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My first stab at Problemaninoff #2744369
06/14/18 11:09 AM
06/14/18 11:09 AM
Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 97
Estonia
Muhwu Offline OP
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Muhwu  Offline OP
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Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 97
Estonia
'oblaa, still in a rather heavy WIP state, but figured it makes more sense to post it now than when it is properly polished to perhaps gain some insight into what's most wrong with it at present.

Basically, I feel like I'm still way too green for C-sharp minor prelude (attempted it, but still out of my league) and I had never heard Fragments before. It's a small piece that introduced a bunch of new problems I hadn't dealt that much (or at all) before, such as polyrhythms (although not anything super complicated - mostly 2 against 3 sort of thing), trills (yeah, I hadn't played a trill before in any piece beyond some mordents and such), these wide chord textures, time signature changes (3/4 to 2/4 and back).

Aaanyway, here it is
https://soundcloud.com/user-775462971/rachmaninoff-fragments-wip/s-EKiZq

Should be noted that I am working off the imslp edition http://imslp.org/wiki/Fragments_(Rachmaninoff,_Sergei)

I also got the Boosey & Hawkes one, but it was crammed onto one page so I prefer the more spacious version. It had some minor differences from above one; most of which would probably not be properly audible anyway.

I'm not really sure how to make the middle part better other than speeding it up - I guess the second polyrhythm phase is the most uneven one at present and the tempo in most professional renditions for that part is higher. Here's one of my favorite renditions:



Any and all feedback is welcome. smile


"My dear hands. Farewell, my poor hands."
-Sergei Rachmaninoff

Estonia 190
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Re: My first stab at Problemaninoff [Re: Muhwu] #2744505
06/14/18 07:20 PM
06/14/18 07:20 PM
Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 297
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Moo :) Offline
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Moo :)  Offline
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Sounds ok. The piece is difficult. If you are not sure you should go through again with your teacher. i really think you need the agility in your fingers and perhaps more experience to try and get it sounding like some of the playing on youtube. I'm not sure how achievable it would be if it is a great stretch piece for you. If you want to work more I'd go through with a teacher but I found with these pieces it is better to just needs to come back after time. I personally would just move on.

Re: My first stab at Problemaninoff [Re: Muhwu] #2744612
06/15/18 04:42 AM
06/15/18 04:42 AM
Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 97
Estonia
Muhwu Offline OP
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Muhwu  Offline OP
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Estonia
Moo: Yeah, actually I'm working on this with my teacher, had a couple of lessons on it so far - haven't been playing it for long yet. Today being the third of my weekly lessons on it (first one was more or less a sort of intro to how it looks) - we didn't get past the slow part, so clearly there's quite a lot to work on it. Even on that part I noticed how much work my voicing (amongst other things) needs. Voicing the upper line more distinctively goes a long way and I had misunderstood some ideas from the last lesson (f.ex. you might notice the articulation in the second half of the first section) that I can easily fix already. I don't expect it to be as good as some of the maestros on youtube, but I expect to get to a level where I don't have to be ashamed of it. laugh

Furthermore, I have not received any "official" advice yet on the fast part on technique and the polyrhythms I've just worked out on a page on a notebook.

However, I would say one thing about that (the fast part): I noticed that when I try to accelerate from the tempo I played here, I don't "hear" the rhythm so well anymore and I feel like I get lost (i.e. which notes should be between which, sort of thing given the 3-to-2). I know that in practice I can probably just focus on listening the left hand since right hand is just repeating - and making it more intense allowing me to more freely play it. I know the middle section needs more acceleration and more intense dynamics, but trying to nail down the rhythm and correct notes first. On the flipside, I'll try to concentrate on the slow part more for the next week or so since I don't particularly want to learn the other parts the wrong way.

I don't know how big of a stretch this is agility-wise. I am also playing Doctor Gradus Ad Parnassum at the moment (probably at around 70-80% tempo right now) and it does not feel painfully fast. This Rachmaninoff piece is proooobably the first piece that I more or less suggested to my teacher. He had picked Doctor, so I feel that he has some faith in my ability to learn this since I checked with him before starting. But he also suggested that one of the problems of going into advanced material such as this is the lack of musical maturity in the sense that I don't really know what I'm playing so to speak. That did resonate quite a bit as I've listened to many recordings of this piece (most of which multiple times) and most of them more or less contradict some of the advice I've gotten. Then - upon discussing these issues - it became a bit clearer on why some pianists make the decision such as taking "a lot more time than written"; And it makes sense - shouldn't take too many freedoms before I can play it as written and none if I can't explain why I'd do that.

Think I need to do some proper research and listening of Russian church music (as suggested by my teacher) to better understand what's what and practice the voices separately. Long way to go before I'm dropping this.

My first and biggest goal (call it a milestone) with playing piano was to learn something by Rachmaninoff - his compositions are basically the reason why I picked up the piano originally although obviously not the only reason anymore. The catalyst I guess. I always thought my first piece from him would be the famous C-sharp minor prelude (in like 10 years :D). Was delighted to at least find something 2 years in where I can at least play through the notes. I'm highly motivated and putting in more or less an hour of concentrated practice a day (minimum) on this piece in particular.


"My dear hands. Farewell, my poor hands."
-Sergei Rachmaninoff

Estonia 190
Re: My first stab at Problemaninoff [Re: Muhwu] #2744769
06/15/18 10:26 PM
06/15/18 10:26 PM
Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 297
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Moo :) Offline
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I think it is much harder than doctor. That piece may be hard getting up to speed but it is like an arpeggio wave without most of the challenges this has.

Getting lost in music is a bad sign. It means the notes are not secure or there is a prob you are not aware with. If I get this I generally half the speed. This really helps on a difficult section.

Difficult rhythms you need draws lines to mark where the beat comes in. If you can’t work it out leave it and ask a teacher. This is better than doing it wrong. I am playing Chopin nocturne 9 no 1, which is ok except has some rhythms I can’t work, 7 and 17 notes? With this I have to leave out a few bars and ask how to do it.

But yes most of these things takes years of experience unfortunatel. Slowing down and practice to work through problems slowly. I think you slowly learn like this. I say this as I do think it is a big stretch piece and (from experience) I’ve learnt to accept that piano progress takes ages. Especially to get things automatic.



Last edited by Moo :); 06/15/18 10:34 PM.
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Re: My first stab at Problemaninoff [Re: Muhwu] #2744773
06/15/18 11:01 PM
06/15/18 11:01 PM
Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 97
Estonia
Muhwu Offline OP
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Muhwu  Offline OP
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Estonia
Yeah, and the problem only arises in the fast part when I actually try to play it faster than the soundcloud clip I posted - at that speed it is not yet problematic. That being said, I do play the correct notes even when I get lost, but accurately placing every other bass note between the 16th notes is daunting. I am thinking that it is probably (at that tempo) not supposed to be entirely accurate as long as it is even.

And yup, I just worked those out so I know where I'm supposed to be playing the left hand notes in theory, so essentially the tempo is just too fast atm. That being said, I also think there's a lot to be done in terms of sound before I should even attempt higher tempos so probably going to just drop down the tempo on that section and get that one down really solidly.

If it turns out that my progress stagnates, I'm sure my teacher will suggest putting it on the backburner for a while.


"My dear hands. Farewell, my poor hands."
-Sergei Rachmaninoff

Estonia 190
Re: My first stab at Problemaninoff [Re: Muhwu] #2744907
06/16/18 03:25 PM
06/16/18 03:25 PM
Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 97
Estonia
Muhwu Offline OP
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Muhwu  Offline OP
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Posts: 97
Estonia
I worked on the beginning and the end quite a bit and feel like I got a better middle section still - there are still some problems, but it feels like progress. I decided to record it in video format so one can better see what I am botching up. (Also, pardon the cut in the middle, I totally botched it on the first take)


Last edited by Muhwu; 06/16/18 03:27 PM.

"My dear hands. Farewell, my poor hands."
-Sergei Rachmaninoff

Estonia 190
Re: My first stab at Problemaninoff [Re: Muhwu] #2744927
06/16/18 04:59 PM
06/16/18 04:59 PM
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Posts: 297
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Moo :) Offline
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Moo :)  Offline
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In the beginning section think there is a pedal issue there as it is sounding blurred in places. Either you are not pedalling enough, you are not bring the pedal completely off or changing the pedal too late. I cant tell from the video.

Re: My first stab at Problemaninoff [Re: Moo :)] #2744960
06/16/18 06:45 PM
06/16/18 06:45 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 23,544
New York City
pianoloverus Offline
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Originally Posted by Moo :)
In the beginning section think there is a pedal issue there as it is sounding blurred in places. Either you are not pedalling enough, you are not bring the pedal completely off or changing the pedal too late. I cant tell from the video.
Not pedaling enough cannot cause blurring. I watched his foot carefully during the opening section and I think the syncopated pedaling was done correctly.

My main suggestion in the opening slow section would be more top. i.e. voice the melody louder in comparison to the rest of the notes in the chords.

Re: My first stab at Problemaninoff [Re: Muhwu] #2744995
06/16/18 09:35 PM
06/16/18 09:35 PM
Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 97
Estonia
Muhwu Offline OP
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Muhwu  Offline OP
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Posts: 97
Estonia
Thanks! Yeah, compared to the soundcloud version, I think I was doing it a lot more, but compared to how my teacher voiced it, it's not enough - I agree. smile I feel there's progress between the two tho.

The angle in the video was probably not optimal for giving feedback either - Gotta adjust my tripod. But I don't have a proper setup for top-down video.


"My dear hands. Farewell, my poor hands."
-Sergei Rachmaninoff

Estonia 190
Re: My first stab at Problemaninoff [Re: Muhwu] #2745146
06/17/18 05:15 PM
06/17/18 05:15 PM
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Posts: 297
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Moo :) Offline
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Moo :)  Offline
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Ok. It did sound blurred though. I'm not sure what exactly caused that so maybe check with your teacher.

To voice the melody louder on a chordal base is not easy especially when the passage is quiet and you are playing part of the chord in the right hand with the tune. I noticed in the example above she played the accompaniment very quiet and she lands on the notes from above at times. I'm not sure if you have learnt to do this as you were very static over the keys. Again I would ask your teacher to go through that with you, I dont think online will help, but have a watch closely at her fingers. 36 seconds is a good exmple.

But nice piano, is a it a grand piano ?

Re: My first stab at Problemaninoff [Re: Muhwu] #2745159
06/17/18 07:05 PM
06/17/18 07:05 PM
Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 97
Estonia
Muhwu Offline OP
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Muhwu  Offline OP
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Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 97
Estonia
Moo, yeah, I'm just trying to get a head start - I'm pretty sure I have honed the chordal voicing for the A part to good enough level to warrant starting official work on the second (practiced this piece alone for over 3h this weekend). Not to say there's not more to work on the chordal passages - I think I've worked on playing it smoother and quieter aside from the top voice - as well as adjusted my fingerings a bit on repeating notes and it's sounding better by the day. I think some of what you refer to as blurring might just be poor voicing - i.e. the notes being too equal and not sounding crisp. But I'm sure my teacher will have feedback when I play it next Wednesday. smile

And yeah, it's a grand - my lovely Estonia 190 <3 Got in March and the honeymoon period has not yet faded. laugh


"My dear hands. Farewell, my poor hands."
-Sergei Rachmaninoff

Estonia 190

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