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#544046 - 01/30/09 07:59 PM Are there easy pieces?  
Joined: Dec 2008
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Arghhh Offline
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Arghhh  Offline
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My piano prof has been assigning most of us pieces easier (technically) than what we are used to playing. For myself, I've previously played Beethoven's "The Tempest"
Chopin's Ballade #1
Gershwin's Three Preludes.

The pieces I've been assigned are:
Debussy "The Girl with the Flaxen Hair" (last semester)
Mendelssohn "Songs without Words" (Op. 38,No. 4 and Op. 102, No. 3)
Schoenberg "Six Little Pieces" (Op. 19)

What I'm finding is that it is very difficult to play these pieces well, even though they are not technically difficult. The correct notes were easy enough to master. The second of Schoenberg's pieces features a repeated third (G and B) that must be very short staccato and pianissimo. It's nearly impossible for me to get those to come out evenly and without varying the dynamic level. It's frustrating to me that I can't get these pieces to where I want them, and yet they're supposed to be easy.

In that sense, are there really any pieces that are easy?

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#544047 - 01/30/09 08:21 PM Re: Are there easy pieces?  
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sotto voce Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Arghhh:
[...] In that sense, are there really any pieces that are easy?
Well, your observation is the basis for the oft-voiced claim that Mozart (for example) is just as hard as Liszt (for example), only the type of difficulty is different.

I think that any "serious" music will have interpretive difficulty that has to be taken seriously. That would encompass just about everything except quasi-music with no pretense of musicality at all ... Hanon maybe? (And maybe I should duck for even suggesting that, but I can't think of anything else offhand!)

Steven

#544048 - 01/30/09 08:21 PM Re: Are there easy pieces?  
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This one! laugh

[Linked Image]


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#544049 - 01/30/09 08:24 PM Re: Are there easy pieces?  
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PoStTeNeBrAsLuX Offline
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Geneva, Switzerland
And who says you aren't an Actual Composer™? wink

Michael B.


There are two rules to success in life: Rule #1. Don't tell people everything you know.
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#544050 - 01/30/09 08:25 PM Re: Are there easy pieces?  
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Arghhh Offline
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Oh. Nice easy piece. laugh

Although, did you really get a good mf, hold the note for the proper length? Sometimes I wonder if I obsess too much with the little details.

#544051 - 01/30/09 08:29 PM Re: Are there easy pieces?  
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Kreisler Offline
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Iowa City, IA
Seriously, though, I believe there are pieces that are easier than others. Bach minuets are easier than Beethoven sonatas, and the works of Martha Mier are easier than Prokofiev.

BUT...

I believe that you can bring great artistry to even the easiest of pieces. I don't believe Glenn Gould let himself "relax" more for the first invention than the 4th Partita, I would imagine he brought the same intellect and focus to both.

In a way, I actually think it's one of the tests of a pianist. A lesser pianist approaches works with a dedication and focus proportionate to the level of the piece, while the greater pianist strives to approach all music with full devotion.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#544052 - 01/30/09 10:01 PM Re: Are there easy pieces?  
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I actually think harder pieces are easier than easy ones laugh

I´m serious actually, I find that I concentrate and perform a lot better if I´m playing a very difficult piece, especially during examinations.

If I have been asigned some dirt-easy piece, like one of Purcells for instance, I feel it´s very tough for me to do an entertaining performance. Yeah I know, before everyone starts going "well, if you put your heart and soul into it it should sound good and be fun for you to play", of course I try to do that, it just sucks that I have to work so hard to try and make a simple peice somewhat interesting to play and listen to.

That´s why I prefer harder pieces, to me they are easier to perform confidently.

#544053 - 01/30/09 10:10 PM Re: Are there easy pieces?  
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survivordan Offline
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I have a simmilar problem. I am playing pieces for my repetoire that are about a year ahead of what I am playing for lessons. I can play these harder pieces fine, but the easy little pidley things I get for my lesson, I struggle with. Like davaofthekeys said, the eaisier pieces just aren't interesting enough to hold my concentration for long. I do well, but I would call myself an intermediate pianist if I played my lesson pieces.


Working On:

BACH: Invention No. 13 in a min.
GRIEG: Notturno Op. 54 No. 4
VILLA-LOBOS: O Polichinelo

Next Up:

BACH: Keyboard Concerto in f minor
#544054 - 01/30/09 10:22 PM Re: Are there easy pieces?  
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allegro_concerto Offline
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Well, it is possible to achieve excellent standard when performing "easy" pieces but achieving that is rarely easy.

#544055 - 01/30/09 10:35 PM Re: Are there easy pieces?  
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beginningpianist Offline
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Cage's 4'33''

#544056 - 01/30/09 11:33 PM Re: Are there easy pieces?  
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dsch Offline
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florida
Quote
Originally posted by Kreisler:
Bach minuets are easier than Beethoven sonatas, and the works of Martha Mier are easier than Prokofiev.
She was my last piano teacher, but that was decades ago. Wow, I didn't know she had done so well. Go Martha!

#544057 - 01/30/09 11:37 PM Re: Are there easy pieces?  
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WhoDwaldi Offline
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Years ago in music school, I had a miserable time with Chopin's Ballade No. 3. I asked my former, childhood teacher why this was the case (she was personally learning it at the same time I was) and she exclaimed, "It's because it starts with one note in the middle of the keyboard, and if you don't like how you play it, the rest of the piece doesn't go well!"

So, even a one note piece is hard.


WhoDwaldi
Howard (by Kawai) 5' 10"
#544058 - 01/30/09 11:51 PM Re: Are there easy pieces?  
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Horowitzian Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Kreisler:
This one! laugh

[Linked Image]
I got a good guffaw out of that! wink

laugh


Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.
#544059 - 01/30/09 11:52 PM Re: Are there easy pieces?  
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Horowitzian Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by beginningpianist:
Cage's 4'33''
Na, it's hard because the audience throws their shoes at you after they realize they have been conned out of the ticket money. :p


laugh laugh


wink


Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.
#544060 - 01/31/09 01:01 AM Re: Are there easy pieces?  
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Arghhh Offline
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Quote
Years ago in music school, I had a miserable time with Chopin's Ballade No. 3. I asked my former, childhood teacher why this was the case (she was personally learning it at the same time I was) and she exclaimed, "It's because it starts with one note in the middle of the keyboard, and if you don't like how you play it, the rest of the piece doesn't go well!"
Thanks for writing that. I feel better now. "The Girl with the Flaxen Hair" also starts with a quiet, single note, followed by a line of single notes. It usually took me a line and a half to recover from missing the first note.

#544061 - 01/31/09 06:22 AM Re: Are there easy pieces?  
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wr Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Kreisler:
This one! laugh

[Linked Image]
What, no fingering? And is this an Urtext? That's crucial to knowing the composer's intent.

#544062 - 02/01/09 04:42 PM Re: Are there easy pieces?  
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WhoDwaldi Offline
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WhoDwaldi  Offline
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SE USA
The only extant copy of the first edition of that (in a library in Budapest) shows a crescendo below the C.

To play a cresc. on a single note, one leans forward and emotes, by the way.

:p :rolleyes: :p


WhoDwaldi
Howard (by Kawai) 5' 10"
#544063 - 02/02/09 06:33 PM Re: Are there easy pieces?  
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Jan-Erik Offline
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Finland
There are a lot of technically easy and at the same time musically interesting and beautiful pieces!

Grieg: Arietta, Valz, etc. from the the first Lyric pieces

Tchaikovsky: Morning prayer, The new doll, Dolly is ill, Doll's funeral, etc from Children's Album

Erkki Melartin: L'heur bleue.

Merikanto: Summer night idyll

Schumann: Von fremden Ländern und Menschen, Träumerei from Kindeszenen, Eintritt from Waldszenen

When there are no technical difficulties you can reach perfection and make all your intentions and ideas about the interpretation come true.

On the other hand, every little mistake (e. g. hitting wrong notes) will be noticed...


------

Currently learning: Von fremden Ländern und Menschen, Hasche-Mann, Träumerei, Fast zu Ernst, Eintritt, Jäger auf dem Lauer, Vogel als Prophet, Abschied by Rob. Schumann.


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