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Beemer Offline OP
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After recently playing some Schubert I have grown to like playing in Gb major. Anyone else feel similar?
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I, too, enjoy the "black keys" keys. They fit well under the fingers, imo.


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Try the trio section of the Graceful Ghost Rag by William Bolton. Changes from Bb minor to Gb major. He does so much slipping and sliding around that it's also full of double flats and accidentals. It is giving me fits...

Sam


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Out of curiously - For those of you who enjoy certain keys (e.g., a particular major key over the other major keys), is it because of the way it sounds or because of the way it feels to the hands when playing?

When accompanying singers or other instruments, I understand why the choice of key is important (the vocal range of the singer or range of other instruments), but I've always wondered why people playing solo piano music prefer certain keys over others.


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The first time I came across that Key was in the Abba song "The Winner Takes It All" with 6 flats. It's an interesting Key and not as common as F or G.

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Beemer Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Sam S
Try the trio section of the Graceful Ghost Rag by William Bolton. Changes from Bb minor to Gb major. He does so much slipping and sliding around that it's also full of double flats and accidentals. It is giving me fits...

Sam
Sam,

I have a large collection of rags but not that one. Is it in the public domain? (Update: I have just listened to it and love it! I'm going to try and get the sheet music)
Ian

Last edited by Beemer; 10/08/20 12:11 PM.

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Originally Posted by CLM Piano Learner
Out of curiously - For those of you who enjoy certain keys (e.g., a particular major key over the other major keys), is it because of the way it sounds or because of the way it feels to the hands when playing?

When accompanying singers or other instruments, I understand why the choice of key is important (the vocal range of the singer or range of other instruments), but I've always wondered why people playing solo piano music prefer certain keys over others.
Of course it feels different, looks very different, e.g. for C you play B :), and because you are playing some keys less frequently they sound different because the hammer felt is less compressed.
Ian


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Originally Posted by Sam S
Try the trio section of the Graceful Ghost Rag by William Bolton. Changes from Bb minor to Gb major. He does so much slipping and sliding around that it's also full of double flats and accidentals. It is giving me fits...

Sam
Sam,
I now have the sheet music. I have a 9 1/4" span but on bar 8 I just cannot play the C, Db and C !
Ian


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Originally Posted by Beemer
Originally Posted by Sam S
Try the trio section of the Graceful Ghost Rag by William Bolton. Changes from Bb minor to Gb major. He does so much slipping and sliding around that it's also full of double flats and accidentals. It is giving me fits...

Sam
Sam,
I now have the sheet music. I have a 9 1/4" span but on bar 8 I just cannot play the C, Db and C !
Ian
If the first C and D flat are adjacent you should play them both with the thumb.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Beemer
Originally Posted by Sam S
Try the trio section of the Graceful Ghost Rag by William Bolton. Changes from Bb minor to Gb major. He does so much slipping and sliding around that it's also full of double flats and accidentals. It is giving me fits...

Sam
Sam,
I now have the sheet music. I have a 9 1/4" span but on bar 8 I just cannot play the C, Db and C !
Ian
If the first C and D flat are adjacent you should play them both with the thumb.

It also occurs in bar 2... It's not about the size of the hand, but the ability to stretch between 2 and 5. I play it with 1-2-5.
Wait until you get to the trio - there's some 10ths in there...

Sam


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Originally Posted by Beemer
Originally Posted by Sam S
Try the trio section of the Graceful Ghost Rag by William Bolton. Changes from Bb minor to Gb major. He does so much slipping and sliding around that it's also full of double flats and accidentals. It is giving me fits...

Sam
Sam,

I have a large collection of rags but not that one. Is it in the public domain? (Update: I have just listened to it and love it! I'm going to try and get the sheet music)
Ian
You already got the score, but no, it's not in the public domain. William Bolcom is still alive. Graceful Ghost is just fabulous.


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There have been so-called "F# piano players" (not necessarily a compliment) who played only in that key. Irving Berlin had a transposing piano and wrote/played everything in F#.

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Originally Posted by Sam S
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Beemer
Originally Posted by Sam S
Try the trio section of the Graceful Ghost Rag by William Bolton. Changes from Bb minor to Gb major. He does so much slipping and sliding around that it's also full of double flats and accidentals. It is giving me fits...

Sam
Sam,
I now have the sheet music. I have a 9 1/4" span but on bar 8 I just cannot play the C, Db and C !
Ian
If the first C and D flat are adjacent you should play them both with the thumb.

It also occurs in bar 2... It's not about the size of the hand, but the ability to stretch between 2 and 5. I play it with 1-2-5.
My point was that if one cannot use 1-2-5 one should play the two low notes with the thumb. The size of one's hand is one of the main factors but not the only factor in determining if one can stretch the D flat C interval with 2-5.

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On piano, sure. On upright bass, not at all. No open strings really tires my hands out. This actually comes up in big band music more often than I'd like: apparently it's a good key for all those Bb and Eb instruments ...


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Originally Posted by TheophilusCarter
On piano, sure. On upright bass, not at all. No open strings really tires my hands out. This actually comes up in big band music more often than I'd like: apparently it's a good key for all those Bb and Eb instruments ...

It is interesting how certain instruments work best in certain keys. I think strings prefer sharp keys, simply because there are so many open strings in sharp keys. G-D-A-E. The winds prefer flat keys because their C major is already in Bb major - it's like they get 2 flats for free.

And I have seen Irving Berlin's transposing piano - it was at a museum in Philadelphia. An upright. There was a lever under the keybed that would move the keys right and left. The keys at the top and bottom of the keyboard would slide under metal covers at the sides (where the cheek blocks would be). So he could play in his preferred key of F#/Gb and by moving the lever, adjust to the key that a singer would prefer. It was a simple mechanical solution to a difficult problem. Nowadays, of course, it's all done in software.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Beemer
Originally Posted by Sam S
Try the trio section of the Graceful Ghost Rag by William Bolton. Changes from Bb minor to Gb major. He does so much slipping and sliding around that it's also full of double flats and accidentals. It is giving me fits...

Sam
Sam,
I now have the sheet music. I have a 9 1/4" span but on bar 8 I just cannot play the C, Db and C !
Ian
If the first C and D flat are adjacent you should play them both with the thumb.
Tried this today and for C and Db I find it so unnatural especially when also reaching above for the octave C. Yes I can play it static but it completely interrupts the flow when the piece is being played.
More importantly I have made my way all the way through and there are delightful chords and changes therein.
Ian

Last edited by Beemer; 10/09/20 07:13 AM.

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With a bit of luck I
Originally Posted by Beemer
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Beemer
Originally Posted by Sam S
Try the trio section of the Graceful Ghost Rag by William Bolton. Changes from Bb minor to Gb major. He does so much slipping and sliding around that it's also full of double flats and accidentals. It is giving me fits...

Sam
Sam,
I now have the sheet music. I have a 9 1/4" span but on bar 8 I just cannot play the C, Db and C !
Ian
If the first C and D flat are adjacent you should play them both with the thumb.
Tried this today and for C and Db I find it so unnatural especially when also reaching above for the octave C. Yes I can play it static but it completely interrupts the flow when the piece is being played.
More importantly I have made my way all the way through and there are delightful chords and changes therein.
Ian

With a bit of luck I will submit this to the Rare Gems recital - not at full tempo though.

Sam


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Sam,
I'm so glad that you did not mention Bolcom's 'The Serpent's Kiss'. My finger arthritis would not stand it!
Ian


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Originally Posted by Sam S
It is interesting how certain instruments work best in certain keys. I think strings prefer sharp keys, simply because there are so many open strings in sharp keys. G-D-A-E.

Definitely. It's a big part of why I enjoyed playing in orchestras, but not concert or big bands. That, and all those damn low brass instruments ... laugh

Last edited by TheophilusCarter; 10/09/20 09:29 AM.

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I have no key preference and cannot tell one from the other aurally. I don’t use keys in improvisation as much as I used to but when I do one is as good as another. Things happen too quickly to have physical differences among them while playing.


"We shall always love the music of the masters, but they are all dead and now it's our turn." - Llewelyn Jones, my piano teacher
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