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#3153552 09/06/21 03:34 AM
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I keep getting feedback that I rush final longer notes, for instance when a phrase has mainly quarter notes and 8th notes, and it ends with a half note, I tend to not keep it long enough.

Now I have learned Tchaikovsky's "The Sick Doll". The picture below shows a part of it. As you can see, the rhythm is basically 8th-8th-quarter, 8th-8th-quarter throughout the whole piece. The feedback I get is that I rush the quarter notes. I count through the whole piece, play it with metronome, then without metronome, and when I listen back to my playing without metronome, and clap my hands, either there are still rushed notes appearing here and there, or I make some quarter notes too long. It drives me insane!

Would you have any advice on how to get a steady rhythm in this piece? Or, do you know of an app that gives me immediately feedback: now you rushed the quarter note, now you waited too long?

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You can try to count the quarter notes as two eighths, this will ensure you don't rush them too much (a tip a got from a teacher). Other than that - the pulse in this particular piece shouldn't be super steady IMO, so you can experiment with bending the tempo a little bit.


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Ido, I count one two three four, if that is what you mean? My problem is not bending the tempo, but somehow I play the three-four too short. And if I try not to do that, it happens that I play the three-four too long.


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Yes, that's what I meant. Then maybe you should focus on the music rather trying to nail the tempo like a metronome would. Try to connect it to how you hear it in your head, to your feelings.


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Ido #3153563 09/06/21 04:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Ido
Yes, that's what I meant. Then maybe you should focus on the music rather trying to nail the tempo like a metronome would. Try to connect it to how you hear it in your head, to your feelings.

That is what I did! And I loved doing it, it is a beautiful emotional piece. But the feedback I got is that I rushed the quarter notes, so I need to find a way to fix them.


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Just to be clear: I did count when I made a recording of this piece, but I focused mainly on expression. But after I got this feedback, I try to fix the tempo, and I can't seem to do it - even though I play with and without the metronome all the time. I don't know how else to practise this.


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When working on a rhythm, you can make temporary changes to it, for example, shift the last fourth to the beginning of the measure:

[Linked Image]

Last edited by Nahum; 09/06/21 06:38 AM.
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A few things to add:

Personally, I wouldn't count 4 beats - I'd count 1 + 2 +, which matches the time signature and where the stresses lie in the bar.

Upon listening back (to a recording without a metronome), have you tried starting the metronome to check your pulse as you listen?

You could perhaps record it into a DAW and visually see if your notes are varying in length.

Have you asked your teacher if it matters...?

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Also, feel free to DM me any recordings and I don't mind giving it a listen and offering feedback.

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Record yourself playing it with the metronome, then play it back and try to play along to your own recording. It works better with a digital piano where you can remove the clicking of the metronome, or if you have a metronome that gives a light signal instead of a click.

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I have the same problem, especially with slow pieces. I am working on Grieg’s Ballade that I find so beautiful. Well I had my first in person lesson last week in over
A year due to Covid. My teacher kept saying I was rushing the quarter notes and not keeping a steady beat. Yes this is a piece that will use rubato eventually but he always wants it plays without it in the beginning. He had me use the Metronome which I cannot seem
To stay with and count out loud. The only time I could do it correctly was when he counted out loud. I have a metronome app that can count too but I still can’t seem to stay right with it for long. I start with it but then speed up.


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Another trick I saw in a Graham Fitch video is to play slow pieces quickly; the idea being that when the notes (or rests) are too long you loose precision.

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Another idea on improving time keeping (and whilst what I describe may not work directly for you, maybe there's a workaround you can employ)

Again on a DAW, I sometimes program in a drum pattern, just keeping a simple 4/4 beat. I clap along as the pattern plays. Then, I edit some of it out for like two bars, but I still keep clapping. When the pattern kicks back in I get to work out if I managed to keep good time in the silence. You can make these long silences last 4 bars, 8 bars etc. and all the while it's encouraging you to try keeping an accurate pulse.

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I would suggest playing the piece slower which normally makes it easier and corrects rhythm problems.

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I think given the tenuto markings over the crotchets and the espress at the start you can cling onto some of the longer notes for longer than written when you perform this. I wouldn't play it metronomic but playing them too short is definitely an issue but shouldn't be hard to solve.

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You should go step by step to fix the problem. The first one is to make sure that you can keep a steady pulse, ie the first beat of each measure is on time with the metronome. You have to feel the pulse and focus on that one beat. If you dont feel the pulse, you cant play in rythm.

Once you get that, then the next step is to get the second beat of each measure on time (use the metronome), you can skip the dotted quarter for a while. Once you get that internalized, you can add it all together and practice 2 bars in a row until you get the feeling of how it sounds.

You must acquire a natural feeling of the duration. That takes some time.

Moo :) #3153642 09/06/21 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Moo :)
I would suggest playing the piece slower which normally makes it easier and corrects rhythm problems.
Actually, this may be counter-intuitive, but for pieces that are already slow it's even harder to keep the right rhythm when slowing down. Try keeping a steady pulse at 40 BPM. It's much harder to do that with precision than at 80 BPM.

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I found very few pieces I think are harder slower. Chopin nouvelle etude 1 I found this with the 4:3 rhythm. Never with slow pieces have I heard that it's harder to play them slower still.

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Maybe Schubert... At half the speed... Lol


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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Originally Posted by Moo :)
I would suggest playing the piece slower which normally makes it easier and corrects rhythm problems.
Actually, this may be counter-intuitive, but for pieces that are already slow it's even harder to keep the right rhythm when slowing down. Try keeping a steady pulse at 40 BPM. It's much harder to do that with precision than at 80 BPM.
Agree. Keeping a steady pulse at slow tempo is harder. Our mental "counter" has too much time to wander.

Animisha, it might help to mentally add a "count" between the beats to help fill the space, e.g. count the piece as 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & (although it really should be 1 e & a 2 e & a to keep with the 2/4 time signature).

Last edited by Stubbie; 09/06/21 09:42 AM.

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