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What's your precise definition of sight-reading? #1734214
08/16/11 10:43 AM
08/16/11 10:43 AM
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We all agree that it must be a score that you are playing for the very first time. But what if it is a song or piece that you've heard before and are familiar with how it goes? What if you glance over the score first to check for the basic rhythm, change in keys, even patterns, which most sightreaders do? What if you've already played pieces by the composer many times and are familiar with his composing style, or it is a music genre that you are very familiar with? What is real sightreading considered to be?

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Re: What's your precise definition of sight-reading? [Re: MathTeacher] #1734216
08/16/11 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by MathTeacher
We all agree that it must be a score that you are playing for the very first time. But what if it is a song or piece that you've heard before and are familiar with how it goes? What if you glance over the score first to check for the basic rhythm, change in keys, even patterns, which most sightreaders do? What if you've already played pieces by the composer many times and are familiar with his composing style, or it is a music genre that you are very familiar with? What is real sightreading considered to be?

All of the above.


"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP
Re: What's your precise definition of sight-reading? [Re: MathTeacher] #1734233
08/16/11 10:58 AM
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In competitions and examinations where sight reading is a tested, graded skill, one is given two to three minutes to look over the score - the work, in these instances is presumably obscure enough that the candidate will never have seen it - to study the key signature, time signature, rhythmic patterns, dynamics, overall structure before beginning to play the work.

I don't think that having heard a work prior to playing it for the very first time, or being familiar with a composer's work before playing a given work for the very first time are any criteria that would in any way compromise the skill of sight-reading which is the idea of playing a work from the score for the very first time. Any subsequent readings are not sight-readings, they are simply readings of the score.

Regards,


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Re: What's your precise definition of sight-reading? [Re: jazzyprof] #1734234
08/16/11 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by jazzyprof
All of the above.


You mean all of the above is allowed, or not allowed?

Re: What's your precise definition of sight-reading? [Re: MathTeacher] #1734236
08/16/11 10:59 AM
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Something you've not played on the keyboard. it's quite difficult to know what someone has heard and how brilliant they are in decoding what they heard on the piano (thus making their lives easier)... :-/

Re: What's your precise definition of sight-reading? [Re: BruceD] #1734238
08/16/11 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
I don't think that having heard a work prior to playing it for the very first time...would in any way compromise the skill of sight-reading which is the idea of playing a work from the score for the very first time. Any subsequent readings are not sight-readings, they are simply readings of the score.


But if you are already familiar with the rhythm of the entire piece, then you basically don't have to count in your head for the sightreading. You can just go by how you remember the piece goes.

Re: What's your precise definition of sight-reading? [Re: MathTeacher] #1734239
08/16/11 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by MathTeacher
Originally Posted by jazzyprof
All of the above.


You mean all of the above is allowed, or not allowed?

Everything you listed in your post qualifies as sight reading. See BruceD's more expansive post above.


"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP
Re: What's your precise definition of sight-reading? [Re: MathTeacher] #1734242
08/16/11 11:05 AM
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Each person will probably give a slightly different definition.

But unless one is an accompanist who has to sight read as part of their job, I don't think it really matters precisely what definition one uses (or even whether it's the first or second or third time one looks at a one score or whether one can make it through without stopping).

The kind of sight reading Bruce mentioned in his post is the kind used in evaluations because they have to have a fixed method. It's not the kind of "sight reading" I think most people do in most other situations(other than accompanying).

Last edited by pianoloverus; 08/16/11 11:18 AM.
Re: What's your precise definition of sight-reading? [Re: MathTeacher] #1734258
08/16/11 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by MathTeacher
Originally Posted by jazzyprof
All of the above.


You mean all of the above is allowed, or not allowed?


How does "allowed" come into it? Those are various aspects of what might be considered Sightreading. Are you looking for a rule, a mathematically-definable cut-off point? :-)

Re: What's your precise definition of sight-reading? [Re: MathTeacher] #1734272
08/16/11 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by MathTeacher
We all agree that it must be a score that you are playing for the very first time. But what if it is a song or piece that you've heard before and are familiar with how it goes? What if you glance over the score first to check for the basic rhythm, change in keys, even patterns, which most sightreaders do? What if you've already played pieces by the composer many times and are familiar with his composing style, or it is a music genre that you are very familiar with? What is real sightreading considered to be?


Many kinds of scenarios can come up while sight reading.

Sight reading is playing a piece of music (the best you can) at first sight, or something along those lines (if someone has a better definition, please correct me).

Sometimes you have heard the music you are sight reading, sometimes you have seen the score without playing on it at a piano, sometimes you have never heard it or seen it or anything like that. And sometimes you have played other pieces by the composer, so you are familiar with his/her style already.

Let's say I've played a few Schubert songs, or I have heard some Schubert songs. If someone hands me one I have never played before or heard before, I know some certain elements to expect (even more so if if I have PLAYED some Schubert songs before). I'm still sight reading, but I have a knowledge of style to go off of. And that's perfectly fine. In fact, that's a GREAT thing.

And it's perfectly fine to glance over the score to look for patterns, key changes, clef changes, accidentals, harmonic progression, etc. before actually playing.

In a situation where you NEED to sight read, I would do everything I can to give myself the advantage.

Re: What's your precise definition of sight-reading? [Re: Orange Soda King] #1734310
08/16/11 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King

And it's perfectly fine to glance over the score to look for patterns, key changes, clef changes, accidentals, harmonic progression, etc. before actually playing.

In a situation where you NEED to sight read, I would do everything I can to give myself the advantage.


+1
I had to sighread the Arensky Piano Trio for an audition to a chamber music group at school and (because I was nervous), I wasn't being careful about checking key, time signature, etc... and started in the WRONG key! Disaster!!! I had to improvise my way back to the right spot....

Re: What's your precise definition of sight-reading? [Re: PaulaPiano34] #1734315
08/16/11 01:11 PM
08/16/11 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by chobeethaninov
Originally Posted by Orange Soda King

And it's perfectly fine to glance over the score to look for patterns, key changes, clef changes, accidentals, harmonic progression, etc. before actually playing.

In a situation where you NEED to sight read, I would do everything I can to give myself the advantage.


+1
I had to sighread the Arensky Piano Trio for an audition to a chamber music group at school and (because I was nervous), I wasn't being careful about checking key, time signature, etc... and started in the WRONG key! Disaster!!! I had to improvise my way back to the right spot....


Hehe, I mess up with major/minor a lot, and sometimes clefs. crazy

The Arensky is a fantastic trio, by the way.

Re: What's your precise definition of sight-reading? [Re: MathTeacher] #1734450
08/16/11 04:39 PM
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What is the purpose of having a precise definition of sight-reading?


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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Re: What's your precise definition of sight-reading? [Re: Kreisler] #1734456
08/16/11 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Kreisler
What is the purpose of having a precise definition of sight-reading?


For example, I sightread something very well, but it was something that I've heard many times before. I wonder if I really purely sightread it or not.

Re: What's your precise definition of sight-reading? [Re: MathTeacher] #1734463
08/16/11 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by MathTeacher
Originally Posted by Kreisler
What is the purpose of having a precise definition of sight-reading?


For example, I sightread something very well, but it was something that I've heard many times before. I wonder if I really purely sightread it or not.


Hearing it a lot did help you sight read it better. But technically, you did sight read it. You just had a little bit of help.

I would practice sight reading things you haven't heard before, but maybe it's not a bad idea to sight things you are familiar with (you have heard beforehand), because that might help you somehow combine playing by ear with sight reading? I'm not totally sure, but it sure couldn't hurt.

Re: What's your precise definition of sight-reading? [Re: MathTeacher] #1734464
08/16/11 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by MathTeacher
Originally Posted by Kreisler
What is the purpose of having a precise definition of sight-reading?


For example, I sightread something very well, but it was something that I've heard many times before. I wonder if I really purely sightread it or not.


And that matters because...?


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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Re: What's your precise definition of sight-reading? [Re: MathTeacher] #1734474
08/16/11 05:28 PM
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The purpose is to know what is ok, and the reason for wanting to know is ok is because so much is said about what is right and wrong that sometimes people don't know what is up or down anymore. Remember John Holt's "I want to reach out and pat their tortured little heads." about school children?

To the OP: To sight read properly (prima vista) you are supposed to look at the key signature, time signature, and it is advisable to glance quickly at the score and get a picture of patterns such as leaps, signs of it modulating and such. Sight reading does not mean having your eyes glued to the notes in the first beat, then the second, then the third, like Mr. Magoo. It is also not like touch typing where you don't look ahead.

Re: What's your precise definition of sight-reading? [Re: MathTeacher] #1734516
08/16/11 06:29 PM
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But there's no official "OK." If he's looking for validation from the world as to whether or not what he did was actually sight-reading, then he's not going to get it, because there's no one true answer.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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Re: What's your precise definition of sight-reading? [Re: MathTeacher] #1734521
08/16/11 06:38 PM
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What is the purpose of anything that we do as students? Is it for the purpose of passing some subject like "sight reading" in an exam? Is it to please the teacher who can put a checkmark beside "sight reading? It CAN be, and it often is. But in my mind, being a student is for the sake of learning to play music on the piano. The subjects like sight reading are meaningless unless they play a role. So what is the practical way to sight read, so that you can use it? From what I understand, what I listed is it. Just typing out notes blindly might be a parlour trick, but to what end? "Validation" is also senseless. It's not a contest of purposeless activities that give us a ribbon. It is a skill to be used in playing music.

Re: What's your precise definition of sight-reading? [Re: MathTeacher] #1734560
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I'm sorry to go a bit out of topic, but i'm new in this forum, and while i see you discuss about sight-reading i'm curious to ask.

How do you usually work your sight-reading skills?, i mean, are there any good exercises that help your overall skill for such activity?... I started piano studying less than 2 years ago, i haaaaardly sight-read any piece, my teacher usually gives me scores so i study them carefully, i've realised it's a really different practice than just grabbing them and read on the go, am i just too newbie to play anything on sight, or do i need to practice a different kind of exercises?

Thanks

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