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Black Note Etude
#383918 05/03/06 02:09 PM
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I think this is one of Chopins greatest songs, but I want to know is it harder to play a song where 90% of the notes are on the black keys, opposed to the white keys?

Thanks.

Re: Black Note Etude
#383919 05/03/06 02:19 PM
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It shouldn't be any harder. In fact, it should probably be easier than pieces where 50% are on black keys and 50% are on white keys.

All you have to do is raise your arm a little and lean forward a little (since the black keys are higher and farther away than the white keys) and that's it - then your wrist/hand positions and finger positions and everything are the same.


Sam
Re: Black Note Etude
#383920 05/03/06 03:02 PM
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holystorm,

Not wishing to single you out, as many others are guilty of the same, but Chopin's Op10 no5 is not a 'song!'

It is a piano 'piece.'

More specifically an 'étude' or 'study.'

Whoever performs it, plays it on a piano.

There is no vocalist.

Ain't nobody singin'.

It is not a song.

Hope that helps wink


- Michael B.

PS. As for the difficulty of this piece, black keys are narrower than white keys, so the target area for your digits is smaller. Then again, there are fewer of them on a piano keyboard, so you have fewer wrong ones to hit smile . This piece would be difficult whichever key it was written in: FWIW I reckon it is a tad easier for being in Gb major; I think it would be harder in G major, for example.


There are two rules to success in life: Rule #1. Don't tell people everything you know.
Re: Black Note Etude
#383921 05/03/06 03:15 PM
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Never fear, holystorm, this is a commonly-argued subject that keeps coming up when certain people have nothing better to do. wink Here, allow me:

It is a song.

It is comprised of notes that make music.

It is a song for piano.

The piano sings it.

IT is the vocalist.

It is a song.


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
Re: Black Note Etude
#383922 05/03/06 03:28 PM
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But a song is written specifically for a human voice, not a piano wink

And as for the 10/5, playing on the black keys only (although it does use white keys, heh) isn't in itself difficult, but some of the fingering problems that are created from this make it more difficult (but by using the same notes transposed a semitone down/up they would still be there)

Re: Black Note Etude
#383923 05/03/06 03:32 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by holystorm:
I think this is one of Chopins greatest songs, but I want to know is it harder to play a song where 90% of the notes are on the black keys, opposed to the white keys?

Thanks.
I think the fact that it is exclusively on black keys make it somewhat easier because you have to think less about moving your hand in and out of the black key area.

Compare it to - say - the first movement of Kreisleriana. One of the difficulties of this piece is there's more of a mixture of black keys and white keys, the thumb occasionally has to play on black keys, and there is much more in and out of the black key area.

That being said, the Schumann may not be more difficult than the Chopin, I'm just making an observation on one of the challenges of the Schumann.

Re: Black Note Etude
#383924 05/03/06 03:48 PM
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Derulux:
Quote
this is a commonly-argued subject that keeps coming up when certain people have nothing better to do. wink
Argument/pedantry for the sake of it? Mr Pot, please meet Mr Kettle laugh
Quote
It is a song.
[sticks fingers in ears]

La-la-la-la-la-la-la....[1]

Michael B.
[1] Now that's a song wink .


There are two rules to success in life: Rule #1. Don't tell people everything you know.
Re: Black Note Etude
#383925 05/03/06 05:00 PM
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I know this has come up many times before but I have never replied to one of them so I feel that I am entitled to at least one comment. It is NOT a song. ie. Webster...
1. The act or art of singing; as, he broke into song.

2. A piece of music sung or as if for singing.

I know there are greater problems in life than this but at the moment this is it.


I'm a fool for Chopin. The biggest mistake in my life......Thinking that fishing was more fun than Bach when I was younger.
Re: Black Note Etude
#383926 05/03/06 05:57 PM
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Am I crazy, or did I read or hear that a well known pianist used to play, or sort of play this piece at recitals by rolling an orange across the black keys while playing the left hand part. If someone knows if this is true, can you confirm or disconfirm my recolection?


JOHN
Re: Black Note Etude
#383927 05/03/06 06:29 PM
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What the heck? Is that even possible?

Re: Black Note Etude
#383928 05/03/06 06:33 PM
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Yeah, that was Nicolas Slonimsky.


Sam
Re: Black Note Etude
#383929 05/03/06 06:45 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Derulux:
Never fear, holystorm, this is a commonly-argued subject that keeps coming up when certain people have nothing better to do. wink Here, allow me:

It is a song.

It is comprised of notes that make music.

It is a song for piano.

The piano sings it.

IT is the vocalist.

It is a song.
[Linked Image]

The piano does not sing. Singing implies use of vocal cords.
However contrary you want to be, you can't deny that.


Fail.

Re: Black Note Etude
#383930 05/03/06 06:50 PM
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It is a song without words. I would rather it be a "song" because that implies a nice cantabile.

Re: Black Note Etude
#383931 05/03/06 06:52 PM
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Me too. I always try to correct friends or students when they refer to a piano piece as a 'song'. Does it matter? Probably not much but ...

Re: Black Note Etude
#383932 05/03/06 07:01 PM
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Originally posted by xyz2004slc:
It is a song without words. I would rather it be a "song" because that implies a nice cantabile.
Black Keys etude is not a singing melody or cantabile of any sort.

Re: Black Note Etude
#383933 05/03/06 09:08 PM
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The piano does not sing. Singing implies use of vocal cords.
However contrary you want to be, you can't deny that.

Then explain why so many people refer to making a line "sing".... wink


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
Re: Black Note Etude
#383934 05/03/06 09:18 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Derulux:
[b]The piano does not sing. Singing implies use of vocal cords.
However contrary you want to be, you can't deny that.

Then explain why so many people refer to making a line "sing".... wink [/b]
They are trying to communicate a method of melodic phrasing and touch.

Re: Black Note Etude
#383935 05/03/06 10:16 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by valarking:
Quote
Originally posted by Derulux:
[b] [b]The piano does not sing. Singing implies use of vocal cords.
However contrary you want to be, you can't deny that.
Then explain why so many people refer to making a line "sing".... wink [/b]
They are trying to communicate a method of melodic phrasing and touch. [/b]
Then it would certainly be a poor communicative effort, considering your first statement. wink


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
Re: Black Note Etude
#383936 05/03/06 10:33 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Derulux:
Quote
Originally posted by valarking:
[b]
Quote
Originally posted by Derulux:
[b] [b]The piano does not sing. Singing implies use of vocal cords.
However contrary you want to be, you can't deny that.
Then explain why so many people refer to making a line "sing".... wink [/b]
They are trying to communicate a method of melodic phrasing and touch. [/b]
Then it would certainly be a poor communicative effort, considering your first statement. wink [/b]
It is, unless one knows how to interpret it for piano performance.

Re: Black Note Etude
#383937 05/04/06 12:40 AM
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It is a usage that I never heard in ~30 years of involvement in music (both instrumental and indeed, as an accompanist, choral) whilst in my native England. In fact I have never encountered it since starting to read this forum some 6 months ago. I presumed therefore that it is either (i) a new coinage amongst the younger generation[1] or (ii) an Americanism. Or perhaps both. Seeing it used about the most 'unsonglike' Black Key étude from someone located in London was the last straw I suppose...

Personally I believe that it implies ignorance of musical forms, and is somehow dismissive, seemingly reducing any piece of music to being a mere 'song'[2]. Could one talk of Beethoven's 9th being one of his best 'songs'. It has a bit of singing it after all wink .

- Michael B.

[1] Waves walking stick, adjusts ear trumpet and pulls blanket more closely over knees.
[2] I am aware that various composers (real) 'songs' can be great pieces of music, but the usage of the word for non-vocal music, gives me this impression somehow.


There are two rules to success in life: Rule #1. Don't tell people everything you know.
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