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Topic: Requesting elder wisdom - rhythmical lefthanding  (Read 809 times)

Offline raoul duke

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Requesting elder wisdom - rhythmical lefthanding
on: August 15, 2020, 12:43:21 PM
Hello,

I am completely new to this forum and would like to first and foremost say hi, so hi!

But I come to you a burdened man: I am struggling with the most diabolical of issues and would like to entreat the erudites in our midst to lend their insight on the subject.

I am currently trying to increase the playing speed of some of my learned pieces to better suit the given notation. In some of the compositions, I am struggling with, not playing the notes, but maintaining the rhythm and synchronicity between left and right hand. I am talking about pieces such as Rondo alla Turca and Sonata #25 by Beethoven (movement 1) where certain parts of the left-hand work is extremely repetitive (most of the former, and the opening segment of the latter specifically). These are examples, but in general my problem is being able to measure/hear if my left-hand (which, e.g. is playing a repeated variation of the notes of a g minor over and over, to then change to another chord, and then another, etc.) is synced with the melodic endeavors of my right hand. In my work to increase the general speed of my performances, this becomes ever so much harder. The faster the playing speed, the harder it is for me to hear if I am all synced up. Another great example is moonlight sonata third movement, the very first parts where the left hand is just hopping between two notes while the right hand is arpeggio-ing away up the runway. The faster I play, the more impossible does it seem to me to hear if I am playing it correctly.

So my question is: what advice do you have for this? I have never received any education on music at all, so the absolutely simplest tips and tricks may presently be lost on me. I will not shun even the most basic thing you have known since before you were even born. Are there any specific ways to carry yourself/hold your wrists/etc that makes fluidity and rhythm easier? Any good general or specific exercises to improve the ability to play in more synchronous a manner? Or to measure it? Anything really, that can help me, please.

Thanks for taking the time to read and hopefully lending your expertise on the matter.

Best regards,
Sebastian

Online j_tour

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Re: Requesting elder wisdom - rhythmical lefthanding
Reply #1 on: August 15, 2020, 05:26:46 PM
The faster the playing speed, the harder it is for me to hear if I am all synced up. Another great example is moonlight sonata third movement, the very first parts where the left hand is just hopping between two notes while the right hand is arpeggio-ing away up the runway. The faster I play, the more impossible does it seem to me to hear if I am playing it correctly.

Well, I'm not really one of the elderly people, nor the greatest technician.

But the extracted portion of your post seems to make part of your difficulty extremely plain, and in a manner I believe to have understood.

My only comments are that

(i) Yes, that's a constant struggle, and I imagine it to be so for most musicians

(ii) Methodical work with a metronome has been very helpful to me

And most importantly

(iii) Actively working with the rhythm away from the keyboard.

Ad punctum iii:  Yes, very much.  Sitting at a desk, or whatever position you find yourself in.  One doesn't necessarily need to tap one's fingers, but actively pursuing a passage, while reciting it in one's mind's ear, at the correct tempo.

It should be a mostly percussive exercise at this point, thinking to yourself, "I'll play this again, but here I'll accent every second upbeat in every other bar," or whatever happens to be relevant to your music at this point.

More or less, inventing exercises that can be executed without the aid of the keyboard.

I think it's a question of musicianship, and it's a difficult problem, but I believe it can be solved with, as you guessed, maximum practice.
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 brogers70

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Re: Requesting elder wisdom - rhythmical lefthanding
Reply #2 on: August 15, 2020, 09:34:10 PM
One easy way to tell if you are keeping the hands in sync is to record yourself; that way you can listen closely without your brain being distracted by trying to play the notes. That usually makes it obvious if there is some problem with the timing or not.

Offline lowk-_-y

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Re: Requesting elder wisdom - rhythmical lefthanding
Reply #3 on: August 15, 2020, 11:26:40 PM
Hello Mr Burdened man

I'm no elder and wouldn't necessarily claim what I have to say to be wise but I think there are a few useful points that haven't been mentioned.

- Dotted rhythm practice never fails to make any moments of hands out of sync obvious.

- One of the main culprits for hands out of sync is that one hand isn't comfortable with what they are playing so practice separate hands until they are totally comfortable playing in the tempo you desire individually.

- Split these repetitive Lh figurations into harmonic chunks and practice these as isolated, in tempo bursts (so for example, just the first 3 bars of the Beethoven). Once you are confident that the first chunk is comfortable and synced, move on to the next harmonic chunk.

- I wholeheartedly second recording yourself, that will give you the cold, hard truth about what your playing actually sounds like instead of the ideal sound in your head that somewhat filters this truth out.

Offline raoul duke

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Re: Requesting elder wisdom - rhythmical lefthanding
Reply #4 on: August 16, 2020, 12:48:40 AM
Thanks to all two and a half of you. These are some genuinely good advice. I particularly like both the dry humping percussive exercises as well as the idea of isolating lh-figurations and giving them the drunken boxing treatment as far as tempo and vivacity is concerned. Even making them melodies in their own right for a while. It seems an exceptionally strong tool for truly "internalizing" the playing of the particular section, the more I think on it. I also am profoundly unsurprised by the epiphany that it - here being all things - can be achieved with, quote-unquote, maximum practice. Thanks j_tour for that, it somehow makes me laugh and cry all at once.

I thank you both by pointing out the fine personality trait of downplaying in humble fashion your elderness when you are clearly both bursting with plentiful wisdom!

Online j_tour

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Re: Requesting elder wisdom - rhythmical lefthanding
Reply #5 on: August 16, 2020, 06:02:12 AM
I also am profoundly unsurprised by the epiphany that it - here being all things - can be achieved with, quote-unquote, maximum practice. Thanks j_tour for that, it somehow makes me laugh and cry all at once.

Hey, man. 

It's not an art unless there's blood spilled on the ice!

:)

FTR, I disagree with the idea of recording oneself.  That has its place, and you should do it for fun, but I think that's probably a little bit ahead of your particular musicianship problem. 

By all means play, and listen, as I'm sure you do, but abstract away the rhythmic elements and isolate them away from the keyboard, which, since you say you have the notes, is not going to do you any good.  At the best, you'll be reinforcing a defective concept of the music, and I think that's far worse than taking a step back and relearning the music without any relationship to the keyboard.

Or, play the specific parts on a different instrument:  whatever happens to be handy.

Purely as a sua sponte, you're head is going to get messed up if you think of the music as so tightly bound to the composer's arrangement.  In this case, piano. 

It's just music, right?  So abstract away all of the technical aspects and make sure you can do it upside-down, sideways, and all of that.

I'm not advocating doing stunts like inverting the parts between LH and RH, but you should be certain that you really know and understand the music away from the keyboard.
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.
 

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