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Re: What exactly is “pop” music?
Mils #2949649 02/20/20 09:51 PM
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I thought maybe I’d be playing something like fur elise. It’s the cliched beginner piece that you see every 7 year old on tv, who is depicted playing at a recital, playing. I know that you never see anybody playing it in its entirety because it does progress to a faster tempo and becomes more complicated I thought it was a rite of passage for anybody learning to play piano. I also thought that it was something that you learned to play rather early.

Last edited by Mils; 02/20/20 09:52 PM.
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Re: What exactly is “pop” music?
Mils #2949654 02/20/20 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Mils
I thought maybe I’d be playing something like fur elise. It’s the cliched beginner piece that you see every 7 year old on tv, who is depicted playing at a recital, playing. I know that you never see anybody playing it in its entirety because it does progress to a faster tempo and becomes more complicated I thought it was a rite of passage for anybody learning to play piano. I also thought that it was something that you learned to play rather early.


I know many people on YouTube and elsewhere play Fur Elise “as a beginner”, but that piece is actually a level 7 piece in the RCM exam curriculum. The majority of kids take about 7 years to get there, if they do approximately 1 grade per year. I know there will be faster kids and prodigies, but I’m talking about the regular normal folks (i.e. the majority of us). I’m just trying to put things into perspective for you. People don’t post things on YouTube unless it’s good and they’re proud to show it off.

I’m not even that old but I truly believe this world is addicted to instant gratification, thanks to YouTube and social media. I’d suggest not falling into that trap. It can be quite disastrous to your psyche. I always wondered whatever happened to slow and steady.

Last edited by WeakLeftHand; 02/20/20 10:02 PM.

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Re: What exactly is “pop” music?
Mils #2949723 02/21/20 05:56 AM
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Pop music is above all mostly SIMPLE music. It's usually in the form ABABCA or something like that, with the mandatory hook, most likely written in 4/4 or 3/4 and most of it comes with terrible lyrics. Now the problem with pop and piano is that since most pop music is repeatable, the arrangements pretty much are terribly boring, because most of them just follow the melody on the right hand and chords on the left hand then repeat it like 3 times, maybe with too small variations to make it interesting. There are though some notable Youtube channels with nice piano arrangements which also sell sheet music. Even so, I don't think these arrangements capture the original feeling, because the original songs are lyrics centric. So for example, if we take as an example "Nothing Compares To You", even Vika's arrangement doesn't even comes close to Sinead's original version, because it's so much about lyrics and great singing.

The OP is right however regarding classical vs pop arrangements, classical music is on one hand much harder to play properly, with all the stuff that's going on, and also it's been played to the heck and back by some of the greatest pianists so it's very hard to even get close, not even thinking to match them. This can be a put-off factor for many. On the other hand, if you train in classical music you will get more out of the pop arrangements than just banging the keys.

Re: What exactly is “pop” music?
Mils #2949755 02/21/20 08:25 AM
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Pop music is last on my list of priorities (well, most of it).

When I think of most pop music, the melody is made by the singer's voice and in a lot of cases this may not translate well to notes on a piano. I also think that the learning may become limited over time due to repetition.

Saying that, there are some pieces that I’d love to learn which imo have a classical feel and where there would be no requirement for adaptation for piano. The originals are just perfect as they are.

Two examples that spring to mind are 'You are so beautiful' and 'Have I told you lately?'.




imo, the solo at 2:20 on 'Have I told you Lately' is just beautiful and one of the reasons that I took up piano.

I don’t know if these would actually be classed as 'Pop' but they were on 'Top of the Pops' in the day smile

These two are definitely on my 'Not to be played until you can do them justice' list so it will be many years before I get to hear me playing them.

Re: What exactly is “pop” music?
Mosotti #2949789 02/21/20 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Mosotti
Pop music is above all mostly SIMPLE music...


I believe that part of the issue, is with "Pop" label itself. When the term is heard we tend to think too small and associate it with the likes of the Beegees, the Bieb or other tunes that have been played to death on the radio. But not Bacharach or Tijuana Brass, Carpenters or many other quality at one time, Pop.

A better way to look at it is Classical and Non-classical. Then there is no issue with including the likes of Williams, Gershwin, Einaudi etc. Most of which is far from simplistic or in any way unintelligent. There is even some very sophisticated Rock and none of which is likely to be easy. Some is, some isn't. Just like classical.

Re: What exactly is “pop” music?
Mils #2949834 02/21/20 01:19 PM
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Yes, Gershwin is pop but I wouldn’t compare him to Pink Floyd. So, the Classical/Non Classical distinction fits best, I guess. I was also thinking about Don Shirley, who I’d never heard of before seeing “Green Book.” He was classically trainer but played “pop.” I don’t think what he played was too simplistic. However, I am basing this on the movie.
Typically, instructors will ask what type of music you’d like to play. So, if the response isn’t “classical,” what do they teach? Or, how does what they teach differ from what would be taught with classical instruction?

Last edited by Mils; 02/21/20 01:21 PM.
Re: What exactly is “pop” music?
Mils #2949839 02/21/20 01:29 PM
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What Mosotti stated, is, I think, part of the issue for me. Adults aren’t going to be Music or Performance majors. They’re not going to get the same high level instruction as people who are really able to play Classical music well. So, I’m questioning the point of pursuing this type of music, if I’ll never reach that level of proficiency, that I believe is necessary for Classical but not necessary for other other forms of music.
The fact that many teachers will not bother to teach adults, particularly some very good teachers in my own area, gives some credence to what I’m saying.

Last edited by Mils; 02/21/20 01:30 PM.
Re: What exactly is “pop” music?
Mils #2949844 02/21/20 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Mils
What Mosotti stated, is, I think, part of the issue for me. Adults aren’t going to be Music or Performance majors. They’re not going to get the same high level instruction as people who are really able to play Classical music well. So, I’m questioning the point of pursuing this type of music, if I’ll never reach that level of proficiency, that I believe is necessary for Classical but not necessary for other other forms of music.


I certainly believe I will get to a high level of proficiency with classical music. I don’t see why I cannot do it. I am an adult and just started with piano last year, not yet 12 months. I’m following a classical curriculum, and in fact doing exams. I did very well on my first exam. Both the examiner and my teacher had absolutely no reservations about m getting to a very high level, so long as I work hard and stick with it, and give it the required time. No, I won’t ever be a concert pianist but that doesn’t mean I won’t get to a high level.

I simply don’t agree that an adult cannot get to a high level in classical music. There are others here who started as adults and are doing extremely well. If you continue to think you can’t then clearly you won’t be able to, as you’ve already given up before you’ve started. I truly believe it’s a mindset issue here. One member, Sam S, is actually finishing up his music degree and he started after retirement, if I’m not mistaken. He’s my role model. So I really don’t buy the argument that adults cannot get to a high level.

Last edited by WeakLeftHand; 02/21/20 01:48 PM.

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Re: What exactly is “pop” music?
Mils #2949847 02/21/20 01:47 PM
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Michel Legrand is another. Some of his tunes were hits when I was young. Outside of classical there is generally more freedom to do your own thing. It doesn't mean no structure, but there are different ways to play the same thing. As such, many may suggest going directly to chords and lead sheets where you may come up with your own unique accompaniment style.

I don't think there is a clear division this way. Like classical means reading grand staff and everything else means winging it. Just like you don't need to be jazz piano player to play jazz standards. Whatever you learn will contribute positively to whatever you choose to play.

You can't go wrong with learning to read and classical instruction is great for this. The world doesn't end there though.

Not sure, tell them the things you like and see what they can offer.

Re: What exactly is “pop” music?
Mils #2949856 02/21/20 02:19 PM
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Way back in the day, when I was still working my way up through my RCM studies, I never played any "pop" music. Ever. It was all only about classical music. It wasn't until these past few months, when I returned to the piano after my 40-year hiatus, (Yikes!) that I have come to really appreciate/enjoy playing pop music! (and to me, "pop music" basically means "everything that ain't classical"!)

As many of you know by now, back in October I bought a new Casio Privia PX-870 digital piano, and officially re-joined the world of piano music. Yes, of course I still enjoy playing the classical music that I learned to play decades ago in my youth... but I have discovered that I now love to play non-classical too! When I was still working my way toward an A.R.C.T. degree, the only type of music I had ever played was classical; well that, and also some hymns in church on Sundays.

And now I'm kicking myself for not getting into "pop" a long time ago! But I'm fortunately a pretty quick learner, and am able to master a dozen or two new-to-me tunes each week. It's all great fun, plus it is definitely helping with my very arthritic fingers; I am no longer experiencing much pain at all while playing. I am really finding my time on the piano bench to be a lot more enjoyable, now that I am playing a wider range of musical styles. I actually find it quite relaxing to play some really beautiful songs, such as Bob Dylan's "To Make You Feel My Love", Gordon Lightfoot's "Rainy Day People", CCR's "Have You Ever Seen The Rain?" and Carole King's "You've Got A Friend". Heck, I've discovered that even playing a rather complicated version of Freddie Mercury's "Bohemian Rhapsody" (to me, this is about as good as good music gets!) can somehow end up being a "calming" experience for this old dude!

Re: What exactly is “pop” music?
WeakLeftHand #2949867 02/21/20 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
I certainly believe I will get to a high level of proficiency with classical music. I don’t see why I cannot do it. I am an adult and just started with piano last year, not yet 12 months. I’m following a classical curriculum, and in fact doing exams. I did very well on my first exam. Both the examiner and my teacher had absolutely no reservations about m getting to a very high level, so long as I work hard and stick with it, and give it the required time. No, I won’t ever be a concert pianist but that doesn’t mean I won’t get to a high level.

I simply don’t agree that an adult cannot get to a high level in classical music. There are others here who started as adults and are doing extremely well. If you continue to think you can’t then clearly you won’t be able to, as you’ve already given up before you’ve started. I truly believe it’s a mindset issue here.

That's it exactly.

Anyone who starts learning piano with a defeatist attitude (I'm too old, I have crooked fingers but straight toes, I have straight fingers but crooked toes, I can't count to ten, my arms are too weak to hold up my hands, the keyboard is too dazzling for my puny eyes, blah, blah) has already crashed & burned before he has taken off from the runway. Whereas one who has an optimistic nature and eager to learn and get to the best he can be will - eventually - get to the best he can be, whether that's being able to play Your Song or Gaspard - or Für Elise.

I'm pretty sure that all my piano teachers thought that I was a pretty dud specimen of a kid attempting to learn to tickle the ivories, and unlike for almost all my peers (including my youngest sister), none of them ever thought I could skip grades. So they never suggested it, and I carried on my own merry tortoise-like progress, enjoying the journey in my own sort of fashion (which is not haute couture in any shape or form). As long as I was willing to keep learning, they were willing to keep teaching me. So what if it took me three times as long to learn a new technique than other kids half my age? Just as long as I got there eventually.

And I did get there eventually. And having lots of fun with it. Then - and now........ whistle yippie

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlPlfCy1urI


"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: What exactly is “pop” music?
Mils #2949868 02/21/20 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Mils
I don’t think, at this point, there’s anything much easier than what I’m playing. I can’t look at a piece and play it properly on my own. That is, I don’t know how to interpret all the notation to make something sound the way it should, even an easy piece. That’s frustrating to me. Knowing what the notes are is one thing. Getting them to sound right is the difficult part. That’s what the teacher is for but at what point does it become intuitive?

If you can't catch the musical idea of a piece it's indeed a big problem, because it's a core ability. But it may be that it's just your inexperience to blame and lack of speed. It's difficult to get the idea of a piece if you play it too slow, if you stumble often or if you play hesitatingly, still struggling with notes and rhythms. It requires a certian level of fluency. Don't give up too soon!

Re: What exactly is “pop” music?
Mils #2949905 02/21/20 04:52 PM
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I don't think that the thing about adult beginners can never get to high levels is true. I started learning with my kids and I am learning over twice as fast as they are because I have better discipline and do not give up as easy and do not mind practicing longer. I also admit my weaknesses and will work on them longer before giving up. A local place that does lessons for all ages says that adult progress much more rapidly than children in lessons because they better coordination and self motivation.

I do not have and end goal of where I will be or how advanced I can play. I just want to be able to play things I enjoy playing and listening to whether that is classical or not. I hope my skill builds through time in what I can play. I think of pop as anything that is popular and not classical. For me I want to use it as a way to develop ear skills and to try to learn to play pieces be ear that I like to listen to. I do want to learn to play classical pieces too even if it will take a while.

It does take time to really learn and things are very simple when you are a beginner and even that can be hard. It can be hard to coordinate all you have to do but over time slowly things that were hard become easier with deliberate practice and that includes things like reading, rhythm, how to play it musically and playing with both hands etc.

Re: What exactly is “pop” music?
Mils #2949920 02/21/20 05:58 PM
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I'm about 1 year into my piano journey. (Note: I now have a broken hand from a fall on the ice, so piano is on hold for a little while).

I've experimented with different styles of music over the last year, and have come to realize that I like what falls in between classical and pop.

If you think about Christmas carols, Jim Brickman music, James Bond theme songs, etc., this music has characteristics of both styles. Pure pop music normally is based on guitar and singing, and isn't really suited to solo piano.

I find that Dan Coates has a number of books with this contemporary classical music (in-between classical and pop), and much of this can be played after completing the popular method books that take people to a grade 2-3 standard. You can search for book titles and see previews on Amazon or Sheet Music Plus, and then buy many of the books on eBay for a discount.

Re: What exactly is “pop” music?
camperbc #2950497 02/23/20 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by camperbc
Way back in the day, when I was still working my way up through my RCM studies, I never played any "pop" music. Ever. It was all only about classical music. It wasn't until these past few months, when I returned to the piano after my 40-year hiatus, (Yikes!) that I have come to really appreciate/enjoy playing pop music! (and to me, "pop music" basically means "everything that ain't classical"!)

And now I'm kicking myself for not getting into "pop" a long time ago! But I'm fortunately a pretty quick learner, and am able to master a dozen or two new-to-me tunes each week. It's all great fun, plus it is definitely helping with my very arthritic fingers; I am no longer experiencing much pain at all while playing. I am really finding my time on the piano bench to be a lot more enjoyable, now that I am playing a wider range of musical styles. I actually find it quite relaxing to play some really beautiful songs, such as Bob Dylan's "To Make You Feel My Love", Gordon Lightfoot's "Rainy Day People", CCR's "Have You Ever Seen The Rain?" and Carole King's "You've Got A Friend". Heck, I've discovered that even playing a rather complicated version of Freddie Mercury's "Bohemian Rhapsody" (to me, this is about as good as good music gets!) can somehow end up being a "calming" experience for this old dude!

How many versions of Bohemian Rhapsody are there?
I wouldn’t mind learning that at some point, regardless of which style I pursue. I know I’m not ready for it now, though.

Re: What exactly is “pop” music?
Mils #2950511 02/23/20 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Mils
Originally Posted by camperbc
Way back in the day, when I was still working my way up through my RCM studies, I never played any "pop" music. Ever. It was all only about classical music. It wasn't until these past few months, when I returned to the piano after my 40-year hiatus, (Yikes!) that I have come to really appreciate/enjoy playing pop music! (and to me, "pop music" basically means "everything that ain't classical"!)

And now I'm kicking myself for not getting into "pop" a long time ago! But I'm fortunately a pretty quick learner, and am able to master a dozen or two new-to-me tunes each week. It's all great fun, plus it is definitely helping with my very arthritic fingers; I am no longer experiencing much pain at all while playing. I am really finding my time on the piano bench to be a lot more enjoyable, now that I am playing a wider range of musical styles. I actually find it quite relaxing to play some really beautiful songs, such as Bob Dylan's "To Make You Feel My Love", Gordon Lightfoot's "Rainy Day People", CCR's "Have You Ever Seen The Rain?" and Carole King's "You've Got A Friend". Heck, I've discovered that even playing a rather complicated version of Freddie Mercury's "Bohemian Rhapsody" (to me, this is about as good as good music gets!) can somehow end up being a "calming" experience for this old dude!

How many versions of Bohemian Rhapsody are there?
I wouldn’t mind learning that at some point, regardless of which style I pursue. I know I’m not ready for it now, though.


How about this version? smile


Re: What exactly is “pop” music?
Ron1 #2950539 02/23/20 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Ron1

Pure pop music normally is based on guitar and singing, and isn't really suited to solo piano.


I partially agree, but I think Elton John did a tremendous job of breaking that barrier down. If your going to be doing a lot of Pop though, singing with your playing will definitely add a dimension and your performance value goes way up. If I could do it over (I know a different thread), I'd of put more focus on singing and accompaniment. Still there is lots you can do with pure solo piano.



Re: What exactly is “pop” music?
Mosotti #2950719 02/23/20 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Mosotti
if we take as an example "Nothing Compares To You", even Vika's arrangement doesn't even comes close to Sinead's original version.


And how do you think the Prince version fares laugh?

Re: What exactly is “pop” music?
Greener #2950720 02/23/20 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Greener

A better way to look at it is Classical and Non-classical.


Perhaps tweak that to "Classical and Contemporary"?

Re: What exactly is “pop” music?
Zaphod #2950725 02/23/20 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Zaphod
Originally Posted by Greener

A better way to look at it is Classical and Non-classical.


Perhaps tweak that to "Classical and Contemporary"?

Or maybe not.

This is contemporary:

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

On the other hand, so is this (almost):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QC6tckOW3xk


"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."
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