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Originally Posted by pianojerome
Originally Posted by Pogorelich.
Re composing, why do performers have to know how to compose? We interpret, we don't create....


Understanding how music is written is hugely beneficial to one's ability to interpret music. Composing helps us to understand how music is written. So, it helps us learn how to interpret.

Case in point: The critic Harold Schonberg wrote that what made Rachmaninov's interpretations so wonderful and unique was that they always "made sense", and he attributed this to Rachmaninov's experience/skill as a composer.


Learning about the process of composing, that is, studying theory and analysis can give us huge advantages when considering performance options. You probably don't mean that we should also actually be composers?


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Originally Posted by Canonie
[

A method like this usually results in less attention to the details of the score. The notes are started at the right time and general dynamic flow and expression are probably all there, but if he's playing Beethoven for example he might be playing only 2/3 of the actual music if you know what I mean.



This seems like quite a leap to me. This pianist can obviously read a score. Why assume that he can't see what's there just because he doesn't read at first sight fluently?


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Originally Posted by MathTeacher




The final result is quite impressive, but I wonder if he actually understands what he's memorizing.


Does it sound as if he understands what he's playing? Is his memory reliable?


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Originally Posted by Kuanpiano
He's japanese btw^^ and is totally fantastic! His name is Nobuyuki Tsujii.


I'm so embarrassed! Thanks for the correction.

Yes, he is marvelous. I so enjoyed hearing him play. And what a delightful personality.


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Originally Posted by NeilOS
Originally Posted by Canonie
[

A method like this usually results in less attention to the details of the score. The notes are started at the right time and general dynamic flow and expression are probably all there, but if he's playing Beethoven for example he might be playing only 2/3 of the actual music if you know what I mean.



This seems like quite a leap to me. This pianist can obviously read a score. Why assume that he can't see what's there just because he doesn't read at first sight fluently?

It depends how much those details matter to you I guess. From the OP's descriptions it sounds like the player is not friends with the score, that he doesn't look at it at all after the first memorising of that one bar. Not refering back to the score as later bars are memorised does seem musically limiting to me (but maybe he uses recordings to help develop the piece). The OP is hinting that the player finds sight reading a real pain and a turn off, that is quite different from "not very fluent" in my experience.

I know some some rote-learner note-learners - I'm assuming that this player is like them. But as you say, this player could be working seriously with a teacher to get around a reading disability to include details and musicality like the blind pianist described above. I'm absolutely not saying that it's impossible, just reporting what I hear.

If you were around when the "Clair de Lune, one bar at a time, memorise, then add the next bar" craze was on, you would understand exactly what I'm talking about. I thought it was a fascinating project, and unlike some people (who were embarrassed on Debussy's behalf perhaps) I had no problem with people who did it. The recordings were often Bizarre, I mean really quite strange! You could hear right from the start that the player couldn't read and understand the score - absolutely fascinating! But still a really fun thing for a person with little experience to be able to play their "Clair de Lune" for friends, and I bet those friends would enjoy it.

I find this sort of thing very interesting! smile


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Originally Posted by Canonie
Originally Posted by NeilOS
Originally Posted by Canonie
[

A method like this usually results in less attention to the details of the score. The notes are started at the right time and general dynamic flow and expression are probably all there, but if he's playing Beethoven for example he might be playing only 2/3 of the actual music if you know what I mean.



This seems like quite a leap to me. This pianist can obviously read a score. Why assume that he can't see what's there just because he doesn't read at first sight fluently?

It depends how much those details matter to you I guess. From the OP's descriptions it sounds like the player is not friends with the score, that he doesn't look at it at all after the first memorising of that one bar. Not refering back to the score as later bars are memorised does seem musically limiting to me (but maybe he uses recordings to help develop the piece). The OP is hinting that the player finds sight reading a real pain and a turn off, that is quite different from "not very fluent" in my experience.

I know some some rote-learner note-learners - I'm assuming that this player is like them. But as you say, this player could be working seriously with a teacher to get around a reading disability to include details and musicality like the blind pianist described above. I'm absolutely not saying that it's impossible, just reporting what I hear.

If you were around when the "Clair de Lune, one bar at a time, memorise, then add the next bar" craze was on, you would understand exactly what I'm talking about. I thought it was a fascinating project, and unlike some people (who were embarrassed on Debussy's behalf perhaps) I had no problem with people who did it. The recordings were often Bizarre, I mean really quite strange! You could hear right from the start that the player couldn't read and understand the score - absolutely fascinating! But still a really fun thing for a person with little experience to be able to play their "Clair de Lune" for friends, and I bet those friends would enjoy it.

I find this sort of thing very interesting! smile


It is interesting. And your caveats make sense. But I took the OP to mean that it was an exceptional performance, not just a cut and paste job.


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smile it's always so hard to know... There was a boy at my high-school that played a grade2 arrangement of the first part of The Entertainer. I can still remember all the girls clustering around the piano saying "Oh Jamie! that was great! I love that song! play it again!"

The bass line in half-notes went: C - E - F - F# - G - lowG - CGC -
There were NO left hand chords, no RH octaves, IT WAS SO LAME. I remember wishing that the fan club could understand how better music could be, but I couldn't do better myself then, so I just watched. Oh, if only they could hear my next door neighbour... but he was not as good looking so would not impress in the same way.

see, I still haven't got over it ha

This is an extreme version of the same feelings, I do not mean to suggest that the player in this thread is a beginner.


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Originally Posted by Canonie
smile it's always so hard to know... There was a boy at my high-school that played a grade2 arrangement of the first part of The Entertainer. I can still remember all the girls clustering around the piano saying "Oh Jamie! that was great! I love that song! play it again!"

The bass line in half-notes went: C - E - F - F# - G - lowG - CGC -
There were NO left hand chords, no RH octaves, IT WAS SO LAME. I remember wishing that the fan club could understand how better music could be, but I couldn't do better myself then, so I just watched. Oh, if only they could hear my next door neighbour... but he was not as good looking so would not impress in the same way.

see, I still haven't got over it ha

This is an extreme version of the same feelings, I do not mean to suggest that the player in this thread is a beginner.


Sounds like my school...everyone likes it when someone who studies piano can pull off a popular little tune, improvise chords to a pop music song, or play some simple jazz/ragtime stuff (all of which is not my area of high expertise so I simply hang back)... not that I'm bitter about it. I like to separate piano playing (what I love with all my heart) and academics (what I have to do anyway and what doesn't always turn out that well).

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I recall the great alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges saying once he has a song memorized he prefers to not read and "play from the heart."

I think this is true for many jazz/pop instrumentalists. They find the as-written score to be "confining."

Bech



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Few more thoughts on the topic...Music is like a language. Through music as through language people communicate their emotions. If i learn by heart a japanese poem and recite it to some people i may impress them but that doesnt mean that im anymore than a parrot. I may even learn about that poem so i understand its meaning but that doesnt mean that i understand the profoundities of the terms that were used to create it and even more i dont know a thing about japanese language.

Making an analogy with the piano, if i strive enough i may get to the point where i execute hard pieces flawlessly but to me, without having a minimum understanding of the bricks that underpin that piece , its just sad and very unfullfilling. Now, accepting that music is a language, in my view the highest form of mastering piano and the most desirable for me would be to eventually being able to play original stuff that represent your inner state of mind or heart at a certain point. Just parroting what others created may impress but it has very little to do with the understanding of music and the instrument itself. Just my 2 cents...

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Originally Posted by Canonie
smile it's always so hard to know... There was a boy at my high-school that played a grade2 arrangement of the first part of The Entertainer. I can still remember all the girls clustering around the piano saying "Oh Jamie! that was great! I love that song! play it again!"


35 years ago, I was that boy smile What better reason can there be for a young man to learn music than to impress girls? I was never a particular attractive or athletic fellow -- as a kid I looked like I was built out of elbows and teeth. And I lacked, and still lack, the friendly nature and easy conversation than most people develop as teenagers. But I could play a few songs on the guitar and the piano and, boy, did I work them.

The irksome thing is that those few pop songs and simplified arrangements of classical pieces that I learned when I was a kid -- I can still remember them. And my half-arsed arrangement of The Entertainer is still more likely to impress than the Chopin or Bach that I've sweated blood over.




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Originally Posted by Kreisler
"Is he considered a talented pianist?"

By some, yes.

By others, no.

Obviously, he enjoys it and is able to entertain others, but he'll never work professionally as a classical pianist, nor will he be able to perform with others who use written music.


Hi Kreisler,

Is the "grade" or level of a 'Classical pianist' determined by the grade that they can fluently sight read (rather than the physical limit that they can play by decoding/deciphering)?

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Originally Posted by kevinb
Originally Posted by Canonie
smile it's always so hard to know... There was a boy at my high-school that played a grade2 arrangement of the first part of The Entertainer. I can still remember all the girls clustering around the piano saying "Oh Jamie! that was great! I love that song! play it again!"


35 years ago, I was that boy smile What better reason can there be for a young man to learn music than to impress girls? I was never a particular attractive or athletic fellow -- as a kid I looked like I was built out of elbows and teeth. And I lacked, and still lack, the friendly nature and easy conversation than most people develop as teenagers. But I could play a few songs on the guitar and the piano and, boy, did I work them.

The irksome thing is that those few pop songs and simplified arrangements of classical pieces that I learned when I was a kid -- I can still remember them. And my half-arsed arrangement of The Entertainer is still more likely to impress than the Chopin or Bach that I've sweated blood over.



Haha, isn't it funny when that happens? It works the other way around too (girls can dazzle guys), I find.. although I've only had experiences with serious classical music. Talent can make you seem more attractive, I guess!



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What if someone learns repertoire the way the OP's friend does, memorizing bit by bit what they decode from the music, but makes a point of understanding music theory and what it is they are memorizing? Is it the not caring about sight reading that bothers us or the not caring about music theory part?


I'll figure it out eventually.
Until then you may want to keep a safe distance.
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Dave Brubeck couldn't barely read music, but he became an accomplished Jazz pianist. I found that quite amazing when I was doing a report on him for a Music History studies class I was in just last year as a freshman in high school.


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I do recall reading somewhere that the great Joseph Hofmann, by is own admission, was a poor sight reader. I suppose, 'poor' is relative.


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Originally Posted by kevinb
Originally Posted by Canonie
smile it's always so hard to know... There was a boy at my high-school that played a grade2 arrangement of the first part of The Entertainer. I can still remember all the girls clustering around the piano saying "Oh Jamie! that was great! I love that song! play it again!"


35 years ago, I was that boy smile What better reason can there be for a young man to learn music than to impress girls? I was never a particular attractive or athletic fellow -- as a kid I looked like I was built out of elbows and teeth. And I lacked, and still lack, the friendly nature and easy conversation than most people develop as teenagers. But I could play a few songs on the guitar and the piano and, boy, did I work them.

The irksome thing is that those few pop songs and simplified arrangements of classical pieces that I learned when I was a kid -- I can still remember them. And my half-arsed arrangement of The Entertainer is still more likely to impress than the Chopin or Bach that I've sweated blood over.

Good story! Love the last sentence ha
But I must clarify, Jamie was cool and attractive and high up the school social ladder. That's why it was particularly irritating from the point of view of someone occupying a low rung smirk You on the other hand had every right to use plonky arrangements to your advantage.


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Canonie how does your upright compares with baby/grand of similar or a little higher price like Yamaha C1/2 or Kawai RX1/2? I wanted for a long time now to get an answer from someone who actually owns a highend upright...

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Originally Posted by MathTeacher
So, I just want your opinion. Is he considered a talented pianist?...
Can't know without actually hearing his playing. Sight reading ability isn't a precursor for talent in my opinion though.

Originally Posted by MathTeacher
...He does this all very quicky, as his memory is very good... The final result is quite impressive, but I wonder if he actually understands what he's memorizing...
While I understand your reasoning, you can say the same about someone who's "just reading notes on a page." Sight reading wouldn't guarantee anymore of an "understanding" of what is being played.

Cut him some slack. If you think he plays well, i.e. you enjoy listening to his performances, then just sit back and enjoy. If he doesn't play well and you cringe at his lack of his understanding of music, then 1) offer interpretive suggestions, or 2) stop listening.

A question for you. If he played exactly the same, but was a decent sight reader, would he automatically be a "better" pianist in your opinion?

-Daniel


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Originally Posted by Ridicolosamente
A question for you. If he played exactly the same, but was a decent sight reader, would he automatically be a "better" pianist in your opinion?

-Daniel


I think so, but it's not only sight-read that he can't do. He also admits that he can't play by ear, improvise, transcribe.

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