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Single note repetition - technique #2565754 08/24/16 04:34 PM
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modernpianoman Offline OP
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Hi all,

Newbie to the forum, part-time teacher, lifelong player. My practice time has taken a hit over the last few years, but I'm always keen to push myself and try learning pieces I thought were beyond my capability. I recently surprised myself in performing the Fantaisie Impromptu without crying and curling into the foetal position on stage.

I've a long appreciation for the hackneyed Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2 (sorry), and have decided to attack it. But I have never played a piece that requires single note repetition before - and it shows. I find it SO difficult to get any kind of speed (I know it's me, not the piano, because I have access to some of the best pianos in the country, including a Steinway D) - let alone any kind of dynamic control.

Presumably, one uses fingering 4-3-2-1 or just 4-3-2 to achieve this, but for the life of me I just cannot do it without the note jumping out over everything else, and even then it is very unclean and erratic.

Any technical tipsters out there feel like sharing their 2 cents? Is it just constant practice, or are there other ways to do this than the fingering I mentioned above?

Side note - Alfred Brendel's version of the Rhapsody is, in my eyes ears, the best recorded.

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by modernpianoman; 08/24/16 05:11 PM.

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Re: Single note repetition - technique [Re: modernpianoman] #2565764 08/24/16 05:27 PM
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I've tried 4-3-2-1 and 4-3-2, and found the latter works better for me. The former was cumbersome for my thumb. There isn't anything special about this technique, just takes lots of practice. I forced myself to learn it when I learned William Tell. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention

Re: Single note repetition - technique [Re: modernpianoman] #2565778 08/24/16 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by modernpianoman


Presumably, one uses fingering 4-3-2-1 or just 4-3-2 to achieve this, but for the life of me I just cannot do it without the note jumping out over everything else, and even then it is very unclean and erratic.


I don't think there're any special tricks involved in fast repeated notes, other than using the fingers that seem the most logical in context, whether it's 3-2-1(-3-2-1) or 4-3-2-1 or 4-3-2(-4-3-2) or just 2-3-2-3. It will feel very awkward until you get used to the movements, but it's very much a finger technique thing (don't flick your wrist).

BTW, my first repeated-note piece was Scarlatti's Kk141:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjghYFgt8Zk


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Single note repetition - technique [Re: modernpianoman] #2565791 08/24/16 07:01 PM
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modernpianoman Offline OP
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Thanks, bennevis and ZMaestro, for your input. The fact that there is no special trick or shortcut, and that it comes down to practice, is what I was afraid of!

I had never considered just 2-3-2-3 before, it feels very unnatural, but as that is what I would use to 'trill', it makes sense I suppose. I think my main problem is playing too deep into the note. I think I could do with being more relaxed in my wrist, too.

I'll keep on truckin'. Re the Kk141 - that's a bit of a monster. Good for you. Naturally, Argerich makes it look a walk in the park. Yuja Wang's performance of Schumann's 'The Smuggler' (see below) falls in kind.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMxmNm2xnTk

Thanks again!



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"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music." - Sergei Rachmaninov

Re: Single note repetition - technique [Re: ZMaestro] #2565805 08/24/16 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ZMaestro
I've tried 4-3-2-1 and 4-3-2, and found the latter works better for me. The former was cumbersome for my thumb.


Ditto re. the thumb. Depending on the context, perhaps also start with 5, but don't use it in the repeating pattern:

5432432432432432.....

It depends how many you need.



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Re: Single note repetition - technique [Re: modernpianoman] #2565813 08/24/16 09:08 PM
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Depending on the context, you can probably use 2-1-2-1 or 3-1-3-1 quite effectively for short to moderate length repeated notes.


"A Sorceror of tonality; the piano is my cauldron and the music is my spell, let those who cannot hear my calling die and burn in He11."

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Re: Single note repetition - technique [Re: modernpianoman] #2565815 08/24/16 09:19 PM
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I am doing a piece that has 102 repeated left hand G5s in eighth notes where the half note = 92bpm. 3-1 works really easily and does not cause any tension.


Re: Single note repetition - technique [Re: modernpianoman] #2565977 08/25/16 12:20 PM
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Context is Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2. Finding it tricky to bring out the melody and organise fingering whilst trying to clean up the repeated notes.

3-1-3-1 is not something I had ever considered before, but an interesting concept.

Prout - what on earth is your left hand doing all the way up at G5 for that long? You should probably turn your piano bench the other way around... wink


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Re: Single note repetition - technique [Re: modernpianoman] #2565989 08/25/16 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by modernpianoman
Context is Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2. Finding it tricky to bring out the melody and organise fingering whilst trying to clean up the repeated notes.

3-1-3-1 is not something I had ever considered before, but an interesting concept.

Prout - what on earth is your left hand doing all the way up at G5 for that long? You should probably turn your piano bench the other way around... wink


Aaron Copland 'Appalachian Spring'
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This is a portion of about 72 measures of continuous repetition at half = 92bpm.

Edit: Actually, I was wrong. The G5 section is only 43 notes long. The 102 note section is on G4. This piece, arranged from the 1945 orchestral suite, ranges over the entire keyboard from A0 to Eb7.





Last edited by prout; 08/25/16 01:08 PM.
Re: Single note repetition - technique [Re: modernpianoman] #2566001 08/25/16 01:47 PM
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Wow. It certainly makes the most of 88 keys! I had not heard this piece before, thanks for sharing.

I have spent the last 24 hours practicing repeated notes (not straight, obviously), namely C#5. My earlier assumption that I was 'too deep into the key' seems to be untrue - it actually feels the opposite. I think I'm perhaps coming off the key too far and need to be more in tune with at what point the hammer trips and can hit the string again.

Blargh.


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Re: Single note repetition - technique [Re: modernpianoman] #2566025 08/25/16 03:35 PM
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4-3-2 seems, to me, to be the best fingering for at least the first part of the structure with the octaves.

Re: Single note repetition - technique [Re: modernpianoman] #2566124 08/25/16 11:53 PM
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If it's Hungarian Rhapsodie No.2 then I'm guessing you're talking about the section right after the "Friska" with the repeated notes on the right hand. I've played that before and 4-3-2-1 or 4-3-2 , 3-2-1 was what I finally settled on since you have to play the melody in octaves. What I suggested earlier with 3-1-3-1 would be rather awkward in this situation.

The following part, if I remember correctly, I used 2-1-2-1 where it has a single note up top and 3 repeated notes an octave down.

Last edited by ChopinLives81; 08/25/16 11:57 PM.

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Check my videos @:
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Re: Single note repetition - technique [Re: modernpianoman] #2566996 08/29/16 07:28 AM
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Repetition etude of Cramer is very nice to take a look at:
[video:youtube]PerwhZ4X6YU[/video]

when I play repeated notes, it is almost always different. Usually I change fingers but sometimes it's 1-3 or 1-2-3 or 4-3-2-1 or 2-2-2-2-2 3-3-3-3-3, etc. It depends on the situation really. When repeating chords you cannot change fingers easily.


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Re: Single note repetition - technique [Re: modernpianoman] #2567523 08/30/16 11:17 PM
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Can you blame the piano? smile


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Re: Single note repetition - technique [Re: modernpianoman] #2568036 09/01/16 08:05 PM
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If you can't blame the piano, I would also move your hand in and out while you play. It helps to keep the arm and wrist relaxed. Works great for tremolos so I'm assuming it works for trills.


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Re: Single note repetition - technique [Re: modernpianoman] #2568195 09/02/16 01:56 PM
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Last edited by Palindrome; 09/02/16 01:58 PM.

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Re: Single note repetition - technique [Re: Arghhh] #2578475 10/13/16 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Arghhh
If you can't blame the piano, I would also move your hand in and out while you play. It helps to keep the arm and wrist relaxed. Works great for tremolos so I'm assuming it works for trills.


This! Very much this. It made a big difference. It is easy to stiffen up at the shoulders when trying to play fast (at least for me), forgetting to put my arm and body into the equation, not just wrist and fingers. It's almost like I'm stroking the key top.

Unfortunately, no I can't blame the piano, I have about 11 Steinways and 20 Yamahas to choose from!

Update - I'm getting better, slowly. Just needs a lot more practice than I'm used to.

Thanks!


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Re: Single note repetition - technique [Re: modernpianoman] #2578521 10/13/16 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by modernpianoman
Any technical tipsters out there feel like sharing their 2 cents? Is it just constant practice, or are there other ways to do this than the fingering I mentioned above?


Repeated technique is definitely a mental problem, not a 'constant practice' problem. Think about ways to move your fingers more efficiently, rather than thinking about how to push them faster. If you practice without thinking, you won't improve much, especially on repeated notes.


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Re: Single note repetition - technique [Re: modernpianoman] #2578530 10/14/16 12:54 AM
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The problem with repeating notes quickly is not playing them; it is releasing them.


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Re: Single note repetition - technique [Re: modernpianoman] #2578543 10/14/16 02:32 AM
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Arghhh..... makes a good point about moving in and out, this helps. Also use forearm rotation to pass from finger to finger. You need to practise this very slowly to co-ordinate the movement, firstly between two fingers (2-3, lift, 3-4, lift, 4-3, lift, 3-2, lift), and then three fingers (2-3-4, lift, 4-3-2, lift) and so on. Once you've mastered it slowly and in total relaxation you can speed up.

I was sceptical about this method for repeated notes until I tried it on Rachmaninoff's 3rd concerto, the opening of the finale, and I can now play that passage very cleanly and clearly even on a clapped out Yamaha G2 that hasn't been regulated for 20 years, and on the un-regulated upright pianos in the institutions where I teach. It works for more extensive repetitions as well.

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