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I don’t think any of the commenters providing constructive comments are being mean-spirited or have any ill intent. I’m including myself in this group, along with other long-term as well as some newer members. Practically all of these commenters strike a balance between complimentary remarks and suggestions for improvement. I also think commenters take into account the different levels of experience so as not to make harsh comments to people starting their piano adventure.

After reading some of the posts from earlier today, I feel reluctant to give any more comments on people’s recital submissions for fear of offending anyone. I personally welcome pointers on how to make my pieces more musical, but realize not everyone feels the same way.

Once the recital software has been straightened out it will be clearer whose pieces not to comment on. Maybe it would be helpful for everyone to have a few options to choose from so that people have the option of getting positive comments only, instead of no comments at all.



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Originally Posted by KevinM
Originally Posted by peterws
35 KevinM
Gently does it, Kev. Nice job. However, a bit too gentle. Now, get that metronome out o' yer head and give 'er more light and shade, let it rock a bit and then she'll be real good!

I think this is entirely fair. My original submission was livelier and quite a bit faster. But it also suffered the same problem as this version that the support is too loud. In this version that support I felt was reasonably pleasant on the ear even while being too loud, but in the faster livelier version, I don't think I could describe it any other way than a mess of notes and that grated on me, but I do miss that spark.

So I've decided I will submit a new version for the Mendelssohn themed recital next year and hopefully I can do myself proud then.

And you have all the skills to do it. I couldn't play now what you played. Not sure if I ever could, properly.


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3. SMA55- Pretty friggin awesome my friend. What to say, Just great playing. (I know you would love to hear some "real" constructive criticism but frankly I just don't know enough to feel confident giving it.) But I really enjoyed listening. Those mics were well worth the investment. BTW, whey did you turn off your comments on the youtube vid? I always like to give a thumbs up and nice comment.

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Thank you for the feedbacks. I normally only comment on the mendelssohn pieces but see now most people do not want the feedbacks so have not done so this time. I only came to mention that Kevin 35 I think your current speed I think is at an ideal speed and indeed it is the speed of most professional performances on youtube. I think it needs rubato as you suggested in your own feedback rather than speeding up. I have found a professional recording at a slower tempo to yours with rubato but it should give you some ideas.


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Thanks to Wie Waldi, lilypad, QuentinP, AndresVel, and Sam S for their comments on my performance

Originally Posted by AndresVel
44. Rachtoven - Consolation No. 3 This is such a beautiful piece. I knew it before starting to listen classical music. Once I dived into it and discovered other Liszt works, I could not believe this was also composed by him. I loved your recording. You did a great job with the left hand, keeping it very steady all throughout. The main melody is beautifully shaped. Maybe in a couple of phrases I would have preferred a softer ending, but this is totally your choice of interpretation. I could not spot the mistakes you mention, but I agree with you 100%: I would always go for the recording with the best interpretation in spite of a couple of mistakes than for a mistakes-free recording but without much musicality. Lovely submission :))

Thanks for the idea about using softer phrase endings. I'll consider doing that in appropriate places. I'm always considering refinements to my interpretation of this piece.

Originally Posted by Sam S
44. Rachtoven - Consolation No. 3 Tough piece! Wonderful balance between the hands - I can hear the melody clearly. At first I thought the tempo was too slow, but it sounded good after more exposure. I know it is tough fitting everything together - you did a great job. Only occasionally it felt a little like I could hear you counting. Wonderful decrescendo at the end.

Thanks. I like the tempo I'm playing at, but I also like faster performances, like Horowitz's.
I often speed things up when practicing but have to admit that in the softer passages, the left hand leaps in a faster tempo sometimes lead to inadvertent accents in the bass note or the left hand accompaniment. I need better technique to pull a faster tempo off well.

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Thank you to facdo and Qwerty53 for your feedback on my performance! And...

Originally Posted by Peyton
3. SMA55- Pretty friggin awesome my friend. What to say, Just great playing. (I know you would love to hear some "real" constructive criticism but frankly I just don't know enough to feel confident giving it.) But I really enjoyed listening. Those mics were well worth the investment. BTW, whey did you turn off your comments on the youtube vid? I always like to give a thumbs up and nice comment.
Thanks so much for your kind words, Peyton. But for future reference, I'm just as good at taking constructive feedback, as I am at dishing it out. So when you have something constructive to say, please have at it. I'm here to learn, too! And thank you for calling it to my attention that my YouTube video had the comments turned off--kind of like the recital this time. wink But I believe the problem with comments on my video has now been corrected.

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Originally Posted by Sam S
Even your comment about comments is borderline insulting. What's wrong with being supportive and polite? ... The last thing we need is to scare people away from the recitals because they received negative comments. Or to cause someone to give up on piano because they thought they were doing well, but got a bunch of negative comments. Or to look at a recital thread, see a string of negative comments, hurt feelings, and bickering, and decide the recitals are not for them.

Thank you for adding this Sam. Whether intended or not, some of this recent discussion about comments comes across as pompous and sneering.

As a newcomer to the recitals, I definitely find these discussions off-putting and tiresome. I’m sure much of it is garden variety misunderstandings of tone, and I agree that the majority of posters have no malignant intent, but I would hate to think that someone might be discouraged by a random internet person’s remarks, or for them to assume that all authoritative technical advice is necessarily even correct, let alone helpful (however well-meaning). A little consideration when both giving and receiving goes a long way.

With regard to the remarks made in the discussion, taking umbrage at someone not liking the comment you made seems ironic and slightly ridiculous. And similarly, conflating 'positive' with 'meaningless' is bizarre. But maybe that’s just me.

Perhaps we can create a separate thread titled “The best way to critique” and watch the blood-bath unfold over there? grin

PS Thank you to ranjit and peterws for your comments - much appreciated!

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These are some great listens

35. KevinM - Songs Without Words Opus 19 No. 1
Completing the trio of Songs without words submissions!
I have to say, despite what you wrote in your recital submission. I really think this was a very very good attempt. It was very clean and so tranquil in its execution. If you did not mention difficulties in your post, i would not have been able to discern it. With regards to what you mentioned about tempo, i think this is a really respectable tempo for your skill level and you delivered it well. With further development, you could revisit this piece and play it at your desired tempo (which i assume is quarter note 85 ish?)
The only critique is really have is that more attention should be given to the shaping of the line. There are some very interesting moments in the piece where the harmony is unexpected, with accidentals in the melodic line that you can draw attention to, perhaps what you termed as a lack of convincing tempo rubato? I also feel instead of thinking of the middle voice being too soft, you could also have a deeper rounder touch to the melody line as i feel its a tad timid at the moment. (But this could be a limit of the digital instrument you are using? idk) But honestly, it was a really nice listen. Hopefully when i eventually learn this, it will be as good as yours!

36. Talao - Sonatina in G Major Anh. 5 (both movements)
For your first ever sonatina, this was really good. Nice and clean and steady. I can tell you your little mess ups do not intrude on the listeners enjoyment of the piece. Your effort in the phrasing and dynamics are coming through as well. You chose an interesting articulation for the left hand accompaniment in the second movement too. A very nice alternative take on it. Your touch is light and your piano is well voiced which lends to the character of the piece.
If there's any critique to be had, there are some places where the left hand takes on a melodic motif that could be brought out more to provide a bit of conversation between the hands. Ornaments can be a tad bit more graceful to maintain the character of the piece. Another small tip that i found helpful is in the arppegiated chords towards the end of the piece (or in any place where you want a little more sound), you can choose to press down on the right pedal after you play the notes to allow a little bit more resonance to cut through, then lift with pedal along with your fingers. Other than that, perhaps a more pronounced sense of direction would serve the music better. But most of these are musical details which will come as you become more developed over time, because i think this was a splendid take given where you currently are at, well done.

37. Purrblast - Sonatina in A minor (Op. 27. No. 18)
Really good! You pay due attention to the rhythm and you understand the character of this little piece quite well. Left hand accompaniment is given good attention too, not too loud and maintaining the correct articulation. I am not sure if its the limitation of the digital instrument, but perhaps a little more energy where its notated Mf to give more contrast to the piece. Good Job! laugh

38. facdo - Impromptu in E flat Major Op.90 No.2
This is a very good take on this piece. You definitely have shaping ideas coming through and your fingerwork is rather clean throughout the piece. If there are any small flubs, it's probably due to the stamina required to play this. Your touch is nice and light in the right hand and everything flows like water. You maintain the voicing quite well throughout the piece except the middle section where i lose track of the voicing a little. You tastefully use tempo rubato to a good effect here. If there is anything to criticize, i think you are already aware of most of what you need to work on, I think you mostly need to bring out even more of the musical details in the score and eventually work your way to the performance tempo, if that's your taste (around 200 per quarter note beat ish? you are hovering around 176 atm) as you continue developing. Thanks for the great listen!

40. PikaPianist - Waltz Op. 39, No. 9
For the first time in the recitals i have a hard time finding anything to criticize. You sold me on your interpretation. Your phrasing is clear, your shaping is fantastic and your dynamic and color changes are delivered sooooo convincingly. Musical details are followed throughout the sheet music in a natural organic manner and your voicing in certain places is done impeccably. In my humble opinion, despite the fact this piece is on the easier side on the submissions done in this recital, it is the best playing i have heard so far. I want to hear so much more from you in the future and you inspire me to up my game too laugh

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04. Sam S - Etude 2
I enjoyed this Sam. For me, Glass's music has a hypnotically ominous quality and you bring it out in abundance. He has certainly shown the world the power of repeated cells. It seems so simple and easy but when I have tried to improvise in that way I have failed to evoke the effect, not that imitation is necessarily desirable of course. And thanks again for your tireless work with these recitals.

08. Peyton - Gnossienne For Stella
Sincerely expressed and eloquent playing. Composed or improvised doesn't matter, it's the sound that counts.

31. winterflower - I soar now the embers have cooled
Very enjoyable, I am pleased to hear your improvisation is developing well, free improvisation IS a valid musical medium. Keep doing it regularly, do plenty of listening to other music and never be afraid to experiment with new harmony, technique and rhythm after your own fashion. It takes a long time but the results will reward you in the future.

Thanks to all who have commented on my music. A couple have said they found this one difficult to listen to. I suspect, but don't know, that it might be because I consciously played in two keys at once in several sections. It's something you acquire a taste for, you know, like blue cheese. C#m in the left against Em in the right gives a nice blues effect to my ears but perhaps I'm just getting old and potty. I do not intend anything to be listened to in any particular way and certainly harbour no communicative intent while playing. I just let it all hang out and hope for the best. About half of listeners like it and half don't, which fact neither interests nor concerns me.


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Originally Posted by QuentinP
[...] I would hate to think that someone might be discouraged by a random internet person’s remarks, or for them to assume that all authoritative technical advice is necessarily even correct, let alone helpful (however well-meaning). A little consideration when both giving and receiving goes a long way.

I'm with Quentin (and Sam) on this one.

For the most part, we're just internet strangers and whatever feedback is provided (including positive remarks, mind you) needs to be taken with the proverbial pinch of salt. In this particular context, harsh criticism is unnecessary at best, and unseemly at worst. Critical observations can be useful and relevant, but there is such a thing as a happy medium.

People who want thorough feedback are better off paying a teacher for that purpose. Your teacher can (presumably) give reliable feedback that is worth the pain of hearing harsh criticism. Furthermore, one of the tenets of teaching is arguably to praise loud and fix soft. The latter is much more difficult to do when you're commenting on a public forum than when you're teaching someone in a private session.

According to Sam's ABF surveys, some people refrain from taking part in the recitals because their level is supposedly 'not high enough'. It'd be a real shame to give them any more reason to miss out on the recitals.

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I can see this subforum ending now. The arguments are too protracted; a few are miffed about getting techinical feedback, which they sign up for usually.
Have you seen the feedback? It's involved; there's a load of work gone into this and its been rammed back down their throats.
Who can salvage this mess? I hope someone can. And soon.


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Originally Posted by peterws
Who can salvage this mess? I hope someone can. And soon.

How about just keeping going the way we have done for years and years. I think inertia will save the day. My comments (their old terse usual self) will be going up this weekend.


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My response which I wanted to avoid writing, but somehow allowed myself to be drawn in was swallowed by the web form. The following is a summary.

If we want serious critical commentary then to me it essentially it comes down to this, with a small number of people giving critical commentary and most just being receivers. Then we need to also allow for a dialog from the receivers when they feel the line of appropriate response was overstepped and that needs to be listened to by the critical commenters. I'm sorry I hurt your feelings in my opinion does not cut it.

If we can't manage that, then I don't think we can do serious critical commentary.

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Originally Posted by Moo :)
Thank you for the feedbacks. I normally only comment on the mendelssohn pieces but see now most people do not want the feedbacks so have not done so this time. I only came to mention that Kevin 35 I think your current speed I think is at an ideal speed and indeed it is the speed of most professional performances on youtube. I think it needs rubato as you suggested in your own feedback rather than speeding up. I have found a professional recording at a slower tempo to yours with rubato but it should give you some ideas.

Vadim's recording of 19.1

Thank you Moo.

The Vadim is one of my favourites, along with Roberto Prosseda's recording for listening to. But I'm not convinced they are good examples for me since their skill level is just so high.

This recording by an amateur is the one I've been listening to, to try and understand how the phrasing, rubato is used to produce the final result. I think the support is a bit too loud, but the way the tempo and dynamics vary I think is spot on to give colour.

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Originally Posted by peterws
Who can salvage this mess? I hope someone can. And soon.

I don't think it is as bad as that Peter. This little blip is very mild compared to some incidents I have seen on the two piano forums over the last twenty years. We all love our music, just in individual ways, which is as it should be and we are by definition adults. She'll be right mate.


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Originally Posted by Ted
Originally Posted by peterws
Who can salvage this mess? I hope someone can. And soon.

I don't think it is as bad as that Peter. This little blip is very mild compared to some incidents I have seen on the two piano forums over the last twenty years. We all love our music, just in individual ways, which is as it should be and we are by definition adults. She'll be right mate.

Y'know Ted; the thing about being a pessimist is that . . .things can only get better . . .


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Originally Posted by KevinM
."I'm sorry I hurt your feelings" in my opinion does not cut it.

.

Kev, an apology has to be enough. We cannot walk around, afraid to tread on eggshells. We're only human, after all.


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30. Wie Waldi - The Entertainer
Oops, I forgot to comment on this one. Speaking as one who has had a lifetime infatuation with ragtime I think you instinctively have the spirit and rhythm of it, which is the one thing many players who attempt it lack, so you have a distinct advantage. All you have to do is gradually work your way through rags of increasing technical difficulty, taking care to bring out the music and dodge the ninety miles an hour trap, regrettably fashionable again in some circles. More fine ragtime has been created in the last thirty or so years than in the whole of its history, so you are not limited to Joplin, Scott and Lamb. David Thomas Roberts, Frank French, Hal Isbitz, Reginald Robinson, Scott Kirby and several others with prolific output await the pleasure of your exploration. The point is that you have the rhythm and phrasing of these things, which is rarer among pianists than most people suppose.


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41 Augustina

Long time no see, lass! Welcome back; I recognise the sound of the Roland (had a FP50 which I liked) and it complements your music very well. Einaudi style? We've had none of him this recital, says I with 5 to go . . .
I certainly enjoyed what you played.

42 AmyH

This is something really good, def. my sort of stuff.. You and your piano sound gorgeous and are made for this. Betcha enjoyed playing it greatly I shall look into this further . . .Well done!

43 No comments


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44 Rachtoven

It is a very pleasant piece as you say.and that left hand is relentless. I remember years ago, totally unrelated; The Doors were recording "Riders on the Storm" when the need for a capable bass player becama apparent.; that bass line too, was relentless throughout the song. Session guys were called in to complete the recording.
I certainly enjoyed what you did here. It's strength and charm is . . in the left hand.

45 tyschoco

Lovely. Not the best recording but it can't hide the excellene and sheer exhuberance of that which you play!

46 Pathbreaker

Lovely sound; not a tune I'm familiar with but your dynamics, interpretation and playing are all excellent.

Next recital will be just starting the run in to Christmas.
Keep well, guys!


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