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#1533192 - 10/11/10 03:02 PM What do you do with the difficult passages in pieces?  
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rov Offline
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Hi, What the best to attack the difficult passages in a piece?


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#1533198 - 10/11/10 03:21 PM Re: What do you do with the difficult passages in pieces? [Re: rov]  
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It depends. smile


"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)
#1533199 - 10/11/10 03:22 PM Re: What do you do with the difficult passages in pieces? [Re: rov]  
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Skip them.
Who needs the headache?

No, seriously start with the most difficult passages by dissecting them in a divide and conquer fashion.
Only after you have slowly learning the difficult passages move on to the easy parts.
Learn the fugue, then the prelude.

#1533201 - 10/11/10 03:23 PM Re: What do you do with the difficult passages in pieces? [Re: rov]  
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....but seriously folks..... smile

I think this would start covering the possibilities:

1. Practice smile
2. If that doesn't work, practice harder.
3. If that doesn't work, try to figure out exactly what's so hard, and why it's not coming, and see if you can figure out how to remedy it. Like.....
4. Changing your fingering (very common necessity). Or....
5. Something else.

If none of that works, maybe....

6. The piece is too hard for you. smile


"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)
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#1533206 - 10/11/10 03:35 PM Re: What do you do with the difficult passages in pieces? [Re: theJourney]  
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Originally Posted by theJourney
start with the most difficult passages by dissecting them in a divide and conquer fashion.
Only after you have slowly learning the difficult passages move on to the easy parts.

I agree. For example, in Mozart (my favorite) K331 1st movement, I started with variation 6 (the hardest one), then variation 5 (because for me the slow singing is hard to play well all the articulation), then the rest of the 1st movent.
On a sonata-form movement I start with the exposition and hardest passages from elsewhere. Only after I have exposition and developemnt memorized do I tackle the recapitulation in earnest.
Also, I give extra practice time to beginning and ending (first and last 10-20 measures, depending, of course). Nothing spoils a performance more than a shaky beginning or a messed up ending.


Jose
Kawai K5 - Kawai CA61
#1533208 - 10/11/10 03:41 PM Re: What do you do with the difficult passages in pieces? [Re: rov]  
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Originally Posted by rov
Hi, What the best to attack the difficult passages in a piece?


First.

#1533211 - 10/11/10 03:44 PM Re: What do you do with the difficult passages in pieces? [Re: Damon]  
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Originally Posted by Damon
Originally Posted by rov
Hi, What the best to attack the difficult passages in a piece?
First.

LOL!

Took me a while to come close to getting what you meant smile but I agree.
(And I see that Journey said it too.)


"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)
#1533213 - 10/11/10 03:44 PM Re: What do you do with the difficult passages in pieces? [Re: rov]  
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6. The piece is too hard for you.

But don't despair. Just one little addendum to Mark_C's post.

...at this point in your pianistic progress.


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#1533248 - 10/11/10 04:31 PM Re: What do you do with the difficult passages in pieces? [Re: rov]  
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I think of it this way. If a passage is too difficult to play, I need to simplify it so I can play it. And there are essentially 3 ways to do that:

1. Play one hand at a time.
2. Play slowly. (Or very, very, slowly.)
3. Play just a tiny fragment of it. Maybe just a few notes!

Sometimes you have to combine 2 or even all 3 of the above.

I sometimes ask my students to recite back to me all 3 methods, so I'll know they really know how to practice!

#1533253 - 10/11/10 04:36 PM Re: What do you do with the difficult passages in pieces? [Re: Bruce Siegel]  
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One variation on the original question (which I know has been covered elsewhere): speed.

If I'm trying to get a piece to q=144 and I can play it solidly at q=120, should I just practice it at q=120, and slowly try to raise that speed? Or is it worth my time to also practice it *much* slower, say at q=80 or even q=60?

-Jason


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
#1533264 - 10/11/10 04:46 PM Re: What do you do with the difficult passages in pieces? [Re: rov]  
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I would recommend skipping straight to the "dissection" stage, for those parts you know are going to be a problem. Most problems reduce to exactly two notes with an "impossible" transition between them, and when you solve the so-called impossible thing, then you can re-build everything else around it if necessary. Generally, practicing a whole passage will get you where you want to go - eventually; but it wastes a lot of your time to do that. If you eliminate all the easy parts, cutting out every note that's already OK, then you can tackle "just the bad stuff" head on and you'll be much more sure of your own progress.


(I'm a piano teacher.)
#1533268 - 10/11/10 04:52 PM Re: What do you do with the difficult passages in pieces? [Re: beet31425]  
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Originally Posted by beet31425
One variation on the original question (which I know has been covered elsewhere): speed.

If I'm trying to get a piece to q=144 and I can play it solidly at q=120, should I just practice it at q=120, and slowly try to raise that speed? Or is it worth my time to also practice it *much* slower, say at q=80 or even q=60?
Practicing at extreme slow speed (so slowly that the musicality is completely gone) can be very helpful. If you don't play slow enough to remove every trace of "music", then you don't get the same effect IMO. How slow that will turn out to be, depends on the piece.


(I'm a piano teacher.)
#1533269 - 10/11/10 04:54 PM Re: What do you do with the difficult passages in pieces? [Re: beet31425]  
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Jason, I find it useful to practice at a variety of tempos. Often it helps to gradually increase the tempo as you described. And, it can also be really useful to take a piece you can already play up to tempo, and practice it at a very slow tempo. It's amazing what little nuances and details you can continue to polish that way.

On the other hand, sometimes the only way to practice a passage effectively, is to take just a tiny portion of it—maybe just a few notes—and play it up to tempo right from the start! And that's because otherwise, you may be practicing a passage with fingering or technique that works well at a slow tempo, but does not work when you play up to tempo. Make sense?


#1533271 - 10/11/10 04:55 PM Re: What do you do with the difficult passages in pieces? [Re: Bruce Siegel]  
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I think this discussion is going way past the OP. smile
(Perhaps not knowable without having been on prior threads.)

Which is fine, as long as we realize we're talking to one another, but not to him/her.
This often happens. smile


"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)
#1533292 - 10/11/10 05:31 PM Re: What do you do with the difficult passages in pieces? [Re: rov]  
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I employ plenty of different practice techniques. It depends on what my problem is and how best I think I should fix it. Like if a passage is muddy, then I need to practice without the pedal. If it's still unclear or I am unable to play hands separately from memory then that's a problem with the piece's concept in my head. In that case I'd say I lack an aural image of what I want. If I have no idea what I want it to sound like, no wonder it will come out unclear and garbled!

If it's a technical problem, the way to fix that is to take it apart and turn it into exercises. Blocking, arpeggiating, and playing in rhythms help here.

If it's a memorization problem, methods available to me are harmonic and formal analysis, followed by playing the chord structure as I sing the melody.

If it's a melodic problem then I tend to isolate the line and sing it, then play it how I sung it. I sing and play at the same time and then try to transfer that aural image to the piano.

Anyway, there are plenty of ways to practice. Doesn't always have to be the same old same old all the time.


Pianist and teacher with a 5'8" Baldwin R and Clavi CLP-230 at home.

New website up: http://www.studioplumpiano.com. Also on Twitter @QQitsMina
#1533700 - 10/12/10 09:15 AM Re: What do you do with the difficult passages in pieces? [Re: rov]  
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The best advice I can give is to have the realization that the tough parts are frequently the best parts.


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#1533738 - 10/12/10 10:02 AM Re: What do you do with the difficult passages in pieces? [Re: rov]  
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not somewhere over the rainbow
Jack Daniels.



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
#1533741 - 10/12/10 10:07 AM Re: What do you do with the difficult passages in pieces? [Re: Pogorelich.]  
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Originally Posted by Pogorelich.
Jack Daniels.


Absolut ely.

Is this for you or the audience, cause either way...... wink


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#1533757 - 10/12/10 10:44 AM Re: What do you do with the difficult passages in pieces? [Re: rov]  
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not somewhere over the rainbow
Oh hey you just gave me a good idea! For the audience! Should have an open bar before my next recital...!



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
#1533763 - 10/12/10 10:55 AM Re: What do you do with the difficult passages in pieces? [Re: Pogorelich.]  
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Originally Posted by Pogorelich.
Jack Daniels.


lol x 1000

I wish everyone shared the same connection and love for classical piano and booze.

#1533773 - 10/12/10 11:12 AM Re: What do you do with the difficult passages in pieces? [Re: rov]  
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Quote
Also, I give extra practice time to beginning and ending (first and last 10-20 measures, depending, of course). Nothing spoils a performance more than a shaky beginning or a messed up ending.


Wow, I sure agree with that!


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#1533782 - 10/12/10 11:19 AM Re: What do you do with the difficult passages in pieces? [Re: rov]  
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I would second the motion on the slow approach and tearing apart segments into the smallest pieces possible. Stay away from the pedal so you can hear everything you're doing. I like to add varying dynamics and attacks....i.e. slowly with staccato. I'm not scared away by difficult pieces perhaps because I don't have a timeline on when they need to be ready. Good repertoire becomes a part of your life. Learn the pieces you love and you'll want to play them forever.

rada

#1534161 - 10/12/10 08:37 PM Re: What do you do with the difficult passages in pieces? [Re: Pogorelich.]  
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Originally Posted by Pogorelich.
Jack Daniels.


That's scary. sick

#1534223 - 10/12/10 10:32 PM Re: What do you do with the difficult passages in pieces? [Re: rov]  
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An Oligarchy
Someone in this forum will
tell you to start with one
measure at a time and repeat
that measure over a loooooong
time until you can play it at
a slow speed. This you will do
with every and any piece until
you are able to play the piece
but probably not at a "professional"
speed, as most of us are not born
with that "gifted" ability too do
the Rach 3. So you could practically
start a beginner with the Rach 3
and with enough time, have him play
the first phrase of the Rach 3 smile


Nepotism: We promote family values here - almost as often as we promote family members.
#1534255 - 10/12/10 11:28 PM Re: What do you do with the difficult passages in pieces? [Re: Arghhh]  
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Originally Posted by Arghhh
Originally Posted by Pogorelich.
Jack Daniels.


That's scary. sick


Or yummy smirk



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
#1534256 - 10/12/10 11:29 PM Re: What do you do with the difficult passages in pieces? [Re: Pogorelich.]  
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Originally Posted by Pogorelich.
Originally Posted by Arghhh
Originally Posted by Pogorelich.
Jack Daniels.


That's scary. sick


Or yummy smirk


Michael Collins is better. laugh

#1534263 - 10/12/10 11:34 PM Re: What do you do with the difficult passages in pieces? [Re: Pogorelich.]  
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Originally Posted by Pogorelich.
Jack Daniels.

But surely you mix it with something? wink

Beer and wine bloke myself. I'm very snobbish about my wine grin (don't drink the white stuff), but I do miss the beer in the UK. Very hard -if not impossible- to get here in the States. Oh for a pint of Carling!


Jason
#1534264 - 10/12/10 11:34 PM Re: What do you do with the difficult passages in pieces? [Re: Damon]  
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Originally Posted by Damon
Originally Posted by Pogorelich.
Originally Posted by Arghhh
Originally Posted by Pogorelich.
Jack Daniels.


That's scary. sick


Or yummy smirk


Michael Collins is better. laugh

Are you talking about my badass structural engineering professor? laugh


Working on:
Chopin - Nocturne op. 48 no.1
Debussy - Images Book II

#1534267 - 10/12/10 11:38 PM Re: What do you do with the difficult passages in pieces? [Re: argerichfan]  
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Originally Posted by argerichfan
Originally Posted by Pogorelich.
Jack Daniels.

But surely you mix it with something? wink

Beer and wine bloke myself. I'm very snobbish about my wine grin (don't drink the white stuff), but I do miss the beer in the UK. Very hard -if not impossible- to get here in the States. Oh for a pint of Carling!


OT, but Same tastes as me! I'm very picky about wine and always never drink the white stuff. I maybe assuming, but from my experience, I think girls stick with hard liquor shots (tequila etc) because of beer and carbonated stuff makes them feel bloated or something. Same amount of alcohol in less volume of liquid.

#1534268 - 10/12/10 11:39 PM Re: What do you do with the difficult passages in pieces? [Re: Kuanpiano]  
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Originally Posted by Kuanpiano

Are you talking about my badass structural engineering professor? laugh

Or the Irish revolutionary?


Jason
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