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#2057060 - 03/30/13 07:54 PM What pieces are easier to play fast than slow?  
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evilpacman18 Offline
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My answer (and the inspiration for this thread) is Mouvement by Debussy, my performance tempo for it is around 110 for the quarter note usually, I've been playing it for a while and it's pretty natural to me at this point but I'm sort of relearning it for a performance in a couple weeks and I've noticed that it gets much harder to keep even and loose when I lower the metronome to 80. Suddenly all the little things in it require much more control where you can sort of breeze through them at a faster tempo.

Anybody have similar experiences with other pieces?

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#2057063 - 03/30/13 08:01 PM Re: What pieces are easier to play fast than slow? [Re: evilpacman18]  
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Interesting you ask this. My first teacher began teaching pieces that were to be played softly and gracefully. She would tell me anyone could easily learn to smash the keys around but it took more control and concentration to be able to be gentle and expressive. To this day I agree! One of the pieces she gave me for this sort of training, which I think can answer your question, is Schumann's About Strangelands and People. It's a beautiful piece. She wanted me to make it sound sorta like a lullaby. I hope that answers your question, somewhat.

Last edited by Spacetone; 03/30/13 08:02 PM.
#2057077 - 03/30/13 08:31 PM Re: What pieces are easier to play fast than slow? [Re: evilpacman18]  
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It would be nice if the movements and haptic sensations required for fast playing were the same as those needed for slow playing of the same figures. Unfortunately, at least for me, this is mostly untrue. A fast version is rarely just a speeded up version of the slow movements. Coupled with that, the musical effects can be radically different, especially with regard to rhythm. So personally I find this question rather complicated, with no clear-cut universal approach available. The short answer to the original question is yes, I do find certain things easier at speed, but it might be because I use entirely different movements in the two states, the slow musical effect is no good, or I just perceive the fast sound as superior and imagine I am doing better at speed than I actually am.


"It is inadvisable to decline a dinner invitation from a plump woman." - Fred Hollows
#2057086 - 03/30/13 09:03 PM Re: What pieces are easier to play fast than slow? [Re: evilpacman18]  
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A lot of very slow, sustained repertoire is difficult to play well slowly. Ravel Concerto in G 2nd movement, for example.

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#2057194 - 03/31/13 04:26 AM Re: What pieces are easier to play fast than slow? [Re: evilpacman18]  
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Originally Posted by evilpacman18


Anybody have similar experiences with other pieces?

Yes, I have, with virtually everything.

There is a sub-question to this and it's this, "How well do you actually know the piece concerned?"

Quite often speeded up playing is a result of coasting on muscle memory rather than having actually learned the piece of music.

Please believe me, I not trying to be rude here, just offereing my 40 plus years experience and even now, I still don't remember genuine sheet music, just "patterns for my hands".

I recently discovered this superb web-site, and I note the importance this lady gives to SLOW practice.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__SiXXnaYOY

It was like a light going on, of course, speed on the piano isn't always a reflection of competancy, it is simply mechanical in a lot of respects.

I am learning Puccini's "O Mio Babbino Caro", a piece tragically laden with left-hand arpeggios and it is quite obvious to me (now) how much quicker I play page 1, (commited to memory of some sort) compared to the less well know by myself pages 2 and 3 that I am still trying to learn "off by heart".

I am now setting aside a part of each practice session for slow practice of scales and arpeggios, even the "simple" stuff like C major, F Major etc, as I feel I heve benifited significantly from the lesson above.

Here is a quote from Jane Austen's rather starchy Mr Darcy,

"The power of doing any thing with quickness is always much prized by the possessor, and often without any attention to the imperfection of the performance."

Almost every pianist should have it written somewhere where it faces them as they play!

#2057220 - 03/31/13 06:20 AM Re: What pieces are easier to play fast than slow? [Re: evilpacman18]  
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ando Online content
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Chopin - Fantaisie Impromptu.

Anything with polyrhythms really.

#2057260 - 03/31/13 08:55 AM Re: What pieces are easier to play fast than slow? [Re: evilpacman18]  
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Moonlight, 1st movement

#2057345 - 03/31/13 12:38 PM Re: What pieces are easier to play fast than slow? [Re: evilpacman18]  
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Damon Offline
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Originally Posted by evilpacman18
My answer (and the inspiration for this thread) is Mouvement by Debussy, my performance tempo for it is around 110 for the quarter note usually, I've been playing it for a while and it's pretty natural to me at this point but I'm sort of relearning it for a performance in a couple weeks and I've noticed that it gets much harder to keep even and loose when I lower the metronome to 80. Suddenly all the little things in it require much more control where you can sort of breeze through them at a faster tempo.


Have you ever recorded the piece you are breezing through and used software to slow it down to your practice tempo? It might not be as clean as you think.

Slowing the metronome down might just be confusing your "muscle memory", not actually making it harder. I don't know of any piano pieces that are harder to play slow.

#2057379 - 03/31/13 01:57 PM Re: What pieces are easier to play fast than slow? [Re: Damon]  
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Originally Posted by Damon
[...] Slowing the metronome down might just be confusing your "muscle memory", not actually making it harder. I don't know of any piano pieces that are harder to play slow.


I would agree with the poster who said that any piece in a polyrhythm whose performance tempo is fairly rapid is more difficult to play slowly than fast, depending, of course, on how slow is "slowly."

Barber's third "Excursion" (7 against 8) and even Chopin's "Fantaisie Impromptu" can be considerably more difficult played very slowly than played up to tempo.

Regards,


BruceD
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#2057409 - 03/31/13 03:05 PM Re: What pieces are easier to play fast than slow? [Re: BruceD]  
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Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by Damon
[...] Slowing the metronome down might just be confusing your "muscle memory", not actually making it harder. I don't know of any piano pieces that are harder to play slow.


I would agree with the poster who said that any piece in a polyrhythm whose performance tempo is fairly rapid is more difficult to play slowly than fast, depending, of course, on how slow is "slowly."

Barber's third "Excursion" (7 against 8) and even Chopin's "Fantaisie Impromptu" can be considerably more difficult played very slowly than played up to tempo.

Regards,


The approach I like to take with difficult poly rhythms and different tuplets against each other is to learn them as good as possible separately, the slow, usual, way. Once those are up to speed separately, I combine them, but not at a slow practicing tempo. Slower than performance speed usually, but I try and just "do it."

#2057445 - 03/31/13 04:17 PM Re: What pieces are easier to play fast than slow? [Re: BruceD]  
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Damon Offline
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Originally Posted by BruceD

Barber's third "Excursion" (7 against 8) and even Chopin's "Fantaisie Impromptu" can be considerably more difficult played very slowly than played up to tempo.


I wish I had that problem then. I've no experience with the Barber, but I find the Chopin to be extremely easy to play slowly. I don't think four against three is that big of a hurdle. Things like the Barber or even something like Liszt's "La leggierezza" might seem easier at faster speeds, but I've found that when I analyze some performances with software, they are not all that accurate. People vary.

#2057451 - 03/31/13 04:31 PM Re: What pieces are easier to play fast than slow? [Re: evilpacman18]  
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If you can't play something at a slow tempo why would you think you could play it at a faster tempo?

I always practice slowly.



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#2057520 - 03/31/13 08:08 PM Re: What pieces are easier to play fast than slow? [Re: evilpacman18]  
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Many things. Off the top of my head: the second movement of Pathétique.

#2057551 - 03/31/13 09:27 PM Re: What pieces are easier to play fast than slow? [Re: evilpacman18]  
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Dizzy Fingers.


2012 Kawai K3
#2057594 - 03/31/13 11:58 PM Re: What pieces are easier to play fast than slow? [Re: evilpacman18]  
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The first part of Chopin's C minor nocturne, op.48 no.1 comes to mind. Played slowly, it feels impossible to shape, since there are so many rests which threaten to break the line.


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

#2057620 - 04/01/13 01:40 AM Re: What pieces are easier to play fast than slow? [Re: evilpacman18]  
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i don't know, so many pieces are easier slower than fast. almost always, playing slower means you need to apply a proportionate amount of care to each note, phrasing, and better evenness etc, which usually increases the demand on control and care that much more.

#2061035 - 04/07/13 09:57 PM Re: What pieces are easier to play fast than slow? [Re: evilpacman18]  
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Anything from memory!


Heels down!

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