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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:40 pm 
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rainer wrote:
pianolady wrote:
Well....sorry, but I don't agree with Rainer.
You don't? I think you do. 8)
Quote:
I still think bars 10 and 20 are off the mark. Like you are holding the A in the RH and the F# LH too long.
But bars 10 and 20 don't have an A in RH or an F# in LH, so I think you must mean bars 12 and 22, about which we are in agreement: You said he holds on to the (dotted quarter) A F# too long, I said the (8ths) B G are late; same thing.
.

Oh yes, I did mean bars 12 and 22. :oops: Sorry, I'm off my game....
And sorry to you too, Richard. I must be driving you nuts with all this nit-picking.

Best wishes, :)
Monica

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:13 pm 
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Let us see this one. Excuse the hiss: I tried, but this is the best I could do (about the hiss, that is).

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Last edited by richard66 on Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 12:24 am 
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Hello Richard,

I think this is a big improvement over your first attempt! However, there are still a few problem spots that need a little tweaking.

Measure 10-11: You play the first 8th note on measure 11 too soon. You didn't sustain the quarter note for quite long enough, it was more like a dotted eight note.
Measures 5-8: This piece is supposed to sing! The melody sounds a bit muddled to me in these measures. It sings everywhere else.
Also, in measures 12 and 22 I didn't like the way you handled the grace notes. They sounded a little rushed and not fluid enough. However, you do maintain the rhythm, so I'm not sure if the grace notes matter too much in light of that.

Thanks for sharing!
David


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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 3:09 am 
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I was really hoping that this was going to be the keeper. But now there is another rhythm glitch - as what Dave said, it's in bar 10-11. He says that you come in too soon on bar 11; I go the other way and say that you don't hold out the second quarter note in bar 10 long enough. Either way means basically the same thing. Maybe it would help you to listen to this recording:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b99h0VBM5cI

I think it's really about perfect and demonstrates how gentle the phrasing is and those grace notes too.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 6:43 am 
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Hm... Have you listened to the Gilels recording you suggest with the metronome?

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 7:00 am 
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This must be the most recorded piece ever by now :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 8:41 am 
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techneut wrote:
This must be the most recorded piece ever by now :lol:


Do I not know, but I doubt no matter how much these are better than my recording on the site, they will never never do. :cry:

Oh well: it is short and it only takes 5 minutes to record three takes!

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 2:09 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
Hm... Have you listened to the Gilels recording you suggest with the metronome?

No, I have not. Why do you ask? He is holding out those two quarter notes in bar 10 just fine, and you did too on one your takes, but just not on your most recent one. But do you hear how gentle he plays the piece? You are close and I can hear some nice phrasing in your playing. Just maybe you could soften your LH a little and I dunno...think about something soft and gentle when you play. Like sitting in a meadow under a blue sky, warm sunshine, flowers blooming all around and a doe and her cute fawn grazing nearby. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:32 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
Hm... Have you listened to the Gilels recording you suggest with the metronome?


Yes. He's doesn't follow a perfectly even rhythm and has various ritards throughout his performance. However, all of his decisions in regards to rhythm and tempo are obviously deliberate and don't distract from the piece (I would even say they enhance it). In your latest recording, I think that your one rhythmic slip was just a mistake, not a deliberate decision. In fact, I would say that shortening note values in a slower lyrical piece like this one is much more glaring than lengthening them.


pianolady wrote:
Just maybe you could soften your LH a little and I dunno...think about something soft and gentle when you play. Like sitting in a meadow under a blue sky, warm sunshine, flowers blooming all around and a doe and her cute fawn grazing nearby. :)


This is exactly what I was thinking when I commented on the "muddled" melody in measures 5-8. In softer, singing pieces, maintaining an appropriate balance of both hands can be tricky, but it is essential. I play Arietta from time to time, and I've never managed to perfect it because I'm still too brutish with my left hand :oops:

Don't be too hard on yourself, Richard, I think you're extremely close and just need to do some delicate fine tuning :)

David


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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 6:29 am 
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Hello Richard. I joined late and just listened to your last posting. What beautiful music! It's one of those deceiving pieces that are technically accessible, but musically requires more than a lot of people realize. I agree with the others that you clearly have a very good recording here. The slight timing problems don't bother me that much personally.

Here's my two cents and you may already do these things, but thought I'd mention just in case you find it helpful. Listening closely I can hear the wonderful long phrasing you're employing. I do find myself wishing I didn't have to listen so closely, however. This ties into another suggestion someone gave about having a lighter left hand.

Please don't laugh if this sounds ridiculous, but what I often do for these sorts of delicate, lyrical pieces is to step back and play the melody alone - in this case the RH mostly I believe. This lets me focus on the "singing" and shaping of the melody without the distraction of the left hand. Depending on the music, I picture a symphony in my mind with perhaps a solo violin, or maybe a soprano, whose notes rise above the orchestra to deliver the story to the audience. I will play right hand only until I feel I have worked out (or reminded myself of) all the phrasing, dynamics, and sound quality I feel is needed to give the melody its best opportunity to make an impact. In your song it would be "da da Da Da DA Da da" (didn't you like my singing??!!) :mrgreen:

For me I always have to pay careful attention to getting the right sound. Am I attacking the notes a bit too hard? This happens to me ALL the time when I play my recordings back... ugg. For legato phrases, I focus in particular on the transition between notes imagining that I'm NOT playing a percussive instrument and instead am carrying the melody under a steady breath as a woodwind player may do. These images help me get closer to that magical, light, pulsing touch that you hear on the youtube link Monica posted. This would close the gaps in your phrase ... perhaps "da.da.Da.Da.DA.Da.da" now - closer but slightly connected. Yet sung under one breath ... so to speak. :)

In the same manner, I consciously decide how soft I will play the RH melody (at the beginning of a phrase for example), which tells me in most cases that my left hand will need to play even SOFTER than that. Easier said than done for sure, and I know I'm generalizing a bit but I think you get the idea.

My old [Russian] piano teacher from a few years back, Dr. Anna Arshavsky, kept my mind full of metaphors - I think she had a new one for every piece we played! :? I was thinking about her recently as I was re-learning a Chopin prelude (No 21). You are probably aware, but this slow waltz begins very lyrically in the right hand, but has a "restless undercurrent" of legato double notes in the left. For this prelude, a very light and legato left hand is critical or it becomes VERY distracting to the melody. Anyway, my teacher really had to work with me because I would start to revert back from my delicate LH. She would grab my fingers and shake them gently, tell me to "relax and forget about using any muscles." She told me (in broken English) to "think of stream; water trickling down; takes no effort; very gentle; don't use your finger muscles" (Lot's of interesting things there to say the least!)

Again, I'm no expert but just thought I'd share my approach in case you can apply anything to your Grieg Arietta. I really think it sounds very nice as it is, but if you enjoyed Gilel's performance you could certainly make some adjustments in that direction. Very light left hand would let the phrasing you've worked out breath. Focusing on the melody may present you with opportunities to make it more connected, more lyrical. I very much look forward to see how this ends up - I really like the piece.

Best Regards.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 1:29 pm 
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Very good advice Matthew, especially your 3rd paragraph. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 4:00 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
richard66 wrote:
Hm... Have you listened to the Gilels recording you suggest with the metronome?
No, I have not. Why do you ask? He is holding out those two quarter notes in bar 10 just fine, and you did too on one your takes, but just not on your most recent one.
Yes, but Gilels, in addition to the subtle rubati he makes in various places, takes a lot of liberty with bars 12 and 22; see how much time he makes for the grace notes. In the light of this, Richard will understandably be wondering whether he should really take heed of what we've been telling him about those bars. Perhaps an answer is that the "right" to take liberties must be "earned" by first playing the piece in a way which is rhythmically exactly correct at a constant speed. That done, liberties can be taken, but in a well-controlled and deliberate way. By this I mean that instead of taking arbitrary liberties with the odd few notes here and there, one should still continue to play exactly in "time", but now in a "bent" time, or at a speed which one is allowed to vary continuously, and these speed variations should be gentle, smooth, and sweeping, with no sudden jerky changes.
Quote:
But do you hear how gentle he plays the piece? You are close and I can hear some nice phrasing in your playing. Just maybe you could soften your LH a little
I think the RH could do with softening too. In think Matthew's way of explaining the phrasing as "da da Da Da DA Da da" is very good, and we need this to come out more, the first "da" needs to be lot gentler. Although I can hear Richard making something of the hairpins towards he beginnings of bars 2 and 4, my feeling is that the underlying dynamic profile onto which he superimposes these hairpins still has too much of a "DA da Da da DA da Da" to it.
Quote:
and I dunno...think about something soft and gentle when you play. Like sitting in a meadow under a blue sky, warm sunshine, flowers blooming all around and a doe and her cute fawn grazing nearby.
Ahh, what a lovely picture you paint. Disney should have used this piece in "Bambi"! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 7:29 pm 
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mwyman1 wrote:
This would close the gaps in your phrase ... perhaps "da.da.Da.Da.DA.Da.da" now - closer but slightly connected. Yet sung under one breath ... so to speak. :)


In fact, I would recommend actually singing the melody when you're working on phrasing and dynamics. My teacher got me to do that and it's helped me immensely.


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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:37 pm 
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Quote:
In fact, I would recommend actually singing the melody when you're working on phrasing and dynamics. My teacher got me to do that and it's helped me immensely.

Yes, even better! Of course, in my case if I were to do this I'd likely attract (or scare away) all the cats in the neighborhood. :shock: Someone may actually call the paramedics upon hearing me, convinced someone in the house is in urgent need of care.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:01 pm 
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rainer wrote:
pianolady wrote:
richard66 wrote:
Hm... Have you listened to the Gilels recording you suggest with the metronome?
No, I have not. Why do you ask? He is holding out those two quarter notes in bar 10 just fine, and you did too on one your takes, but just not on your most recent one.
Yes, but Gilels, in addition to the subtle rubati he makes in various places, takes a lot of liberty with bars 12 and 22; see how much time he makes for the grace notes. In the light of this, Richard will understandably be wondering whether he should really take heed of what we've been telling him about those bars. Perhaps an answer is that the "right" to take liberties must be "earned" by first playing the piece in a way which is rhythmically exactly correct at a constant speed. That done, liberties can be taken, but in a well-controlled and deliberate way. By this I mean that instead of taking arbitrary liberties with the odd few notes here and there, one should still continue to play exactly in "time", but now in a "bent" time, or at a speed which one is allowed to vary continuously, and these speed variations should be gentle, smooth, and sweeping, with no sudden jerky changes.


About the length of the dotted crotchets it may be that I always got them wrong, but they used to be too long, instead of too short. Let that be and I will not discuss pros and cons. What I do contest however, is that the appoggiature I used to play just as leisurely as Gilels does and I was talked out of that by several members.Now I play them in a way I do not like, as they seem hurried and out of character, but which seemed to be what the public wanted. This was one piece I learned while I still took lessons and I remember perfectly well that those were relaxed, just as they are in Gilels recording.

While I am not sneezing at any of the very helpful comments by Monica, Rainer and the rest of you, it cannot but remind me of Aesop's tale of the old man, the boy and the ass.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:10 pm 
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:|

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Last edited by richard66 on Wed Apr 04, 2012 8:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 12:31 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
:|
Well, this is not without improvement. The way the top voice is more gently phrased, and is sounding less military than before, in the first 8 bars, is good. You're on the right path, now you just need to go even further along it. Also, where the same material comes again starting at bar 13, you are less gentle here than at the beginning.

The middle voice should benefit as much, if not more so, from whatever efforts you go to to make the upper voice gentler and to phrase the dynamics. At present these continuous 16th notes do tend to overwhelm the upper voice a bit, they're a bit stompy and samey, DA DA DA DA instead of Da da da da, and this aspect seems more pronounced now that you've chosen (I don't know why) to play the piece more slowly again. Although these middle voice notes are the fastest feature of the piece, they are certainly not the most important, they're background murmur to the melodic line, and need to be kept more quiet than the melody.

Alas, the old timing problems of bars 10/20 and 12/22 are still with us. Do you listen to your recordings critically before approving them for posting? If so, and if you can't hear these timing errors, then your inner ("heart") metronome is just broken and needs to be repaired, or trained with the aid of a real metronome. You've said you'd hate it, I know, but I fear it's getting to the stage at which such action is becoming unavoidable. Just maybe, there is another thing you can try first:

In bar 10 your second chord is about 25% too short. Perhaps what you could try in that bar is to change what the left hand does. Play eight 16th notes: Eb A Eb A Eb G Eb G. That should force you to hold the second right hand chord on for the right amount of time. Once you've done that a few times, allow the LH to play what's written again, while imagining you were playing those 16ths. Record it. Listen to the recording, and while doing so imagine the LH playing those 16ths, and see whether your recording arrives at bar 11 in time with your imagined 16ths.

In bar 12 the F# A is too short so the G Bb comes too soon, by about the duration of a 16th note. Perhaps it would help to play the F# A not as dotted 4ths but as six 16ths F# A F# A F# A, to train yourself, in the same way as in bar 10, to keep the 16th rhythm going in your head.

Make time for the grace notes if you must, but not by pushing the G Bb chord out of the way, but rather by lengthening the bar. If you listen to Gilels's bar 12 while imagining continuous 16ths being played, you should find that his G Bb arrives right on time, but that he has edited in a fermata onto them, stretching the bar by about the duration of an 8th note in order to let the grace notes in such that they don't sound rushed.


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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 4:49 pm 
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Yes, you reverted to a slower tempo again here. But that doesn't bother me as much as missing the rhythm on the aforementioned bars.

And Richard, I hate to tell you this, but I just listened to your recording on the main site and really it should not have been put up in the first place - one of the other admins did it. It's those long quarter notes at bar 10 and then when it repeats later on. This is a major rhythm glitch and since people listen to our recordings to hear how they go, then we can't by right host the recording. I'm sorry, I feel bad about this, I really do, but I think it should come down.

Probably by now you can play this piece blindfolded and so you don't have to worry about the notes. Your technique can improve in that your LH should still play much softer. Also, I don't remember if you ever answered me about where you place your recorder, but it sounds like it is too close to the low notes..? Then there is the rhythm stuff....Rainer and Eddy have provided much information on that already. Please listen to that Gilels version a bunch of times. Maybe play along with it if you can hear the recording while sitting at your piano...
Also, you can listen to one of our own member's recording of it, Alfonso Bertazzi, which is very good. I'm not suggesting that you copy another member's style, but his rhythm is correct and so maybe it could help you...just some more ideas... :idea: :)

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 8:09 pm 
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I think I put up that earlier version mainly to give Richard a chance to move on without getting too disillusioned. IIRC there had been posted several re-recordings of the piece too.

Richard, maybe now would be a good time to start taking some lessons again. All this re-recording and re-assessing seems a bit laborious and counterproductive. Nothing beats someone sitting next to you and friendly nudging you the right way. Just an idea :!:

As for keeping rhythm, I find that counting the bars helps, especially when you have longer notes or rests and the temptation to come in too early is overwhelming. I learned that the hard way since starting to accompany church services. Counting now becomes a habit, and I'm glad for it. When listening back, I find it helps tapping the table, to quickly pick up where you slow down or speed up.

Never record something without listening to at least a couple of pro recordings (if you can find them) and never submit something before critically listening back to yourself a number of times (I had to learn that the hard way too). It would not be the first time that I though I had something nailed, and upon listening back had to concede it wasn't ready.

HTH

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 8:25 pm 
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Maybe the time has come to say goodbye. It seems to me I am an embarassment for the Society.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 8:36 pm 
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Don't be like that ! You are one who is willing and trying to improve. I am only suggesting what might be a quicker and surer way do achieve this. I know it helped me a lot to take some years of lessons again.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 3:27 am 
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Richard - I'm fairly new here but for what it's worth I really do hope you stick around. I've enjoyed many of your recordings, and I feel your work and forum participation would be missed greatly. I of course don't know your whole history here, but I think it would be a real shame (for PS and you) to let a few discouraging submissions overshadow the many positive experiences you've had.

I'm still feeling my way around the acceptance criteria as you may also be, but I do sympathize with the admins in what must often be a very difficult job. Your comparison with the "try to please everyone and end up pleasing no one" Aesop fable was clever, and I can understand how you could get this impression from the posts. I really believe the admins and members were honestly doing their best to offer meaningful advice. One unfortunate yet unavoidable reality of online forums is that we're limited to written communication, a form wrought with misinterpretations and misunderstandings of tone/intent.

I think this is one of the points Chris was making when he suggested a private teacher - that for a few of the pieces such as this one it may be less frustrating for you to receive immediate, real-time, and [most importantly] face-to-face feedback.

As an artist on this site who has published many very good recordings, you are clearly a very musical and capable pianist. Everyone here could likely benefit greatly from a capable private teacher, which may or may not make sense for you personally at this time. I believe you have on several occasions acknowledged the improvements you've made since joining the site. Keep your chin up and I look forward (with my fingers crossed) to see you bounce back from this disappointment very soon.

Sincerely,

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 3:07 pm 
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techneut wrote:
Don't be like that ! You are one who is willing and trying to improve. I am only suggesting what might be a quicker and surer way do achieve this. I know it helped me a lot to take some years of lessons again.


Oh, I am not miffed by your suggestion of a teacher by any means: I just feel that having submitted This Arietta maybe 15 or 20 times, Scarlatti 4 times, Scriabin 5 times, Schumann 6 times and so on, I really cannot be the pride of this society. Add to that Monica's desire to take some of my recordings down. Well, we do agree there: this is what I am trying to do too, but not quite that way.

Right now could not be a worse time for lessons, really: my wife is on the dole, my job, thanks to the efficiency of the local government, seems to have evaporated (it seems almost certain no dough will be handed out this month), the lease of the house is up in 3 months and we still have to eat and find money to pay for our daughter's ballet lessons, the piano rental and Internet. And, of course, I have the usual band of desperadoes wanting me to pay what I owe them!

By the way, has anyone read this comment of mine? viewtopic.php?p=53685#p53685

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 3:50 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
I just feel that having submitted This Arietta maybe 15 or 20 times, Scarlatti 4 times, Scriabin 5 times, Schumann 6 times and so on, I really cannot be the pride of this society. Add to that Monica's desire to take some of my recordings down. Well, we do agree there: this is what I am trying to do too, but not quite that way.


Seems you implying that I am a villain here. Between your first postings of Arietta and then these here, I probably have spent a couple hours listening to you and offering comments and suggestions to help you improve! It is only this one recording that I took down and you know the reason. Let me remind you that a short piece like this Arietta needs to have not only correct notes, but rhythm too. It could very well happen that someone out there - perhaps a beginning piano student, or maybe someone just interested in the Lyric Pieces - randomly selects your Arietta recording. Since you know that your rhythm is off, then you can't possibly feel that it's okay for your recording to be the example that correctly represents the piece, right?

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 7:54 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
Oh, I am not miffed by your suggestion of a teacher by any means: I just feel that having submitted This Arietta maybe 15 or 20 times, Scarlatti 4 times, Scriabin 5 times, Schumann 6 times and so on, I really cannot be the pride of this society. Add to that Monica's desire to take some of my recordings down. Well, we do agree there: this is what I am trying to do too, but not quite that way.

By the way, has anyone read this comment of mine? viewtopic.php?p=53685#p53685


Actually Richard, I think there needs to be more members like you here :) It's one thing for the more experienced members to post recordings. While their love for the music is apparent, for me it's somewhat expected that they'll produce recordings. Playing the piano is what they do. I think it takes a lot more guts for you, as a less experienced pianist, to submit recordings here, and I admire that. Also, your passion for music clearly shows in your playing, and I've truly enjoyed your recordings (even though I've offered criticism :wink: ).

Yes, recording and practicing can get frustrating. But you shouldn't think of how tedious it all to make all those recordings. Instead, you should look at all the progress you've made. I think your recordings of Arietta show a lot of improvement, and you should be proud of that.

I read your comment. While I agree that there will almost always be small errors in performances, I don't think that was the issue here. Your one large problem (the rhythm in one or two measures) was distracting even without looking at the score. Also, you have to remember that to the more experienced members, what may seem like a tiny issue to you is actually a large problem to them. Last, I think you walked into somewhat of a trap with this piece, one which isn't your fault but is just how things are. Grieg's Arietta has got to be one of the more popular piano pieces out there, and I would bet that all of the active pianists here have not only played it but have heard it countless times. There will be high expectations for a recording of Arietta. And there's the issue of it being deceptively difficult to play extremely well, as it requires a light, controlled touch. But I'm not trying to discourage you here. As I've said before, I think you've got something solid to work with that just needs a little fine tuning.

That being said, I'll pm you a few pieces that I think you would like in case you want to take a break from Arietta for now.

Don't give up playing and posting here, Richard!
David


Last edited by dctpianist on Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:32 pm 
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I can only concur with David's words here. Very well said.

A good suggestion to take a break from Arietta. One learns a lot from polishing one piece to perfection, but it should not be overdone. With the progress you made now, you can leave it fallow for a while and return with a fresh mind, to be surprised at how much better and easier it feels. I think that will produce the version that everybody can be happy with. In the meantime, refresh your soul with something else, something that is not as well-known and vulnerable.

As one of the "more experienced members" let me add that it does not always come easily to me either. There are many pieces that drive me to despair and seem to resist all attempts to get them perfect. And then when I think I'm there, someone will rightly point out there's notes missing, or voices not brought out, or too much pedaling .... and back to practice I go. Most of the times. Sometimes nobody complains and yet I'm still not happy with it. Gotta be your own worst critic...

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:28 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
richard66 wrote:
I just feel that having submitted This Arietta maybe 15 or 20 times, Scarlatti 4 times, Scriabin 5 times, Schumann 6 times and so on, I really cannot be the pride of this society. Add to that Monica's desire to take some of my recordings down. Well, we do agree there: this is what I am trying to do too, but not quite that way.


Seems you implying that I am a villain here. Between your first postings of Arietta and then these here, I probably have spent a couple hours listening to you and offering comments and suggestions to help you improve! It is only this one recording that I took down and you know the reason. Let me remind you that a short piece like this Arietta needs to have not only correct notes, but rhythm too. It could very well happen that someone out there - perhaps a beginning piano student, or maybe someone just interested in the Lyric Pieces - randomly selects your Arietta recording. Since you know that your rhythm is off, then you can't possibly feel that it's okay for your recording to be the example that correctly represents the piece, right?


No no, you are not the villain. I am the first to admit that recording on the site was bunk; hence my wish to replace PDQ. But truly, would it not be better to take the Schumann down too? I meant it!

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:31 pm 
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You know, David, I had no idea the Arietta was at all popular. The only version I have ever heard of it and that maybe 3 times (2 through the link Monica posted) in my life and mind you, I have been playing it for 20 years now.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 8:34 am 
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I listened another time to the Gilels version yesterday that Monica pointed out to me. Of course, if I were to invite him to come over for dinner (his spirit, at least!) he would have done a very good job, but not like his recording. I mean that the ultimate limitation is the piano itself and the recording apparatus.

Anyway, I tried my hand at it again with the clock stopped, but the three-year old girl present, so I fear a small amount of noise is present. This was one take, with no editing apart from clipping the ends, hiss removal and reducing the amplitude of the left channel.

I gather that one channel being louder than another is a problem with Audacity. They mention it on their help page and suggest normalising, but I find that ampifies both tracks to maximum (You commented on that the other day, Monica - by the way, answering you: I place the recorder on a sofa behind the piano, with the microphones perpendicular to the strings and with middle c between the right and left ones.)

One interesting observation that my wife made and I noticed too, is that, even though my version is the faster of the two, mine seems slower.


Attachments:
grieg-12-1-willmer.mp3 [1.66 MiB]
Downloaded 118 times

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:32 am 
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Your tempo here is much better, Richard. I like this version except that the bars with the two quarter notes are still incorrect. You are not holding out the second one long enough. I know the piece is written in two, but maybe if you play like it's in four and pretend those quarter notes are half notes, then I think it might be easier to get them right. So just start from the beginning while thinking 1-2-3-4-, those four G eighth notes in the first bar - pretend they are quarter notes. Then when you get up to bar 10 you'll play two half-notes, 1-2, 3-4.

As far as sound quality goes, this is good. The hiss level is low. I'm still not getting enough sound out of the RH, though. For an experiment, maybe you can try moving your mics off center where you have them now, and putting them closer to the high end.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:01 pm 
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Richard - I'm glad to see you back on this piece with another go at it. I hope this doesn't offend, but I attached two items here that may help you visualize the rhythm issues in bars 10 and 12.

I loaded your MP3 into Nero WaveEditor, and took a screen capture of bar 10 so you can see the length of the two quarter notes. The first quarter is the correct length I believe, and as you can see the second quarter note is held quite a bit short - making the entry into the next measure sound premature.

Again just for illustration purposes, I did a copy/paste towards the end of the second quarter note to artificially "extend" it to approximately the same length as the first note. You can hear the ugly patchwork - audio editing is not my area of expertise - but hopefully it will help you compare.

Lastly, I attempted to do the same thing for bar 12, where I did two (ugly but hopefully illustrative) edits. I extended the length of the dotted quarter note, and slightly decreased the length of time before the ornaments leading into the next measure.

I hope this helps. You actually have a very good "internal" clock overall I think. In these two small examples, it's the longer notes at the ends of phrases that tend to get truncated a bit. :wink:


Attachments:
File comment: MP3 Modified in Nero WaveEditor. Bars 10 and 12 edited.
grieg-12-1-willmer_MODIFIED_EXAMPLE.mp3 [1.23 MiB]
Downloaded 100 times
File comment: Bar 10 Illustrated Quarter Notes
Bar10_QuarterNotes.jpg
Bar10_QuarterNotes.jpg [ 122.01 KiB | Viewed 1189 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:20 pm 
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I must say here I did not count at all: I simply felt. I did, however, count the recording and that seemed to be correct, so I suppose I must add a bit of rubato there. For the right hand, I really need to get a good piano and play on it (and record) to see if this is me who cannot subdue the left hand or if it the piano that allows for little dynamic contrast. It might be the latter, as I also have practised and recorder umpteen times a Bortkiewicz piece where it is the Left hand that has the melody and even though the right hand plays two octaves above middle C the only way I can make the left be heard is by playing it forte, which, of course ruins the delicacy of the piece. Yesterday I also recorded Grieg's Elfin Dance and, even though I thought I had observed the pps and fs, when I listened back all was forte.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:41 pm 
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Richard, I've got a fair bit of sympathy for you, because my teacher has given me a really hard time over rhythmic issues over the years; he's been completely right to, but that doesn't make the process any more pleasant.

Like you, I'm not a big believer in metronome use, but sometimes it really is necessary to either use one or to rigorously count out the music at the shortest unit contained within it, in this case at the semiquaver (16th note) level. The problem with rubato is that, unless you are a person of unusual gifts, rubato should only be applied AFTER the piece has been played strictly in time. In other words, you should be playing the music in strict time (metronomically, and yes, unmusically, if necessary) before rubato is brought into the equation. You can't use rubato as a self-defence mechanism to excuse not playing in time. Trust me, I know, I've done it, and it doesn't fool the pros.

I'd recommend to you that you do count through your recording (IN SEMIQUAVERS), as an experiment. Do it in as unemotional a manner as possible: you might be like me and prone to "counting with feeling: One Two Three-eee Four" , and see what you find. I don't have the best rhythmic sense in the world, but regarding the debated bars, I find that you are late on the 2nd crotchet in bar 10, and then finish it too early. Bar 12 seems pretty much ok to me: there are questions of musical taste and judgment regarding shaping the grace notes, but in purely rhythmic terms I think you're in time. (Btw, count 12341234 [or 12342234 if you're being clever] for each bar, not 12345678, seven has two syllables and distorts the counting!)

Regarding the musical aspects of your playing, I think you're doing quite well on what is obviously some distance from the best instrument in the world. You've managed to capture an element of the vocal aspect of the melodic line which can't be easy on that piano. One suggestion I'd make is regarding the hairpins in bars 1/2 and 3/4: you're playing it a little bit like note, note, accent, note when they would benefit from more shaping. I think you've made a fair bit of progress with this and I applaud your patience.


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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 5:11 pm 
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Let me say, Richard, that I'm glad that after you had considered throwing in the towel, you've decided to persevere after all.

The tempo is much better again now. It's also good that (apart from the usual problem bars, which I'll get to below) the continuity of timing is now really rather good, but (and there always has to be a but, alas), despite the fact that you do appear to be thinking in longer lines now (which is good), you must nevertheless not neglect the shorter sub-lines. They need a bit more separation than you are giving them. You should not produce this separation by inserting gaps, as you did previously and which I referred to as making time, but instead by cutting short some notes to allow you to snatch a breath without breaking the rhythmic continuity, which I referred to as taking time. Imagine you were singing the top line along to a karaoke machine which plays the accompaniment with mind-numbingly robotic precision - you need to breathe, but without losing sync with the machine.

What I mean is places like the boundary between bars 2 and 3, or bars 4 and 5, etc. The continuity in the middle voice (semiquaver accompaniment) is lovely, but it would be better if without losing that, you could give more of a sense of separation in the upper voice.

I found your RH too harsh in previous recordings, and you seem to have toned it down, which I sense as a big improvement. I don't know why Monica seems to disagree, it could be because she's using headphones and is finding a channel imbalance. I'm using speakers, which may mask that aspect, and I feel that the treble/bass balance has improved.

What oh what are we to do with bar 10 (and its equivalent bar 20)? You really do need to count this, and not rely solely on feeling it. As Monica says, your second chord there is too short, but actually this fact is made all the more apparent by the first chord being too long. I blame all this on the syncopation in the second half of bar 9. This seems to encourage you to make an unintended rubato, speeding up, then slowing down, and so when you arrive at the beginning of bar 10 you're still under speed (this is what makes the 2nd chord late) but catching up (which makes the beginning of bar 11 SEEM early (it IS early but seems more so relative to the semiquaver pulse which a listener has had to readjust to upon hearing the chord come late, though it is probably not far off dead on time on a broader scale - the lateness of bar 11 being almost the same as the earliness of bar 10.5). One practising tip which might help here is if you were temporarily to change the RH rhythm in bar 9 from 16th+8th+16th to 8th+16th+16th (same as the first half of the bar). The aim would be to help you count the 16ths in your head in bar 10.

Monica's suggestion of counting the whole piece as 4 pulses to the bar instead of 2 has merit but is not without danger. For one thing, it may still be too coarse (not fine enough) because you almost need to count bar 10 in a very fast 8, and on the other hand counting in 4 works against the broader lines you must aim for in the rest of the piece, where you almost need to think more in a slow 1 than a moderate 2.


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 Post subject: Re: Grieg Arietta anew
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 8:41 pm 
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Richard wrote:
I must say here I did not count at all: I simply felt.

Andrew wrote:
Like you, I'm not a big believer in metronome use, but sometimes it really is necessary to either use one or to rigorously count out the music at the shortest unit contained within it, in this case at the semiquaver (16th note) level.

I do understand and certainly appreciate this, Richard. As Andrew mentioned, and I'd bet most players agree, the metronome is also not something I enjoy (to put it gently). :shock:

Personally, and this may branch from my lack of formal training in piano pedagogy (except on the receiving end), I'm quite diffident about specific preparation practices. I'm sure this metronome topic has been beaten to death in numerous threads on this site, and likely by pianists/teachers much more knowledgeable than I.

For me, I use the metronome as a tool only when I need it - applied to specific sorts of passages to correct undetected (and inappropriate) tempo changes. I also, and others may differ here, never use it early in the learning "life cycle". For me I will have progressed on the piece considerably, learned all the notes well with some definite muscle memory kicking-in, and am beginning to focus more on musical aspects before I consider introducing a metronome for areas I feel need it. Typically I use the metronome in short spurts, as required.

I don't think you were implying that everyone who utilizes a metronome as a tool doesn't play with their "heart" or with "feeling". I do think perhaps sometimes this is true, and it is quite easy to detect IMO in the final result. I set the metronome aside well before any performance or recording, so as not to interfere with the real goal - communicating the music itself!

Whatever the method - listening back to recordings, tick-tocking in your head, taping your toes, or a metronome - I do firmly believe applying some rhythmic discipline is a necessary step on the path to good playing.

Matt

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