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Re: A little self promotion with a question
Sidokar #2965992 04/12/20 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Sidokar
Originally Posted by KevinM
Thanks Craig, yes it has been a tremendous amount of work.

I think I need to improve generally to take this any further. I am utterly speed limited, right now, this is as fast as I can take it and I have been stuck here for a while.
IMO, speed is not the issue at this point. You can keep it at that pace. What you would need to work on is to introduce some phrasing and polish some of the technical issues like the trills. This music needs to breath. Now that you can manage to play the whole piece end to end, you can work on the interpretation.

Thanks for the feedback. I do feel that right now I need to let this go. This represents months and a lot of work . Both phrasing and trills are things I need to work on generally, that can be done elsewhere and if I let go of this now I can return to it when I have improved those aspects of my playing. To play as you have heard requires such a focus of concentration I have nothing else to give to it right now.

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Re: A little self promotion with a question
KevinM #2966005 04/12/20 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by KevinM
Thanks for the feedback @Pianist685

The comments about the beginning and con forza are easily addressable.

The main issue, in my mind anyway, is I just can't play faster than what you hear and it is already too slow, that leaves no room for playing with rubato and similarly with varying the speed of trills.

I need to be more circumspect with selecting pieces closer to my actual skill level so I feel I have the freedom to play with tempo where appropriate.

Of course, i respect your opinion as well as what you responded in the next message, but you seem to be focused on speed. Your pace is just fine. At 4.30 you are exactly in the range of pro players. Even Lisitsa plays it in 4.40 ie slower than your version (on average). There are some that are even playing it in 5mns. The reason why it seems slow to you is not because the pace is slow but because it lacks variety and thus sound a bit monotonous, ie slow.

I think that the most interesting work starts now, which is how to take the piece to a higher degree of musicality. Whatever is the piece that you play or will play the question will remain the same. Since you already know that piece, you might as well take the benefit of it. I dont even think you need to work on the whole of it but to extract a section and start working the phrasing (which does not equate only to rubato, that covers also the touch, articulation, ....). I think many people want to be able to play an entire piece well or not at all, but that is not very efficient. What is important is to learn new skills and you are at a point where phrasing becomes indispensable. You also dont need to focus all your time on it but work it out progressively. Same for trills, put them on the backburner as a technical exercice. The issue with slow pieces is that because they are slow, they require a high degree of touch quality, unlike fast ones where the speed keeps the movement going forward.

Obviously just my personal bias. Take care and good luck.

Re: A little self promotion with a question
KevinM #2966405 04/13/20 08:43 AM
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Interesting, the recordings I was listening to while practising were around the 4 minute mark. I never thought I could get it that fast. Once I got it down to around the 4:30 mark I was working on trying to get the touch right and becoming confident at playing at that tempo. I'm not yet even particularly confident at that kind of tempo.

Phrasing, better dynamics and playing with tempo are definitely things I'm going to need to be working on. Along with proception, playing trills faster and more evenly and just being able to play faster with less unintended dynamics.

Oh my goodness, when I see many of my weaknesses listed like that, I've got a lot of work to do, and that is only the known problem areas.

Proception really is a big one for me, any kind of jumps even small ones unless I am watching what I'm doing have low accuracy.

Re: A little self promotion with a question
KevinM #2966463 04/13/20 11:21 AM
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One new thought - Sidokar may be right about the tempo. Getting a piece to professional speed may be unnecessary anyway. You're not going to play professionally, and if it sounds great at a slower tempo, then that's fine. My teacher even goes so far as to say that she thinks the professionals often play the pieces at speeds that are necessarily fast or even too fast.

That said, Sidokar's point about breathing is a great one. When you can "feel the space between the notes", it is breathing! That's how I feel it when it clicks. It is hard to get to that point, but you're sooo close as you know the piece inside and out. I may have confused more tempo with more space and better phrasing, but the tempo itself may actually be fine.

I totally understand your desire to move to the next piece, and I feel that way after months also. But in this case, it might be nice to do the trill work, look at the dynamics and phrasing, crescendo the upward phrases and decrescendo the down turns, and the piece will magically transform within weeks. Why not give it a try?

To clarify the trill practice someone mentioned above, I practices playing a trill with 1-2, 1-2, for a while, then 1-2-1, 2-1-2, then 1-2-1-2, 1-2-1-2, then 1-2-1-2-1, 2-1-2-1-2, etc until it got faster. Those are timings, not fingers. Try this every day for a week or so.

You're sooo close to excellence here!


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Re: A little self promotion with a question
KevinM #2966467 04/13/20 11:27 AM
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I do not think you need to focus on increasing tempo (agree with Sidokar). Unless a piece is way below tempo it should sound fine. The technical aspects you mention - trills, wide jumps - will come with time spent on lots of other pieces. I think what your interpretation could benefit most from is a feeling of forward momentum. It gets bogged down in feeling static, which may explain why you think it sounds slow.

Have you tried playing some of Chopin’s Mazurkas? The emphasis usually occurs on the 2nd or even 3rd beat and gets the pianist away from the predictable pattern of emphasizing the 1st beat. Their dance-like quality also helps pianists to feel the forward momentum that all pieces should have. They vary in difficulty but there are around 60 to chose from and many are within your ability to perform nicely. Anyway, just a quick thought. Good luck.



Re: A little self promotion with a question
KevinM #2966507 04/13/20 12:58 PM
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My feeling in relation to tempo, was that at around 4:30 it is about as slow as you would want it to be. If you add rubato without speeding up the non rubato bits then the playing time could easily go over 5 minutes.

I'm tempted now to stay with it for a bit longer. I think all future practise will need to be with headphones. I think my partner has heard it now more times than she cares for.

Many months of solid work is a long time for one piece, perhaps it was more of a stretch piece than my teacher realised when she suggested it to me, not realizing how long I would stay with it.

I think I need to get a better grasp on what is meant by phrasing, to me it feels like it means something different to everyone. I like Morodiene's comment on one of the phrasing threads, it is about finding the note of significance and finding a way within a phrase to highlight that. Mostly it seems to be up to interpretation as how to phrase and that depends on the phrase. Breathing, emphasising, creating a climax and then falling away, micro pauses before and after a phrase, all seem to be valid phrasing choices, and what I do is up to me.

I hope I'm not opening an ugly can of worms on phrasing now.

The Chopin Mazurkas might be a nice idea, I'll check some of them out now. Opus 68,2 sounds like it will be hard with lots of trills that'll kill me. But according to Henle it is one of the easiest ones. Listening to them, I don't enjoy most of the Henle level 4 ones, but there is something intriguing to my ear about this one.

Re: A little self promotion with a question
KevinM #2966516 04/13/20 01:20 PM
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On the Chopin Mazurkas. Take a look at Op 68/3. There are no trills. I think you might get bogged down with all the trills in 68/2. But, of course, you have to like the piece to spend time with it.

When I mentioned the idea of forward momentum, it really is another way to think about phrasing. You identify an arrival point, breathe, and then find your next arrival point, shaping your phrase to the arrival note.



Re: A little self promotion with a question
KevinM #2966610 04/13/20 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by KevinM
Interesting, the recordings I was listening to while practising were around the 4 minute mark. I never thought I could get it that fast. Once I got it down to around the 4:30 mark I was working on trying to get the touch right and becoming confident at playing at that tempo. I'm not yet even particularly confident at that kind of tempo.

Phrasing, better dynamics and playing with tempo are definitely things I'm going to need to be working on. Along with proception, playing trills faster and more evenly and just being able to play faster with less unintended dynamics.

Oh my goodness, when I see many of my weaknesses listed like that, I've got a lot of work to do, and that is only the known problem areas.

Proception really is a big one for me, any kind of jumps even small ones unless I am watching what I'm doing have low accuracy.
I think the tempo is fine. Any increase in tempo from this point forward should/will come "organically" as the piece settles in. Even trills--my goal is to get them to sound effortless, regardless of actual speed (again, the speed will come).

You mention unintended dynamics. This is something I've experiences as well and my perception is that I have had fewer instances of that as time goes on. I think control, in general, is a long-term skill and while one can work on it and practice for it, time and experience are generally the cure.

BTW, nice job. I am currently working on this piece and you are way ahead of me.


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Re: A little self promotion with a question
KevinM #2966732 04/14/20 04:33 AM
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Originally Posted by KevinM
Interesting, the recordings I was listening to while practising were around the 4 minute mark. I never thought I could get it that fast. Once I got it down to around the 4:30 mark I was working on trying to get the touch right and becoming confident at playing at that tempo.

Oh my goodness, when I see many of my weaknesses listed like that, I've got a lot of work to do, and that is only the known problem areas.
.

One of my coach used to say that every problem is also an opportunity. Look at it this way, you managed to learn and play well end to end an entire Chopin nocturne. Isn't that a fantastic achievement ? That means you have the capability to play complex pieces. That you have room for improvement, certainly but i dont know of any pianist, including the best pro players that are completely satisfied with themselves. Improvements will come with more practice.

Here is a version that comes close to the 5 minutes mark. She is a brilliant french pianist. Of course there parts where she plays faster, but the beginning and the end are even slower than your version. Yet at no point do we feel like this is static or slow, it is just expressive. This is due to a combination of articulation, micro dynamics and rubato. Chopin is extremely difficult to play because in addition of technical basic requirements, it is a music that works with a lot of expressiveness. But then it is also an excellent ground for starting to learn how to do it.


https://youtu.be/fRgfHP6oqHY

Re: A little self promotion with a question
KevinM #2966751 04/14/20 06:19 AM
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It seems like a very tough piece, very hard to get the right feeling for. I personally like this version the best:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9oQEa-d5rU

I agree with Sidokar that trills need to be practiced specifically. I found that practicing trills can really improve if you persist at it and make sure it's done correctly. It's very easy to make an sequential etude out of it so that the ears don't get tired.
And I totally get what you're saying about letting this piece go for now - if you are at a stage where your technique is constantly developing, clinging to pieces might really hinder progress because you're using muscle memory which utilizes 'old' habits. Starting fresh with a new piece and having the weak areas in mind will probably be better for now.

Quote
Oh my goodness, when I see many of my weaknesses listed like that, I've got a lot of work to do, and that is only the known problem areas.

C'mon, we all have an endless list of things we need to get better at smile I constantly have to remind myself that there's only so much I can do at this stage and be patient. Try to focus and take it in small steps, you're doing great IMHO!

Re: A little self promotion with a question
KevinM #2966754 04/14/20 07:11 AM
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That recording is gorgeous Ido. The playing is just wonderful, and the sound of the piano is so rich and warm.

Thanks for the supportive comments. So appreciated.

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