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Piano lessons

Posted By: Manne janne

Piano lessons - 05/12/19 10:37 AM

What do you think about this?

The purpose of piano lessons is technique and memorization. Understanding the musical language is not something that is focused on.
This is problemstic as I hate not understanding the music I am playing. I am now learning Abide with me and I can honestly say that I cannot play it without understanding it. I am not neccesarily speaking of a deep theoretical understanding but more of basic understanding of what is going on. I just dont really like repeating notes with no undeestanding. It is a wonder to me that people actually like playing piano without understanding the musical language.
Posted By: Sam S

Re: Piano lessons - 05/12/19 11:12 AM

If all you are doing in your piano lessons is technique and memorization, then your lessons are not like my lessons. We also talk about the structure of a piece, how it is constructed, how to play it musically and how to achieve my vision for the piece...

Sam
Posted By: outo

Re: Piano lessons - 05/12/19 11:26 AM

My teacher is always willing (or insisting) to discuss the music, not just teach me basic skills. Maybe you just do not have the right kind of teacher.
Posted By: Tech-key

Re: Piano lessons - 05/12/19 11:34 AM

I get very little time with my teacher, but even in that much time he makes sure to explain all the theoretical aspects required for a piece. The way he analyses a piece helps me in doing the same, when I pick one on my own. Then sometimes he will play a familiar song with a similar chord progression to give me an idea. Many other things of this nature.

Perhaps you should tell your teacher that you'd like to better understand the underlying structure, and then he/she can incorporate that as well in your lessons. Good luck!
Posted By: Tech-key

Re: Piano lessons - 05/12/19 12:27 PM

Oh, by the way, my lessons are not at all focussed on memorisation. Maybe this will be covered later on, if it's required for something specific. But not yet.
Posted By: dmd

Re: Piano lessons - 05/12/19 01:29 PM

Originally Posted by Manne janne
What do you think about this?

The purpose of piano lessons is technique and memorization.



I have never had a teacher encourage me to memorize music.

Especially at the beginner stages where you appear to be.

At a more advanced stage of playing memorizing may become more useful but not as a beginner.

The focus has always been …. play while looking at the music.

Has your teacher specifically told you to memorize or do you just do it because you find it easier than playing while looking at the music ?


Posted By: Manne janne

Re: Piano lessons - 05/12/19 01:45 PM

Originally Posted by Tech-key
I get very little time with my teacher, but even in that much time he makes sure to explain all the theoretical aspects required for a piece. The way he analyses a piece helps me in doing the same, when I pick one on my own. Then sometimes he will play a familiar song with a similar chord progression to give me an idea. Many other things of this nature.

Perhaps you should tell your teacher that you'd like to better understand the underlying structure, and then he/she can incorporate that as well in your lessons. Good luck!

I guess I am talking about getting to know a language.
Not many teacher teach accompaniment. It is mostly about just repeating what is written in the score. I have never met a teacher who did explain how 2-part harmony works. I was just given Bwv anh 114 without getting help with learning 2-part harmony.
Did you actually get to learn 2-part harmony?
I want to be creative like a child gets to be created when learning a language.
Classical musicians often just play from written score. Organist on the other hand ard often good at playing without a written score.
Maybe I just have a deep need for being creative whereas teachers just want you to play from a written score.
Posted By: enw10

Re: Piano lessons - 05/12/19 01:50 PM

My teacher explains the music to me very thoroughly. I would think it would be really hard to play well if you don't have any context for the piece you're playing.
Posted By: thepianoplayer416

Re: Piano lessons - 05/12/19 02:01 PM

There are 2 ways to learn songs: by reading or by ear.

If you get in Suzuki music, their teachers make you memorize the entire Book 1 songs before learning to read a single note. Ear training is important. And so is reading. Many teachers would introduce reading the Treble & Bass Clef from day 1.

There are many students who posted their playing online. You can find people playing all the pieces in Alfred's Basic Piano 1 & 2 from cover to cover and just use YouTube demos to learn your pieces without any reading. On the other hand, you can read through all your songs but doesn't mean you know the music theory behind the arrangements. You see C-E-G on the L part played 1 note after another you may not automatically think these are the notes of the C major chord played as an arpeggio. All you do is read a note, play a note. Once you learn enough theory behind the pieces, you can recognize chord patterns, scale runs quickly without having to read every note.

In a performance whether you read your pieces or play from memory the audience is not going to care. As long as you play all the right notes.
Posted By: NightTrain77

Re: Piano lessons - 05/12/19 02:50 PM

Originally Posted by Manne janne

I guess I am talking about getting to know a language.
Not many teacher teach accompaniment. It is mostly about just repeating what is written in the score. I have never met a teacher who did explain how 2-part harmony works. I was just given Bwv anh 114 without getting help with learning 2-part harmony.
Did you actually get to learn 2-part harmony?
I want to be creative like a child gets to be created when learning a language.
Classical musicians often just play from written score. Organist on the other hand ard often good at playing without a written score.
Maybe I just have a deep need for being creative whereas teachers just want you to play from a written score.


I identify with this point of view completely. There are definitely numerous pieces that I just want to learn to play well. But like you, I am also interested in “getting to know the language.”

Ultimately, if we want to learn the language, we probably need to start doing some composition.

Maybe we need two teachers, a traditional piano teacher and a composition teacher …
Posted By: Manne janne

Re: Piano lessons - 05/12/19 03:00 PM

Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
There are 2 ways to learn songs: by reading or by ear.

If you get in Suzuki music, their teachers make you memorize the entire Book 1 songs before learning to read a single note. Ear training is important. And so is reading. Many teachers would introduce reading the Treble & Bass Clef from day 1.

There are many students who posted their playing online. You can find people playing all the pieces in Alfred's Basic Piano 1 & 2 from cover to cover and just use YouTube demos to learn your pieces without any reading. On the other hand, you can read through all your songs but doesn't mean you know the music theory behind the arrangements. You see C-E-G on the L part played 1 note after another you may not automatically think these are the notes of the C major chord played as an arpeggio. All you do is read a note, play a note. Once you learn enough theory behind the pieces, you can recognize chord patterns, scale runs quickly without having to read every note.

In a performance whether you read your pieces or play from memory the audience is not going to care. As long as you play all the right notes.

This is the problem. I want to test things out. Try different ways of doing things. I just dont want to follow what some other person told me. When I learn Abide with me I really have to try figuring out the voice leading. Not just by using theory but my own understanding as well.
I want to try different ways of playing it.
Even the bwv anh 114 must be understood. If I dont know how the voice leading or chords works I just wont learn it. I am not a jukebox.
What do you think?
Posted By: Serge88

Re: Piano lessons - 05/12/19 03:03 PM

Like you said classical music is played from score. Maybe you could try non classical music, jazz or blues if you want to improvise or pop music if you want to build your own arrangement.
Posted By: Tech-key

Re: Piano lessons - 05/12/19 03:30 PM

Originally Posted by Manne janne
Originally Posted by Tech-key
I get very little time with my teacher, but even in that much time he makes sure to explain all the theoretical aspects required for a piece. The way he analyses a piece helps me in doing the same, when I pick one on my own. Then sometimes he will play a familiar song with a similar chord progression to give me an idea. Many other things of this nature.

Perhaps you should tell your teacher that you'd like to better understand the underlying structure, and then he/she can incorporate that as well in your lessons. Good luck!

I guess I am talking about getting to know a language.
Not many teacher teach accompaniment. It is mostly about just repeating what is written in the score. I have never met a teacher who did explain how 2-part harmony works. I was just given Bwv anh 114 without getting help with learning 2-part harmony.
Did you actually get to learn 2-part harmony?
I want to be creative like a child gets to be created when learning a language.
Classical musicians often just play from written score. Organist on the other hand ard often good at playing without a written score.
Maybe I just have a deep need for being creative whereas teachers just want you to play from a written score.

No, this term was never mentioned. Maybe these things will be taught later on. Can’t tell, as I haven’t been taking lessons for too long. I’ve seen him guiding students who are further on, towards composing their own music. If you are not able to find a teacher in your area who are interested in teaching accompaniments, maybe you can look at harmony or composition courses. Perhaps your primary teacher would be willing to help you, if you get stuck somewhere.

You are looking for a creative outlet which is great. Have you considered learning to improvise? Many teachers cover this.
Posted By: Sidokar

Re: Piano lessons - 05/12/19 03:42 PM

Originally Posted by Manne janne

This is the problem. I want to test things out. Try different ways of doing things. I just dont want to follow what some other person told me. When I learn Abide with me I really have to try figuring out the voice leading. Not just by using theory but my own understanding as well.
I want to try different ways of playing it.
Even the bwv anh 114 must be understood. If I dont know how the voice leading or chords works I just wont learn it. I am not a jukebox.
What do you think?


I see well what you are saying and if indeed understanding the language is your interest, then it requires a special focus. Boethius following the greek platonic concepts classified music into mundana, humana and instrumentalis. The first one understands the true nature of music, the second is the poet who can compose and the third one is the one that has the technical skills to play. For the greek the "mousikos" is akin to a scientific, and music was a branch of the science like arithmetic vs the "techne" the technician. Nowadays the same person can be a mix of the three at various degrees.

Most people have only one hour per week with their teacher, which is not nearly enough to both tackle the piano learning and the musical theory and language. That would mean study with dedicated teachers, like in a conservatory. Also bear in mind there is not one language but multiple. Bach compositions do not follow the same compositional rules than classic or romantic music (I am not speaking of style or structure but also the fundamental elements of voice leading and harmony). Early baroque is even more different. Romantic compositions like Schumann sonatas already use a different tonal language than Mozart or Beethoven and so one. To understand all this requires solid knowledge of several elements and also practice in composition.
Posted By: Stubbie

Re: Piano lessons - 05/12/19 03:58 PM

Originally Posted by Manne janne
...The purpose of piano lessons is technique and memorization. Understanding the musical language is not something that is focused on.
This is problemstic as I hate not understanding the music I am playing. I am now learning Abide with me and I can honestly say that I cannot play it without understanding it. I am not neccesarily speaking of a deep theoretical understanding but more of basic understanding of what is going on. I just dont really like repeating notes with no undeestanding. It is a wonder to me that people actually like playing piano without understanding the musical language.

Originally Posted by Manne janne
..........This is the problem. I want to test things out. Try different ways of doing things. I just dont want to follow what some other person told me. When I learn Abide with me I really have to try figuring out the voice leading. Not just by using theory but my own understanding as well.
I want to try different ways of playing it.
Even the bwv anh 114 must be understood. If I dont know how the voice leading or chords works I just wont learn it. I am not a jukebox.
What do you think?
The purpose of lessons includes technique and understanding musical language (by musical language I take it to mean how music is put together, which is a huge subject). A teacher might give you tips about memorization, but that is not one of the fundamental purposes of lessons.

It's not clear to me whether you want "musical language" explained to you from various angles or whether you want to learn how to improvise. Either way you'll need some of the "rules" as a foundation upon which to start. Have you asked your teacher to go more deeply into how a piece is put together? What was the response?
Posted By: Charles Cohen

Re: Piano lessons - 05/12/19 04:43 PM

Originally Posted by Manne janne
What do you think about this?

The purpose of piano lessons is technique and memorization. Understanding the musical language is not something that is focused on.

. . . .


I think that one of the essential purposes of piano lessons _is_ "understanding the musical language" !

Most teachers understand that "putting the right finger on the right note, at the right time, with the right force" is the _beginning_ of playing the piano (and developing the student), not the end.
Posted By: Charles Cohen

Re: Piano lessons - 05/12/19 04:51 PM

Quote
. . .
I want to be creative like a child gets to be created when learning a language.


Ahh -- two suggestions:

a) You might start learning theory and composition, in addition to "playing the piano". Maybe from the same teacher, maybe not.

b) You might start learning "how to play from a lead sheet" -- which goes seamlessly into "jazz improvisation".

Jazz isn't a different language from classical music. But (if you stick to linguistic analogies) it's a different dialect.

There's lots of stuff on the Internet on "playing from a lead sheet". And lots of jazz-oriented piano methods, and harmony + improv books. Check out the "Piano- Non-classical" forum for ideas.
Posted By: Groove On

Re: Piano lessons - 05/12/19 05:08 PM

Originally Posted by NightTrain77
Maybe we need two teachers, a traditional piano teacher and a composition teacher …

Definitely. I take weekly back-to-back lesson in traditional interpretation and improvisation and I could never go back to studying just one. It’s a very freeing experience. I got lucky with two teachers who work together at the local college, they match the interpretation & improvisation lessons; so while it’s a lot of work; the lessons are very well integrated.
Posted By: Ted

Re: Piano lessons - 05/13/19 01:51 AM

Originally Posted by Manne janne
What do you think about this?

The purpose of piano lessons is technique and memorization. Understanding the musical language is not something that is focused on.
This is problemstic as I hate not understanding the music I am playing. I am now learning Abide with me and I can honestly say that I cannot play it without understanding it. I am not neccesarily speaking of a deep theoretical understanding but more of basic understanding of what is going on. I just dont really like repeating notes with no undeestanding. It is a wonder to me that people actually like playing piano without understanding the musical language.


For an adult beginner, surely the primary aim of a teacher should be to enhance enjoyment and love of music, and the act of playing it, by whatever means suit the student's ability, musical aspiration and personality. The variation in these attributes is so wide among people that I fail to see how any rigid directives can possibly exist.
Posted By: thepianoplayer416

Re: Piano lessons - 05/13/19 06:08 AM

Somebody like myself who is good at memorizing stuff tend to play songs from memory. In my high school days playing the violin I would play entire sections of the pieces the students performed for the parents from memory and only read the connecting bits in between. Not that I can't read music but I feel more secure playing pieces that are in my head.

If you go any further than just reproducing a piece note for note and try to understand how a piece is put together, you can probably enroll with a teacher that teaches composition. A lot of students would only go as far as learning songs either by ear or reading off the sheet. Some students are good at neither while others are good at either memorizing or reading.

When you get down to songs like Christmas carols or church hymns you can get all sorts of different arrangements. A lot of times different versions are in a different Key. And some versions you'd play a few L-hand chords while others are written 4-part harmonies. The only thing in common between 2 version is the top line (melody line). There may be slight variations between different versions of the melody as well.
Posted By: Manne janne

Re: Piano lessons - 05/16/19 03:35 PM

I think the issue is with not learning the art of transposing.
Today I had an organ lesson in which my teacher helped understand how to transpose a hymn into another key. For this we analysed the music and did a roman number analysis.
I dont recall ever being taught how to trandpose or play cadences in different keys before.
Many people are satisfied with just repeating what is written in the score.
Other people, including me have a more creative side. I am like a child learning a language.
Do you ever get to transpose a piece at a piano lesson?
Do people really just want to play from a written score?
I just dont see why the creative side is not a focus on at a piano lesson.
If I wanted to read a poem in a certain language I would not just focus on the pronounciation and how to peform it. I would even learn the language.
Posted By: Manne janne

Re: Piano lessons - 05/16/19 03:52 PM

Actually, there seem two ways people.memorize:
Seeing the patterns or using a musical understanding.
My brain only memorize stuff if there is a deeper musical understanding.
I guess most people dont need much of an understanding when memerozing.
People just see patterns and memorize but I dont unless I have an understanding of how the patterns work.
Am I weird?
Posted By: outo

Re: Piano lessons - 05/16/19 03:53 PM

Originally Posted by Manne janne

Do you ever get to transpose a piece at a piano lesson?
Do people really just want to play from a written score?
I just dont see why the creative side is not a focus on at a piano lesson.



I have seen my piano teacher transposing on the fly. So she can and I am sure she would help me learn the skill if I wanted. But no, I do indeed just want to play from written scores at the moment. I want to get to now the piano music I so much like. If I want to just be creatice in the sense you talk about I will use my voice. But learning the pieces is itself creative, at least for someone with small hands and limited abilities wink

I only transpose when I have to, so only when I need to sing something and it's too high or low. That is however not the point of my piano study.
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Piano lessons - 05/16/19 04:17 PM

Learning to transpose can be an academic and musical exercise, but its purpose is somewhat limited to vocal accompanying and playing in a key that suits the voice of the singer. Transposing a piano piece has little purpose beyond the exercise since, in most instances, the composer has chosen the key of a piece for a reason, and transposing it can not only change the character of the piece but might involve complex fingering challenges that are not involved in the original.

One classic example of transposing was one of the early editions of Schubert's Impromptu in G-flat, Op. 90, No. 3. One publisher, Carl Haslinger, (Vienna, 1857) published the piece in G major, fearing that the key of G-flat major would frighten and deter potential buyers of the work. There have been discussions about how the character and feel of the piece in G major are totally different from what Schubert wrote.

I think spending a lot of time learning to transpose quickly and accurately would be time spent only by those who would really use that skill.

Regards,
Posted By: dmd

Re: Piano lessons - 05/16/19 04:38 PM

One thing I have noticed in my journey with the piano.

Many if not most concepts (transposing for example) are fairly simple to "know" but can be very difficult to do.

One can know a lot but not be able to play anything.

"Learning" about concepts can be a substitution for learning to do something.

Periodically, you may wish to challenge yourself to be able to do something instead of just know something.

Once in a while shed the protective shield of …."I could play this piece if I wanted to" and challenge yourself with "Can you play it or not ?"

Take a piece of music that you find difficult and learn to play it …. no excuses …. just do it.

And … if you can't ….. admit it and throw away the "I could if I wanted to".

And …. if you can …. you are on your way to being able to play things instead of just knowing about things.
Posted By: Manne janne

Re: Piano lessons - 05/16/19 05:32 PM

Am I wasting my time trying to understand the music instead of just playing.
Am I trying to be that kid who arent satisfied with just repeating phrases but just focuses in actually understanding the language?
Seriously, learning the piano is often not a way to understand music.
What I dont understand is how people can learn a Bach piece without understanding it.
I mean, they just repeat the patterns. It doesnt work for me. I need a deeper understanding. If I transpose I often get that understanding.
How can you learn a Bach partita with just looking at the patterns?
How do you memorize it?
If the patterns dont make sense to me it is difficult to remember the piece.
Posted By: WeakLeftHand

Re: Piano lessons - 05/16/19 05:33 PM

Originally Posted by dmd
One thing I have noticed in my journey with the piano.

Many if not most concepts (transposing for example) are fairly simple to "know" but can be very difficult to do.

One can know a lot but not be able to play anything.

"Learning" about concepts can be a substitution for learning to do something.

Periodically, you may wish to challenge yourself to be able to do something instead of just know something.

Once in a while shed the protective shield of …."I could play this piece if I wanted to" and challenge yourself with "Can you play it or not ?"

Take a piece of music that you find difficult and learn to play it …. no excuses …. just do it.

And … if you can't ….. admit it and throw away the "I could if I wanted to".

And …. if you can …. you are on your way to being able to play things instead of just knowing about things.



I understand this very much. Thanks to the internet, I know a lot, probably more than I should, but when it comes down to actually doing it, I struggle. With piano, I think I want to just play. I'll want to learn basic music theory, but I don't want to overdo it like I do with most other endeavours.
Posted By: dmd

Re: Piano lessons - 05/16/19 06:16 PM

Originally Posted by Manne janne
Am I wasting my time trying to understand the music instead of just playing


You need to do both.

I can tell you this ….

You will never learn to play by reading things or talking about things.

In order to play you have to practice playing …. plain and simple.

You can spend years learning about music but until you spend considerable time at the piano practicing …. you will never learn to play.
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Piano lessons - 05/16/19 07:29 PM

To add to what dmd has posted, a lot of understanding of music - and what do you really mean by "understanding"? - derives from doing. The more you play the more you begin to understand what a composer was getting at, what s/he was doing and why it was being done. One can dwell too much on the academic aspect of "learning," but to a large degree "learning" comes from "doing" and thinking about doing while you are doing it.

Mindlessly just "repeating phrases" isn't going to teach much except perhaps finger or muscle memory (which is helpful), but thinking about the possible reasons for what occurs in the music can eventually lead to your own understanding of it, and not to what someone else tells you to understand.

Don't forget, too, that a piece of music may have different meanings to different performers; one man's sad is another man's peaceful reflection. That's why it is better to learn and understand music (apart from structure) from one's own perspective, not from that of others.

Regards,
Posted By: Manne janne

Re: Piano lessons - 05/17/19 07:34 AM

So my approach is different because I want to accompany singer?
There are some of you who said that you actually use sime kind of understanding when learning a piece. Can you please give me an example of how you use it?
Posted By: Tech-key

Re: Piano lessons - 05/17/19 08:23 AM

Originally Posted by Manne janne

There are some of you who said that you actually use sime kind of understanding when learning a piece. Can you please give me an example of how you use it?

I do very basic analysis, which matches my very basic understanding of theory at the moment. I check the chord progressions. If I’m familiar with the key signature, I think in roman numerals. Else I map the chords to roman numerals. Gives me some theory practice. However, not all chord progressions make sense to me, even when mapped to roman numerals. So I notice these and move on. Sometimes I notice that the key is changing in between. When this happens, I can do nothing other than be slightly amused, and check what all is happening around it. If the musical style is new to me (which happens quite a lot), I check for articles or videos to understand the form. Doesn't help much with my playing, but it's entertaining.

When the left hand is playing single notes and the structure is not apparent to me in a short time, I don’t do much other than just notice how the LH notes are compatible with the RH. This helps me in practicing without the score when I get lazy and the piece is not solid yet, but not with much else. However, I’ve been trying lately not to practice a lot without the score, as my reading is not very good. I’m reading this thread with interest, to get some ideas about how to improve the analysis. Especially in classical music, as my lessons are not very classical oriented.

Then I think of the repeats, and the phrases which keep popping up in between. If I’m actively memorising, I also look at the intervals in the right hand in similar phrases with minor variations. I can’t say how or why, but this helps me quickly memorise the differences. I’m not sure if this part comes under “analysis”, but I do it anyways. And when I do this, I can also go through the music in my mind away from the piano. Well, this is mostly what I do as of now. The rest is either fingering related, or what the score already speaks about through various indications.
Posted By: Animisha

Re: Piano lessons - 05/17/19 09:53 AM

Originally Posted by Manne janne
There are some of you who said that you actually use sime kind of understanding when learning a piece. Can you please give me an example of how you use it?

An example is when my teacher talks about melody and accompaniment. Many pieces are structured with the right hand for the melody, and the left hand for the accompaniment, and then the accompaniment is commonly played softer than the melody.. However, in some pieces both the left hand and the right hand play a melody. Both voices are important, but that doesn't mean that both are played with the same emphasis. My teacher points out, for instance "here the right hand plays the theme, so you have to emphasize the right hand, and here the left hand plays the theme, and now you have to emphasize the left hand."
Posted By: Manne janne

Re: Piano lessons - 05/17/19 11:09 AM

I actually use chord analysis and roman numeral analysis and analysis of how intervals move.
Do you tend to use it as well? Is this something that has been important or unimportant to you?
I guess this is what I mean by understanding.
I also tend to loook at how the notes of the melody move eg in C major F moves to E in many cases. A melody that ends on D if we are in C major could very well start on G in the next phrase
This is what mean by understanding.
Anything you also use?
And thus learning harmony and learning piano go hand in hand. Rather than seperate them like we often do nowadays I put them together.
Posted By: earlofmar

Re: Piano lessons - 05/17/19 11:14 AM

Originally Posted by Manne janne
What do you think about this?

This is problem is I hate not understanding the music I am playing. I am now learning Abide with me and I can honestly say that I cannot play it without understanding it.


Originally Posted by Manne janne

Even the bwv anh 114 must be understood. If I dont know how the voice leading or chords works I just wont learn it. I am not a jukebox.
What do you think?


What do I think.....I think your bringing a lot of negativity that might derail your piano ambitions if left unchecked.
Posted By: outo

Re: Piano lessons - 05/17/19 01:42 PM

Originally Posted by Manne janne
So my approach is different because I want to accompany singer?
There are some of you who said that you actually use sime kind of understanding when learning a piece. Can you please give me an example of how you use it?


I do understand music, but sometimes it's more intuitive than theoretical. This means that I know what fits and how things tend to progress, but don't necessarily name it. I have also studied theory, but so far I have not found it helps me to memorize, because memorizing thinhs like chord progressions with names is especially difficult for me. I can analyze music, but have trouble memorizing formulas and codes, so prefer to just memorize how to play something (physically) and trust my aural memory for remembering how the music evolves.
Posted By: Stubbie

Re: Piano lessons - 05/17/19 02:20 PM

To "understand" music, it also helps to know something about the composer and the style and period in which he or she composed. Mozart, as a composer in the classical period, used fairly standard chords and his pieces can be analyzed using Roman numeral designations. Debussy, who wrote in Impressionist style (and largely invented it), wrote, for some examples) in 11th, 13th chords, chords with no tonal "home", whole tone scales, pentatonic scales, and on and on. Very difficult (and often fruitless) to analyze in detail using Roman numeral designations (but on a more macro scale some analysis can be helpful).

I do some Roman numeral analysis on my pieces. I don't find it useful for memorization (I don't try to memorize but it does eventually happen) but instead I think it helps me enjoy and appreciate a piece on a more intellectual level. It does help to go fairly deep into music theory--to know about the different periods and styles and forms and to get into chord analyses that includes things like secondary dominants, other types of 7th chords, and chords larger than 7ths, key changes--otherwise you'll sooner or later get stuck.

So--none of this "understanding" is required for learning and enjoying a piece. But it does add a lot to one's appreciation of the music and the composer.
Posted By: Sidokar

Re: Piano lessons - 05/17/19 04:40 PM

Originally Posted by Manne janne
I actually use chord analysis and roman numeral analysis and analysis of how intervals move.
Do you tend to use it as well? Is this something that has been important or unimportant to you?
I guess this is what I mean by understanding.
I also tend to loook at how the notes of the melody move eg in C major F moves to E in many cases.
This is what mean by understanding.
Anything you also use?
And thus learning harmony and learning piano go hand in hand. Rather than seperate them like we often do nowadays I put them together.


I typically look at a piece under the angle of melodic, harmonic and form/structure. In complex compositions like large scale sonatas movements, these elements are interelated. The roman numerals, ie the fundamental form of the chords is more or less usefull depending on the period of the piece. In early baroque or pre-baroque, it is more important to look at the voice leading, the modal structure and intervalic/chordal sequence rather than the harmonic one. Even as late as Bach and early Mozart, the main principles underlying the music are based on thoroughbass and typical bass/uppervoice patterns. The style of the piece is important too, typically the structure of melodic elements and the phrase rythm and articulation. The roman numerals and only usefull to the extent you also understand how the harmonic building blocks are beind used, for example the role of the subdominant is different in late baroque, classic and romantic compositions. When I play, at any point in the piece I typically know where I am in the structure, what is the harmony or melodic components I am playing and what is the future sequence of modulations to come. It also helps me to better remember what I have to play as I do not only rely on fingering.
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