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Releasing notes early (Read 181 times)

Online 1piano4joe

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Releasing notes early
« on: July 29, 2020, 03:44:37 AM »
I've been observing this practice by both teachers and students. It seems rather common place with faster pieces. Is this something that is "acceptable" that is missing from my playing and actually holding back my progress/learning of a piece?

I've noticed left hand quarter notes are often shortened to eighth notes when there is a big, fast hand shift. I found these passages impossible for me to play. So, watching others on YouTube and slowing down the video one can observe this phenomenon. Is this just another case where I'm taking the score too literally?

Two examples come to mind off the top of my head:

1) Study in B flat Major op. 24, no.5 by Giuseppe Concone

This piece is an excellent example of this. Dotted quarters are shortened to quarters in practically every measure in the piece. The tempo is 76 bpm. I can hear the right hand 2nd beat playing all by itself as the left hand has "left the building" only to reappear on the upbeat of beat 2! Shorten the bass note and move for the chord. I can do this easily but feel it's wrong as it's not written that way. Note:There is no pedal holding the notes for their full value.

2) Dance no. 7 by Dmitri Shostakovich

This is another 2/4 piece. Allegretto giocoso 116 bpm. I can clearly hear the left hand of measures 29 and 30 shortening the quarter note on beat 2 to an eighth note and all you hear are the two 16th notes of the right hand. I slowed a video down and sure enough, notes are being "robbed" of their full value. Simple enough, surely makes the "impossible" possible for me.

Is this just a question of interpretation or "standard practice" among the more challenging tempos?

A question about this piece. Direction below the lower clef says, "sempre staccato". I was taught by one of my teachers that instructions (like dynamics) to both staffs go between the staffs. Anything, written below the bottom staff applies to that staff only and anything written above the top staff applies to the top only.

I don't think that "rule" applies in this case. I came to this conclusion after examining the entire suite of dances by Shostakovich. So, should the right hand 16th notes not under slurs be staccato or is this another interpretation matter?

I recall a piece, "Etude in D Minor op. 82, no. 65" by Cornelius Gurlitt where there are 2 dynamics written. mP for the G clef and mF for the bass clef melody. The thing is, the mp is written between the staffs which taken literally makes the mF below the bass clef break the "rule" taught to me by my teacher.

Christopher Norton in many of his pieces have the instruction, LH Legato! This presents no problem for my exacting personality about the right hand. However, it makes me wonder does the composer/editor mean LH Legato from beginning to end? Well that's the way I've heard many of his pieces played.

He has written a piece called "Circling" in Connections 2, where there are two 11th's and one 12th which makes me wonder how to play that legato? It turns out that at tempo, it can sound legato if your faster than the damper just like in the thumb over technique.


Online 1piano4joe

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Re: Releasing notes early
«Reply #1 on: July 30, 2020, 10:34:38 PM »
I did some research and this is what I discovered.

"Pianists are generally careless in holding notes for the exact length"

This is verbatim from a "google book" called "Etude:The Music Magazine". Volume 28, nos. 1-6.

I found that wording offensive and looked up "careless" in the dictionary. It can mean, "not concerned or worried about".

Okay, I feel better.

This article goes on to say, "All too often pianists ignore rests". Hmmm...interesting. I haven't witnessed this first hand.

Furthermore, "Runs are NOT played with absolute clearness". What? I must be some sort of prodigy/virtuoso and didn't know it. Or maybe I'm just deaf? My runs are clear unless there is pedal.

Anyway, I did find this article extremely beneficial. I've been practicing using practically every trick that I know of: HS, dropping notes, blocking, 20 min 7 reps a la Bernhard, Chang, using the metronome, etc. for one ridiculous measure/section at a time when all I had to do was "cheat".  Such a waste of practice time!

I am a classical trained clarinetist, NOT a pianist. I will NEVER see a score through a pianists eyes. Also, my personality is the opposite of careless. In general, I am precise, meticulous and exacting. This makes me my own worst enemy with regards to progress/practice.

I guess I'm just too gullible. A gullible person believes what other people say and does what others ask without thinking. Even if it's impossible! I know I can do this. I just need to practice more. Wrong, wrong, wrong I need to practice less. I'm such a dope sometimes.

Well, at least now I'm starting to ask questions.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Releasing notes early
«Reply #2 on: August 04, 2020, 06:01:05 PM »
I am the opposite of being an expert at technique.  The bottom line is the sound you are producing, and that the listener hears.  I think that's your starting point.