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How crucial is memorization to playing fast? I'm dealing with this issue now and believe the key to ever getting the piece to the speed required will be memorization. (Etude in A minor Arpad Balasz) 8th notes = 192-209)


SunnyKeys - from Florida but not the Keys. Learning for 2 years.
Newbie - RCM Level 1 etudes, ABRSM Level 1 2019-20 Exam pieces. Sans exams.

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It's only necessary to memorize the score when playing fast if one cannot read the score fast enough or if one has to look at one's hands during the fast passage.

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Hi SunnyKeys
Be patient with yourself—- right now, you may well need to memorize to play fast; but that won’t last forever. Your reading skills will improve to the point where they keep up with your fingers 😊


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Originally Posted by dogperson
Hi SunnyKeys
Be patient with yourself—- right now, you may well need to memorize to play fast; but that won’t last forever. Your reading skills will improve to the point where they keep up with your fingers 😊
Thank you. Yes, patience is sometimes elusive. I'm not as young as I used to be and I do wonder how fast I CAN play. I can only compare it with typing, which I can still do quickly.... Aging is good (retirement) and challenging (slowing down). Have a great day!


SunnyKeys - from Florida but not the Keys. Learning for 2 years.
Newbie - RCM Level 1 etudes, ABRSM Level 1 2019-20 Exam pieces. Sans exams.

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IMHO, complex, fast or "virtuoso" playing is only possible through memorization. Even when playing from the score, you will play parts from memory when you have studied a piece.
I am not able to read 20 notes per second and I think very few people are.

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I think memorization is only really needed if there are big jumps involved or if there are inconveniently placed page turns in the score.

Last edited by boo1234; 07/15/21 10:54 AM.
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Originally Posted by ErfurtBob
IMHO, complex, fast or "virtuoso" playing is only possible through memorization. Even when playing from the score, you will play parts from memory when you have studied a piece.
I am not able to read 20 notes per second and I think very few people are.

Most posters in the ABF are not talking about 20 notes per second when they talk about playing fast


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
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Originally Posted by ErfurtBob
IMHO, complex, fast or "virtuoso" playing is only possible through memorization. Even when playing from the score, you will play parts from memory when you have studied a piece.
I am not able to read 20 notes per second and I think very few people are.
If one has been studying a piece for a while and is playing a fast passage while using the score, I think one is in some area between reading all the notes and complete memorization.

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Yes, memorization. Until you are advanced it's crucial to watch how your hands play, because you need to learn to approach every key in the optimal, 'centered' manner. Also it's important to watch your hands to be relaxed. For fast music it's only possible when playing from memory.


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