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Re: Playing Chopin-type fast runs [Re: Deckie] #2734369
05/05/18 06:21 PM
05/05/18 06:21 PM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 3,990
Haverhill, Massachusetts
J
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member
John Citron  Offline
3000 Post Club Member
J

Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 3,990
Haverhill, Massachusetts
Originally Posted by Deckie
I'm not sure what it is you think has gone wrong John but it's still all coming along quite well, there's nothing that needs to be unfixed. The different sections I'm playing are still at different speeds due to varying difficulty, slower than full speed but at the maximum speed that I can still achieve total accuracy.

I'm still devoting most time to those bravura sections and I'm starting to detect a very slight glimmer of them sounding like runs rather than like practicing scales. Still got a long way to go though. If I practiced it playing the whole piece at the same speed that I can manage the bravura sections, I would be playing the easier sections many times slower than I need to to progress.


I fully understand what you are doing - been there, done that, ruined, trashed, and destroyed many, many pieces of music doing it your way. My teachers said what I am telling you now for years, but like you I did it my way and never quite polished up the music to where it should be. In fact my very first teacher and family friend would visit on holidays and used to listen to me play for her. She would smile of course then throw up her hands and say do it your way. To put her in perspective, she's now 98 and retired from teaching, but in her heyday, she studied with Beveridge Webster who was one of the heads of Julliard and New England Conservatory, Isador Philippe, and others.

Oh so many years later for me, my current teacher said exactly the same thing and now I too am doing it, and what a difference it makes in the solidity of the music under the fingers.

So yeah that's good that your getting some progress in those difficult sections, but...

What you said in the last paragraph is exactly what you should be doing, which is the whole point of practicing everything slowly all the way through. Don't think about the fastest speed now, think about accuracy of both time and notation. Once you get the basics down, you can then work on the speed.

To get this into some of the details which my piano teacher explained, you are building the connection between your muscle memory and your brain. If you do this too quickly, he said in so many words, you'll end up creating faulty connections, which will lead to bad habits with the piece. By working on everything equally slow and not caring about how fast you should be going in the beginning, you'll build the connections slowly and be able to then work on faster tempos later and the more enjoyable parts like dynamics and phrasing.

Think about this....


Current works in progress:

Beethoven Sonata Op. 10 No. 2 in F, Haydn Sonata Hoboken XVI:41, Bach French Suite No. 5 in G BWV 816

Current instruments: Schimmel-Vogel 177T grand, Roland LX-17 digital, and John Lyon unfretted Saxon clavichord.
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Re: Playing Chopin-type fast runs [Re: Deckie] #2734377
05/05/18 07:24 PM
05/05/18 07:24 PM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 41
U.K.
D
Deckie Offline OP
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Deckie  Offline OP
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D

Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 41
U.K.
Thanks again John but I don’t think I've been explaining it very well. When I say I practice at the fastest speed I mean it’s the fastest speed that I can play that section accurately. It’s still maybe at half the speed it should be or slower, I've never played any of the piece at the proper speed yet, far from it. It just means that because the different sections have different difficulties the fastest speeds I can play them accurately are different. So the sections with the slowest maximum speeds are the ones I'm spending most practice time on as they are probably still at quarter speed like the bravura sections or the section of rapid falling chromatic thirds. Then as the accurate speed increases I can devote more time to other sections and bring those up to speed a bit as well, still playing them slowly and accurately. If I practice the whole piece at a consistent tempo to make the sections fit together I'll end with the problem you highlighted in bold. Once the fastest speed of the various sections start becoming equalised over time I can start putting them together and play them as a complete piece. That’s the plan.

I too have spoilt pieces after being tempted to play them too fast too quickly, glossed over the bits I was getting wrong, the wrong notes ended up in muscle memory and almost impossible to unlearn. I decided to learn this piece properly from the outset and that’s when the doubts set in that I could play the bravura sections well enough. If not, I will have wasted maybe months of practice time on the rest of the piece because there’s no point playing it if I can only play some of it. So I concentrated on those hardest sections first but couldn’t help giving the rest of the piece a go as well and it’s continued on from there.

Re: Playing Chopin-type fast runs [Re: Deckie] #2734378
05/05/18 07:30 PM
05/05/18 07:30 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 22,128
Victoria, BC
BruceD Offline
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BruceD  Offline
Gold Subscriber

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 22,128
Victoria, BC
I believe, though, in the initial post Deckie was writing about "fast runs" or fioritura, passages which in the particular example cited are not timed. Therefore, isolating them and practicing them (as I suggested and to which suggestion JC previously agreed) is not to be decried. There would be little sense, in my opinion, to try to play these passages in time with the rest of the work. In the particular video that is the source of this thread, the performer's tempo drastically changes during the fioritura and, again in my opinion, not only would it be almost impossible to play these fioritura if one kept the left hand tempo steady, doing so would contradict the nature of this type of embellishment.

So why would one suggest playing this cadenza-type passage in a tempo that is in accord with the tempo of the rest of the piece when it is a free-flowing, untimed passage?

Regards,


BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190
Re: Playing Chopin-type fast runs [Re: Deckie] #2734380
05/05/18 07:39 PM
05/05/18 07:39 PM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 41
U.K.
D
Deckie Offline OP
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Deckie  Offline OP
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D

Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 41
U.K.
Thanks BruceD, I did pick out the bravura / fioritura passages to practice first and figured that if I can play them evenly and fast enough to sound like a run and not a scale, I could introduce the changes in tempo later on.

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