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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 4:58 pm 
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Pianolady wrote:
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I just finished reading chapter 20 and found it very interesting! It hit on a couple points I am currently dealing with. The first is what Feuchtwanger teaches. I’ve heard others talk about that same philosophy about staying in a relaxed position, striking the note, and then going back to a centered repose. My own teacher has tried to get me to that too, because much of my tendonitis problem stems from remaining tense all the time when I play.


Oh, Monica, I didn´t know, that you have such a problem. I´m just going to read chapter 20 now and then I´ll write you my opinion to that. But I know, that an artificial tension all the time while playing is not a good thing.

Quote:
I’m working on a piece with a difficult LH fast ascending arpeggio and when I do actually remember to relax, it goes better. However, I can’t relax too much or it doesn’t go at all. For me, I have to tell my brain to relax and don’t get so nervous about that arpeggio coming up. But when I actually start on it, I have to play really hard and forcefully to get it to go to the top.


My tip is: try not to think of it. Think of other things f.ex. or nothing and try to let through the music itself. The best way to solve problems is to let them and not to think of the problem, because we make them ourself (even if it is unconscious). I know, that this is easier said as done.

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The other point I found interesting is when he admonished the young student when she didn’t want to take a repeat. I liked when Feuchtwanger said, "A repeat is never the same." Made me think of that Bach Aria in which you can play the ornaments differently in the repeats. Remember talking about that, Andreas? I was thinking of not doing a repeat in the same piece I’m working on that I mentioned up above, but now I think I will.


Yes, I do remember well, that we talked about this. For me the repeats mostly are very important because they are a certain chance, to say the same with other words, to bring change and interesting lightings and colours to the musical ideas.

To chapter 18 (The Deal): I found it very interesting, that Luc played the game with his dealer and his client "like Molière". That´s very French, this manner, and very clever. I find it likewise, that Luc takes the risc and trusts the dealer.

To chapter 19 (Beethovens piano): That was a very interesting and deep view into the piano-world of 18th and 19th century. I still have played on a "Tafelklavier" (virginal) of 18th century. It was in a castle and I asked, if I might play on it. The tone was really bell-like and soft and much more silent then the tone of our pianos of today. I also have some recordings of Jörg Demus, who plays on the Viennese piano of Beethoven, built by Graf in the 1820th. It was his last piano he possessed. I think, this one still has a metal frame, but it sounds very differently from todays pianos, its tone is much more thinner and its registers are much more imbalanced.
It´s a pity, that the art of wood is "out of the world, in which we live today", like it´s said in the novel. I fear in 200 years or so wooden pianos could be out of the world like this art of 18th century is still today. May be in 200 years there only will be electronic pianos or "virtual pianos". What do you think?

I´m going to chapter 20 right now! Hope I´ll finish it this evening! I really like this book very much!

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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 8:32 pm 
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IMHO, I think piano continues to become a more specialized and eccentricism. Especially here in the states, it may be different in the old world.

I have two pianos ... an upright baldwin and an electric Yamaha. The Baldwin is really a pitiful instrument ... icky sound, uneven action, ugly resonance with pedal. Many times I enjoy the electric more because of how nice it is to play: action is always the same and always in tune. Although the tone produced many times is just lacking .... most especially is this noticeable after playing on a real piano. But, I would think, most non-musicians really wouldn't notice ... or that it would even make that much of a difference.

I've been most affected in the book at the beautiful descriptions of the roundness, fullness of tone from the pianos. Also, the difference in sound ... I really, really want a piano!!!!

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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 9:26 pm 
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There are some piano manufacturers that are using plastic for certain parts inside the piano. I wonder if more plastic will be used in the future. Do you think they could make a sound board out of plastic? Or what about metal? Maybe that would produce too loud of a sound?

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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 10:18 pm 
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Pianolady wrote:
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There are some piano manufacturers that are using plastic for certain parts inside the piano.I wonder if more plastic will be used in the future. Do you think they could make a sound board out of plastic? Or what about metal? Maybe that would produce too loud of a sound?


I´m quite sure, that this is impossible both plastic and metal, because the sound would be to tinny and loud.
I could imagine (with a bit science-fiction-fantasy), that in 50 to 100 years or so the holograms will be as well developed, that it will be possible to play on a "hologram-piano", which is virtual and not real. Poor men of the future, what will they do, if there will be an outage? :wink: :lol:

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Last edited by musicusblau on Sat May 02, 2009 11:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 10:26 pm 
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IMHO, I think piano continues to become a more specialized and eccentricism. Especially here in the states, it may be different in the old world.


I think, here in Germany the piano is still very prevalent, but digital pianos respective e-pianos capture the front more and more. I think, this is mirrored also on PS, isn´t it?

An accoustic natural piano can´t be compared with an e-piano, because it´s sound has more soul and naturalness, even you regard the more superficial "advantages" of an e-piano like always to be in the right tuning, to have a regular action and so on. These "advantages" do not replace the soul, character and naturalness of the sound of a real piano, because bad tuning and bad action can easily be corrected by a piano manufacturer respective tuner. :wink:

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Last edited by musicusblau on Sat May 02, 2009 11:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 10:41 pm 
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To chapter 20, which I have read at last (I discover, that I need nearly the triple of time to read a book in English than I need for to read a book in German :roll: ):
This is probably the most interesting chapter for me in the novel until now.
There is so much wisdom in what Peter Feuchtwanger and György Sebök say to their students:
F.ex. that we put always ourself in the interpretation to the composers intention and that a wrong note here and there doesn´t matter, if the expression and the concept are coming from inside and convincing.
Indeed, what Sebök calls the "emptiness" or the inner calm center is the origin for every good music. Indeed, all tensions and anticipations are the biggest enemies of true music-making and all is ambiguous. That means, that there are thousands of possibilities concerning the interpretation of one piece and to interpret means, to explore one of these thousands of possibilities.
I like very much the notion of Peter Feuchtwanger, that the arm and the fingers are like an extension of the keys. This is an imagination, my professor teached me during my studies. And yes, technique is vastly overrated. People forget, where true technique has to come from, that is to say from that inner center of musical imagination and flow. And this is so easily blocked by fear. This is the reason I´m glad to have piano-playing just as a hobby. It´s a luck from my view not to have made a concert-career with all its pressure, so I´m free now to play like my concepts and inner center describe it to me. And: the longer I practise on a piece (in the best case so long, that I can play it by heart) the more I´m able to play it in the true manner.

I´m glad, that in the novel I got confirmed a way again, on which I´m principally since years. But I would be interested in more concrete aspects of the method of Feuchtwanger. Do you know, if there is a book of his method?

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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 4:21 pm 
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(I discover, that I need nearly the triple of time to read a book in English than I need for to read a book in German Rolling Eyes ):


no worries ... last time I had to read a novel not in English ... I joked to my wife, now I know how you feel when you read a book! It took me 3 or 4 days to finish the novel ... horrificly slow for me!

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"You see, my piano is for me what his ship is to a sailor; more indeed: it is my very self, my mother tongue, my life." - Franz Liszt


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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 8:07 pm 
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Nathanscoleman wrote:
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no worries ... last time I had to read a novel not in English ... I joked to my wife, now I know how you feel when you read a book! It took me 3 or 4 days to finish the novel ... horrificly slow for me!


Wow! :shock: So, this must be a foreign language you are very used to, isn´t it? I´m reading since 8th of april now on "The pianoshop..." , o.k. with interruptions, but my aim is, to improve my English and to learn more vocabulary, so I very often look after new words in the dictionary. I have to say, it´s a very useful thing, to read with an e-book and to have an online-dictionary at the same time. So, looking for an unknown word is much faster as if you use a normal book and a normal dictionary.

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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 8:13 pm 
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you're doing great!!! I wouldn't worry about the speed ... I have too much time on my hands, thus I read constantly.

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"You see, my piano is for me what his ship is to a sailor; more indeed: it is my very self, my mother tongue, my life." - Franz Liszt


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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 9:27 pm 
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Nathanscoleman wrote:
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you're doing great!!! I wouldn't worry about the speed ... I have too much time on my hands, thus I read constantly.


Thanks, Nathan. I wished I could say this from me, that I´d have too much time on my hands. I have much too few time to do all the things I would like to do (to read and to play piano).
:cry:

I have read chapter 21:
First, I have a question. Thad translates "The play is the soul of the machine", wouldn´t it be better to translate: "The play is the soul of the action/the mechanique"?
Very interesting is the matter with that iron brace, which has to hold the pedal not rigid, but with a certain play, I haven´t known that. I wonder, why Thad does this montage himself and why Luc doesn´t care himself about this important matter. And it really is an important matter, because a piano isn´t to play, if always the tones are lingering on, (as we could see, as Claire visited Thad for to play her "Forest scenes" by Robert Schumann).
It´s interesting IMO, how Carhart combines technical, musical and personal issues around the piano as main subject. That makes that special atmosphere and charm of this novel, which I find to be intriguing. And with personal issues I mean not only Thads personal life and history around the piano, but also the destinies of other persons, like Jos f.ex. It´s so sad and oppressive, what happened to him, isn´t it? I really hope for a happy end concerning his bad luck, he has to experience in his life.

What about you, Monica and Nathan, how far have you read until now?
I looked into the contents, there are still 34 pages and three chapters to read for me now.

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Last edited by musicusblau on Mon May 04, 2009 8:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 1:01 pm 
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Ok, I just finished chapter 21.

I think the phrase, "play is the sole of the machine" is just a general term, meaning the 'whole' piano. I thought the action is the hammers and all the tiny little parts down below the strings that make up the hammer mechanism. Are dampers considered part of the action?

But in this case, the dampers are not working properly because of the pedal brace that Chad installed incorrectly. So I think this is what Luc is referring to. I didn't know about there having to be some play in those pedal rods, either. As soon as I get to my piano later today, I will check that out.

And yes, the piano tuner Jos has a hard life. I wonder if things will be better for him by the end of the book. Which is not far away. You're right Andreas - only three chapters to go. And they are pretty short. I'm having a rough time these days, lots of things going on at the same time, but I can still read. So Nathan and I will keep following your lead. Whenever you get to the next chapter is fine.

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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 2:20 pm 
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I'm carrying book with me to doctor appt today ... girls have checkup. I hope I don't get piggy flu while I'm there!!! hehe

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"You see, my piano is for me what his ship is to a sailor; more indeed: it is my very self, my mother tongue, my life." - Franz Liszt


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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 9:50 pm 
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Hi Monica and Nathan,
it was interesting to learn about the quality of the red spruce and wood in general for to build a fine piano in chapter 22. I personally have never played a Fazioli, but I´d like very much to play one. It´s great, that Thad could meat Fazioli personally and that he was allowed to play on the famous 308 model. I have played several Steinways and Bösendörfers until now, but never got the opportunity to play a Fazioli and I suppose, I probably never will get one.
I´ll look for the two books, which are mentioned in chapter 22: Larry Fine´s "The piano book" and David Crombie "Piano". I have to admit, that I haven´t a book, which contains only the piano and its mechanical aspects.
(BTW, Monica, I think the dampers are a part of the action, too, but I´ll ask my tuner next time, he is a piano-builder master craftsman.)

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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 4:45 am 
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how cool would that be??!! to meet fazioli and have personal tour of his workshop!!

I really need to tour a piano factory ... never done that!

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the one, the only ... Nathan Coleman
"You see, my piano is for me what his ship is to a sailor; more indeed: it is my very self, my mother tongue, my life." - Franz Liszt


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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 8:39 pm 
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Nathan and Andreas - I am out of time today so I can't comment on chapter 21. Plus there is a problem on the site so I can't always log on. Look for me tomorrow!

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