanted. Stick to the way Ravel wrote it. Practice the crossing in slow motion. The hands will bump at first and reaching that B natural broken octave seems really hard if you have a small hand + have your RH under your LH. But with hard work it will work.

Practice your RH separately making sure the figuration is very smooth and clean. The wrist having a relaxed gliding motion to it in order to make transitions smooth making sure your fingers are always on the center of the key. For the LH, try maintaining a high bridge (knuckles area) to allow the RH enough space to play under the LH. 

Once the RH is under control make sure you can play it smoothly pianissimo (I know its easy to say). The dynamic difference between the LH and the RH should be very clear. I would make sure your LH is always on a different level than your right hand…That the RH never becomes the melody itself.

To sum up: carefully observe the score, and try your best to play passages the way Ravel wrote them. This, I believe, gives you the best musical and technical benefits.
I know it might feel awkward and uncomfortable but after all you chose to study a score that is known to have some very uncomfortable and difficult passages. Persevere and you will be immensely satisfied once you overcome all these difficulties.

Offline rachmaninoff_forever

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Re: Hands crossing in Ondine
«Reply #2 on: June 28, 2017, 05:30:29 AM »
It's awkward at first but it's just one of those things that take a few days.  I've seen people split the figure AND the melody with both hands but that's just too damn confusing for me lol..  Once you get the hang of it it's not that bad.

I know it's not any REAL advice but honestly that passage is easy come easy go
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Offline suoyung

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Re: Hands crossing in Ondine
«Reply #3 on: July 07, 2017, 08:59:37 PM »
Well I didn't want to change at first, but then I realized that it is more important to have the sound that you want, then to have princips of sticking to what is written. Because after a lot practicing I didn't manage to achieve the sound that I wanted, but with changed hands after a while I did.As I noticed many great pianists changed in that part hands, so it's not "forbidden", I guess :D Do what you are most comfortable with. But don't forget that in music it has to be unnoticable. The melody and accompaniment must flow as it would be played on two different people. I can show you how I have changed it, I think it must be one of most comfortable way to play it, because I did hours of thinking about how to do it :D But you can only modify that passage only, the others aren't doable.
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