\"\"
Piano Forum logo

Creating your own "etudes"? (Read 1673 times)

Offline cuberdrift

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 549
Creating your own "etudes"?
« 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


Online ted

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3872
Re: Creating your own "etudes"?
«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.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline cimirro

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 86
Re: Creating your own "etudes"?
«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
"Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong."
Winston Churchill

Offline j_tour

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2566
Re: Creating your own "etudes"?
«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.
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Online ted

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3872
Re: Creating your own "etudes"?
«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. 
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline klavieronin

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 633
Re: Creating your own "etudes"?
«Reply #5 on: May 15, 2021, 08:46:21 AM »
Forgive me for resurrecting this old thread. It just felt a little self indulgent to start a new one. Here is a set of 25 studies I wrote a few years ago. I modelled them closely on Czerny's Op.261 studies. Think of them as a kind of updated version of Czerny's original studies. Many of these are somewhat more difficult that Czerny's so for students I usually recommend studying Czerny's first.


Offline lelle

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1103
Re: Creating your own "etudes"?
«Reply #6 on: May 15, 2021, 10:32:12 PM »
Forgive me for resurrecting this old thread. It just felt a little self indulgent to start a new one. Here is a set of 25 studies I wrote a few years ago. I modelled them closely on Czerny's Op.261 studies. Think of them as a kind of updated version of Czerny's original studies. Many of these are somewhat more difficult that Czerny's so for students I usually recommend studying Czerny's first.



Those are pretty neat! Thanks for sharing. One way one of my early teacher smotivated me to actually practise was to give me the task of writing my own etudes out of technical patterns. I rarely finished the pieces, but at least it made me play some exercise-like stuff out of my own volition as I worked on them. Sneaky sneaky.

Offline klavieronin

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 633
Re: Creating your own "etudes"?
«Reply #7 on: May 16, 2021, 12:40:58 AM »
Those are pretty neat! Thanks for sharing. One way one of my early teacher smotivated me to actually practise was to give me the task of writing my own etudes out of technical patterns. I rarely finished the pieces, but at least it made me play some exercise-like stuff out of my own volition as I worked on them. Sneaky sneaky.

Yeah, I suggest that to students as well. Some seem to enjoy it, others just have no interest. I think you need to be a genuinely creative type to be motivate to do that sort of thing… and not everyone is.

Offline ranjit

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 944
Re: Creating your own "etudes"?
«Reply #8 on: May 16, 2021, 01:26:53 AM »
Absolutely, I do this instinctively -- I quickly improvise a fragment which I think works on a certain hand movement or thing I'm trying to work on, and then . In fact, this may even make up a majority of the exercises I practice. I find no real use for Czerny-like stuff when I could just as easily come up with an equivalent exercise on my own.

Often, this goes into technical experimentation territory, and this is where it gets interesting -- I will come up with some unusual idea which is still possible at the keyboard -- and then create my own "improvised exercises" around that idea. Once it becomes natural, you don't even really think about it.

Offline lelle

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1103
Re: Creating your own "etudes"?
«Reply #9 on: May 16, 2021, 07:54:35 PM »
Yeah, I suggest that to students as well. Some seem to enjoy it, others just have no interest. I think you need to be a genuinely creative type to be motivate to do that sort of thing… and not everyone is.

Oh yeah of course, I don't think it's something that works for all students. I was already "composing" music at that stage so my teacher just had to take it and run with it. Unfortunately I have lost the majority of my drive to write my own music since then. But I often enjoy having a look at what music other people come up with :)

Offline klavieronin

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 633
Re: Creating your own "etudes"?
«Reply #10 on: May 17, 2021, 02:05:02 AM »
I find no real use for Czerny-like stuff when I could just as easily come up with an equivalent exercise on my own.

Definitely, if you are inclined to create you own exercises that's the way to go in my opinion. But like I said earlier, not everybody is. One thing I do appreciate about Czerny is that his exercises/studies do require a good deal of musicality to play well. If I had to choose between Czerny and Hanon, there's no question I would choose Czerny.

Online quantum

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 5951
Re: Creating your own "etudes"?
«Reply #11 on: May 17, 2021, 02:20:40 AM »
I've done this for a long time, though they tend to be improvised rather than written out. 

If I come across a recording and am intrigued by the sound of a particular passage, I may start to include similar into my own improvised music.  At first it may seem out of place, like a section of technique inserted, but that is because I have not enough experience working with such technique musically.  But as I become more comfortable with using the technique and gain experience, I begin to see its musical potential and can start to be more aware of its applications within my improvisations. 

Also, I do a similar thing when reading through scores.  If there is a technically challenging passage, I may decide to start improvising using that idea. I'll often try to play the same idea in both hands, in different ranges of the piano, even if the original score did not do so. 

Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline klavieronin

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 633
Re: Creating your own "etudes"?
«Reply #12 on: May 17, 2021, 10:55:53 AM »
Here's another set of exercises of mine. These are all about trills and tremolos. 36 exercises in total each focusing on one finger in combination with the others. They are all very short and follow the same format/structure. The set as a whole is intended to be practised over several years, slowly building up the tempo from an easy alternation of eighth notes to a proper trill.


Offline lelle

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1103
Re: Creating your own "etudes"?
«Reply #13 on: May 18, 2021, 10:08:17 PM »
Nice! Do you compose other things as well, longer pieces?

Offline klavieronin

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 633
Re: Creating your own "etudes"?
«Reply #14 on: May 19, 2021, 12:02:04 AM »
Nice! Do you compose other things as well, longer pieces?

I'm a piano teacher by trade so virtually all of my music is aimed at students. I do have some longer pieces and music for other piano and instruments but I've never composed any large scale works.

Offline brogers70

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1204
Re: Creating your own "etudes"?
«Reply #15 on: May 20, 2021, 10:04:26 AM »
Here's another set of exercises of mine. These are all about trills and tremolos. 36 exercises in total each focusing on one finger in combination with the others. They are all very short and follow the same format/structure. The set as a whole is intended to be practised over several years, slowly building up the tempo from an easy alternation of eighth notes to a proper trill.


These are great. I just started working on them and they are a good deal more interesting than that old Mozart trill exercise.

Offline klavieronin

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 633
Re: Creating your own "etudes"?
«Reply #16 on: May 20, 2021, 11:03:34 AM »
These are great. I just started working on them and they are a good deal more interesting than that old Mozart trill exercise.

That's great to hear. Thank you so much. I'm glad you like them.

Interestingly, I did have Mozart's trill in the back of my mind when I started working on these. In a way, what I wanted to create was a more comprehensive and souped-up version of Mozart's trill, but something that was also pleasing to listen to.

Offline lelle

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1103
Re: Creating your own "etudes"?
«Reply #17 on: May 23, 2021, 10:51:58 PM »
That's great to hear. Thank you so much. I'm glad you like them.

Interestingly, I did have Mozart's trill in the back of my mind when I started working on these. In a way, what I wanted to create was a more comprehensive and souped-up version of Mozart's trill, but something that was also pleasing to listen to.

I'm glad you did. Mozart's exercise is not terribly interesting, methinks :P One more interesting exercise piece he wrote is the following piece, which I think he composed at the request of his sister, who wanted a piece for practising various things (and requested that there'd be a section in E flat major in the piece), it's pretty neat:


Offline klavieronin

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 633
Re: Creating your own "etudes"?
«Reply #18 on: May 26, 2021, 12:53:19 AM »
That's a great etude! I've never heard that before. Plenty of work for both hands. Lots of variety. Thanks for sharing that.

Online lostinidlewonder

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 6366
Re: Creating your own "etudes"?
«Reply #19 on: May 26, 2021, 03:02:20 AM »
Forgive me for resurrecting this old thread. It just felt a little self indulgent to start a new one. Here is a set of 25 studies I wrote a few years ago. I modelled them closely on Czerny's Op.261 studies. Think of them as a kind of updated version of Czerny's original studies. Many of these are somewhat more difficult that Czerny's so for students I usually recommend studying Czerny's first.


Thumbs up good work klavieronin very talented! Would have been better if you created a new thread for it because it deserves the attention rather than being attached to the end of something else.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
www.facebook.com/groups/348933611793249/

Offline klavieronin

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 633
Re: Creating your own "etudes"?
«Reply #20 on: May 26, 2021, 02:27:34 PM »
Thumbs up good work klavieronin very talented! Would have been better if you created a new thread for it because it deserves the attention rather than being attached to the end of something else.

That's really great to hear. Thank you. Perhaps when I finish Book 2 (Nos. 26-50) I'll start a new thread. It won't be for a little while though… I have a few other irons in the fire at the moment.