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Re: Schumann Toccata Op. 7
Orange Soda King #2140258 08/28/13 01:28 PM
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OK -- sorry, I got our threads mixed up!
I started thinking this was about Chopin's 4th Scherzo!

Re: Schumann Toccata Op. 7
Orange Soda King #2140279 08/28/13 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by carey
Originally Posted by pianorigami

3) How debilitating is not being able to reach a 10th (at ALL)?
With this particular piece, it could be a problem. Have you actually tried reading through the first two pages? Have you asked your teacher about it?

Maybe you're right, but I never had any impression that the 'reach' thing was an issue with this piece.

(Where?)


Look at the left hand a few measures in. I don't think it's impossible with smaller hands, but I've joked that this is the only piece small hands will present a problem with, haha. I have small hands, but I have no problem approaching big intervals, such as in Brahms and Busoni.


IMHO, if you can't easily reach a 10th with your LH, then it is challenging to play the first couple of pages (and similar sections of the piece) as written. You can always try to "break" the chord by playing the lower note first, but at the tempo this piece "should" be played, doing so would be awkward and sound a bit strange. I recall that some of the 10ths are easier to reach than others - depending on the actual notes involved.

That said, pianorigami, I'm glad you resurrected this old thread. When I originally posted here over four years ago, I said I was starting to work on this Toccata (after "thinking" about learning it for many years) - but I decided to put it aside until I retired and had more time to focus on it. Well, I've been retired for almost four years now and still haven't gotten around to it. ha Also - Sotto Voce and I were both learning it at the time, and were exchanging PM's, articles, etc. Then things suddenly changed.........(old timers here will know what I mean). grin

Last edited by carey; 08/28/13 02:15 PM.

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Re: Schumann Toccata Op. 7
pianorigami #2140296 08/28/13 02:49 PM
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Bah...I was writing my response, and pressed backspace to erase letters, and it loaded the last page losing my thoughts (Venting...it takes me SO long to write of thought...)

Originally Posted by pianorigami

3) How debilitating is not being able to reach a 10th (at ALL)?


It is very debilitating in this piece. It's not the LH 10ths, but the RH 10ths which are most problematic for my small hands. Splitting them compromises accuracy. But then depending on the make up of your hand, the 10ths are not the only problem stretch wise. My RH fingers 2-4 cannot reach the B flat - F sharp stretch, which would be the ideal fingers to use oscillating with the G octaves (I am going from memory here...I think these are the notes). So then the fingering becomes 5-5-5-5 in the top...not ideal, very awkward...

It doesn't mean you shouldn't try it - it's too great a piece not to try. Just know we with small hands will not be able to do some of the things larger hands naturally can do with the piece.


Music does not have to be understood;
It has to be listened to.
- Hermann Scherchen.
Re: Schumann Toccata Op. 7
D. S. F. #2140350 08/28/13 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by D. S. F.
Bah...I was writing my response, and pressed backspace to erase letters, and it loaded the last page losing my thoughts (Venting...it takes me SO long to write of thought...)

Which is why, when writing long posts, I highlight my progress and copy it from time to time, so that if there's an issue I can just reload the page and paste what I had back into the box, and continue.


Regards,

Polyphonist
Re: Schumann Toccata Op. 7
D. S. F. #2140413 08/28/13 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by D. S. F.
Bah...I was writing my response, and pressed backspace to erase letters, and it loaded the last page losing my thoughts (Venting...it takes me SO long to write of thought...)

Originally Posted by pianorigami

3) How debilitating is not being able to reach a 10th (at ALL)?


It is very debilitating in this piece. It's not the LH 10ths, but the RH 10ths which are most problematic for my small hands. Splitting them compromises accuracy. But then depending on the make up of your hand, the 10ths are not the only problem stretch wise. My RH fingers 2-4 cannot reach the B flat - F sharp stretch, which would be the ideal fingers to use oscillating with the G octaves (I am going from memory here...I think these are the notes). So then the fingering becomes 5-5-5-5 in the top...not ideal, very awkward...

It doesn't mean you shouldn't try it - it's too great a piece not to try. Just know we with small hands will not be able to do some of the things larger hands naturally can do with the piece.

I didn't see how many 10ths there are until I sightread it. Did Schumann have monster hands?? Sigh. I can't even comfortably reach a 9th, so until my hand grows, I'll have to be fine with listening to this piece. Tons of pieces are easy to get away with (Chopin- rolling; some Liszt), but the sheer rapidity and number of 10ths means I'll have to wait.
Not to change the topic of the thread (I'll make it brief), but does the Prokofiev Toccata have as many 10ths (or large 9ths...)?
Thanks!


Everyday is a great day.
Re: Schumann Toccata Op. 7
sotto voce #2140417 08/28/13 07:29 PM
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[video:youtube]rrEeLSBCcz0[/video]

Daim.

+

[video:youtube]PylzJc6kH0o[/video]

Wonderful piece, notoriously difficult. Despite it being fairly comfortable, 5+ minutes of double note passages and octaves is pretty taxing.

Last edited by ScriabinAddict; 08/28/13 07:29 PM.
Re: Schumann Toccata Op. 7
sotto voce #2140428 08/28/13 08:10 PM
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It took me three years to learn this piece. It has several technique and musical needs to bring this piece to an audience performance. Probably my overall favorite piece. I heard Kissin play it as an encore during a Philadelphia recital in the winter of 1995. It brought the house down. People in the front rows were standing with 45 seconds to go in the piece it was stupendous. Back stage he said he had never played it so well.


Serge P. Marinkovic, MD

Re: Schumann Toccata Op. 7
D. S. F. #2140614 08/29/13 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by D. S. F.
Bah...I was writing my response, and pressed backspace to erase letters, and it loaded the last page losing my thoughts (Venting...it takes me SO long to write of thought...)

Originally Posted by pianorigami

3) How debilitating is not being able to reach a 10th (at ALL)?


It is very debilitating in this piece. It's not the LH 10ths, but the RH 10ths which are most problematic for my small hands. Splitting them compromises accuracy. But then depending on the make up of your hand, the 10ths are not the only problem stretch wise. My RH fingers 2-4 cannot reach the B flat - F sharp stretch, which would be the ideal fingers to use oscillating with the G octaves (I am going from memory here...I think these are the notes). So then the fingering becomes 5-5-5-5 in the top...not ideal, very awkward...


I totally underestimated the shear number of tenths. What a shame! It looks like this piece, until my hands grow (fingers crossed), will have to be one I just listen to. There are just too many 10ths at too fast a tempo to roll or ignore them all!

Last edited by pianorigami; 08/29/13 09:48 AM.

Everyday is a great day.
Re: Schumann Toccata Op. 7
sotto voce #2140632 08/29/13 10:21 AM
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A quick question: was this piece written before or after Schumann destroyed his right "piano hand" allegedly by using a mechanical device or perhaps by putting wedges between the fingers? Maybe the piece was the single most cause of the composer's demise as a pianist? Just a thought.


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Re: Schumann Toccata Op. 7
Frankni #2140651 08/29/13 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Frankni
A quick question: was this piece written before or after Schumann destroyed his right "piano hand" allegedly by using a mechanical device or perhaps by putting wedges between the fingers? Maybe the piece was the single most cause of the composer's demise as a pianist? Just a thought.

After reading a little on Schumann, I think the toccata was composed after his hand was ruined. Thusly, I doubt he could have played it. No wonder it's so hard...


Everyday is a great day.
Re: Schumann Toccata Op. 7
sotto voce #2141887 08/31/13 04:31 PM
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Just a few thoughts on op. 7: I have been playing this great piece for say 25 years, in concert, and it is a gem in any recital, needs to be programmed carefully though, only 7 minutes of hard work, no big ending, hard to place (I like to play op.18-op.7 in one go). Technically, everybody who hasn't played it talks about tenths, strain on biceps, endurance, difficult double notes, blablabla, no one talks about Schumann, the poet-composer that, yes, also here, writes very melodically, even in the somewhat 'childish'-sounding 2nd subject (op.15 lurking in the distance), but also in the coda (where, magically, the metric shift of one 16th note pulls over the whole piece till the end!) and actually everywhere, it's a real pinkysolo-etude. It's dynamics are more p than f, a distinction rarely observed. Although I'm sure that Schumann wanted to write a bravoura piece, dedicated it to Ludwig Schunke, who read through it and played it to perfection at first sight according to the composer, and transposed it down from D to C, former discussions might catch fire here..., he was himself enough not to end it in a flashy manner, but let the piece outrun itself and, even in a higher tempo, lets it diminish and go out like a flame, just one question remains: why did he write such a totally unplayable c-major chord that no one can reach, just Richter might be the one who did? As to tempo: the piece needs to have a very strict one, mostly depending on the octave-section, the most difficult I think, compares to Chopin op.25/9, a piece everybody regards as one of the easier etudes, I don't, I hold that one for one of the more difficult ones, leggierissimo etc. no power, yaya.


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Re: Schumann Toccata Op. 7
sotto voce #2771440 10/11/18 12:30 PM
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I was looking on the net for the most difficult piano pieces ;-). The opus 7 from Schumann was in the top 10 I think. I became really curious about that piece. I'm now over 50 and I remember it from my youth, not playing, but hearing it. Yesterday I was looking on youtube for a some performers. The two versions I found most interesting was the ones from Argerich and Horowitz. The thing with Horowitz is that he let's the piece sing very well, but I find it too romantic. I like the touch of Martha Argerich, the virtuosity, the incredible accuracy with which she plays it. I think Schumann composed it in the first place as a bravour and show off piece, but than again it has a wonderful melody line. Therefore I think it is a very demanding piece of piano music, to play it virtuoso and let it sing at the same time. To make a music piece out of it, is to my opinion rather difficult.
I downloaded the scores and gave it a try, to get an idea of the difficulty.The first page is playable, but from measure 25 for me that Bach en Schuman mixture is at that speed incredible hard to play well. It is too hard for me.
Martha Argerich
Richter Moscow 1958
Horowitz

Maybe this can help me : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwwRjpshmj8

Re: Schumann Toccata Op. 7
sotto voce #2777102 10/31/18 05:14 PM
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Interesting that I came across this topic as I just finished watching a video from Steven Massicotte regarding how to overcome the technical challenge in the Schumann Toccata by understanding the concept of "drawer" (or back and forwards motion) with the arm and hands. Here's a link to the video: https://youtu.be/gwwRjpshmj8. Good luck and great thread!


“It's easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself.”
― Johann Sebastian Bach
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