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Help! I can't keep the beat
#1173259 04/02/09 01:29 PM
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I am learning a Bach Prelude and Fugue (A flat major, Book I) and am having quite a problem keeping the tempo steady in the Prelude. I can play it reasonably up to speed (96-100 bpm) and have it memorized. When I practice with the metronome I am okay, but as soon as I turn it off, my tempo is all over the map, with a tendancy to speed up in certain passages. My teacher says I need to feel the beat internally, like a pulse, especially the first beat of each bar. She has suggested I practice it accenting the beginning beat of each bar, but I still have not improved when not using the metronome. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how one develops that internal sense? I have concluded I do not come by it naturally and hope it can be learned.

Re: Help! I can't keep the beat
jehalliday #1173261 04/02/09 01:33 PM
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Marching Band. Excellent training for internalized beat.

Failing that...walk with a metronome. (can you get a metronome beat on your ipod I wonder?). Or walk while listening to a _good_, _even_ recording of it. Maybe record yourself playing with the metronome and walk listening to that?

(perhaps I should state the obvious....step with the beat...left foot on 1 and 3 and right foot on 2 and 4)


Adult Amateur Pianist

My only domestic quality is that I live in a house.
Re: Help! I can't keep the beat
ProdigalPianist #1173317 04/02/09 02:53 PM
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It might not be an issue of internal rhythm, it could be confidence.


I think it's like every other challenge that musicians have; you must play it slowly at first. Once you're able to keep the beat, incrementally raise the tempo until you can play it evenly at the appropriate speed. Even if I have memorized a piece if I am not completely confident with it I will slow down or speed up depending on how challenging I find a specific part. Although it's tedious, I have always found that slowing down will be the answer to my problem.




Re: Help! I can't keep the beat
bachchica #1173328 04/02/09 03:07 PM
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Jeepers, I am going through the same thing with an easy Bach piece in Anna's notebook. It is 3/4 time and the trills get me messed up so I am using the 2 beat in each measure as a kind of marker. I am also using the metronome.

I agree with PP above, I use the metronome for just about everything including scales in order to hammer the beat concept into my head. I use a quartz metronome so I am just about always changing speeds which I think helps.

Good thread!


"The true character of a man can be determined by witnessing what he does when no one is watching".

anon
Re: Help! I can't keep the beat
Stevester #1173337 04/02/09 03:19 PM
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Just practice individual bars on their own, and try and keep the beat within them. Then practice two bars together (overlapping the pairs, if you get what I mean), still keeping the beat steady. Slow down as much as necessary. Just keep increasing the size of the sections you practice.

Last edited by kievins; 04/02/09 03:20 PM.
Re: Help! I can't keep the beat
bachchica #1173453 04/02/09 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by bachchica
It might not be an issue of internal rhythm, it could be confidence.Even if I have memorized a piece if I am not completely confident with it I will slow down or speed up depending on how challenging I find a specific part. Although it's tedious, I have always found that slowing down will be the answer to my problem.


Precisely my problem and my cure.


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: Help! I can't keep the beat
gooddog #1173499 04/02/09 07:54 PM
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one cannot always trust one's internal rhythms, which is the reason to use the metronome to check out playing tempo and pace. try to set the metronome tempo slower than your current tempo and follow it strictly a few times before playing without it.

Re: Help! I can't keep the beat
jehalliday #1173529 04/02/09 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by jehalliday
...When I practice with the metronome I am okay, but as soon as I turn it off, my tempo is all over the map, with a tendancy to speed up in certain passages. My teacher says I need to feel the beat internally, like a pulse, especially the first beat of each bar.


What your teacher says is true, but it's much easier said than done. It takes a lot of time and patience to sync yourself with the metronome. But I've found out that once you do, it'll stick with you for life. And the fact that you realized you have a tendency to speed up in certain passages is a good sign. It means you know you have to maintain and to control your tempo. I'd suggest doing a lot of Hanon and scales at slower tempos first, even starting out with an eighth-note pulse first, and really really listening to your metronome. Get a digital one like the Korg KDM-2 which comes with different sounds, and a volume control.

Good luck, and remember, lots of patience!

Re: Help! I can't keep the beat
Philip Yeoh #1173531 04/02/09 09:25 PM
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Try using the metronome for larger and larger groups. If you have been using it for individual beats, try slowing it down and counting one beat per measure. If your metronome will go even slower, divide into groups of measures according to the phrasing of the piece.

This will not only help with your timing, it will help you shape the phrasing, something that is sadly lacking in many performances these days.


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Re: Help! I can't keep the beat
BDB #1173575 04/02/09 10:44 PM
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i think your teacher's advice was good(emphasizing the first note) you'll get it!

it took me years of playing with others to really be able to keep an intentionally steady tempo. it seems like it comes so easily to some people. i think regular and creative use of the metronome will help.


accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
Re: Help! I can't keep the beat
jehalliday #2091912 05/30/13 02:44 AM
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hi guys
i am having the same problem, meaning i am ok if i have metronome or someone/somehow keeps the beat, but I cannot count / beat my foot while playing....i simply find difficult to separate foot and hands.
I am now struggling with a beat like this:
Tempo: 3/4
first note: 1/8th + a dot, so it's 3/16 in total
second note: 1/16th
third note: 2/4

my problem is that i keep the second note too short, too fast.
The teacher suggested to count the 16th in my head to help, but as I said I found it difficult

Re: Help! I can't keep the beat
Lorcar #2091919 05/30/13 02:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Lorcar
hi guys
i am having the same problem, meaning i am ok if i have metronome or someone/somehow keeps the beat, but I cannot count / beat my foot while playing....i simply find difficult to separate foot and hands.
I am now struggling with a beat like this:
Tempo: 3/4
first note: 1/8th + a dot, so it's 3/16 in total
second note: 1/16th
third note: 2/4

my problem is that i keep the second note too short, too fast.
The teacher suggested to count the 16th in my head to help, but as I said I found it difficult


1-e-and-a /2-e-and-a .... for your 16ths. So for your 3 notes:
[1-e-and][-a] / [2........... / 3.............]

You can work it out away from the piano, tapping it, chanting it, humming it etc., then transfer it to the piano.

Re: Help! I can't keep the beat
keystring #2091951 05/30/13 06:07 AM
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thanks, but i am sorry i am struggling to understand what you wrote
I would rather think
(first note):1-two-three
(second ntoe): 1
(third note): 1-two-three-....eight


Re: Help! I can't keep the beat
Lorcar #2092025 05/30/13 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Lorcar

Tempo: 3/4
first note: 1/8th + a dot, so it's 3/16 in total
second note: 1/16th
third note: 2/4

Originally Posted by Lorcar

thanks, but i am sorry i am struggling to understand what you wrote
I would rather think
(first note):1-two-three
(second ntoe): 1
(third note): 1-two-three-....eight


That's your problem: that technique makes it harder.

Here is a measure full of 16ths in 3/4. Each syllable is a 16th:

ONE-ee-and-uh TWO-ee-and-uh THREE-ee-and-uh

Here's the same thing with the syllables that fall within a note's duration surrounded by parantheses:

ONE(-ee-and-)uh TWO(-ee-and-uh THREE-ee-and-uh)

Strike a note on each syllable that isn't inside parentheses.

-Andy



Re: Help! I can't keep the beat
jehalliday #2092083 05/30/13 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by jehalliday
I am learning a Bach Prelude and Fugue (A flat major, Book I) and am having quite a problem keeping the tempo steady in the Prelude. I can play it reasonably up to speed (96-100 bpm) and have it memorized. When I practice with the metronome I am okay, but as soon as I turn it off, my tempo is all over the map, with a tendancy to speed up in certain passages. My teacher says I need to feel the beat internally, like a pulse, especially the first beat of each bar. She has suggested I practice it accenting the beginning beat of each bar, but I still have not improved when not using the metronome. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how one develops that internal sense? I have concluded I do not come by it naturally and hope it can be learned.

What work have you done trying to keep a steady tempo away from the piece?

I have this nasty habit (never before mentioned to anyone) where I keep time with whatever is pulsing near me just to see if I can keep time with whatever is pulsing near me. If I'm filling my gas tank, I try to keep time with the changing numbers (counting in my head without looking). As a result of decades of doing this, I'm pretty good with mental tempo. But I wasn't before I tried "other" kinds of practice. wink


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
Re: Help! I can't keep the beat
bachchica #2092107 05/30/13 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by bachchica
Although it's tedious, I have always found that slowing down will be the answer to my problem.


This is so often the answer to many piano playing problems.

I have been teaching for many years, and it is hard to recall any single lesson with any student where "Go Slower" was not mentioned.


Piano teacher.
Re: Help! I can't keep the beat
jehalliday #2092116 05/30/13 11:31 AM
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I think we can all hope that jehalliday, who started this thread over four years ago, has solved some of his tempo problems, has mastered the A-flat major Prelude and Fugue, and has subsequently moved on to greater things.

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: Help! I can't keep the beat
BruceD #2092117 05/30/13 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
I think we can all hope that jehalliday, who started this thread over four years ago, has solved some of his tempo problems, has mastered the A-flat major Prelude and Fugue, and has subsequently moved on to greater things.

Regards,

The question is being asked by Lorcar now, who is asking for help at this time. That is whom we are helping.

Re: Help! I can't keep the beat
keystring #2092118 05/30/13 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by BruceD
I think we can all hope that jehalliday, who started this thread over four years ago, has solved some of his tempo problems, has mastered the A-flat major Prelude and Fugue, and has subsequently moved on to greater things.

Regards,

The question is being asked by Lorcar now, who is asking for help at this time. That is whom we are helping.


I know that; I can read.

I was just expressing a hope for jehalliday.


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Re: Help! I can't keep the beat
jehalliday #2092139 05/30/13 11:58 AM
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Ah, I misunderstood. Sometimes old threads get revived - and though you can read, not everyone does. smile

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