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Am I cheating at piano practice...?
#1269060 09/15/09 11:05 PM
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Ok, I've sort of asked this before,
but I'm finally honing in on the EXACT question I'm trying to ask.
Bear with me in explaining the background...

We've all read the standard notation versus "other" notation debates.
I'm NOT asking about which is best. But it is a question ALONG these lines.

If I have a standard notation score that is just plain a better rendition
of the song than a midi file I have, well,
I'll prefer the standard notation, of course.
I don't want to waste my time with a lame rendition of a song.

If I have the exact same rendition of a song I want to learn available in
EQUAL quality in a midi file so I can use piano roll notation
( as in one of the 2 top videos on http://pianocheater.com/VIDEO.html )

AND in standard notation on a printed page
( that I can scan and have page turns done for me automatically
- bottom video on that page )

well, I'll choose to learn from piano roll.
You don't have to agree with that. We're talkin' bout me here smile

(I know, get to the question, but this framing is important)


I've got a very simplified version of Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" from
http://gmajormusictheory.org/Freebies/freebies4.html
The midi file and the sheet .pdf are almost exactly the same.

Now, I could have started with the 5 page .pdf and trudged through the lines and
spaces to get the notes.
But I went the piano roll route with my wierd little app and
can get through the song without stopping TOO much in the 3rd play of it.
(One day's practice - went through it twice in about 15 mins.)
On the 3rd time through at piano practice, my piano teacher can verify that
it may not have been smooth, but it really wasn't too bad!

It's NOT a difficult rendition and I could probably get through all the
lines and spaces in about 2 or 3 days' practice (of about 45 mins per day).

Originally she saw my little app (piano roll notation) "in action" with a
much shorter 12 bar blues snippet.
Her first reaction was "THAT'S CHEATING" !!
That sort of resonated with me and so that's what I named my app laugh

I've been taking lessons for a little over 2 years now.
And I've been trying to learn piano for longer. (Trust me - take lessons.)

I can read sheet music pretty well.
But my fingers don't go RIGHT to where the lines and spaces and sharps SAY.
YET. They will some day. There's no getting around learning standard notation.
I think everyone can agree on that.

Ok, FINALLY WITH THE QUESTION (I hope you didn't skip ahead)...



Is it CHEATING to skip reading the key signature and not bother with
whether the white key to the right of the one you just played is a D or an E?

Let me try that again.

Is it CHEATING to start with the actual KEYS you need to hit instead of
interpretting the line/space into a note of the 7 tone scale adjusted per the
key signature and sharps/flats/naturals?


On the one hand, I see the value of knowing the music theory and the
standard notation shows the 7 tone scale adjusted per a key sig.
With the sharps and flats and naturals and all that.

That's what I call INTERPRETTING.
I'll be good at that some day.
But I think we can ALSO all agree that being able to do that
"interpretting" in your head on the fly is something that takes practice.
Lord knows I've put in MY time at it.
I'm definitely better. I can sight read REALLY simple "3 notes at a time max"
songs, well, not too badly if I do say so myself.


Is it =cheating= to SKIP that interpretting?
And just start with the raw black/white key shown on screen?


standard notation has music theory behind it.
and I ain't no expert in that.

But I've proven to myself which I can learn faster.
And once I memorize a song, I haven't needed to remember whether I'm hitting
the tonic or 4 halfsteps up, etc.

My fingers (and brain) are trained to PERFORM it.

I can see the music theory stuff great for composition.
But for performing, why do I care that it's the 2nd tone of the scale sharped?

So hopefully some of you brighter types can tell me if this truly is cheating?
And ideally include why. I'm a computer programmer.
Sooo, well, that WHY thing is important.

If I get a good enough answer,
I promise to quit writing huge long posts like this laugh


http://PianoCheetah.app - my weird piano practice program
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Re: Am I cheating at piano practice...?
Stephen Hazel #1269072 09/15/09 11:46 PM
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The only thing you'd be "cheating" is yourself out of practice. Whether or not that matters, I would say is entirely up to you and your goals. If your goal is just to play some songs and have fun then I say cheat all you like, if your goal is to get really good at reading than you're not doing the best you could to achieve that goal.

Personally, I'm not very good at piano at all, seeing as I played one semester in college 3 or 4 years ago and have only been back at it for about 2.5 weeks now. I can play a few of the songs from that page (it's one of the sites I started teaching myself from). I don't take lessons, though I have the advantage of having played sax for many years and therefor being very familiar with notation.

Often what I see when I come to these forums is people who, in my opinion, are taking themselves too seriously. They will argue about every little thing and surely they will tell you that not reading normally is cheating. They'll also tell me that I should "just take lessons" but you see.. I don't care. I play for myself, for fun, that's it. I have no goal of ever playing any song for anyone. I have no goal of playing fancy sonatas or being the "best I can be" or getting to any point quickly.

If for the rest of my life no other human hears a single note played by me: I'm totally ok with that. Everyday I enjoy just playing by myself. Working out notes, learning, exercising my mind and my creativity. For me that is the only goal of playing piano and absolutely nothing else matters.

I say do whatever makes you happy and don't worry about what other people think.

Oh any by the way, that's a pretty cool program you've got going there. It's like you made a version of guitar hero for piano. Personally it'd be a lot easier for me to just read the music (because I'm used to it) but that's still pretty damn awesome. Good work.

Re: Am I cheating at piano practice...?
Stephen Hazel #1269077 09/15/09 11:51 PM
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I think it depends on what your goals are. I've checked out your app and I think it's totally nifty idea and I respect how you've carried through and implemented it. But I wouldn't use it personally because what it "chaats" on are a big parts of what I want to learn.

First, I want to learn to read music as fluently as I am personally capapble of. As I said in another thread, my goal is to be able to spend a rainy afternoon with my piano and a tunebook, and enjoy exploring music I've never heard before, translating from notes on the page to musical vibrations in the air. And it seems logical to me that the more time I spend reading sheet music, the better I'll get at it.

Also, I'm used to be a math/computer person myself, and music theory appeals to my mathematical side, as seeing patterns in abstract symbol manipulation. I like correlating the patterns of sound I hear to meaningful shapes in music theory, like recognizing a melodic shift from tonic to dominant, or spotting I, IV, V7 chords or arpeggios... and seeing these patterns in notation helps me to learn what to listen for.

I don't know quite how to explain it -- as a math person, I've always felt the structure and patterns of music when I listened, but learning theory helps me attach names to the phenomena that have always just been familiar classes of sound to me. And because I'm quick at decoding patterns from abstract symbols, I can look at sheet music and semi-automatically parse out the theory, which in turn helps me name what I'm hearing so I can remember it better.

And that makes it easier for me to play the melodies of my piano pieces on my tin whistle, even though the whistle is diatonic and only plays in a couple of keys. It doesn't matter what key it's in, 'cos once I know the shape of the tune, I can play it in any key.

I'm not whether this will make sense to anyone but me, but those are the reasons why I find it rewarding to work from notation, instead of just using a computer program to teach me the right notes to play.


Please step aside. You're standing in your own way.
Re: Am I cheating at piano practice...?
tangleweeds #1269080 09/16/09 12:01 AM
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I'm so confused! I really don't understand what you are reading instead of a score. Are you looking at a graphic of a keyboard showing the notes to play? And are there fingerings? My CTK 591 has a pretty big LCD screen and shows a keyboard with the notes coming up and a voice shrieks the fingers if I don't play fast enough. I don't use it often, but I don't think it hurts. I just find it easier to read music at this point, and I got that way by reading a lot of it.

Now my daughter and I take guitar lessons, and when the teacher has guitar tablature (a graphic display of notes on the fretboard) next to the score, I read the notes because tab doesn't show the rhythmic value of the note, and anyway it just confuses me.

I struggled a long time to get to be a decent reader, still not a great or fast sight reader, but in just a couple of years it's really improved.

So I guess if you want to be able to read music, which doesn't just apply to piano, but every other instrument, universally accepted, why do the other thing, whatever it is?

It's not cheating, but it's not like guitar tab which is something that is used by many guitarists. I've never heard of it, not that I'm an expert.

Eventually if you keep plugging away, you'll find that reading music is way easier, the staffs are just a graphic representation of the keyboard anyway.


Last edited by Nikalette; 09/16/09 12:03 AM.
Re: Am I cheating at piano practice...?
Nikalette #1269084 09/16/09 12:11 AM
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By the way: your software *looks* cool but it just crashes instantly opening opening it frown

I was able to configure the midi settings by following your tutorial but once you try and launch the actual software it just instantly crashes. I clicked the button to let it send you an email. Just a simple 32bit XP SP3 system here.

Re: Am I cheating at piano practice...?
rek #1269094 09/16/09 12:39 AM
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Rek:
I won't be cheating myself out of practice of standard sheet music.
I find that WELL over half the time the rendition in standard notation is
better than any midi renditions I come across.
So I still get PLENTY of standard notation practice.
Hence the auto scrolling scanned sheet music biz.
And I'm like you in that I just play for me.

Also, about the crashing, I never got the email it TRIED to send off.
If you could email what's in that dialog to me directly at
stephen.hazel@gmail.com I'd really appreciate it.
It's tough to stomp bugs when you're the only tester.
And, well, that's why it's still freeware
and will remain so for quiiite some time smile


Tangleweeds:
I'm with you about likin' the math angle.
But I think that seeing a major chord as 4 half steps plus another 3
shows up just as good if not better on the key grid rather than on
the 7 tone scale with some halfsteps sort of "hidden".


Nikalette:
When I refer to piano roll notation, you'll need to go to the link in the original
message Or click the pianocheater.com link in my signature and then click the videos link.
If you can already "interpret" standard notation FAST, then can you see an
advantage to doing that interpretting versus going straight from the piano keys?




So I still don't quite have an answer to my question.

Sure, you may prefer standard notation.
I totally get that. That's cool.

But is there something good about the INTERPRETTING of standard notation that I'm
MISSING when I start straight from seeing piano keys?


http://PianoCheetah.app - my weird piano practice program
Re: Am I cheating at piano practice...?
Stephen Hazel #1269145 09/16/09 06:07 AM
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Hi Steve,

My teacher once made a comment to me that I think applies to your question. The comment was something along the lines of: Part of piano teaching is getting inside your students heads so you understand what they are doing, why they are doing it, and what they are missing. So essentially, piano teaching is part mind reading, and answering your question is part mind reading as well. I'm not very good at mind reading. :P

What I see in your notation program are the following features:
Notation of
  • pitch
  • duration
  • some degree of fingering
  • beat
  • meter
  • from the duration information there is some degree of indication of attack (legato, staccato, etc.)

What I don't see are the following:
  • dynamics
  • variation of tempo
  • expression
  • exact detail of attack
  • variation of beat and meter (I don't believe that this information comes from the midi file, so do you have a way of dealing with a piece that switches from 2/4 to 3/4?)
  • pedaling

Also, how well does your notation help with analysis of the piece? Can you easily see the music modulate from key to key or is that lost in the keys? (Pun intended!) Modulation adds tension and drama to the music and you should be changing your interpretation based on this. Analysis is also important for memorization.

Hope you can find some answers to your question in the above comments.

Rich


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Re: Am I cheating at piano practice...?
DragonPianoPlayer #1269216 09/16/09 09:25 AM
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Some people are playing by ear or use fake book are they cheating because they don't use sheet music?

Steve, if you want some really good midi file recorded by advanced pianist go to
http://www.classicalarchives.com/

Serge








“To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts - such is the duty of the artist.”
- Robert Schumann

Re: Am I cheating at piano practice...?
Serge88 #1269250 09/16/09 10:41 AM
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As another user also said, as long as you are clear about your goal, there is nothing wrong or cheating about what you are doing. If your goal is just to play that piece, a written music just tells you what is there to be played. If you turn the written music to MIDI and then show it in some graphical way that helps your to learn faster, why not?

But for some who are into theory, composition, arrangement, they need to study the relations and know what exactly is going on. Musical notation might be better in those areas.

Or some might have dealt with musical notation so much that they read it just like we read English. I mean, to them, they don't have the need to going through another channel, and that's fine too.

With the advancement of computer, I can see this kind of things happening more. For me (a computer engineer too), I don't need the computer to turn into that scale for learning to play, but after I study a long piece by myself, I often have the feeling that I might have played a few notes wrong, so it would be good to use a software to take a score, convert to MIDI and show each note slowly on a keyboard on the screen. Or alternatively, I can play and record in MIDI and have it compared to the MIDI from the score.

Use whatever method to help you play better/easier.


Dave
Re: Am I cheating at piano practice...?
Serge88 #1269252 09/16/09 10:46 AM
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DragonPianoPlayer:
> What I don't see are the following:
> dynamics

This is just a text label called a "marker" that will show
up in the title bar when the time arrives.
FF, P, etc... Any of the textual markers in sheet music
show up in the main window when their time arrives.
Or show up as control events in the printed out version of
this notation.

> variation of tempo

Tempo changes are displayed in the main window as well.
And are printed out as a control change.
(Sorry, by main window I mean the top level one of the
app, not the note display window.)

> expression
> exact detail of attack

I'm not quite sure exactly what you're referring to here...
phrasing? velocity? Velocity shows up on printout as a
color ranging from blue to yellow (rainbow range) meaning
velocity 1..127.
Phrasing would show up as a combination of velocity and
release durations... That's where things do start to
get messy...

> variation of beat and meter (I don't believe that this information comes from
> the midi file, so do you have a way of dealing with a piece that switches from
> 2/4 to 3/4?)

Yes, this is stored in the midi file in a timesignature change event.
It's a type of control change in the midi file format,
but not trasmitted from keyboard to synth.
I display a thick line between measures, less thick lines on the beat,
and you can set a "subbeat" where thin lines show up.
For example, 2/4 with subbeat=3 would be used by moonlight sonata.

> pedaling

that's a control change, too. (Hold pedal)
Shows up in the printed out notation.

> Also, how well does your notation help with analysis of the piece?
> Can you easily see the music modulate...

Well, you're seeing all 12 tones with this notation.
Not a 7 tone scale with a kajillion adjustments to it.
So a passage modulating from, say a root of C to a root of F
has exactly the same shape, the keys may change color, but
the shape they make will be identical. Well, if the modulated
passage is identical.


Serge88:
You're sort of restating my question...:)
And thanks for the link, but it's in my pile.



Ok, I'm still not sure I've got the RIGHT answer.
But so far, it SEEMS like I'm not cheating by skipping the
interpretation process of standard notation IF the keys
are made directly available to me in a midi file.

I think we can all agree that everyone should get as good as
they can at DOING that interpretation FAST.
Scores won't always be delivered to you in a midi file.

But if they are, I'm not thinkin' I should feel guilty about
not having to turn the lines and spaces into keys.


So a question for a later date might be, why do we have a
7 tone scale limit in standard sheet music.
I guess the major scale rules.
But so much music will just ignore the scale and "jam" all
12 tones into the song, eh?


I guess "cheating" is not a good thing to have in the question...
Too vague.

Anyways, any further answers to, umm,
"am I losing anything by starting with the piano key rather
than interpretting the lines and spaces and sharps and keysigs"??

would still be appreciated laugh


http://PianoCheetah.app - my weird piano practice program
Re: Am I cheating at piano practice...?
Stephen Hazel #1269261 09/16/09 11:11 AM
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DaveInMichigan:
That was pretty concise.
So it seems to me that if I'm just trying to PERFORM a piece,
I wouldn't NECEssarily have to worry about it's structure in great detail.
I guess Jazz would be an exception where you take apart the structure
and restring it...

I guess I'm kind of hung up on the "why the 7 tone limit" biz with the
interpretation to get around it...
When, as a computer programmer, 12 tones just seems more "direct".


So, ok. I don't THINK it's cheating then.
As long as I'm still trying to get GOOD at standard notation in parallel.

I'm not sure what the future holds in this area.
But I'm thinkin' that I'll never be as fast reading standard notation
as I can be with piano roll notation.
At least as far as getting notes into my fingers.


http://PianoCheetah.app - my weird piano practice program
Re: Am I cheating at piano practice...?
Stephen Hazel #1269263 09/16/09 11:16 AM
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As long as the end result it you want it to be and you are satisfied with it I don't think it's cheating at all.

Some teachers are "old school" and think there is only one way to learn. I disagree with that theory. There are many ways to learn.

As you said you already understand the importance of learning theory and you can already read well. But, sometimes you just need to play....


“The doubters said, "Man cannot fly," The doers said, "Maybe, but we'll try,"
And finally soared in the morning glow while non-believers watched from below.”
― Bruce Lee
Re: Am I cheating at piano practice...?
Stephen Hazel #1269283 09/16/09 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Stephen Hazel

Is it CHEATING to start with the actual KEYS you need to hit instead of
interpretting the line/space into a note of the 7 tone scale adjusted per the
key signature and sharps/flats/naturals?


This is intriguing.

I never thought I'd say that. It's fairly common for somebody to show up with a new notation system that's going to revolutionize music performance, but they're often so fanatical you can't get any sense out of them. I just "tune" them out.

Your 12 note theory actually makes sense.

I've been reading standard notation for about 47 years now, give or take. . There is no processing gap for me. I don't see C and convert to C#, I see C# immediately. Moreover, I hear C#, and if I'm sightsinging I know what it sounds like.

It's hard for me to read any other notation. I've tried playing guitar hero with the kids and I suck; it's easy for them, far easier than reading notes would be.

I couldn't try your program but I guess it's similar to what smarin does on youtube, or playstation games.

It seems that your system conveys rhythm only in real time - I can't look ahead and know precisely what is indicated.

For me, the sense of tonality helps me sightread, and I like having the key signature. But maybe you derive that differently.

If I'm understanding correctly, you have converted a digital notation system into an analogue one. Instead of a note being on a line or space, either or, a 1 or a 0, your note is so many inches above baseline? And instead of a note being precisely 1.5 beats long, it is somewhere around 1.7345 inches long? It seems to me that you should lose precision going from digital to analog, but you might gain speed by eliminating a mental processing step.


gotta go practice
Re: Am I cheating at piano practice...?
TimR #1269310 09/16/09 12:12 PM
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As others have said, it depends on what you want to accomplish. But I will throw this out: a midi file is NEVER the same as the printed score. A midi file is one particular realization of the printed score but does not capture all of the musical representation in the printed score that allows you to create your own realization from that score, which is what people who practice from the score are doing.


Paul Buchanan
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Re: Am I cheating at piano practice...?
TimR #1269311 09/16/09 12:12 PM
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As a guitarist and guitar teacher I'm very familiar with the tabulature that Nikalette already mentioned in her post. I agree with her that it's fairly analogous to piano roll editors which try to represent the instrument physically. While I'd never consider using a piano roll editor, or tab, to be cheating I do think that in comparison to standard notation it's actually a very slow way of learning a piece. It's true that it takes a good deal of time to begin to read standard notation at a reasonable speed, but once you do it's a much faster way of learning a piece because your eye is recognizing patterns and intervals that aren't expressed as efficiently using a piano roll editor, (Or tabs for that matter). As someone who started with tabulature I can tell you that once I learned standard notation I felt liberated and could work through things much more quickly. In fact I encourage my students to get up and reading standard notation as soon as possible because, along with ultimately being quicker, I think it fosters a better understanding of your chosen instrument and music in general - even when just listening.

You don't necessarily have to invest yourself in theory to get better at reading standard notation, in fact I know plenty of pianists whose music theory is pretty rudimentary. Having said that if you ever do decide you want to know about how to build chords/scales et cetera, knowing how to read standard notation well will make it a much more concrete experience.

There is a 12 tone scale actually, it's called the Chromatic Scale. Even in Avant Garde Jazz though most musicians play in scales or modes that have a relationship with the key the piece is written in. To touch on something that TimR said, knowing the key signature in standard notation helps you understand the tonality of a piece. By effectively limiting the notes in a piece to those that are enharmonic to the key signature your brain can more quickly decipher what's happening. (Obviously you have notes that are considered 'out' or 'blue' in lots of music, but the overall sound of a piece will usually be focused around the key signature.) I think the best way to think of any scale is to think of it as a focus rather than as a limiter. You lose that focus to a large extent when you use the Chromatic scale. The Chromatic scale sounds rather dissonant and dare I say unmusical when it's played exclusively. It really has a lot to do with what our ears are accustomed to hearing and find musically to be appealing. There's a lot of great music written with all 12 tones in mind though and some really challenges preconceptions about what is musical.

Personally I think you should feel free to learn songs however you see fit, whether it's with a piano roll editor, a score, or by ear. Do whatever works for you and you enjoy. I do think that if you concentrated on learning from scores that you'd ultimately find it to be fastest though. If on the other hand you find you can really fly using the piano roll editor then go for it man.

All the best, and thanks for asking a question which prompted me to contribute to the forum for the first time.

Will

Re: Am I cheating at piano practice...?
Nikalette #1269322 09/16/09 12:28 PM
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I don't think what you are doing is cheating and if you like it, why not? When I play guitar, sometimes I look at the tab, because I never learned how to play above the 1st position on guitar, so when notes are written above about the G above the treble staff, I have no clue where they are! So for riffs up the neck of the guitar (and most good guitarists play up the neck) I have to read tab and it's easier up there.

As long as you're reading music also, I don't think it will slow your sight reading skills down. I'm going to go back and look at it again. I'm such an auditory and kinetic learner, and your roll/midi thing is so visual, that it doesn't work for me at all at first glance.

Re: Am I cheating at piano practice...?
Nikalette #1269545 09/16/09 07:05 PM
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This is very interesting to me. I have been playing the piano and reading music since I was about 8 (I'm 22 now), so reading music is almost as second nature to me as reading a book. For me there is no processing gap between the notes on the page and the corresponding notes on the keyboard, however that is not to say there is no gap between the notes on the page and their theoretical interpretation. For me the theoretical interpretation does not come easily from just reading music while playing the piano; instead, I generally read the score away from the instrument to get a good understanding of the theory behind the piece. So reading to play and reading to interpret for me are two different endeavors (less so with simpler pieces and more so with complex pieces) whereas it seems that you are striving to do both at the same time. I guess what I'm trying to say is that interpreting on the fly is a skill that takes a *very* long time to develop. I started developing this skill to a much greater extent after taking music theory classes my first couple years in college, and I would recommend if you are really interested in theory to get a theory textbook (such as Benward) and work through it, which I think you could do with patience.

I don't think you are cheating yourself if your aim is to quickly becoming physically fluent in your pieces, but if your aim is to learn to read and interpret standard notation, then I would say that time spent practicing with another notation is time not spent developing standard notation reading skills, but a separate skill altogether.

Earlier, I think you asked in passing why the music staff is not read for all 12 tones. The answer is history. The music the staff was designed for did not require a staff that would show all 12 tones! The staff/clef system started its development in the medieval period with Gregorian chant and gradually they added lines until they had the 5 line staff we know today. So, the music the staff was designed for was mostly based on consonant and dissonant intervals rather than 'key signatures' as we know them today. By the end of the Renaissance or so the 5 line staff became the standard and it hasn't been updated since. Only in the last 100 years or so has the system even been conceived of as cumbersome with the rise of chromaticism (playing with notes outside the key) in the end of the Romantic period and the invention of the 12-tone method of composition by Schoenberg in the early 20th century, which throws the whole idea of key signatures out the window and uses every note equally (generally not particularly enjoyable to listen to, but it has its merits and it has influenced every classical composer since). However, since most everyone is pretty used to the standard notation system as it is there hasn't been any truly universal attempt to come up with something better.

Sorry for the really long post/lecture, but if you read the whole thing I hope you found some interesting tidbits you can look into some more as all of that is a huge paraphrase and deserves to be read about in more depth than this.

Re: Am I cheating at piano practice...?
wmlang #1269548 09/16/09 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by wmlang
knowing the key signature in standard notation helps you understand the tonality of a piece. By effectively limiting the notes in a piece to those that are enharmonic to the key signature your brain can more quickly decipher what's happening... I think the best way to think of any scale is to think of it as a focus rather than as a limiter.


Also, I just wanted to say... this is an excellent description of the way I think about music when I see it in standard notation. The key signature is essentially a filter just like Will says here.

Also, this is why it is important to practice your scales/arpeggios that your teacher might assign... so that the visual filter of the key signature has a physical/kinesthetic reference to material that can be executed with very little thought/effort.

Re: Am I cheating at piano practice...?
Stephen Hazel #1269555 09/16/09 07:22 PM
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"Let me try that again.

Is it CHEATING to start with the actual KEYS you need to hit instead of
interpretting the line/space into a note of the 7 tone scale adjusted per the
key signature and sharps/flats/naturals?"

I think I'm getting your question now. You are looking at a graphic of the physical notes on the piano without looking at any musical notes. Much like my toy Casio CTK 591, which has a picture of the keyboard and shows the key to strike.

I got lost with your statement about interpreting the line/space into a note of the 7 tone scale adjusted per the key signature and sharps/flats/naturals.

That's really an unusual question. Most pieces aren't just written within the 7 tones of the scale. Of course, you know there are 12 tones in Western music.

But the main point is, when you are reading sheet music you aren't interpreting a line/ space into a note. The sound you are producing is a specific note in our 12 tone chromatic scale. To produce that note on the piano, there is only one place to play it. To record what that note is, the composer follows standard notation to place that note on the staff in the exact spot where the player will understand which note to play and for how long. It is really no different than what you are doing, which is looking at a different system of notating a musical sound on a graphic. The difference is that you are skipping the written score and choosing to look at a representation of the sound on the keyboard.

It seems more cumbersome than standard notation, which can record the composers music, however dense and complex, in a fairly small space.

I'm not arguing with your enjoyment or use of this system, but the conceptual framework you use for asserting that your system is somehow more intuitive and natural.

Your system is specific only to the piano. I enjoy using my Casio to practice sometimes. It's fun to look at the graphic representation of the keyboard and hear the shrill recorded voice scolding me with a finger number if I don't keep up with the programmed time. But I often have to put the sheet music on also, to make it easier.

Just a few thoughts.

Re: Am I cheating at piano practice...?
Nikalette #1269629 09/16/09 09:24 PM
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Steven,

Based on the answers you gave above, I would say that this notation is complete enough that it is no more cheating than learning to play by ear.

The missing points are:
Expression: A score will often read a phrase like dolce to indicate that the section is to be played sweetly. It sounds like this is also at the top of your system.

Attacks: Can you distinguish between staccatissimo and 32nd or 64th notes? Between staccato and 16th notes? There is a difference - staccato and staccatissimo are played with a looseness and potentially finger, wrist, or arm motions that you would not make for normal detached notes. It does change the percussiveness of the sound. (If that is even a word.) This is probably there in both velocity and duration

We will just have to agree to disagree about the importance of the tonal information. Locally, I see music as being mostly 7 tones for major and up to 9 tones for minor (add in the leading tone and raised 6th). Understanding what the composer is doing by modulating from key to key is becoming more and more important to me for memorization and interpretation. (I am not playing any music that extends very far beyond these limits.) Basically, I see patterns in the sheet music I am playing. I don't see how I would see these same patterns in your system.

Rich


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