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Author Topic: Creating your own "etudes"?  (Read 245 times)
cuberdrift
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« on: October 09, 2017, 02:00:56 AM »

Hi all,

I just want your opinion on an idea I've discovered recently.

I've noticed that my technique seemed to improve quite a lot in a very short time just by me identifying my weaknesses and turning them into short, little musical pieces of my own.

I think it's so beneficial. You don't even need to go "slow practice" or whatever anymore in new pieces - as long as you take the hard technical passages from those pieces and turn them into simple etudes.

And it's fun.

It also practices your musicality and creativity, in my opinion, as opposed to practicing a set of prepared exercises.

What do you think? Has anyone tried this idea?

Thanks!
cuberdrift

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ted
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« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2017, 03:23:00 AM »

Oh yes, I have done this for decades, most days in fact; the first piece in this thread is an example:

https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=62945.0

and the one here:

https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=29348.0

I just improvise them though as I cannot see any point in writing them out. The thing "studied" doesn't have to be purely physical either, it can be some musical aspect, playing form or a new way I have thought of to use these.
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cimirro
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« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2017, 04:58:41 AM »

cuberdrift
You are doing a very nice thing, that is great.
Each pianist have different hands, when you improvise and compose trying to find solutions for problems you have, you learn about yourself and about the piano at the same time.
This is the kind of thing that makes a pianist to be "himself" and not "one more".
Of course pay attention to what different composer-pianists have written, check musical scores and try to use the information you find there in your technique.
A great step indeed.

Best
Artur
www.arturcimirro.com.br
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"Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong."
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j_tour
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« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2017, 10:11:33 PM »

I'd like to hear more anecdotes about how involved some people get in creating their "études."

For me, mostly for fun with some practical benefit (my LH is still sluggish, compared to RH, especially when improvising melodies, but also in raw speed, poor control), I just combine different scales HT with different intervals upwards/downwards.  So, for a simple one, you'd just ascend four (or more) octaves with the octatonic diminished scale in thirds, and descend with major in sixths or whatever.

Or, to pick one that I'm still struggling a bit with, the Chopin Op.28 prélude in G, do the trickier (to me) LH parts in A7 and D7 and go up and down a few octaves, possibly transposing to some other sharp keys with similar tricky fingerings (for my hand, anyway -- long fingers, requires attention when playing compact figures).  It's kind of an athletic exercise, and I find it interesting to note after running those patterns a few octaves for a while just which parts of the hand are sore.  Not that I do anything with that knowledge, but I find it interesting to note, and probably subconsciously make some effort to relieve tension in those spots in subsequent attempts.

This may not count as an étude, but for the past few weeks, I've been playing virtually everything improvised in E major, instead of the regular Eb or Bb.  Obviously, any rock or blues player plays a lot in the sharp keys, but I think many are like me in that they really only do "guitar stuff" in those keys, not more sophisticated harmony.  This includes jazz tunes like various rhythm changes melodies, Donna Lee, and any and all improvised blues/jazz/R&B stuff.  Of course, that also means doing the obvious stuff from Bach in E (some better than others), but I still spend some time trying to transpose by ear simple things like the first 2-part invention.  It's kind of challenging, but I don't feel it's been a waste of time.
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ted
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« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2017, 11:01:34 PM »

I'd like to hear more anecdotes about how involved some people get in creating their "études."

It takes two forms with me. I improvise for technique on my silent Virgil Practice Clavier, on about seven ounces, but once at the piano my improvised studies are almost exclusively musical. By that I mean getting new, musically interesting sounds and their associated playing forms into memory. Both these activities have happened almost every day for years. They are not ends in themselves, but a means of expanding the unconscious vocabulary for later use during spontaneous improvisation. 
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