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July Piano Bar 2020
#2999503 07/06/20 04:35 PM
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Gershwin Concert Arrangements


I haven't opened the monthly Bar for quite awhile, and so I thought I might avail myself of the opportunity this month. Pianist 685 gave me the idea -- last month, he played Gershwin's own concert arrangement of "The Man I Love", one of his many songs now recognized as Popular Standards. It occurred to me that I still owned a copy of the Gershwin arrangements from many years back, and so dusted a few off this past month for your listening pleasure. There are three on this recording: "'S Wonderful", introduced in the musical "Funny Face" (1927); "Who Cares?", introduced in "Of Thee I Sing" (1931); and "That Certain Feeling", introduced in "Tip Toes" (1925). It is apparent to me that Gershwin fully thought out the arrangements of his Broadway songs much as he would have for, say, Porgy and Bess -- they're loaded with elegant surprises, both harmonic and rhythmic.

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Re: July Piano Bar 2020
Tim Adrianson #2999547 07/06/20 06:09 PM
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“You need to login before you can access the content”

This is the message I got after I clicked on the link.



“To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts - such is the duty of the artist.”
- Robert Schumann

Re: July Piano Bar 2020
Tim Adrianson #2999578 07/06/20 07:17 PM
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Thanks Tim Enjoyed it very much.


[Linked Image]

Kawai NV10
Re: July Piano Bar 2020
Tim Adrianson #2999779 07/07/20 07:51 AM
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Tim – Gershwin piano arrangements Thanks so much, Tim, for complementing my recording. Gershwin is so fantastic, and it is a great pleasure to hear his concert arrangements played by such a skilled pianist. “S’Wonderful” is quite tricky, I tried it myself.

My contribution this time is completely different. During the lockdown I had too much spare time and tried singing. The outcome is more or less an experiment to find out what I can achieve with just Audacity and a cheap 18 € Chinese microphone I found on Ebay. The result is quite acceptable, bearing in mind that Audacity is not a professional tool and the microphone is really very cheap. To my ears, the recording sounds poor over notebook speakers but quite good with headphones.

I embellished my recording of voice and piano with a couple of synthetic sounds I found on the silent system of my piano. In fact, I played everything you hear on the keyboard of my Sauter piano. The song was a hit for the French-Scottish pop singer Richard Sanderson in 1981. It sold 3 million copies at the time. Note: this is an edited recording.

She's a lady

Re: July Piano Bar 2020
Pianist685 #2999810 07/07/20 09:48 AM
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Hi, Serge88! I don't know what to recommend -- I uploaded the recording onto Box.com and used its Share/Copy feature, pasting the assigned code into the PW thread. I just now checked it, and it went straight to the Box recording, with no intermediary protection. Is it something to do with Canada vs the US?

Re: July Piano Bar 2020
Pianist685 #2999812 07/07/20 09:59 AM
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Hi, Pianist685 -- I thought your rendition of "She's a Lady" was very effective indeed -- the only thing I would do is adjust the balance so that your voice is heard somewhat more clearly above that of the synthesized strings. Otherwise, you have a very pleasant Pop vibe which informed this entire performance. I confess to not knowing the song -- I wasn't listening to much Pop music in 1981, and have never heard of Sanderson. Thanks for sharing -- you could and should do a few more for of these for the Piano Bar folks!

Re: July Piano Bar 2020
Tim Adrianson #3000012 07/07/20 07:29 PM
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Tim, like you, I am bedazzled by GG's arrangements of his own songs. They are overflowing with clever reharmonizations and melodic twists that are nowhere to be found in the standard sheet music arrangements. Playing them is beyond the ability of most of us mere mortals, but they are an inspiration to listen to. So thanks for the inspiration, great playing!

Constantin, wow, what a powerful production! Listening to it reminds me that most of us want to compose the music, arrange it, play all the instruments, sing along, lead the band, and master all those tricks that they do in the editing room, all at the same time! Anyway, the result was superb!

My piece this month is Rhythm-a-ning, by Thelonious Monk. It is a rhythm changes tune (thus the title). I think I heard him play it live a couple of times in the 50s. I am playing from a lead sheet, along with a backing track.

Rhythm-a-ning

Ed


http://edsjazzpianopage.blogspot.com/

My fingers are slow, but easily keep pace with my thoughts.

Re: July Piano Bar 2020
Tim Adrianson #3000528 07/09/20 08:05 AM
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Ed – Rhythm-a-ning You are always contributing the appropriate feel good music to the Piano Bar. I just had a cup of coffee along with listening to your rendition. No need to go out into a real bar, the virtual bar here is as good or even better.

Tim and Ed, thanks very much for your kind comments. I am still experimenting with the settings. The sound depends quite much on the device on which I am playing the recording. At the moment, I have the impression that slightly more reverb on the vocal would make it sound nicer, especially at the beginning where I sound too direct. And, yes, Tim, I should enhance the volume of the vocal in the second half when the “halo pad” (whatever that is) sets in. Well, I do have 2 more such recordings, maybe I will post one of them next month, but I am not yet sure if they are good enough.

Some thoughts on singing. Singing is a delicate thing. A person’s voice is part of his/her personality and if it does not sound “well” one might feel humiliated as if one had a bad haircut or an ugly outfit. Many people pretend they cannot sing and avoid it because they fear some humiliating experience. The thing is, most people do have the ability to sing but the sound characteristics of their voice is less appealing. One cannot change much about the sound characteristics of one’s voice. So having a “singer’s voice” or not primarily depends on the anatomy of the vocal chords, I think, and people seem to like voices that have a “certain something”, thus, are out of the ordinary. That may be either an opera tenor like Pavarotti or somebody with an “interesting” voice like Louis Armstrong. Furthermore, melodies are mostly sung in a higher region, so people prefer female voices in general even in the case of “normal” voices (Kylie Minogue). The same applies to high male voices (Phil Collins – not a good voice but very high). And that is why I will never be a singer: my voice is too “normal”, therefore not interesting, and not high enough. But I do not feel sad about it, I am a good pianist instead.

Re: July Piano Bar 2020
Tim Adrianson #3001874 07/12/20 03:24 PM
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Constantin,

I thought your voice sounded good, and your musical versatility is quite impressive.

Hope you post more like that.

Ed


http://edsjazzpianopage.blogspot.com/

My fingers are slow, but easily keep pace with my thoughts.

Re: July Piano Bar 2020
Tim Adrianson #3002397 07/14/20 05:47 AM
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Yes, of course, I know this is the Piano Bar with friendly people and there is no need to be shy. I was just reflecting on singing in general. I will be posting another recording of that kind next month.

Re: July Piano Bar 2020
Pianist685 #3002409 07/14/20 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Pianist685
... The thing is, most people do have the ability to sing but the sound characteristics of their voice is less appealing. One cannot change much about the sound characteristics of one’s voice. So having a “singer’s voice” or not primarily depends on the anatomy of the vocal chords, I think, and people seem to like voices that have a “certain something”, thus, are out of the ordinary...

Furthermore, melodies are mostly sung in a higher region, so people prefer female voices in general even in the case of “normal” voices (Kylie Minogue). The same applies to high male voices (Phil Collins – not a good voice but very high). And that is why I will never be a singer: my voice is too “normal”, therefore not interesting, and not high enough. But I do not feel sad about it, I am a good pianist instead.

Constantin - having a "singer's voice", that is, having a singing voice that is easy to listen to or "pleasant to the ear" depends not only on the anatomy of the vocal cords, but even more so on the entire structure of voice production chamber, i.e., the physical makeup of the head, throat and chest cavities. All of these factors contribute to creating a unique "sound characteristic" or vocal quality for each singer. Why a very special, and very rare, set of dimensions of this chamber produce in certain individuals a lovely or beautiful voice quality is far beyond my understanding, and probably not fully or clearly explained by science. Note that each person's vocal quality changes somewhat over time with maturation and aging.

And while it's true that many people naturally sing in a higher vocal range and many listeners prefer this, it is also true that a few famous singers in the pop music world have gained their fame and fortune from singing predominately in a lower range. I think of two great singers here: Ann Murray and Karen Carpenter (of the Carpenters). Karen especially was renowned for her strong and clear and beautiful low note singing in many of her songs. She sang in the rare contralto range (roughly equivalent to the male baritone), and one time when asked about her vast appeal is quoted as saying "the money is in the basement". In fact, because of this ability and the fact of the gorgeous sound characteristics ("timbre") of her voice in general she is often described as having one of the most compelling and beautiful voices in pop music history.

John

Last edited by Handyman; 07/14/20 07:09 AM.

John

"Difficulties deferred and challenges unmet will eventually return with a vengeance to bite one in the butt." (paraphrasing Chopin)
Re: July Piano Bar 2020
Tim Adrianson #3005103 07/21/20 09:34 AM
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I'm now closing the book on Chopin's Waltz in A minor. This piece has been particularly difficult for me. My trills are so far behind where they need to be and my proprioception of the piano is poor so the many jumps in hand position in the left hand are always fragile. But in the end I think this piece has forced me to improve both these areas.

I'm happy with this recording, there are still specifics I'd like to be better. But it is time to move on.

My camera twisted slightly after positioning so the view of the keyboard is not straight on as I would have liked.

Chopin Waltz in A Minor on Vimeo

Re: July Piano Bar 2020
KevinM #3005135 07/21/20 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by KevinM
I'm now closing the book on Chopin's Waltz in A minor. This piece has been particularly difficult for me. My trills are so far behind where they need to be and my proprioception of the piano is poor so the many jumps in hand position in the left hand are always fragile. But in the end I think this piece has forced me to improve both these areas.

I'm happy with this recording, there are still specifics I'd like to be better. But it is time to move on.

My camera twisted slightly after positioning so the view of the keyboard is not straight on as I would have liked.

Chopin Waltz in A Minor on Vimeo

Thank you for posting it. It's a substantial improvement on your initially posted version. It's light and very dance-able smile
I think you are being too hard on yourself about trills. My teacher showed me a trick - until entire trill can be done smoothly - shorten it, make it into little ornament instead and don't sweat it. So, where you ideally want to play 4-8 notes - play 2 or 3 (whichever fits the music better). In original composer's scores - they are rarely written out completely and are often matter of player's interpretation anyway, and it also changes with time similar to tempo, rubato etc.

Great job!

Last edited by initK; 07/21/20 11:26 AM.
Re: July Piano Bar 2020
initK #3005141 07/21/20 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by initK
Great job!

Thank you.

Re: July Piano Bar 2020
Tim Adrianson #3005784 07/23/20 06:06 AM
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Wonderful, Kevin, thanks for posting your rendition. This has become one of my favourite waltzes by Chopin. In fact, after having listened to Tiffany Poon play this waltz, I found this piece so beautiful that I got myself the sheet music and played it myself. Now, when I compare your recording to Tiffany Poon, I would like to hear (much) more rubato in your version. IMHO you are playing this piece of the romantic era with too much of a steady beat as if someone would have to dance to it. My understanding of Chopin, however, is different, I think this should be a concert waltz that deserves rubato.

Re: July Piano Bar 2020
Tim Adrianson #3005816 07/23/20 07:36 AM
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Thanks for the comment Constantin. I very much love Tiffany's and Sokolov's version of this piece.

When I play it, for some reason I feel the pulse of the waltz strongly and it influenced my playing considerably.The rhythm of the waltz stands out starkly when you play it without the use of the sustain pedal. My intention wasn't to go for a more straight waltz performance but the feel of the waltz pulled me in.

I do need to play with rubato in general more, when I try it and then listen afterwards it often feels contrived and forced, rather than capturing the feel of the music. Learning how to let the feel of the music guide the rubato is something I'm missing. Perhaps I need to listen to more recordings that make use of rubato so I can learn to feel it.


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