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Today I took a quick swing at a current pop song, just a few min of trying a bar for fun. And all I can think is how the heck does anyone play songs with sixteenths, ties, dotted, etc. I know this is not as challenging as the classical out there but I'm not comparing. I'm simply wondering how do you all even get this under you fingers and sounding good? I think I know the answer, lots of skill development, practice and time. And all I was trying was single note RH melody and filled octaves LH. I can't wait until this type of song can be something I can take on soon I'm sure it will be just have to keep learning and practicing.


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Sure there was a similar thread about this recently in the non-classical forum.

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Originally Posted by fatar760
Sure there was a similar thread about this recently in the non-classical forum.

It was your thread, Sebs! ha

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...-melodies-in-todays-pop.html#Post3137478

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Originally Posted by fatar760
Originally Posted by fatar760
Sure there was a similar thread about this recently in the non-classical forum.

It was your thread, Sebs! ha

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...-melodies-in-todays-pop.html#Post3137478

Haha. That one was discussing about why vocal melodies seem to complex these days. Although I do suppose it did kind of turn into a response about how you play it. Maybe I’ll revisit that one again. It’s probably just me looking at sheet and thinking I’ll never be able to play it so dumping random thoughts here.

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I feel your pain. Early this year, or possibly even last year, I had a yen to play 'Beyond the Sea'. All I could ever find was a very basic unsatisfying version of it or an advanced (to me at least) version. I'm sure there must be something in between the two extremes out there, but after checking my usual sources (musicnotes, sheet music plus and amazon) came up empty.

So I've been struggling with the advanced version (on and off) for the better part of a year. No sixteenth notes, thank goodness, but lots of tied, dotted, three over two type triplets . Not only that but where the key changes from F to A to C for the bridge section, instead of changing key signature, they used accidentals. That alone was a nightmare for me with my poor reading skills.

Anyway, you have my sympathy.


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Originally Posted by lilypad
I feel your pain. Early this year, or possibly even last year, I had a yen to play 'Beyond the Sea'. All I could ever find was a very basic unsatisfying version of it or an advanced (to me at least) version. I'm sure there must be something in between the two extremes out there, but after checking my usual sources (musicnotes, sheet music plus and amazon) came up empty.

So I've been struggling with the advanced version (on and off) for the better part of a year. No sixteenth notes, thank goodness, but lots of tied, dotted, three over two type triplets . Not only that but where the key changes from F to A to C for the bridge section, instead of changing key signature, they used accidentals. That alone was a nightmare for me with my poor reading skills.

Anyway, you have my sympathy.

Thanks for the understanding. It can sometimes be a bummer when so many pieces are always stretch pieces or not even attainable yet. I suppose we just have to be patient and trust the process.

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Syncopated rhythms can look utterly baffling on the page, and sound perfectly playable when you hear them. They're tough to write down (until you learn the patterns), and tough to read back (ditto).

In such cases, you might want to learn the piece (or at least the melody) _by ear_, before you try to match up the notes on the page, to the music in your head.

It's not only beginners who say:

. . . "Oh -- _that's_ what it sounds like!"

when they hear a piece played.


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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
Syncopated rhythms can look utterly baffling on the page, and sound perfectly playable when you hear them. They're tough to write down (until you learn the patterns), and tough to read back (ditto).

In such cases, you might want to learn the piece (or at least the melody) _by ear_, before you try to match up the notes on the page, to the music in your head.

It's not only beginners who say:


. . . "Oh -- _that's_ what it sounds like!"

when they hear a piece played.


I don’t agree with this but then I learned to play where there was little option of listening first. I was generally forced to grab the score and dig-in, without having any idea what it should sound like until I learned to play it. The exceptions were few and far between. ( and my teacher never played it for me).

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Rhythm is one of the more difficult aspects of pop music. Classical music doesn't normally have so much syncopation. There are a number of common patterns (I would even go as far as calling them "stereotypes" of this genre) and after you've encountered them a number of times you'll be able to play them "by feel" without really counting, but at first it's better to count properly and make sure you get it right.

I suggest that you start by tapping the rhythm with both hands on your lap until it's sharp and you're very comfortable with it, and only then go to the piano and learn the notes. The notes are really easy compared to the rhythm (at least for this song).

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Originally Posted by Sebs
all I can think is how the heck does anyone play songs with sixteenths, ties, dotted, etc.

One of the pieces in my video course was just like this. I kept postponing to play it, but eventually I pulled myself together, copied the score to Musescore, ran Doubletime (a plugin that doubles the values of all notes, so a 16th note becomes an 8th note) and suddenly it was perfectly doable.

I am sure that if you do the same, double all note values - and of course change the tempo from 72 to 144 - it won't look half as impressive, and perfectly doable. At least when you play slower than 144. cool


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Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by Sebs
all I can think is how the heck does anyone play songs with sixteenths, ties, dotted, etc.

One of the pieces in my video course was just like this. I kept postponing to play it, but eventually I pulled myself together, copied the score to Musescore, ran Doubletime (a plugin that doubles the values of all notes, so a 16th note becomes an 8th note) and suddenly it was perfectly doable.

I am sure that if you do the same, double all note values - and of course change the tempo from 72 to 144 - it won't look half as impressive, and perfectly doable. At least when you play slower than 144. cool

Doubling notes is a great idea and something I've done lots in the past. Brilliant there's an app for it now.

Sebs, in that link MOST of the syncopated rhythms are just the off-beats within a beat. So if you think of a quaver-crotchet-quaver rhythm, and half all the values, you get semiquaver-quaver-semiquaver. When the ties get involved you get a pattern.

Also, be careful about learning pop songs by rote if you're wanting to improve rhythm reading as the notation doesn't always match what is sung. Of course, if you just want to be able to play the melody then listen to it (and maybe sing along).

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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
I suggest that you start by tapping the rhythm with both hands on your lap until it's sharp and you're very comfortable with it, and only then go to the piano and learn the notes. The notes are really easy compared to the rhythm (at least for this song).

+1 - I've used that method a number of times working through the 'stretch piece' arrangement of 'Beyond the Sea'. I should have a go at the Vince Guaraldi Easy Piano arrangements again. I've done several in the Charlie Brown Christmas book, but when I decided to branch out to the rest of the Charlie Brown Collection for 'Easy Piano', I was stopped in my tracks by rhythm difficulties.


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The next challenge is swung 16th notes.


Will do some R&B for a while. Give the classical a break.
You can spend the rest of your life looking for music on a sheet of paper. You'll never find it, because it just ain't there. - Me Myself
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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
Syncopated rhythms can look utterly baffling on the page, and sound perfectly playable when you hear them. They're tough to write down (until you learn the patterns), and tough to read back (ditto).

In such cases, you might want to learn the piece (or at least the melody) _by ear_, before you try to match up the notes on the page, to the music in your head.

It's not only beginners who say:

. . . "Oh -- _that's_ what it sounds like!"

when they hear a piece played.

Do you mean knowing the piece so well in my head such as I can hear the melody? Or do you mean try to play it by ear, such as listen and play back? I really don't think I could listen to it then play it back by ear not even close hahah.

Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Rhythm is one of the more difficult aspects of pop music. Classical music doesn't normally have so much syncopation. There are a number of common patterns (I would even go as far as calling them "stereotypes" of this genre) and after you've encountered them a number of times you'll be able to play them "by feel" without really counting, but at first it's better to count properly and make sure you get it right.

I suggest that you start by tapping the rhythm with both hands on your lap until it's sharp and you're very comfortable with it, and only then go to the piano and learn the notes. The notes are really easy compared to the rhythm (at least for this song).

I will try this. I assume that could even mean just tapping RH melody rhythm for a few min then add LH for few min? Such that you don't have to drill it for an hour of tapping even little sessions could help? Do you ever use 'dummy note' for example using same single note in both hands?

I agree that the notes are not too hard and if doing single note melody RH to start most an be played from same RH position as it's mostly Bb to F.



Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by Sebs
all I can think is how the heck does anyone play songs with sixteenths, ties, dotted, etc.

One of the pieces in my video course was just like this. I kept postponing to play it, but eventually I pulled myself together, copied the score to Musescore, ran Doubletime (a plugin that doubles the values of all notes, so a 16th note becomes an 8th note) and suddenly it was perfectly doable.

I am sure that if you do the same, double all note values - and of course change the tempo from 72 to 144 - it won't look half as impressive, and perfectly doable. At least when you play slower than 144. cool

That's interesting you mention this as my teacher just explained this last week that some arrangers do this to make scores easier to read. And since I write my own stuff I can convert to double time but I'll first see if my software can do it. And since tempo doesnt matter to me when learning because even if in double time I'll still be WAY under 144 but I know what you mean, I can work up to it and make that the target goal.


Originally Posted by fatar760
Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by Sebs
all I can think is how the heck does anyone play songs with sixteenths, ties, dotted, etc.

One of the pieces in my video course was just like this. I kept postponing to play it, but eventually I pulled myself together, copied the score to Musescore, ran Doubletime (a plugin that doubles the values of all notes, so a 16th note becomes an 8th note) and suddenly it was perfectly doable.

I am sure that if you do the same, double all note values - and of course change the tempo from 72 to 144 - it won't look half as impressive, and perfectly doable. At least when you play slower than 144. cool

Doubling notes is a great idea and something I've done lots in the past. Brilliant there's an app for it now.

Sebs, in that link MOST of the syncopated rhythms are just the off-beats within a beat. So if you think of a quaver-crotchet-quaver rhythm, and half all the values, you get semiquaver-quaver-semiquaver. When the ties get involved you get a pattern.

Also, be careful about learning pop songs by rote if you're wanting to improve rhythm reading as the notation doesn't always match what is sung. Of course, if you just want to be able to play the melody then listen to it (and maybe sing along).

I completely agree also my teacher has mentioned something very similar such as, pop songs are improvised even the artist that sings and perform them are not following every note exactly and what they sign and play today could be different tomorrow. I understand that a lead sheet/score is just someones best interpretation of what they hear. I mean I know there are some core components to a song but I agree to fixate on each note exactly as is. For me my primary goal is to play piano solo from a lead sheet. I have made a ton of progress and this is my first time even poking around with sixteenth notes and a lot of syncopation. Since 80% of the song follows that pattern you mention does that mean once yo get a good chunk down it will come easier for the rest?

Originally Posted by RaggedKeyPresser
The next challenge is swung 16th notes.

I'll save that one for tomorrow hahah

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Originally Posted by Sebs
Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by Sebs
all I can think is how the heck does anyone play songs with sixteenths, ties, dotted, etc.

One of the pieces in my video course was just like this. I kept postponing to play it, but eventually I pulled myself together, copied the score to Musescore, ran Doubletime (a plugin that doubles the values of all notes, so a 16th note becomes an 8th note) and suddenly it was perfectly doable.

I am sure that if you do the same, double all note values - and of course change the tempo from 72 to 144 - it won't look half as impressive, and perfectly doable. At least when you play slower than 144. cool

That's interesting you mention this as my teacher just explained this last week that some arrangers do this to make scores easier to read.

Actually, I don't understand why not all composers use notation that is easy to read. As in your example, why use predominantly 8th notes and 16th notes? Why not quarter notes and 8th notes? Why?


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Originally Posted by Animisha
Actually, I don't understand why not all composers use notation that is easy to read. As in your example, why use predominantly 8th notes and 16th notes? Why not quarter notes and 8th notes? Why?
Because then you have to change the meter to 2/2 or change where the bar lines are. Pop music is usually accented on the off-beats 2 and 4 (the opposite of classical music), also called a "back beak". Changing the meter changes where the down beats are and that changes the feel of the music.

Also, have a look at this:
https://viva.pressbooks.pub/openmusictheory/chapter/rhythm-and-meter-in-pop-music/

It explains how these rhythmic patterns are built.

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Originally Posted by Sebs
Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
I suggest that you start by tapping the rhythm with both hands on your lap until it's sharp and you're very comfortable with it, and only then go to the piano and learn the notes. The notes are really easy compared to the rhythm (at least for this song).
I will try this. I assume that could even mean just tapping RH melody rhythm for a few min then add LH for few min? Such that you don't have to drill it for an hour of tapping even little sessions could help? Do you ever use 'dummy note' for example using same single note in both hands?
Here there is no LH rhythm so basically you can tap the beat with your left hand. Yes, I do use dummy notes sometimes, especially to provide the beat. If for instance the LH is complicated I sometimes just play block chords on each beat while learning the RH.

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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Originally Posted by Animisha
Actually, I don't understand why not all composers use notation that is easy to read. As in your example, why use predominantly 8th notes and 16th notes? Why not quarter notes and 8th notes? Why?
Because then you have to change the meter to 2/2 or change where the bar lines are.

Why not change the meter to 4/2? wink


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Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Originally Posted by Animisha
Actually, I don't understand why not all composers use notation that is easy to read. As in your example, why use predominantly 8th notes and 16th notes? Why not quarter notes and 8th notes? Why?
Because then you have to change the meter to 2/2 or change where the bar lines are.

Why not change the meter to 4/2? wink
There is also a certain tradition of notating rock and pop in 4/4. It would be strange and confusing to someone who is used to the normal conventions. Actually, I find this notation quite readable and I think it's just a matter of getting used to it.

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One thing to keep in mind with the rhythmically intricate piano transcriptions of vocal scores of more recent pop songs: the notation, while it should be learned as accurately as possible, is often just an approximation of the liberties that many singers take in their interpretations of these songs. What you see on the page is not always precisely what you hear when the song is performed.

A more simple analogy is to take the score of a standard song from the 40s or 50s as recorded by the likes of Frank Sinatra and see just how different in rhythmic details the plain score is from what Sinatra sings. He was well-known for his ability to "stretch" rhythmic patterns within phrases while still keeping an overall regular tempo.

All written music is just an approximation - some of it very close, admittedly - to a composer's intent.

Regards,


BruceD
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