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Unpopular Opinions (Read 2113 times)

Offline samwitdangol

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Unpopular Opinions
« on: June 06, 2020, 10:12:00 PM »
Hello!

This is a thread where one can post their unpopular opinions regarding classical music and piano. I am very curious; this may trigger interesting discussions.
Currently working on:

Bach Sinfonias
Czerny Op. 740
Beethoven Op. 31 No. 1
Chopin Op. 28
Chopin Op. 48 No. 1
Chopin Op 10. No. 4

Offline klavieronin

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #1 on: June 07, 2020, 12:58:05 AM »
Okay, I'll get the ball rolling. I don't know if this is an unpopular opinion per se but many music examinations insist on playing music from different periods. So, my "unpopular" opinion is this;

You don't need to study music from different periods to become a good pianist.

Offline pianoannieq

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #2 on: June 07, 2020, 03:49:50 AM »
Hi everyone,

I'm interested to see how this will turn out so I guess I'll add to the thread :)

You shouldn't need to study music from different periods to be a good pianist, per se. But I think that since music examinations are generally for music students, their purpose usually is to expose students to a wide range of music. I guess that the curricula are made to motivate students to explore different styles and to progress through the different grades. So I guess you don't have to study all the different periods of music to be a skilled musician, but exams can be used to measure accomplishment to get to a "good" level.

On another note, I have never taken a certified exam such as the RCM, ABRSM, etc. so I'm not very knowledgable about them. Unpopular opinions on them anyone?

I hate music (and sarcasm) :)

Beethoven Sonata 18
Liszt Rhapsodie Espagnole
Prokofiev Sonata 4 op.29
Scriabin Piano Concerto

Offline samwitdangol

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #3 on: June 07, 2020, 12:20:02 PM »
On another note, I have never taken a certified exam such as the RCM, ABRSM, etc. so I'm not very knowledgable about them. Unpopular opinions on them anyone?

I have never taken a certified exam either. After looking at the requirements, it seems that one can easily obtain ABRSM grade eight after only a few years of study.
I do not think that they are necessary.
Currently working on:

Bach Sinfonias
Czerny Op. 740
Beethoven Op. 31 No. 1
Chopin Op. 28
Chopin Op. 48 No. 1
Chopin Op 10. No. 4

Offline dogperson

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #4 on: June 07, 2020, 01:55:30 PM »
I have never taken a certified exam either. After looking at the requirements, it seems that one can easily obtain ABRSM grade eight after only a few years of study.
I do not think that they are necessary.


That is not a typical timeframe or assessment of  exam difficulty. Have you looked at scales/arpeggios, sight-reading and aural expectations for Grade 8?  Most devote one or more years for each grade above the lowest ones.

Offline samwitdangol

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #5 on: June 07, 2020, 02:38:38 PM »


That is not a typical timeframe or assessment of  exam difficulty. Have you looked at scales/arpeggios, sight-reading and aural expectations for Grade 8?  Most devote one or more years for each grade above the lowest ones.

 Yes, I have looked at them. I don't think that it would take eight or more years to achieve grade eight though.
Is there anything above grade eight for ABRSM?
Currently working on:

Bach Sinfonias
Czerny Op. 740
Beethoven Op. 31 No. 1
Chopin Op. 28
Chopin Op. 48 No. 1
Chopin Op 10. No. 4

Offline dogperson

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #6 on: June 07, 2020, 02:49:32 PM »
Yes, I have looked at them. I don't think that it would take eight or more years to achieve grade eight though.


https://gb.abrsm.org/en/our-exams/diplomas/music-performance/

Online ranjit

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #7 on: June 07, 2020, 06:45:13 PM »
Yes, I have looked at them. I don't think that it would take eight or more years to achieve grade eight though.
Is there anything above grade eight for ABRSM?

While I personally don't think it should take 8 years to achieve a grade 8 level, I'll leave that debate aside. I personally agree with bernhard's old posts on the matter.

Grade 8 ABRSM is what I consider a high-school equivalent exam. Above that, you have a diploma (dipABRSM), Licensiate (LRSM) which is equivalent to a Bachelors', and Fellowship (FRSM) which is equivalent to a Masters' degree. At least, that is the position of the ABRSM board.

Also, I always find it funny how the difficulty "ramps up" when you get to the college level. It's like you suddenly expect people to progress three times as fast, but believe they couldn't have done that all along?! Based on what I've seen, the dipABRSM is considerably
harder than grade 8, and LRSM/FRSM are significantly harder. The same thing happens with other subjects where school is a walk in the park, and suddenly college thrusts you into this environment where you're having to learn things at a breakneck pace. It does make you wonder if you couldn't have had that all along. The explanation I see for it is that the initial piano grades, much like school grades, are geared towards the lowest common denominator, who may be "untalented" by whatever definition, and may also not be practicing much at all, and with a not-so-great teacher. Per my knowledge, the difficulty has also been revised downward a couple of times. When you get to the higher levels, the people who undertake them are assumed to be self-selected, and the pace is correspondingly faster. But those people who "had it in them" could have been going faster all this while.

I guess this counts as my "unpopular opinion". ;D

Offline rachmaninoff_forever

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #8 on: June 07, 2020, 07:08:08 PM »
Chopin etudes suck

They’re just arpeggios and scales going up and down up and down up and down.  Only like three or four of them actually have good musical content 



Live large, die large.  Leave a giant coffin.

Offline pianoannieq

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #9 on: June 07, 2020, 07:49:53 PM »
Hi all,

Thanks Ranjit for your explanation. I'm not so sure either if the sudden increase in difficulty effectively follows the ABRSM's idea of matching up with the lowest common denominator. I'm guessing that the dipABRSM, LRSM, and FRSM advance at a much quicker pace since they are equivalent to educational degrees that take years to achieve.

Rachmanioff_forever, etudes make great recital pieces when the performer has good phrasing and tone control (see Chui on Youtube, for example). But I guess that we're here for unpopular opinions so I guess I'll add my own :)

Professional orchestras should include lesser-known concerti in their repertoire. Honestly, I love Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Grieg, Beethoven, etc. but other beautiful works such as Poulenc, Dvorak, and Kalkbrenner are far too neglected in today's concert halls.

Also, it should not be the teacher's responsibility to select repertoire for their students. I'm all for making suggestions if their students want recommendations, but I greatly dislike seeing a teacher assign a piece to a student. In the beginning stages of piano, this is fine, but there's a point where the teacher should let their students should have the freedom to choose what they would like to learn. Even if a student dislikes a piece, I've seen teachers who still force them to learn it, and it's upsetting how quickly the student loses motivation. Also, a lot of the teachers I know and studied from typically encourage their students into classical music, which is great. But if their student wants to pursue jazz or modern piano music, their teacher should adapt to their concerns or recommend a different teacher that would be suitable for their students' interest.
I hate music (and sarcasm) :)

Beethoven Sonata 18
Liszt Rhapsodie Espagnole
Prokofiev Sonata 4 op.29
Scriabin Piano Concerto

Offline samwitdangol

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #10 on: June 08, 2020, 12:33:56 AM »
Also, it should not be the teacher's responsibility to select repertoire for their students. I'm all for making suggestions if their students want recommendations, but I greatly dislike seeing a teacher assign a piece to a student.

     I think teachers should choose most of their student's pieces no matter their level because the teacher is familiar with more repertoire and knows more about the student's technique. The student should not pick most of their repertoire because usually they will choose what they like without any regard to how it will benefit them technically or musically. This also prevents them from discover more repertoire.
      My teacher usually suggests new pieces for me. Sometimes, I choose my own pieces.
If she had let me pick all or most of my repertoire, I would not have ended up playing the Scarlatti Sonatas or Prokofiev's Vision Fugitives because I did not know much about them. Both of them actually turned out to be very beneficial, engaging, and I am glad that she choose them.
Currently working on:

Bach Sinfonias
Czerny Op. 740
Beethoven Op. 31 No. 1
Chopin Op. 28
Chopin Op. 48 No. 1
Chopin Op 10. No. 4

Offline samwitdangol

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #11 on: June 08, 2020, 12:40:05 AM »
Hi all,
Rachmanioff_forever, etudes make great recital pieces when the performer has good phrasing and tone control (see Chui on Youtube, for example).

Ah yes, Frederic Chiu's rendition of the Chopin études is my favorite. I definitely recommend a listen.
I have seen many people that dislike Chopin's études. I think it may because they are extremely popular compared to other études like Rachmaninov's Études-Tableaux, which are just as good or better.
Currently working on:

Bach Sinfonias
Czerny Op. 740
Beethoven Op. 31 No. 1
Chopin Op. 28
Chopin Op. 48 No. 1
Chopin Op 10. No. 4

Offline ted

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #12 on: June 09, 2020, 02:07:53 AM »
I am a mass of unpopular opinions and ideas which other people consider wrong, but let's stick to music and the piano. Here are a few:

I believe in having athletic fingers, and at seventy-two I am very glad I took little notice of the rotation and weight transfer people.

I maintain my technique with my silent Virgil Practice Clavier and thus separate finger dexterity from music a large part of the time.

The passing over or under of thumbs or anything else now seems to me a largely superfluous movement. I have tried it over the years because people told me I should and found it a waste of energy.

Musical theory of any sort is total nonsense and in all art rules are for fools. There is no criterion of quality except the ear and the listening mind.

It is unnecessary to play classical music or jazz or any other established genre at all unless you enjoy it.

In fact, it is unnecessary to play anything you do not enjoy.

Most teachers of music and experts are best ignored, especially in the creative aspects.

The sole judge of what sounds good is the individual listening brain, there are no external or universal criteria of quality.

Music is not a language and transmits no meaning.  Meaning is imposed by the listening mind.

Structure is redundant. Shovelling musical matter into old fashioned jelly-moulds is lethal to organic form.

Notation, once useful, has hamstrung music for centuries and cripples spontaneous rhythm. The electronic age has given us new and better means of preserving and communicating music.

I am rather enjoying this, I could go on for ages.



 

 

"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Online ranjit

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #13 on: June 09, 2020, 03:51:43 AM »
Ted,
I found your points pretty interesting. Your opinions are always quite fun. ;D I get the feeling you balk at a lot of the romantic 'nonsense' some pianists are prone to get into. I wonder what you mean by some of the points you made though.

I believe in having athletic fingers, and at seventy-two I am very glad I took little notice of the rotation and weight transfer people.
Do you still agree that playing with the fingers is an exercise in coordination foremost? You can have athletic hands and arms (which helps), but I'm not sure what athletic fingers would even mean because fingers are appendages which don't have muscles. Are you sure you aren't to some extent unknowingly doing what the rotation and weight transfer people are suggesting?

Musical theory of any sort is total nonsense and in all art rules are for fools. There is no criterion of quality except the ear and the listening mind.
Do you agree that music theory has merit when it is descriptive, and can give you a better idea of a musical style, can help you communicate ideas with other musicians, and can sometimes give you new ideas you wouldn't have thought of or figured out yourself? For example, the subdominant and dominant function of chords is not really obvious, and I would not have thought of chord substitutions on my own if I had not read about it.

Most teachers of music and experts are best ignored, especially in the creative aspects.
Are you commenting on how few teachers there actually are who have "real" musicality independent of some styles of music they have been indoctrinated in, or are you saying that teachers and experts are best ignored in general since you will have to discover the sounds you enjoy yourself anyway?

The sole judge of what sounds good is the individual listening brain, there are no external or universal criteria of quality.
How do you account for the listening brain's preferences changing over time, with training or extensive listening? Do you think that is simply a change in the kind of music one likes? If there are some pieces of music which grow on you over time and take repeated listening for you to completely appreciate, would you categorize them as initially "bad" and later "good"? There is a talk by a concert pianist where he plays the Chopin prelude no 4 and eventually gets most of the audience to appreciate it. How do you account for the role of knowledge of idiom etc. which come in from "outside" and infiltrate your musical preferences?

Musical preferences depend on individual preferences, as well as upbringing, but experts can often point to a piece of music and say that it has potential, and most people would agree with it. Would you say that experts are those who have a better understanding of what other people on average like music, and the preferences they arrive at are are some kind of statistical average of a part of the population which they are targeting (an argument for complete subjectivity of music), or do you think there is something more universal at play?

Offline ted

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #14 on: June 09, 2020, 11:33:12 AM »
Do you still agree that playing with the fingers is an exercise in coordination foremost? You can have athletic hands and arms (which helps), but I'm not sure what athletic fingers would even mean because fingers are appendages which don't have muscles. Are you sure you aren't to some extent unknowingly doing what the rotation and weight transfer people are suggesting?

I probably used the wrong word. I didn't mean athletic in the muscular sense but implying dexterity and articulation of the fingers on their own. My poor choice of vocabulary. I've never been any good at using rotation and weight transfer, perhaps the deficit is mine.

Do you agree that music theory has merit when it is descriptive, and can give you a better idea of a musical style, can help you communicate ideas with other musicians, and can sometimes give you new ideas you wouldn't have thought of or figured out yourself? For example, the subdominant and dominant function of chords is not really obvious, and I would not have thought of chord substitutions on my own if I had not read about it.

If you want to imitate a style of the past then yes, possibly theory about that style might enable you to do it better. If theory takes the form of a flexible, personal meta language of conscious guidelines then it can certainly generate new ideas, extending and enriching improvisation, but I doubt that is what most people understand by the term. In my experience, and I might not have met enough people to find otherwise, most players restrict the term to studying series of chords. I for one do not think of my music in terms of a series of chords.

Are you commenting on how few teachers there actually are who have "real" musicality independent of some styles of music they have been indoctrinated in, or are you saying that teachers and experts are best ignored in general since you will have to discover the sounds you enjoy yourself anyway?

I mean the latter.

How do you account for the listening brain's preferences changing over time, with training or extensive listening? Do you think that is simply a change in the kind of music one likes? If there are some pieces of music which grow on you over time and take repeated listening for you to completely appreciate, would you categorize them as initially "bad" and later "good"? There is a talk by a concert pianist where he plays the Chopin prelude no 4 and eventually gets most of the audience to appreciate it. How do you account for the role of knowledge of idiom etc. which come in from "outside" and infiltrate your musical preferences?

Oh yes, my listening brain changes from day to day, it is an aspect of music I relish. I am liable to think different things about the same sounds depending on what I have had for breakfast. I doubt objective knowledge "from outside" has ever influenced anything very much with me but I might be wrong. It is a difficult question to answer without a deep traversal of memory.

Musical preferences depend on individual preferences, as well as upbringing, but experts can often point to a piece of music and say that it has potential, and most people would agree with it. Would you say that experts are those who have a better understanding of what other people on average like music, and the preferences they arrive at are are some kind of statistical average of a part of the population which they are targeting (an argument for complete subjectivity of music), or do you think there is something more universal at play?

Yes, that statistical argument seems to me a valid one. The trouble is that I am not "most people", I am just me, and I am increasingly at variance with most common general preference. It isn't deliberate iconoclasm, that would be childish, but if you are genuinely different then I feel it is better to remain true to that state; in fact I think it is the only honest thing to do.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline samwitdangol

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #15 on: June 11, 2020, 10:08:38 PM »
The passing over or under of thumbs or anything else now seems to me a largely superfluous movement. I have tried it over the years because people told me I should and found it a waste of energy.

What do you do instead? Do you simply move your entire hand?
Currently working on:

Bach Sinfonias
Czerny Op. 740
Beethoven Op. 31 No. 1
Chopin Op. 28
Chopin Op. 48 No. 1
Chopin Op 10. No. 4

Offline samwitdangol

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #16 on: June 11, 2020, 10:14:33 PM »
Professional orchestras should include lesser-known concerti in their repertoire. Honestly, I love Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Grieg, Beethoven, etc. but other beautiful works such as Poulenc, Dvorak, and Kalkbrenner are far too neglected in today's concert halls.

Unfortunately, they have to perform what is popular and what the audience wants to listen to.
Currently working on:

Bach Sinfonias
Czerny Op. 740
Beethoven Op. 31 No. 1
Chopin Op. 28
Chopin Op. 48 No. 1
Chopin Op 10. No. 4

Offline samwitdangol

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #17 on: June 11, 2020, 10:18:25 PM »
Musical theory of any sort is total nonsense and in all art rules are for fools. There is no criterion of quality except the ear and the listening mind.

Music theory helps people compose music that will make sense to the ear and the listening mind. It also helps the composer convey exactly what they want to.
Currently working on:

Bach Sinfonias
Czerny Op. 740
Beethoven Op. 31 No. 1
Chopin Op. 28
Chopin Op. 48 No. 1
Chopin Op 10. No. 4

Offline samwitdangol

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #18 on: June 11, 2020, 10:23:02 PM »
You don't need to study music from different periods to become a good pianist.

I agree; one should only play what they enjoy.
I have noticed that professional musicians often specialize in one era and perform works from that particular era much more than others.
Currently working on:

Bach Sinfonias
Czerny Op. 740
Beethoven Op. 31 No. 1
Chopin Op. 28
Chopin Op. 48 No. 1
Chopin Op 10. No. 4

Offline ted

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #19 on: June 11, 2020, 10:26:08 PM »
Music theory helps people compose music that will make sense to the ear and the listening mind. It also helps the composer convey exactly what they want to.

Does it ? Whose ear and mind in particular ? Certainly not mine. I just create whatever sounds good to me, not what somebody else says ought to sound good to me.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline ted

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #20 on: June 11, 2020, 10:27:20 PM »
What do you do instead? Do you simply move your entire hand?

Yes, more or less.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline samwitdangol

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #21 on: June 12, 2020, 12:48:02 AM »
I am rather enjoying this, I could go on for ages.

Please feel free to continue. Although I do not have much to say to them, I am enjoying reading them and think that they are interesting. I am sure that others will enthusiastically discuss.
Currently working on:

Bach Sinfonias
Czerny Op. 740
Beethoven Op. 31 No. 1
Chopin Op. 28
Chopin Op. 48 No. 1
Chopin Op 10. No. 4

Offline klavieronin

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #22 on: June 12, 2020, 02:06:53 AM »
The passing over or under of thumbs or anything else now seems to me a largely superfluous movement. I have tried it over the years because people told me I should and found it a waste of energy.
What do you do instead? Do you simply move your entire hand?
Yes, more or less.
One of the piano lecturers at the university I went to used the same technique and taught it to all of her students. I've played around with it. It seems a more difficult technique to master but I can't definitely see the benefits. Personally, I don't think you have to chose one of the other. I tend to use whatever suits the situation.

Offline ted

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #23 on: June 12, 2020, 02:27:23 AM »
Please feel free to continue. Although I do not have much to say to them, I am enjoying reading them and think that they are interesting. I am sure that others will enthusiastically discuss.

No, I think I have said enough for the present.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline ted

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #24 on: June 12, 2020, 02:35:29 AM »
One of the piano lecturers at the university I went to used the same technique and taught it to all of her students. I've played around with it. It seems a more difficult technique to master but I can't definitely see the benefits. Personally, I don't think you have to chose one of the other. I tend to use whatever suits the situation.

Yes, using whatever feels comfortable is a good idea. I have found myself increasingly avoiding passing things over or under as I have aged but it mightn’t be right for everyone.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline samwitdangol

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #25 on: June 12, 2020, 10:26:26 AM »
The passing over or under of thumbs or anything else now seems to me a largely superfluous movement. I have tried it over the years because people told me I should and found it a waste of energy.
What about in a situation where one has to move their index finger past the thumb and then immediately go back? Is this an exception where you would consider passing over the thumb?
Currently working on:

Bach Sinfonias
Czerny Op. 740
Beethoven Op. 31 No. 1
Chopin Op. 28
Chopin Op. 48 No. 1
Chopin Op 10. No. 4

Offline samwitdangol

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #26 on: June 12, 2020, 10:28:41 AM »
I maintain my technique with my silent Virgil Practice Clavier and thus separate finger dexterity from music a large part of the time.

I have never heard of the silent Virgil Practice Clavier but I do not see anything wrong with it. I do not see why one would consider using it to improve technique as wrong.
Currently working on:

Bach Sinfonias
Czerny Op. 740
Beethoven Op. 31 No. 1
Chopin Op. 28
Chopin Op. 48 No. 1
Chopin Op 10. No. 4

Offline ted

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #27 on: June 12, 2020, 10:07:39 PM »
What about in a situation where one has to move their index finger past the thumb and then immediately go back? Is this an exception where you would consider passing over the thumb?

Possibly, there are any number of exceptional positions, I just try to avoid passing under in general.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline ted

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #28 on: June 12, 2020, 10:15:31 PM »
I have never heard of the silent Virgil Practice Clavier but I do not see anything wrong with it. I do not see why one would consider using it to improve technique as wrong.

The usual reason given is that practising technique should not be separated from the  sound it produces. That seems a fair enough assumption on the face of it but it hasn’t been valid for me. Perhaps players misused them, which is easily enough done. In any case the devices are so rare these days that objective analysis is impossible.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Online ranjit

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #29 on: June 13, 2020, 03:28:46 AM »
Ted - You're in good company.  ;D
(Timestamp: 34:32)
https://youtu.be/3n-9txM1A2o?t=2072

Online j_tour

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #30 on: June 13, 2020, 04:18:53 AM »
Well, this is a bit of detour, perhaps, but I'd like to know a bit more about the practice claviers.

I'm still fixing to buy at least one clavichord for hiking into the backcountry.  Tuning it's going to be a PITA, pretty sure.  Meh, pair of pliers, tuning fork, whatevs.

But I'm well familiar with the Harold Rhodes "bedside practice keyboard," and even though it's clunky and prone to electrical faults, my particular model at least (Stage 73 manufact. 1976) has the advantage that it's heavy and requires a power amp, a stand and a speaker.  And some cables.  And backup cables.  We'll forget about the pedal:  let's just say we can do without.

What's the ted advantage of his practice keyboard over, say, a piece of felt with maybe some visual markers on where the keys are supposed to be?

Well, hijack over, I'm just always looking for the way to play without carrying an iron harp over my back like some figure from Dante's Purgatorio
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.

Offline ted

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #31 on: June 13, 2020, 04:33:28 AM »
Ted - You're in good company.  ;D
(Timestamp: 34:32)
https://youtu.be/3n-9txM1A2o?t=2072

I knew Arrau used one but I didn't know about Cziffra, that's interesting.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline ted

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #32 on: June 13, 2020, 06:27:19 AM »
Well, this is a bit of detour, perhaps, but I'd like to know a bit more about the practice claviers.

I'm still fixing to buy at least one clavichord for hiking into the backcountry.  Tuning it's going to be a PITA, pretty sure.  Meh, pair of pliers, tuning fork, whatevs.

But I'm well familiar with the Harold Rhodes "bedside practice keyboard," and even though it's clunky and prone to electrical faults, my particular model at least (Stage 73 manufact. 1976) has the advantage that it's heavy and requires a power amp, a stand and a speaker.  And some cables.  And backup cables.  We'll forget about the pedal:  let's just say we can do without.

What's the ted advantage of his practice keyboard over, say, a piece of felt with maybe some visual markers on where the keys are supposed to be?

Well, hijack over, I'm just always looking for the way to play without carrying an iron harp over my back like some figure from Dante's Purgatorio

I attach a photo of mine. There is a discussion about them here:
https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=2368.msg452295#msg452295

Although referred to as portable it is very heavy. It is a full keyboard with variable key resistance. Mine goes to about fourteen ounces but I never use it above seven. My teacher in my youth was a skilled cabinetmaker and rebuilt the whole thing and sold it to me.

"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Online j_tour

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #33 on: June 13, 2020, 07:43:19 AM »
I attach a photo of mine. There is a discussion about them here:
https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=2368.msg452295#msg452295

Although referred to as portable it is very heavy. It is a full keyboard with variable key resistance. Mine goes to about fourteen ounces but I never use it above seven. My teacher in my youth was a skilled cabinetmaker and rebuilt the whole thing and sold it to me.

That is completely fascinating, and I think it seems nearly ideal as a practical tool. 

And to think I was going to waste my money on a tuning fork at 440 s-1!   8)

For my uses, I'll stick with the tiny clavichord, but that's an incredible piece of gear! 

No, I'm not kidding at all, if half of my front room wasn't stuffed full already, that would be a tool that could and should be used. 

Idiotic question:  what happens when you turn it up to eleven?



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.

Offline ted

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #34 on: June 13, 2020, 08:55:49 AM »
That is completely fascinating, and I think it seems nearly ideal as a practical tool. 

And to think I was going to waste my money on a tuning fork at 440 s-1!   8)

For my uses, I'll stick with the tiny clavichord, but that's an incredible piece of gear! 

No, I'm not kidding at all, if half of my front room wasn't stuffed full already, that would be a tool that could and should be used. 

Idiotic question:  what happens when you turn it up to eleven?

Eleven ounces is more than twice the resistance of the heaviest action piano and I wouldn't use it on that setting. I usually set it to around six or seven ounces, heavier than my Weinbach but not requiring special force or weight. Its use is full of pitfalls and it required much experimentation over the years to devise my optimal discipline with it. I use it night and morning for a few minutes at the most, usually creating my own exercises which I think might help the movements I am likely to use in improvisation. I have often thought it a pity that somebody has not built and marketed a modern, lighter version of them but admittedly the demand would be small. Most music professionals haven't the faintest idea what they are, which is understandable as they would be unlikely to have ever seen one.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Online ranjit

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #35 on: June 13, 2020, 12:48:43 PM »
Just so you know, j_tour wasn't referring to eleven ounces!

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #36 on: June 13, 2020, 12:55:54 PM »
Eleven ounces is more than twice the resistance of the heaviest action piano and I wouldn't use it on that setting.

Yeah.  But it's like one louder, right?

Obviously that's a joke, but that's a pretty serious tool for doing mechanics on, no joke!  I don't have the space or inclination for me, but if I ever tricked some woman into bearing me a child, that might be good for an adaptive learning tool.

No kidding, so to speak, I don't know why these aren't more well-known.  Probably weight (mass), knowledge to apply the correct resistances, and not exactly a stage instrument.

When I inherit Marlon Brando's island, I'm taking one with me. 
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.

Offline samwitdangol

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #37 on: June 19, 2020, 11:55:49 AM »
Here is an unpopular opinion of mine:

     I think that modern classical composers should be more conservative. Their music is claimed to be "original" and "innovative," but to me, it is starting to sound like static.
     This is exactly what the public thought of composers such as Beethoven, Shostakovich, and Rachmaninoff back in the day though. Perhaps if I was born in a later era, I would enjoy today's classical music, and dislike the classical music of that era.
Currently working on:

Bach Sinfonias
Czerny Op. 740
Beethoven Op. 31 No. 1
Chopin Op. 28
Chopin Op. 48 No. 1
Chopin Op 10. No. 4

Offline vladimir_ikhonov

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #38 on: June 27, 2020, 03:26:41 PM »
Chopin etudes suck

They’re just arpeggios and scales going up and down up and down up and down.  Only like three or four of them actually have good musical content

Which ones do you like musically? Of the ones I've played, I'd say Op. 10 Nos. 6 and 7 are the most musically beautiful.

Offline lowk-_-y

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #39 on: August 07, 2020, 12:42:02 AM »
Here is an unpopular opinion of mine:

     I think that modern classical composers should be more conservative. Their music is claimed to be "original" and "innovative," but to me, it is starting to sound like static.
     This is exactly what the public thought of composers such as Beethoven, Shostakovich, and Rachmaninoff back in the day though. Perhaps if I was born in a later era, I would enjoy today's classical music, and dislike the classical music of that era.


One part of me wants to agree with the latter part of what you said, in that history repeats itself. The most important and innovative works are usually only appreciated in hindsight. But then the other part of me knows that we have never before been exposed to such a wide variety of musical extremes that through the internet can be shared very easily, making it hard to relate to past correlations between art and its appreciation. But either way, I would imagine that it would be easier for a composer to find their individual voice by looking forward rather than looking back.

Also I was under the impression that Rachmaninoff was generally considered a traditionalist. Am I mistaken...?


Unpopular Opinion - Brahms-Bach Chaconne > Busoni-Bach Chaconne

Offline anacrusis

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #40 on: February 10, 2021, 09:59:02 PM »
Good thread that deserves a bump!

Unpopular opinion:

Far from all works by the great composers are all that great. I know some pianist who seem to worship all of the output of many composers but with nearly everyone I have a number of pieces that I just think are boring or cheesy or not really sucessful. Not sure if this is heresy or not? ;D


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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #41 on: February 11, 2021, 12:13:59 AM »
Unpopular opinion:
Slow practice is overrated. One learns to play fast by pushing themselves to play fast.  ;)

Offline brogers70

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #42 on: February 11, 2021, 12:33:42 AM »
Unpopular Opinion - Brahms-Bach Chaconne > Busoni-Bach Chaconne

Totally agree.

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #43 on: February 11, 2021, 02:47:55 AM »
Unpopular Opinion - Brahms-Bach Chaconne > Busoni-Bach Chaconne

Totally agree.

What?  I thought everybody loved the Brahms-Bach Chaconne!  I didn't even know Busoni did an arrangement of the D-minor Bach chaconne:  meh, it's probably full of a bunch of octaves and old-fashioned sh*t, but, you know, there's probably some good ideas in there.  Dunno.

In fact my unpopular opinion might be that I've gained quite a lot from the various Busoni editions of Bach (not necessarily his arrangements, except for the chorale-préludes, of course, and maybe some others).  And continue to do so.  In combination with other editions, of course.  I dig Busoni:  always keeps one thinking a bit.  If his ideas were combined with the legibility of, say, any of the Henle, the Wiener, or the Peters, that would be ideal. 

Given that, at least for me, I look at every edition I can find and make annotations or photocopies where possible.

My truly unpopular opinion:  I despise Rachmaninoff, all of his music.  Not an important composer, to me:  on the level of somebody who writes pop songs for American Idol or one of those TV shows.

No need to flame me:  I know it's an unpopular opinion.  It's like being force-fed pabulum to me.  Makes me want to blow chunder and chunks just thinking about that saccharine drivel.

I know I'd have to work rather hard to play some of his music, I just wouldn't even consider it, any more than playing Sxrabjx.  Not when there's a scrap of Messiaen, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Schönberg, Boulez, Ligeti, Webern left that I could play with an equal amount of effort.

Same with Tchaikovsky.  No.  No way.  Not if hell freezes over and, god forbid, I have to write my own damned music.  Both examples of degeneracy, and regressive mutation.  No f*cking way.  Not listen to, nor play.  Ever.  And put Stravinsky in that pile of feces too, that neo-classical POS whose mouth was bigger than his abilities.

I also think Tureck was a miserable, horrid shrew of a human being, and her contribution to music is, if anything, limited to her work with the Theremin.  She was also an illiterate barbarian.  IMHO.

Oh, and while I'm at it?  The Hanon exercises are for little kids.  At most, and even then, ridiculous.  An adult, especially a professional, who claims to "warm up" with those is, AFAIC, basically retarded, or devoid of any original thought whatsoever.  That one's a tough call, because some pianists and keyboardists I admire, and who are legitimately famous as original, extremely creative musicians claim to do so.  I just think they're dogmatic fools in that one respect.
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 ranjit

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #44 on: February 11, 2021, 03:09:35 AM »
My truly unpopular opinion:  I despise Rachmaninoff, all of his music.  Not an important composer, to me:  on the level of somebody who writes pop songs for American Idol or one of those TV shows.
How dare you ;D

I'm with you on the Tchaikovsky though.

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #45 on: February 11, 2021, 03:13:06 AM »
How dare you ;D

I'm with you on the Tchaikovsky though.

Well, that's why they say unpopular opinion!

Rachmaninoff had big hands, though, so I guess he had that going for him.

Which is nice.

Und dennoch, who says how big the recpetacles were?  You know, in his day!

;D
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 j_tour

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #46 on: February 11, 2021, 06:43:57 AM »
How dare you ;D

I'm with you on the Tchaikovsky though.

Well, I'm forced to one-up you:

fast practice is for candy-asses! 

Hyper-fast practice is the way to go!  Well beyond any reasonable performance tempo.

Piano starts when tendons snap!  True piano:  pain don't hurt!

;D

I don't trust anybody who hasn't opened up on the keys and bled copiously on the keyboardl.

To borrow a quote from a Netflix TV show called Love, "I don't fully trust anybody who hasn't tripped...it's like trusting somebody who has a hotmail account!"
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 ranjit

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #47 on: February 11, 2021, 07:45:51 AM »
fast practice is for candy-asses! 
;D ;D
Hyper-fast practice is the way to go!  Well beyond any reasonable performance tempo.
Ironically, I actually agree with this. Hyper fast practice is what I think helps gain speed in the first place. It ramps up your "mental clock". Slow practice is for accuracy imo, but it's super useful to be confident that you can play at that speed even if it sounds terrible. I'd say that confidence is a one-stop solution to overcoming mental speed blocks.

All of which is to say, you haven't one-upped me yet! 8)

(But for real though, I mean what I wrote.)

Online j_tour

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #48 on: February 11, 2021, 07:56:00 AM »
;D ;DIronically, I actually agree with this. Hyper fast practice is what I think helps gain speed in the first place. It ramps up your "mental clock". Slow practice is for accuracy imo, but it's super useful to be confident that you can play at that speed even if it sounds terrible. I'd say that confidence is a one-stop solution to overcoming mental speed blocks.

All of which is to say, you haven't one-upped me yet! 8)

(But for real though, I mean what I wrote.)

Yeah, I follow:  TBH, I wasn't entirely joking either. 

As it has happens, for my "day job" I wear steel-toed shoes, which can be fairly heavy.

But I just learned a few days ago that some (perhaps misguided!) competitive runners use "strength shoes" (some silly term like that) during training.

I'm sure you can guess the idea:  you know, train with them, then take them off and sprint in minimal shoes, and one is a superhero, or whatever.

In running, or even walking, that does sound like a recipe for injury, but it is indeed a technique.  I don't think it's a great idea, but for someone who knows how to pick the ivories, it's not bad to "feel" the way different tempi. 

Certainly in piano, where one doesn't need "raw strength" (stamina, in many places, but that's different).

Here's my latest unpopular opinion:  one can't learn (good) piano playing from books.  Only two options:  learn it by listening, or have somebody show one.

Or both.  But, it can't be learned by reading alone.  It's an art, you know!  More than that, it's very literally manual labor! 

I don't think that's an unpopular opinion, but knowing the internet, somebody would disagree!

;D 

**EDIT** About the hyper-fast, I think the jazz pianist/pedagogue Hal Galper had a nice ¶ or two about being able to "hear" quickly.  In his excellent book, Forward Motion, which has some good analytic work on how Bach created lines that are relevant to superior jazz lines.  IIRC, he was talking about some ridiculous very fast passage, partly or mostly improvised.  Perhaps somewhere else he said that. 

Together with Bert Ligon, Connecting Chords With Linear Harmony, one of the very few "jazz" books worth the paper they're printed on, mostly because they don't pretend "jazz theory" is some special "fancy theory":  no special system required, just regular musicianship anyone with a good record collection or a few friends nearby can handle.  At least in a workmanlike fashion.

If you can hear the "raw velocity," or, if one is Iggy Pop, "raw power," that's really most of the battle, it seems to me. 

We can all wiggle our fingers pretty fast, and I think a lot of us can do so efficiently with proper technique (or one of several possible techniques), but what's missing?

Hear quickly, beyond the capacity of singing solfège, and toward the point of precise intuition.

That sounds a bit vague, but I think it's right.

Also, one more unpopular opinion:  depending on one's goals, you don't need a teacher to play certain kinds of piano.  A record player, an instrument, and ideally a small (or large) community of fellow musicians.

EETA One last unpopular opinion.  I actually think the movie The Hateful Eight is a remarkable movie, in many respects.  I don't think it was a popular recent movie, but that's probably due to illiterates who don't know Budd Boetticher movies, or Randolph Scott, or, really, any of that tradition.  Video game people, or little earphone heads with dirty necks.  Not claiming it's a great movie.  But, more or less, people who cannot articulate reasons for their distaste do not have valid opinions.

Not because of ressentiment, but for want of articulate opinions of their own. 

Defend, or assert, with reason.  Doesn't matter if the reason is right or wrong:  there is reason, or that person ceases to exist as a human, except in the most unimportant of appearances.

Rationality is the birthright of humanity, and to act without reason is the province of the fool, the emotionally derelict, or she or he who disregards the ecological niche of the human species.

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.

Offline lettersquash

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
«Reply #49 on: February 25, 2021, 07:45:29 PM »
@samwitdangol, hehe, what a great idea for a thread.

Mozart, sadly, died too late. (I think that was a quote I read from Glenn Gould.)
Schwencke dumped in the middle of Bach's Prelude, and Gounod tried to polish it.