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Re: Complex Polyrhythm: How Detrimental is Failing to Master It? [Re: bennevis] #2596664
12/20/16 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by SonatainfSharp
Chopin uses complex polyrhythms all the time, but they are intended to be ornamentation and flourishes, so maybe people don't think of them as polyrhythms.

That's right - even an early piece like Op.9/1 has 11:6 in bar 2.......
But does anyone play that mathematically precisely? I doubt it, so I don't think of that as a polyrhythm. My guess is that most pianists play two notes in the RH for each note in the LH and then play 3 vs. 2 at the end. I can't imagine Chopin meant anything like a precise 11:6.

Although I don't consider myself particularly adept with polyrhythms, I never gave this a second thought in composers like Chopin, Liszt, Schumann, Debussy, or any of the Romantics /Impressionist composers. But looking at many of the Scriabin Sonatas or late Scriabin works it seems like he uses polyrhythms on a completely different level than of the composers mentioned after I asked my question.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 12/20/16 07:56 PM.
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Re: Complex Polyrhythm: How Detrimental is Failing to Master It? [Re: pianoloverus] #2596667
12/20/16 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by SonatainfSharp
Chopin uses complex polyrhythms all the time, but they are intended to be ornamentation and flourishes, so maybe people don't think of them as polyrhythms.

That's right - even an early piece like Op.9/1 has 11:6 in bar 2.......
But does anyone play that mathematically precisely?

No, it is hardly possible to play them mathematically precisely, and one would be a fool to try.


Regards,

Polyphonist
Re: Complex Polyrhythm: How Detrimental is Failing to Master It? [Re: Polyphonist] #2596674
12/20/16 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist

That would certainly be the exception rather than the rule, unless you are taking into account very simple types of polyrhythms.


Hardly.

ballades

f minor- mm.152- 155, and the page that follows even if it is only 2 vs. 3.
mm. 175-176 is a very complex polyrhythm that is supposed to be played exactly as written, and is thus notated.

g minor- mm. 169-172 is 5 vs. 6.
mm. 179, the second half, is 2 vs. 4 vs. 6, and I think very difficult to get right considering the physical problems involved.

nocturnes

b-flat minor Op. 9 #1, the first page has so many they can hardly be counted, most obviously the 11 vs. 6 in m.4, and the 22 vs. 12 ( in my score anyway)in the following measure. None of these are written as a cadenza, and the piece is slow enough, that they must be played as written.

f-sharp major Op. 15 #2, the doppio movimento where you have quintuplets against regular 8ths (5 vs. 2) for 8 measures consistently.

d-flat Op. 27 #2, two measures before the end, the two 7s vs. 6s.

a-flat major Op. 32 #2, the 5s vs. 3s that starts 6 measures before the end. that piece has several complex polyrhythms occurring from time to time throughout and, as the piece is slow enough, they all have to be played as written.

c minor Op. 48 #1, the doppio movimento recap, and towards the end he has many 4 vs. 3s, 6s and 7s vs. 3s, that must be played as written.

e-flat major, Op. 55 #2, has many very complex polyrhythms throughout that must all be played as written, not as flourishes. the 8 vs. 3 in measure m. 7, the 10 vs. 6 in m. 25 and others. The most difficult passage starts 10 measure before the end, first with a set of 4s vs. 3s, and then a continuous texture of 5s vs. 3s for 3 measures until the coda.

Can anybody think of others?


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Re: Complex Polyrhythm: How Detrimental is Failing to Master It? [Re: Polyphonist] #2596676
12/20/16 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist

No, it is hardly possible to play them mathematically precisely, and one would be a fool to try.


I disagree entirely with that notion, and it's a very uninformed thing to say.


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Re: Complex Polyrhythm: How Detrimental is Failing to Master It? [Re: SonatainfSharp] #2596678
12/20/16 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by SonatainfSharp

Sure, but I sure hope you don't play them mathmatically perfect against each other...that would be anti-Romantic period.


Of course I do! I've studied quite a bit of that literature with major teachers, and not one of them has ever suggested anything else.

While I don't mean to offend, both of those notions are ridiculous.


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Re: Complex Polyrhythm: How Detrimental is Failing to Master It? [Re: laguna_greg] #2596682
12/20/16 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by laguna_greg
Originally Posted by SonatainfSharp

Sure, but I sure hope you don't play them mathmatically perfect against each other...that would be anti-Romantic period.


Of course I do!

You may think you do, but it's very unlikely that you actually do. What we do as pianists is to approximate. I can tell you with relative certainty that Chopin's intent was not for the pianist to sit there attempting to divide the beat up into 66 equal parts.


Regards,

Polyphonist
Re: Complex Polyrhythm: How Detrimental is Failing to Master It? [Re: SonatainfSharp] #2596692
12/20/16 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by SonatainfSharp
Chopin uses complex polyrhythms all the time, but they are intended to be ornamentation and flourishes, so maybe people don't think of them as polyrhythms.

Of course, not all polyrhythms Chopin wrote were right-hand flourishes. Places like "the spot" in the fourth ballade are meant to serve as a texture change, and are not meant to be divided mathematically. That would miss the whole point.

Re: Complex Polyrhythm: How Detrimental is Failing to Master It? [Re: SonatainfSharp] #2596694
12/20/16 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by SonatainfSharp
Originally Posted by laguna_greg
Originally Posted by SonatainfSharp
Chopin uses complex polyrhythms all the time, but they are intended to be ornamentation and flourishes, so maybe people don't think of them as polyrhythms.


I disagree. Many examples from his output, in particular the ballades and nocturnes come to mind, are not fioritura but are written out as exact polyrhythms to be played as written.

Sure, but I sure hope you don't play them mathmatically perfect against each other...that would be anti-Romantic period.


Well, I don't necessarily agree that playing Romantic era music must be rhythmically sloppy at all times. For example, in the middle section of Chopin's op. 15, no. 2 nocturne, there is an interesting shift in the right-hand figuration (in the ninth measure of that section) that is more telling musically if you start off by playing the groups of 5 precisely. IMO, of course. Just so nobody gets the wrong idea of what I mean, I should add that my idea of rhythmic precision doesn't equate to "without nuance".

I think it is also worth mentioning that it is known that in France in the 1800s there was a "dry" and rhythmically precise style of playing that was distinct from the looser style we tend to associate with the Romantic era.

Re: Complex Polyrhythm: How Detrimental is Failing to Master It? [Re: pianoloverus] #2596698
12/20/16 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Other than Scriabin, are there any other composers pre-1950 who regularly use in their piano music polyrhythms more complicated than 4 vs.3 ?


Rachmaninoff Prelude in G Major has continuous quintuplets in the left hand vs. 2, 3, or 4 in the right. There's also one in the Prelude in G# minor with ~ 6 notes in one hand and ~8 notes in the other.


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Re: Complex Polyrhythm: How Detrimental is Failing to Master It? [Re: Polyphonist] #2596729
12/21/16 12:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Originally Posted by laguna_greg
Originally Posted by SonatainfSharp

Sure, but I sure hope you don't play them mathmatically perfect against each other...that would be anti-Romantic period.


Of course I do!

You may think you do, but it's very unlikely that you actually do. What we do as pianists is to approximate. I can tell you with relative certainty that Chopin's intent was not for the pianist to sit there attempting to divide the beat up into 66 equal parts.


Oh poly, you are speaking entirely for yourself. Anybody who recommends that a player ignore the underlying rhythmic and metric structure, which is really what you are saying, doesn't know what they are talking about.

I don't think Chopin was necessarily trying to get people to divide the beat into 66 equal parts either. However, the written accounts of his teaching tell us that he certainly was very strict about the clarity of the rhythm as written, and the persistent steadiness of the metric pulse, in his student's playing as well as his peers..

Also, he had a choice about how to write these things out, as noted above. And if he wanted a free, ad libitum delivery, he would have written every polyrhythm out in fioritura.

Which he did not.

And frankly, keep your opinions about my playing, which you've never heard, out of it.


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Re: Complex Polyrhythm: How Detrimental is Failing to Master It? [Re: wr] #2596730
12/21/16 12:16 AM
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Originally Posted by wr

I think it is also worth mentioning that it is known that in France in the 1800s there was a "dry" and rhythmically precise style of playing that was distinct from the looser style we tend to associate with the Romantic era.


That's right. What is being described here is really mannerisms of late 19th century pianists, not the performance style or practice of the earlier period.


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Re: Complex Polyrhythm: How Detrimental is Failing to Master It? [Re: laguna_greg] #2596734
12/21/16 01:03 AM
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Originally Posted by laguna_greg
Oh poly, you are speaking entirely for yourself. Anybody who recommends that a player ignore the underlying rhythmic and metric structure...

You are equating awareness of the underlying rhythmic and metric structure to an attempt to subdivide and execute polyrhythms with mathematical precision?

Originally Posted by laguna_greg
I don't think Chopin was necessarily trying to get people to divide the beat into 66 equal parts either.

You don't think? I find it absurd even to suggest that Chopin might have intended the pianist to attempt such a division. Yet such an exercise would be the only possible way to try to get as close to perfect mathematical precision as possible. This method's extreme impracticality is why I have been repeatedly making the case that it is unnecessary.

Originally Posted by laguna_greg
However, the written accounts of his teaching tell us that he certainly was very strict about...the persistent steadiness of the metric pulse...

...which can certainly be retained even while exercising some degree of freedom in how the other part of the polyrhythm is set against this fundamental pulse. There is no contradiction here.

Originally Posted by laguna_greg
Also, he had a choice about how to write these things out, as noted above. And if he wanted a free, ad libitum delivery, he would have written every polyrhythm out in fioritura.

This is not is as much of a binary as you are making it out to be. It is not an either/or between an attempt at a perfectly mathematical rhythmic division and a no-holds-barred completely free and improvisatory approach to the passage. There is a middle ground which involves a performance fairly close to the exact rhythm as written, which retains the clarity and constancy of the fundamental pulse, but which also does not necessitate going to extreme lengths (i.e. the subdivision into 66) in order to assure oneself of the most mathematically "correct" rendition of the passage.


Regards,

Polyphonist
Re: Complex Polyrhythm: How Detrimental is Failing to Master It? [Re: StartwithBach] #2596829
12/21/16 11:29 AM
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Man, I wish the Internet (as we know it today) existed 20 years ago. I remember listening to a recording where some pianist recorded a few samples of Chopin's "polyrhythms" played mathematically perfectly. It sounded hideous, as one would expect. Perhaps if I go through my 12 binders of notes, I may have written the recording down in a margin somewhere! smile

I really do want to hear laguna_greg play Op.9/1 "written out as it's intended to be played" compared to how I play it. (This is a piece I have kept in my "back pocket" for 25 years, so I know it sort of well.) wink


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Re: Complex Polyrhythm: How Detrimental is Failing to Master It? [Re: StartwithBach] #2596848
12/21/16 12:12 PM
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Even in a "relatively simple" place like the opening of Chopin's Nocturne Op. 9 No.1 with its 11:6:

1. I don't think many pianists even attempt to play it with mathematical precision

2. Even if they did attempt this, I don't see how anyone could tell if they were doing it this way unless they slowed down the recording to maybe 10% of the actual speed

Last edited by pianoloverus; 12/21/16 12:13 PM.
Re: Complex Polyrhythm: How Detrimental is Failing to Master It? [Re: Polyphonist] #2596866
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Originally Posted by laguna_greg
Oh poly, you are speaking entirely for yourself. Anybody who recommends that a player ignore the underlying rhythmic and metric structure...

You are equating awareness of the underlying rhythmic and metric structure to an attempt to subdivide and execute polyrhythms with mathematical precision?

Originally Posted by laguna_greg
I don't think Chopin was necessarily trying to get people to divide the beat into 66 equal parts either.

You don't think? I find it absurd even to suggest that Chopin might have intended the pianist to attempt such a division. Yet such an exercise would be the only possible way to try to get as close to perfect mathematical precision as possible. This method's extreme impracticality is why I have been repeatedly making the case that it is unnecessary.

Originally Posted by laguna_greg
However, the written accounts of his teaching tell us that he certainly was very strict about...the persistent steadiness of the metric pulse...

...which can certainly be retained even while exercising some degree of freedom in how the other part of the polyrhythm is set against this fundamental pulse. There is no contradiction here.

Originally Posted by laguna_greg
Also, he had a choice about how to write these things out, as noted above. And if he wanted a free, ad libitum delivery, he would have written every polyrhythm out in fioritura.

This is not is as much of a binary as you are making it out to be. It is not an either/or between an attempt at a perfectly mathematical rhythmic division and a no-holds-barred completely free and improvisatory approach to the passage. There is a middle ground which involves a performance fairly close to the exact rhythm as written, which retains the clarity and constancy of the fundamental pulse, but which also does not necessitate going to extreme lengths (i.e. the subdivision into 66) in order to assure oneself of the most mathematically "correct" rendition of the passage.


Yeah, well I find it absurd and really nervy of you to try to tell other people how they play they piano in performance, when you've never even heard them.

Stop talking about my playing. Or I'll start talking about yours. And your teaching too, if you can't find a way to restrain yourself like any young adult has been taught to.


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Re: Complex Polyrhythm: How Detrimental is Failing to Master It? [Re: StartwithBach] #2596882
12/21/16 02:19 PM
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Polyphonist and Laguna Greg - knock it off.

If you want to continue bickering, take it to Private Messages.


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Re: Complex Polyrhythm: How Detrimental is Failing to Master It? [Re: laguna_greg] #2596906
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Originally Posted by casinitaly
Polyphonist and Laguna Greg - knock it off.

If you want to continue bickering, take it to Private Messages.

I beg your pardon.

I suggest you please reread the posts made by both of us during this conversation. Mine have been devoted solely to analysis of the musical issue in question. To characterize them as "bickering" is incorrect. Any ad hominems which have been presented have not come from me.

Case in point:
Originally Posted by laguna_greg
Yeah, well I find it absurd and really nervy of you to try to tell other people how they play they piano in performance, when you've never even heard them.

Stop talking about my playing...

The post to which this particular comment refers contained nothing which could remotely be construed as a reference to how he plays the piano. In fact, it contains no personal references whatsoever. Simply the fact that an accusation is made during an argument does not make that accusation valid. I would encourage moderators of this forum to try to read and absorb the dynamic of the whole discussion before apportioning blame to specific participants.


Regards,

Polyphonist
Re: Complex Polyrhythm: How Detrimental is Failing to Master It? [Re: StartwithBach] #2596940
12/21/16 05:55 PM
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Polyphonist. My apologies. I did mis-read something. It's been a long day, and even moderators can make mistakes.

My previous post should only have been addressed to Laguna Greg.

So, correcting my error: Greg, - calm down and stop being so unnecessarily aggressive.



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Re: Complex Polyrhythm: How Detrimental is Failing to Master It? [Re: gooddog] #2597265
12/22/16 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by gooddog
I would have to say that mastering polyrhythms is an essential skill that you must learn and the Fantasie Impromptu is a good place to start. I work well with the mathematical model you described but some people find sentences helpful. In the case of 3/4 try one of these: "Pass the golden butter" or "I can play this rhythm." Both hands play at the same time on the first word, and alternate on the other words.

Using the math or sentence models enables your brain to develop the neural pathways that will eventually make this automatic. Start slowly and be very, very patient with yourself. Eventually, you will be able to leave the math and sentences behind and it will flow effortlessly. The essential lesson here is to be patient!


Do as gooddog says using words for where the notes fall. Before playing the notes on the piano, tap out the rhythm with your hands or feet to get it into your system. I did this years ago for a section in a Beethoven sonata and it really helped. Once you get it, you won't have a problem with it in the future. Good luck.


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Re: Complex Polyrhythm: How Detrimental is Failing to Master It? [Re: Isabelle1949] #2597274
12/22/16 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Isabelle1949
Originally Posted by gooddog
I would have to say that mastering polyrhythms is an essential skill that you must learn and the Fantasie Impromptu is a good place to start. I work well with the mathematical model you described but some people find sentences helpful. In the case of 3/4 try one of these: "Pass the golden butter" or "I can play this rhythm." Both hands play at the same time on the first word, and alternate on the other words.

Using the math or sentence models enables your brain to develop the neural pathways that will eventually make this automatic. Start slowly and be very, very patient with yourself. Eventually, you will be able to leave the math and sentences behind and it will flow effortlessly. The essential lesson here is to be patient!


Do as gooddog says using words for where the notes fall. Before playing the notes on the piano, tap out the rhythm with your hands or feet to get it into your system. I did this years ago for a section in a Beethoven sonata and it really helped. Once you get it, you won't have a problem with it in the future. Good luck.
I this approach only makes sense when the 4:3 occurs in a piece played at a much slower tempo than the FI. It won't help for a 4:3 anywhere near the tempo of the FI.

I think almost everyone who learns this successfully does so by making sure that the beginning of each 4 group in the RH coincides with the beginning of each 3 group in the LH while playing the piece at a reasonably fast tempo. Then the "polyrhythm problem" disappears. Learn each hand separately first if you cannot play it at a fairly fast speed to begin with.

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