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Piece for piano beginner
#2901079 10/17/19 04:03 AM
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Hi, pianoworld,

This is part of the music of Passacaglia, I found that this piece is short and beautiful, I think it's quite suitable for piano beginner player! Personally love this kind of music so much! Although I didn't play it perfectly, but I hope you will enjoy for this! and I will be very happy if any advise given! eek


Passacaglia


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Re: Piece for piano beginner
Alston9981 #2925110 12/20/19 03:07 PM
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Nice performance.

I first heard this version sometime last year and only recently rediscovered it with Kassia's performance last month:



However, I have issues sourcing the piece.

G.F. Handel's Passacaglia is mvt. 6 in his Suite in G minor. Centuries later, Johan Halvorsen adapted it for the violin and viola.

What people are playing as Handel-Halvorsen's Passacaglia for piano solo is measures 41-44 in the Handel version and a slightly longer section from the Halvorsen version. Someone, and I am not at all certain that it is Halvorsen, has created an extended version in C major with a lot of repetitions.

If the piece was not instantly recognizable within Handel's original composition, I would have assumed that this is another case of "Chopin's Spring Waltz":


Re: Piece for piano beginner
Alston9981 #2925156 12/20/19 05:05 PM
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This is no way shape or form a beginner piece.

Re: Piece for piano beginner
JazzyMac #2925397 12/21/19 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by JazzyMac
This is no way shape or form a beginner piece.


Thanks for putting my mind at rest.

Being a beginner myself, after watching that, I was starting to feel very inadequate.

Re: Piece for piano beginner
JazzyMac #2925406 12/21/19 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by JazzyMac
This is no way shape or form a beginner piece.


It is a beginner piece in that:

  • It's in C maj. So those weird, black keys are rarely encountered. That also makes the sheet music readable.
  • It's extremely repetitive and follows a definite pattern. You can learn entire measures by reading them only once.
  • It's not a boring exercise and actually sounds very good when played. So you tend to put more effort into it.


BUT, you need some level of finger independence and the hand span to reach an octave. Otherwise, you will struggle. If you are comfortable with something like page 1 of Schmitt's preparatory exercises, then I think this piece should be quite playable.



Re: Piece for piano beginner
Alston9981 #2925418 12/21/19 02:01 PM
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It’s nice. Minimalistic ala Glass. I agree it’s certainly not a beginner piece.


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Re: Piece for piano beginner
cmb13 #2925434 12/21/19 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
Minimalistic ala Glass.

Those Baroque composers were centuries ahead of their time, weren't they? 😁


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Re: Piece for piano beginner
Alston9981 #2925441 12/21/19 02:53 PM
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Quote
you need some level of finger independence


I just got the score this (thanks to this thread, I wasn't familiar with this piece before) and played through it. Based on that, I would say you need a fairly well-developed level of finger independence to play this piece. Sure it's in C, and sure there aren't tricky rhythms, syncopation or big block chords. But, unlike page one of those Schmitt's exercises you linked to, with Passacaglia, I found that I can't put either hand on auto-pilot and getting it up close to the marked tempo will be an additional challenge. Well, ok, maybe I will be able to get the RH into auto-pilot relatively quickly, but since it's more common to have pieces where you can put the LH on auto, this is another feature making this piece more challenging.

Oh, and it's not that you need to be able to reach an octave so much as you need make smooth transitions beyond an octave and be comfortable with keyboard geography enough to play arpeggios in one hand that go beyond an octave, the left hand moving up and down the keyboard the way it does will be quite difficult for a lot of beginners.

So I would say that the LH or RH part on its own might be upper-beginner level, but the technique needed to put the two hands together pushes this piece up into the intermediate level, and possibility upper intermediate.

Having said that, I'm going to put this piece into my practice menu and see how long it takes me to get it up close to the metronome marking of MM=130.

Maybe I'll change my mind after working on it for a few days, but at first read-through, I would say this is definitely not a beginner piece.

ETA: how do you pronounce the name of this piece? I don't think I can include it in my repertoire if I can't pronounce the name!! whome

Last edited by ShiroKuro; 12/21/19 02:55 PM.

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Re: Piece for piano beginner
Alston9981 #2925444 12/21/19 03:02 PM
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Also, I think it's a misconception that repetitive pieces are easy or easier. Repetitive pieces can sometimes be more difficult, and playing them well and evenly without sounding robotic requires more skill than just getting your fingers on the right keys at the right times.

Sorry to go on...


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Re: Piece for piano beginner
ShiroKuro #2925453 12/21/19 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
Also, I think it's a misconception that repetitive pieces are easy or easier. Repetitive pieces can sometimes be more difficult, and playing them well and evenly without sounding robotic requires more skill than just getting your fingers on the right keys at the right times.

I learned a minimalism piece about 4 months ago for the PW recital and it was definitely one of the hardest pieces I've learned so far. Not only for the reasons you said, but it is also very hard to memorize because contemporary music often doesn't follow traditional patterns of harmony, etc. Makes it super difficult to memorize too. (Just saying since usually repetitive pieces are contemporary minimalism - in this case of course, it's not - it's Baroque.)


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Re: Piece for piano beginner
Alston9981 #2925468 12/21/19 03:55 PM
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I remember that, very nice!


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Re: Piece for piano beginner
ShiroKuro #2925470 12/21/19 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro

Oh, and it's not that you need to be able to reach an octave so much as you need make smooth transitions beyond an octave and be comfortable with keyboard geography enough to play arpeggios in one hand that go beyond an octave, the left hand moving up and down the keyboard the way it does will be quite difficult for a lot of beginners.

So I would say that the LH or RH part on its own might be upper-beginner level, but the technique needed to put the two hands together pushes this piece up into the intermediate level, and possibility upper intermediate.


I pick pieces to learn based on whether I can hold the melody at a decent tempo without it sounding too terrible (I suck at hands together, so let's not even go there). The underlying assumption is that given enough time and effort, and identifying and fixing mistakes, the playing will improve.

If you compare this piece to something like, say, Mozart's Symphony in G minor (arranged for piano solo) which the beginner can start quite nicely and then watch with horror as everything falls apart around measure 14, you can see the simplicity of the former.



Quote

ETA: how do you pronounce the name of this piece? I don't think I can include it in my repertoire if I can't pronounce the name!! whome


I did it as paesa-kay-lee-a with a silent g as I thought the word is similar to Tattaglia (from The Godfather). But Wikipedia says it's /pæsəˈkɑːliə/ which I would read as Pasa(dena) + ca(r) + (Ta)lia.

Re: Piece for piano beginner
Alston9981 #2925478 12/21/19 04:09 PM
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then watch with horror


Who's been spying on my practice sessions!! j/k grin

So, actually, I agree with you that Passacaglia is "simple" -- especially conceptually, it's very simple.

But still, that doesn't make it a beginner's piece. The only reason I keep going on about that is that I think it's important to avoid labeling it as such given the context, namely, the Adult Beginners Forum, where most people have an "ear" for music that's fairly conceptually advanced, just by virtue of beginning grown-ups and having listened to music our entire lives etc.

But it can be demoralizing to be told that something like Passacaglia is a "beginner's piece" and then try to play it and realize that it's completely be out of your grasp.


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Re: Piece for piano beginner
Alston9981 #2925480 12/21/19 04:11 PM
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I am also not sure it's helpful to compare it to a Mozart symphony as a way to argue whether or not one or the other is (or is not) accessible to beginners. The styles and the necessary techniques are too different.

ETA: I play music that's similar to the Passacaglia all the time, and many pieces which are stylistically similar but musically much more challenging, so I expect to be able to get that piece up to playability fairly quickly, and (again just going off of one read-through) the Passacaglia will probably end up being easy for me. But I never play Mozart or other pieces in the standard piano repertoire, so even a simpler piece would likely be more difficult for me.

Perhaps the OP plays this style of music all the time, and thus why s/he thought to describe it this way?

Last edited by ShiroKuro; 12/21/19 04:16 PM.

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Re: Piece for piano beginner
Alston9981 #2925481 12/21/19 04:13 PM
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P.S. thanks for the pronunciation hints! smile


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Re: Piece for piano beginner
ShiroKuro #2925503 12/21/19 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
But it can be demoralizing to be told that something like Passacaglia is a "beginner's piece" and then try to play it and realize that it's completely be out of your grasp.

I don't know how other beginners pick the pieces they play. I prefer to play music that I enjoy listening to rather than following some syllabus or grading.

If I like something, I locate the sheet music and see if I can read the first few measures without it giving me a headache. If it looks like something I can play, I then print the entire thing even if I might only be able to play the first N measures today.

This is why I have sheet music tutorials for Chopin's "Waterfall" etude (by Paul Barton) in my folder even though the etude itself is something far beyond what I am capable of.


Re: Piece for piano beginner
kj85 #2925508 12/21/19 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by kj85
Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
But it can be demoralizing to be told that something like Passacaglia is a "beginner's piece" and then try to play it and realize that it's completely be out of your grasp.
I don't know how other beginners pick the pieces they play. I prefer to play music that I enjoy listening to rather than following some syllabus or grading.

I think this approach might sound good, but imagine how it would work in school? If children decided to only read the things that interested them? A lot of manga comics and comic books would get read for class smile And afterwards, would they come out the other end, "better off"?


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"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
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"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Piece for piano beginner
Tyrone Slothrop #2925521 12/21/19 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by kj85
Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
But it can be demoralizing to be told that something like Passacaglia is a "beginner's piece" and then try to play it and realize that it's completely be out of your grasp.
I don't know how other beginners pick the pieces they play. I prefer to play music that I enjoy listening to rather than following some syllabus or grading.

I think this approach might sound good, but imagine how it would work in school? If children decided to only read the things that interested them? A lot of manga comics and comic books would get read for class smile And afterwards, would they come out the other end, "better off"?


I cannot speak for others. But I know that it is not for me.

From personal experience, I know that things like finger independence matter a lot. So I do those exercises even if they are not particularly enjoyable. But following a syllabus is a bridge too far.

Just compare the Handel-Halvorsen piece in this thread with something similar (And Now Let's Handel) being used in the Trinity syllabus. It doesn't take a lot to see that the former version is musically far superior to the one in the syllabus.


Re: Piece for piano beginner
kj85 #2925545 12/21/19 07:56 PM
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Is that the Alberti Bass?

Originally Posted by kj85
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by kj85
Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
But it can be demoralizing to be told that something like Passacaglia is a "beginner's piece" and then try to play it and realize that it's completely be out of your grasp.
I don't know how other beginners pick the pieces they play. I prefer to play music that I enjoy listening to rather than following some syllabus or grading.

I think this approach might sound good, but imagine how it would work in school? If children decided to only read the things that interested them? A lot of manga comics and comic books would get read for class smile And afterwards, would they come out the other end, "better off"?


I cannot speak for others. But I know that it is not for me.

From personal experience, I know that things like finger independence matter a lot. So I do those exercises even if they are not particularly enjoyable. But following a syllabus is a bridge too far.

Just compare the Handel-Halvorsen piece in this thread with something similar (And Now Let's Handel) being used in the Trinity syllabus. It doesn't take a lot to see that the former version is musically far superior to the one in the syllabus.




Re: Piece for piano beginner
kj85 #2925550 12/21/19 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by kj85
Just compare the Handel-Halvorsen piece in this thread with something similar (And Now Let's Handel) being used in the Trinity syllabus. It doesn't take a lot to see that the former version is musically far superior to the one in the syllabus.


In my mind sometimes using a simpler arrangement or a different arrangement has a pedagogical purpose. Otherwise, arrangements would never be used where there was an original piano solo, and even if there wasn't an original piano solo, there would still be a tendency to use the most beautiful (which is often the most elaborate) arrangement...

...and then all versions of I Saw Three Ships which people would play would sound like this or better:



I am not very happy to play ugly or simplified arrangements of pieces either. But I do recognize the educational purpose, just like there is a purpose for children's versions of adult stories/novels.

It reminds me of physics. There was the physics taught in grade school, with balls rolling down ramps and little stick catapults. There was the physics taught in high school, sometimes more than one version. There was the physics taught to undergraduates of the 1st and second year at the university. But for something like mechanics, the real physics wasn't taught until you got to courses with names like "classical hamiltonian mechanics" or "theoretical mechanics" or "general relativity". Yet those earlier classes all had a sound educational purpose. And jumping straight to a hamiltonian least action principle in high school, for example, would have been "putting the cart before the horse."


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