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Posted By: PaintedPostDave A Rookie Tries the Moonlight Sonata - 07/19/10 05:23 PM
I amuse myself by trying to play endless variations on the 12 bar blues either with left hand chords or left hand walking. This can go on for some time so I haven't really tried other things. However, recently, I became enamored with Beethoven's piano sonatas and have gathered CDs by Cliburn, Ashkenazy and Gould (I am amazed at the different interpretations but that is another story). Because I am not a good reader at all I figured the "Moonlight" adagio sostenuto was a good start and I found the sheet music on the web. It starts with simple octaves in the left hand and simple triplets in the right - until the last beat of the fifth measure where the theme starts. How does one do this? I can probably get semi-proficient with the left and right hands up to the fifth bar but then how does one start the third thread?
Posted By: lilylady Re: A Rookie Tries the Moonlight Sonata - 07/19/10 05:46 PM
Methinks you might want to learn easier pieces leading up to this one.

It may SOUND easy to play, but that is just the notes.

To play musically, one needs more background than what it seems you have.

But it is a great inspiration!
Posted By: blueston Re: A Rookie Tries the Moonlight Sonata - 07/19/10 05:47 PM
I think I know what you are asking. You just play it with the right hand too. You will probably use your 5th finger the most, maybe the 4th finger to play those "Melody" notes, although I would have to go home and watch what I do again.

So you will be playing 2 notes at a time, usually the thumb will play the first note in the "Triplet" (really Arpeggio) Chord while at the same time the 5th finger may play the Melody.

If you are a beginner I would just concentrate on that for now. It can be hard to voice this properly until you have more experience. But eventually you want to hold down those top Melody notes with the 5th finger, while you play the other couple of notes in the "Triplet" (Arpeggio), actually you may play the Arpeggio twice while holding down those melody notes. This may take some effort to get your fingers to be independant like this.

Finally you want to play those top notes louder than the underlying arpeggio. This can take some effort too to get one finger on the same hand to play louder than the other fingers. Ah, but that's what makes all this so fun.
Thank you, Blueston!
Posted By: Morodiene Re: A Rookie Tries the Moonlight Sonata - 07/19/10 10:15 PM
While I think having a go at such pieces can be fun at first, the toughest part of this piece is not at all measure 5! Don't be afraid to realize that this is way beyond you at the moment, but that you can work toward it by playing wonderful pieces at your level or just within reach. You can always take it up again later and see what you can do then.
Posted By: PaintedPostDave The Rookie is Disgusted - 07/20/10 04:22 AM
Sorry, but I take issue with the condescension and superciliousness of Morodiene and Lilylady. If I want to tackle something that I think could provide enjoyment, that is my business. So what if I make a mess of it? The sonatas do not belong to them. It is not up to them to say who should attempt to play them. I am surprised that these two did not castigate Blueston for having the gall to suggest how I might proceed. mad

BTW,tonight at bridge, I asked a retired piano teacher how it could be done and she told me to place a friend on my right and let her handle the third stream. This may be a lot more fun than the strategy proposed by Blueston.
Posted By: jeffreyjones Re: The Rookie is Disgusted - 07/20/10 04:27 AM
That will work fine until the third stream winds up in the middle.. then you'll have your friend in your lap! laugh

Beethoven's writing in this movement is very uncommon, so it doesn't surprise me that a novice would be perplexed by it. You're doing it right when the thirds are steady and quiet and the melody sounds out over them.
Posted By: TheFool Re: The Rookie is Disgusted - 07/20/10 05:41 AM
Originally Posted by PaintedPostDave
Sorry, but I take issue with the condescension and superciliousness of Morodiene and Lilylady. If I want to tackle something that I think could provide enjoyment, that is my business. So what if I make a mess of it? The sonatas do not belong to them. It is not up to them to say who should attempt to play them. I am surprised that these two did not castigate Blueston for having the gall to suggest how I might proceed. mad


Bang on, doesn't matter a whit whether you make a mess of it or not.
But why would you ask for advice if you don't care whether you play well or not?

Morodiene and Lilylady offered advice on the assumption that you wanted to accomplish a task: voice demarcation. Pretty reasonable, really, if you look at your original post.

Some pieces need to be worked up to, or their challenges are irreducible. Walk before you run, and all that. It's not condescension to assess your abilities and say you should work on something else for a while: it's discernment. You seem to think they said you _shouldn't_ play this piece; I got the impression they were saying you _couldn't_ play this piece yet, at least not in the way you seem to want to.
Moreover, I didn't think either of your persecutors was needlessly harsh or even impolite.

And really: why offer background as to your level of expertise - twelve bar blues, not being a good reader, etc - illustrating your level of skill if you're going to accuse people who interpret those data in a polite and reasonable way of being supercilious and condescending?
Posted By: Emphursis1 Re: The Rookie is Disgusted - 07/20/10 12:15 PM
If you want to learn it, I say go for it.
This piece is actually the one that got me back into playing, after having very basic lessons at primary school years ago.
Maybe I didn't have enough experience to start learning it, but I wanted to, so I did.

The way I do it is to use my little finger on the right hand.
All you are doing is playing a G# octave, then C#, E then the higher G# again. In the sixth bar you then play the octave again and D#, F#.

Remember to hold down the higher G# until the last beat, when you play the octave again.

Note-wise, I think it is a relatively simple piece, especially because it is Adagio, the difficultly stems from the dynamics. If you don't get those right, it doesn't sound anywhere near as nice.

Originally Posted by PaintedPostDave
It starts with simple octaves in the left hand and simple triplets in the right - until the last beat of the fifth measure where the theme starts.


I don't know how much you have looked through the sheets, but the majority of the piece is simple octaves in the left and octaves/triplets in the right.

If it helps, you could try watching videos on Youtube of 'proper' pianists playing to get an idea of the fingering they use.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6txOvK-mAk
Posted By: izaldu Re: The Rookie is Disgusted - 07/20/10 12:51 PM
Originally Posted by PaintedPostDave
Sorry, but I take issue with the condescension and superciliousness of Morodiene and Lilylady. If I want to tackle something that I think could provide enjoyment, that is my business. So what if I make a mess of it? The sonatas do not belong to them. It is not up to them to say who should attempt to play them. I am surprised that these two did not castigate Blueston for having the gall to suggest how I might proceed. mad

BTW,tonight at bridge, I asked a retired piano teacher how it could be done and she told me to place a friend on my right and let her handle the third stream. This may be a lot more fun than the strategy proposed by Blueston.



That is so rude - you er totally out of order.
Posted By: Varcon Re: The Rookie is Disgusted - 07/20/10 01:03 PM
You might look at a transcription of it that is scaled down for those who lack the skill to play the original. Century Music published an easier version which might give you the satisfaction of playing the melody (it's in the key of C) and not be so frustrating.
While I'm sure the suggestion you wait until prepared to play it wasn't meant to be insulting and condescending, your post implies that you are not quite ready to tackle the complications of the original. Sheer dent of perseverance might get you there but I'm not sure about that.

Anyway, good luck with it.

I might add that the transcription follows the entire piece and it is not shortened at all.
Posted By: Jeff Clef Re: The Rookie is Disgusted - 07/20/10 01:38 PM
No one can fault your taste in choosing your challenges, at least. If this piece exceeds your present abilities, it will at least help you in formulating your goals.

My tuner (a former Performance major) once remarked to me that the Beethoven sonatas are easier to read than to play. Not that I'm any great expert at Sanscrit, but their omnibus words are like that--- not much to see, on the page, but a single fragment unfolds to a meaning that conveys lifetimes of effort.

Still, trying is worth it.
Posted By: RonaldSteinway Re: The Rookie is Disgusted - 07/20/10 02:09 PM
Originally Posted by PaintedPostDave
Sorry, but I take issue with the condescension and superciliousness of Morodiene and Lilylady. If I want to tackle something that I think could provide enjoyment, that is my business. So what if I make a mess of it? The sonatas do not belong to them. It is not up to them to say who should attempt to play them. I am surprised that these two did not castigate Blueston for having the gall to suggest how I might proceed. mad



Why did you get upset with Morodiene and Lilylady? Their replies were not rude or codecensing. You have a problem dude!!!
Posted By: PaintedPostDave Re: The Rookie is Disgusted - 07/20/10 02:32 PM
Actually, Varcon, I used Songwriter to transpose the original nine measures from C# minor to A minor which indeed is much easier to tackle (although it doesn't sound as good). Furthermore, I noticed that, at least for those measures, the third stream often contains a half note that is an octave above the root of the triplets. So, I can attempt to play the third stream an octave lower and save some finger stress.

Geez, people, for the time being, I am only interested in playing those nine measures. If I have to slightly bastardize it, no one will hear. Furthermore, I come from a jazz background so I have no religious need to faithfully reproduce the original (for example, compare Ashkenazy's and Gould's versions of Moonlight - there certainly is improvisation in choice of tempo, dynamics and pace).
Posted By: PaintedPostDave Re: The Rookie is Disgusted - 07/20/10 02:35 PM
Thank you, Ronald and Izaldu, for being concerned with my problem.
Posted By: Phlebas Re: The Rookie is Disgusted - 07/20/10 03:38 PM
Originally Posted by PaintedPostDave
(for example, compare Ashkenazy's and Gould's versions of Moonlight - there certainly is improvisation in choice of tempo, dynamics and pace).

That's not improvization. That's called interpretation.


You're pretty new here, so you probably don't realize how many "I'm a rookie, and I just started the Moonlight..." threads there are here. Lilylady and Morodiene gave good advice in a very nice and encouraging way - the piece is too hard for you. You can either take the advice or not. If you want to play it, play it. Give it a shot.
If you ask for advice, though, you'll often get good advice.
Posted By: Kreisler Re: The Rookie is Disgusted - 07/20/10 04:04 PM
Originally Posted by PaintedPostDave
It starts with simple octaves in the left hand and simple triplets in the right - until the last beat of the fifth measure where the theme starts. How does one do this?


This is always an interesting question, because it's hard to say exactly where the problem lies. There are many different answers, depending on what's being asked.

When I read questions like these, I often wonder what "this" means. If "this" is "play the top note", then the answer is simply "with your little finger."

Except that seems too obvious, so maybe he's asking how to voice the melody louder than the other notes, in which case we could give advice on voicing.

Or maybe it's a question of reading, not understanding the notation of different voices within the same hand, in which case we could describe how that works.

Or maybe it's a technical issue - that his hand isn't supple/flexible enough to manage the rhythm fluently.

Or a rhythmic issue - how to manage triplet vs. 16th

And maybe it's all compounded by a reading issue - not being familiar with C# minor (jazz players who don't work with vocalists or guitar players spend most of their time in flat keys.)

LilyLady and Morodiene aren't being condescending, they're just trying to deal with a complicated question that has a lot of different answers. It would be like me going to a home improvement forum and saying: "I just started remodeling my bathroom. I got half the tile down but need to go around a corner. How do I do that?" A professional who cares a great deal about quality work would likely tell me that bathroom remodels are a bit beyond the average do-it-yourselfer, while someone who appreciates someone trying to be frugal and learn something new might offer some advice, assuming that the do-it-yourselfer knows that the quality of the work probably won't end up at a professional standard and finds that an acceptable compromise.
Posted By: BruceD Re: The Rookie is Disgusted - 07/20/10 04:11 PM
The following comment is not necessarily intended for the OP, but rather a general comment on one misconception among amateur players of this movement :

The biggest problem with the interpretation of this first movement is one of voicing. It's not absolutely correct to think of the first beat of most measures as an octave; rather there are two voices, one an accompaniment in triplets, the other a single-note melody line which both happen to coincide an octave apart at certain points. However, for those who have studied and played the movement there's a big difference between that coinciding of two voices an octave apart and the playing of a simple octave. Understanding and realizing this constitutes the main difficulty of playing this movement.

Regards,
Posted By: Morodiene Re: The Rookie is Disgusted - 07/20/10 05:02 PM
Originally Posted by PaintedPostDave
Sorry, but I take issue with the condescension and superciliousness of Morodiene and Lilylady. If I want to tackle something that I think could provide enjoyment, that is my business. So what if I make a mess of it? The sonatas do not belong to them. It is not up to them to say who should attempt to play them. I am surprised that these two did not castigate Blueston for having the gall to suggest how I might proceed. mad

BTW,tonight at bridge, I asked a retired piano teacher how it could be done and she told me to place a friend on my right and let her handle the third stream. This may be a lot more fun than the strategy proposed by Blueston.

Please point to a condescending statement that I made. I cannot find it. In fact, I was trying to be encouraging and I think my words reflected that.

I was stating a fact that if you were having issues figuring out what to do at measure 5 perhaps this piece it too hard for you. You asked for opinions, and I gave it. It was not a comment on you as a person or even as a musician. We are all in a process here, some further along than others. I don't "own" the Moonlight sonata, but when someone comes asking for advice to the general public, then that means I can give it as I see best. My best advice to you was to choose other music to help you get to the point where you could play this piece with greater ease.

You can choose to ignore advice given, but don't accuse people of being 'condescending' simply on the grounds that they gave advice you didn't agree with.
Posted By: Samuel1993 Re: The Rookie is Disgusted - 07/20/10 05:10 PM
It's not as easy as it looks. There's some large stretches and to play it musically is a different matter. Perhaps play something a little easier and build up to it.
Posted By: Victor25 Re: The Rookie is Disgusted - 07/20/10 07:13 PM
I like to think that Beethoven is gonna kick everybody's ass in the afterlife who ever raped his music.
Posted By: Stanza Re: The Rookie is Disgusted - 07/20/10 07:21 PM
Another consideration is that 16th note anticipation in the melody that is first seen at the end of measure 5. Getting it just right can be tricky.
Posted By: PaintedPostDave Re: The Rookie is Disgusted - 07/20/10 07:44 PM
The following quotes are taken from the two posts that bothered me initially.

"this is way beyond you at the moment, but that you can work toward it by playing wonderful pieces at your level or just within reach" (Morodiene)

and

"To play musically, one needs more background than what it seems you have" (Lililady)

Then came shots from Ronald, Izaldu, Victor25, Phlebas and ... Gee, I lost track. I'm over it.

Contrary to an earlier comment, when I get the first nine measures worked out I will post it - along with a 12 bar blues trailer.

BTW, I spoke to Beethoven just before I made the initial post and he told me to go for it - but call it something else like "Moonshine".
Posted By: Emphursis1 Re: The Rookie is Disgusted - 07/20/10 08:04 PM
Originally Posted by PaintedPostDave

"this is way beyond you at the moment, but that you can work toward it by playing wonderful pieces at your level or just within reach" (Morodiene)

Originally Posted by PaintedPostDave

"To play musically, one needs more background than what it seems you have" (Lililady)


In both posts, they are saying that you need more experience playing to get the dynamics of the piece correct, which is more important in Moonlight Sonata than merely playing the notes.
Not that you can't to play it, it will just be harder for you get the dynamics correct.

Originally Posted by PaintedPostDave

BTW, I spoke to Beethoven just before I made the initial post and he told me to go for it - but call it something else like "Moonshine".


Mondschein is the word you are looking for, the German word for 'Moonlight' (also what the piece is called the book I have)
Posted By: stores Re: The Rookie is Disgusted - 07/20/10 10:28 PM
Originally Posted by Victor25
I like to think that Beethoven is gonna kick everybody's ass in the afterlife who ever raped his music.


LMAO. I'm buying a ticket to that event. Front row!
Posted By: Quickster94 Re: The Rookie is Disgusted - 07/21/10 02:02 AM
I think others here can give better advice about the technical aspects of Moonlight (I actually haven't played this Beethoven sonata).

But I have to agree with a lot of the posts before me. Moonlight is more about musicality and interpretation than it is about just hitting the notes. If the latter is hard, one might never reach the former (before someone calls me on this, not meant to be condescending).

And of course, there is the "cliché" of beginners playing the popular movement of the Moonlight sonata and not the rest, which bothers many musicians (though not me, as long as the person can play that movement well).
Posted By: Morodiene Re: The Rookie is Disgusted - 07/21/10 02:56 AM
I actually really enjoy the 3rd movement of it quite a bit, perhaps even more so than the first. Of course, it's harder to play then the first movement is.
Posted By: chopinizmyhomeboy Re: The Rookie is Disgusted - 07/21/10 05:17 AM
Originally Posted by PaintedPostDave
The following quotes are taken from the two posts that bothered me initially.

"this is way beyond you at the moment, but that you can work toward it by playing wonderful pieces at your level or just within reach" (Morodiene)

and

"To play musically, one needs more background than what it seems you have" (Lililady)

Then came shots from Ronald, Izaldu, Victor25, Phlebas and ... Gee, I lost track. I'm over it.

Contrary to an earlier comment, when I get the first nine measures worked out I will post it - along with a 12 bar blues trailer.

BTW, I spoke to Beethoven just before I made the initial post and he told me to go for it - but call it something else like "Moonshine".


My name is King Condescend, king of kings, master of all potential moments of condescension. Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair, for I hereby announce that Lililady and Morodiene's comments were not of thy condescension.


Posted By: Phlebas Re: The Rookie is Disgusted - 07/21/10 09:09 AM
Originally Posted by PaintedPostDave


Contrary to an earlier comment, when I get the first nine measures worked out I will post it - along with a 12 bar blues trailer.



Who wants to hear 9 measures? Post the whole thing when you learn it.
Posted By: Strings & Wood Re: The Rookie is Disgusted - 07/21/10 11:28 PM
Originally Posted by Phlebas
Originally Posted by PaintedPostDave


Contrary to an earlier comment, when I get the first nine measures worked out I will post it - along with a 12 bar blues trailer.



Who wants to hear 9 measures? Post the whole thing when you learn it.


laugh
Posted By: Cinnamonbear Re: A Rookie Tries the Moonlight Sonata - 07/22/10 05:38 AM
Oh, My God! laugh This is like a bar fight!!! grin Let me join the fray! *fists up*

Originally Posted by jeffreyjones
That will work fine until the third stream winds up in the middle.. then you'll have your friend in your lap! laugh

What's wrong with that??? Sounds like fun, and, if you're that close, I'm sure you can work out the finger issues! Beethoven meets Heart and Soul! laugh (BTW, I know you're being funny, Jeffrey, and it made me laugh!)

Originally Posted by blueston
I think I know what you are asking. You just play it with the right hand too. You will probably use your 5th finger the most, maybe the 4th finger to play those "Melody" notes, although I would have to go home and watch what I do again.

So you will be playing 2 notes at a time, usually the thumb will play the first note in the "Triplet" (really Arpeggio) Chord while at the same time the 5th finger may play the Melody.

If you are a beginner I would just concentrate on that for now. It can be hard to voice this properly until you have more experience. But eventually you want to hold down those top Melody notes with the 5th finger, while you play the other couple of notes in the "Triplet" (Arpeggio), actually you may play the Arpeggio twice while holding down those melody notes. This may take some effort to get your fingers to be independant like this.

Finally you want to play those top notes louder than the underlying arpeggio. This can take some effort too to get one finger on the same hand to play louder than the other fingers. Ah, but that's what makes all this so fun.


^^^This^^^ is one of the most perceptive, sensitive, and kindest posts I have ever read in my short time at Piano World. My hat is off to you blueston. I would want you by my side in any bar fight!

Originally Posted by PaintedPostDave
The following quotes are taken from the two posts that bothered me initially.

"this is way beyond you at the moment, but that you can work toward it by playing wonderful pieces at your level or just within reach" (Morodiene)

and

"To play musically, one needs more background than what it seems you have" (Lililady)

Then came shots from Ronald, Izaldu, Victor25, Phlebas and ... Gee, I lost track. I'm over it.

Contrary to an earlier comment, when I get the first nine measures worked out I will post it - along with a 12 bar blues trailer.

BTW, I spoke to Beethoven just before I made the initial post and he told me to go for it - but call it something else like "Moonshine".


Condescending? Phrased so, yes, I thought so. Because we haven't heard him play! WTH? With all due respect to Lilylady (who I like, though I've never met) and Morodiene (who I've never met, but could, since we live in the same neighborhood), you two are making assumptions that, to a sweet-hearted experienced piano player might sound a little snotty, or, at least, snooty...Sometimes, it takes a jump start...then the guy says, "I GET IT!" and rips into it like he's been playing it his whole life. 'Specially someone who plays the blues, and 'specially someone who is "enamored" with the Sonatas...this is an easy one to read, and someone who is musical can pick it up in a short while! Which first movement would you rather start with? 49-2 or Moonlight?


Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by Victor25
I like to think that Beethoven is gonna kick everybody's ass in the afterlife who ever raped his music.


LMAO. I'm buying a ticket to that event. Front row!


Yeah, and Beethoven's gonna kick yer shins, stores! And then when you come out of your seat to cover them, he's gonna kick yer ass, too! Ha-ha!!!


Originally Posted by Emphursis1
[...] it will just be harder for you get the dynamics correct. [...]


How do you know?


Originally Posted by phlebas
Originally Posted by PaintedPostDave


Contrary to an earlier comment, when I get the first nine measures worked out I will post it - along with a 12 bar blues trailer.



Who wants to hear 9 measures? Post the whole thing when you learn it.


I want to hear 9 measures! FOR SURE! And, I want to hear the trailer, too! GO FOR IT, Mr. Painter! I, for one, am eagerly waiting to hear "Moonshine!" laugh

--Andy
Posted By: Emphursis1 Re: A Rookie Tries the Moonlight Sonata - 07/22/10 10:05 AM
Originally Posted by Cinnamonbear


Originally Posted by Emphursis1
[...] it will just be harder for you get the dynamics correct. [...]


How do you know?


Because, with even less musical experience than the OP started learning this Movement and found the dynamics much harder to get right than merely the notes.

I am not saying he shouldn't learn it, to the contrary, I have encouraged him.
In that quote, I was agreeing with, and telling the OP, what Lilylady and Morodiene appeared to mean with their comments that he highlighted.
Posted By: Mattardo Re: A Rookie Tries the Moonlight Sonata - 07/22/10 11:12 AM
Alot of us more experienced players forget the days when we stumbled upon new music that was beyond our grasp. The pure joy of discovery, emotional feelings, and the sense of wanting to do it ourselves was usually enough to push us to tackle the piece. We may have been able to play it haphazardly a bit and ended up hitting some technical and musical brick walls - but we got the feeling of what it was like to play the piece: we touched that artistic plane briefly and the feeling was wonderful.

I remember when I would stumble upon pieces such as the Iberia Suite, or the Waldstein, or La Campanella from hearing recordings, and I would rush to my mom, begging her to take me to a music store, any music store, to find the score. Upon meeting the score, I would rush to the piano and start plowing through the piece, no matter how difficult. The results would usually be bad, but still enjoyable. My teacher would say "Oh, Matt - you shouldn't be trying this." But then, after seeing my pained expression, the soul-crushing words she uttered seemed a bit harsh, and she would dedicate 15 minutes of my lesson to tackling whatever I wanted - regardless of it's musical and technical difficulty.

I had to make compromises, but the musical feeling of accomplishment was still there, and it pushed me to do better with my regular studies so that I could someday play those pieces much better.

I think it's great to tackle pieces that are beyond us - these types of pieces are inspiring, and push us to excel. They teach us that the boring piece we are now working on will lead to better things, if we have patience and perserverance. We may only be able to play certain passages of our chosen dream, but sometimes that is enough to make us happy and give us that supreme sense of accomplisment to keep us going.

I see people learn Mary Had A Little Lamb for the first time sometimes - and they are usually thrilled, empowered and astonished at what they have done. I watched a woman pick out Twinkle Twinkle Little Star the other day - she had horrible voicing, her rhythm was off, she used all the wrong fingers - but she felt like a million dollars, and watching the look of joy on her face was very rewarding.

Let's not forget what it was like for all of us when we started on our road - sometimes well-meant help can be misconstrued and smash someone else's dreams. I would hate to be told that I scared someone away from the piano, or classical music. Respect for the composer, and proper method will come in time - it usually does.



Posted By: btb Re: A Rookie Tries the Moonlight Sonata - 07/22/10 12:55 PM
Everybody should learn to play (however grotesquely) the jolly old Moonlight sonata ... here we have a case of a retired engineer, boasting a Yamaha Grand ... who naturally (at his venerable age) gets a bit crotchety when folk talk down to him ...

The chappie is likely to battle with his sight-reading ( the jazz interest gives a clue) ... but has been seduced by the first two measures of the Moonlight in C# minor... that opening RH repetition of 8 identical triplets grabs us all ... too easy ... a case of "look Ma, no hands"... but limping along to the limit of our memory we bump into a real corker at m6 and m7 ... jamming in the tiniest G# to close the measures.

But crikey!! ... the rest is plain sailing ... the LH maintains broad octave chords allowing
the sight-reading to focus on the RH role.

Forgive my presumptuous opinion ... many moons ago the Moonlight was my baptism of fire.
Posted By: Mattardo Re: A Rookie Tries the Moonlight Sonata - 07/22/10 01:03 PM
Originally Posted by btb
Everybody should learn to play (however grotesquely) the jolly old Moonlight sonata ... here we have a case of a retired engineer, boasting a Yamaha Grand ... who naturally (at his venerable age) gets a bit crotchety when folk talk down to him ...

The chappie is likely to battle with his sight-reading ( the jazz interest gives a clue) ... but has been seduced by the first two measures of the Moonlight in C# minor... that opening RH repetition of 8 identical triplets grabs us all ... too easy ... a case of "look Ma, no hands"... but limping along to the limit of our memory we bump into a real corker at m6 and m7 ... jamming in the tiniest G# to close the measures.

But crikey!! ... the rest is plain sailing ... the LH maintains broad octave chords allowing
the sight-reading to focus on the RH role.

Forgive my presumptuous opinion ... many moons ago the Moonlight was my baptism of fire.


Yes, it's really not that difficult. Many people like to say such things as "this piece may appear to be easy, but it really requires a formidable technique and musical understanding to really bring out the etc, etc, it's very deceptive, etc, etc". This may be true, and may not be true - but the Moonlight Sonata 1st movement is one of the first pieces that students usually experience of Beethoven's - apart from Fur Elise, which requires much more technical skill, honestly.
Posted By: Morodiene Re: A Rookie Tries the Moonlight Sonata - 07/22/10 01:52 PM
The OP posted a request for help and advice, which was given. I am sorry I posted my opinion. I won't let it happen again.
Posted By: Cinnamonbear Re: A Rookie Tries the Moonlight Sonata - 07/22/10 02:48 PM
Originally Posted by Mattardo
Alot of us more experienced players forget the days when we stumbled upon new music that was beyond our grasp. The pure joy of discovery, emotional feelings, and the sense of wanting to do it ourselves was usually enough to push us to tackle the piece. We may have been able to play it haphazardly a bit and ended up hitting some technical and musical brick walls - but we got the feeling of what it was like to play the piece: we touched that artistic plane briefly and the feeling was wonderful.

I remember when I would stumble upon pieces such as the Iberia Suite, or the Waldstein, or La Campanella from hearing recordings, and I would rush to my mom, begging her to take me to a music store, any music store, to find the score. Upon meeting the score, I would rush to the piano and start plowing through the piece, no matter how difficult. The results would usually be bad, but still enjoyable. My teacher would say "Oh, Matt - you shouldn't be trying this." But then, after seeing my pained expression, the soul-crushing words she uttered seemed a bit harsh, and she would dedicate 15 minutes of my lesson to tackling whatever I wanted - regardless of it's musical and technical difficulty.

I had to make compromises, but the musical feeling of accomplishment was still there, and it pushed me to do better with my regular studies so that I could someday play those pieces much better.

I think it's great to tackle pieces that are beyond us - these types of pieces are inspiring, and push us to excel. They teach us that the boring piece we are now working on will lead to better things, if we have patience and perserverance. We may only be able to play certain passages of our chosen dream, but sometimes that is enough to make us happy and give us that supreme sense of accomplisment to keep us going.

I see people learn Mary Had A Little Lamb for the first time sometimes - and they are usually thrilled, empowered and astonished at what they have done. I watched a woman pick out Twinkle Twinkle Little Star the other day - she had horrible voicing, her rhythm was off, she used all the wrong fingers - but she felt like a million dollars, and watching the look of joy on her face was very rewarding.

Let's not forget what it was like for all of us when we started on our road - sometimes well-meant help can be misconstrued and smash someone else's dreams. I would hate to be told that I scared someone away from the piano, or classical music. Respect for the composer, and proper method will come in time - it usually does.





Nice story, Mattardo! And good, good points! Thanks for sharing this one! laugh
Posted By: Phlebas Re: A Rookie Tries the Moonlight Sonata - 07/22/10 05:11 PM
Originally Posted by Morodiene
The OP posted a request for help and advice, which was given. I am sorry I posted my opinion. I won't let it happen again.


Keep posting your opinion. You weren't wrong, and your posts always make a lot of sense.

The OP was asking very basic questions that if he was ready to play the piece, he would be able to figure out. Also, he can't be bothered to work out the notes in the original key, so he transposes it to A minor, which he said "although it doesn't sound as good". How seriously are we supposed to take it? The best advice is: it's too hard for him.

That said, there's no law against playing something too hard for you, and you might learn something from the process.
Posted By: blueston Re: A Rookie Tries the Moonlight Sonata - 07/22/10 05:42 PM
Originally Posted by Cinnamonbear


^^^This^^^ is one of the most perceptive, sensitive, and kindest posts I have ever read in my short time at Piano World. My hat is off to you blueston. I would want you by my side in any bar fight!



Holy Cow! This is the kindest response I have got to any of my posts. Thank you! But just so you know, I chimed in well before the "bar fight" started smile

Also- very good posts Matardo and Btb. thumb

As for Morodiene and Lil'lady, I know they did not intentionally mean any harm. When you get to a certain level, it all becomes about interpretation, and strictly speaking what they say is true, the interpretation part of this piece is deceptively harder than you would think. The piece sounds easier than it is. The notes are relatively easy to learn, it's the beauty part that takes some work because it requires some technical skill voicing each part right.
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