Piano Society
Free Classical Keyboard Recordings
It is currently Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:28 pm

All times are UTC - 1 hour




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 31 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Scriabin Op. 8 N°12 and the Sustain Pedal.
PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2009 12:47 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2008 4:03 pm
Posts: 58
Hi !

First, let me say that I mostly practice on an electric piano (a Yamaha P60), that has not only a very low action, but also a very short sustain, even with the maximum instrument reverberation. When playing on a grand, I will have to practice a bit and vary my legato and pedal work, otherwise my sound will be blurred.

While this is not a problem while playing Bach for instance, as you are trying to hold the durations, I find it extremely painful when playing pieces with huge jumps, such as that particular Scriabin Etude.
Playing without the sustain is not even an option - it will sound horrible because there is no way to have a left hand legato (I think ?). However, when using it, as this piece has quite the momentum, it can quickly be blurry during FFF passages or fast octave runs (I don't have this problem with Chopin 10/9 that also has a fast left hand and octave runs ; that one had pedal markings though) ; so my question was the following :

For those that play it or know it, what sustain pedal pattern are you using (my edition has no pedal markings) ? The whole bar is out of the question, and every 2 beats can either sound dry (in the beginning especially it causes "cuts" between two intervals) or still blurred (bass heavy passages, "jackhammer part). I like to have a clean sound, right now I can play the correct notes with satisfying dynamics, but I'm butchering it with my sloppy pedal work. It either cuts the sound or blurs it. You also can't play the whole left hand "soto voce" because it has some key melodic elements.

Please help me, I've been trying to have this one performance ready for months, and the whole sustain issues kill it for me ! :-)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:22 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:22 pm
Posts: 61
Location: currently California, USA
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

I, personally, am usually attracted to Scriabin's later pieces; so although I have yet to actually play this one enough times to give any solid advice on its playing, when I play through it I have a tendency to pedal more or less in 2 minus the pick-up (i.e. 1 & 2/3) throughout most of it. There are obviously many points where this must be modified. I've found that pedaling just enough to gain the legato and sustain the bass works best although I'm not quite sure what the problem is with the electric piano that you use. It might be a better effect to use the middle pedal for the initial bass chords (if your piano has a middle pedal that functions properly - most uprights just double the una corda! :shock: ... I have no idea what electric pianos do since I really don't like electric pianos at all.) then utilize the right pedal for sustaining within the phrasing to taste. A better source for advice on playing this particular piece might be the following link:

Scriabin plays Scriabin

Even if this turns out to not be Scriabin actually playing, the artist has a remarkable sense of the message of this piece. :cool: Hope this helps.

Love is the law, love under will.
Aryobrand


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:08 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2008 4:03 pm
Posts: 58
Thanks for your answer ;)

I only have the sustain pedal ; right now I'm using it on feeling alone, and I feel it's not a really good idea. I've begun to think there is no definite answer in that piece, and you have to listen carefully in order to pedal properly. The biggest difficulty I find is releasing it, being careful not to blur the piece, yet without breaking the harmonies ; for instance the beginning of the slow passage is hard to pedal (if you don't use rubato and slow down to let the chords unfold before you release the pedal). The "problem" I'd say is that there are often two chords / octave on the left hand, one on the last beat and the other on the first beat ; the hard part being, managing continuity without blurring the piece because you kept the pedal too long.
I like that link you provided, though if I understand correctly Scriabin used to play with much rubato and bravura, that seems somewhat lacking there :) I like Horowitz different renditions, though sometimes you can't qualify the piece of an Etude anymore because of the slow tempo (still I'd rather hear it slow and emotional like some Horrowitz's than superfast and mechanical like Kuerti's).


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:02 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:22 pm
Posts: 61
Location: currently California, USA
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Quote:
I like that link you provided, though if I understand correctly Scriabin used to play with much rubato and bravura, that seems somewhat lacking there :)


? ... :!: ... really? ... :shock: I'm not sure if you're pulling my leg or not, as to me that recording has a LOT of rubato, for me personally too much, but if that's Scriabin playing his own music, I certainly can't argue with him - although I do notice more than a few wrong notes from his own score. :oops: I even have somewhat of a problem with his unwritten accellerando toward the end of the piece, but hey, he wrote it! (Twice actually, since you might be aware that there are two different versions of that etude (I think :oops:))

One thing that may be causing me confusion with your question concerns your technique in general, and what exactly the effect of your pedal is doing to cause concern; maybe a few questions might clear up this mystery for me.

Have you ever played the organ, or any kind of legato music without using any pedal? Similar to what I consider the ONLY way to play things like J.S. Bach correctly, is to practice without any pedal at all. At first (if you've never done this before) it will probably sound HORRIBLY choppy and disconnected. Persist in the practice and after a while you will begin to gain more fluency in playing legato without ANY :shock: pedal whatsoever. The trick to it (at least for me) is learning to respect the length of EVERY note within a composition - i.e. to NOT rely on the pedal to sustain notes for you across the measure, but rather to pretend that you're playing an organ where as soon as the finger lifts off of any particular note, the sound instantly stops from that tone. :cool: Keeping this thought in mind, be extreeeeeeeemly mindful of the length of every :!: note; not shorting any notes by even a 32nd of a beat. This practice can be extremely challenging and discouraging at first, but as you get more practice with the method, you will find that reliance upon the pedal for legato slowly fades and the pedal becomes more of a shading tool to open up more resonance within the tone :D , rather than a crutch to lean on which helps keep the hands free.

Obviously there are certain instances where the passage requires pedal (such as the initial bass downbeats within the Op.8, No.12 Etude) to continue the note across the measure but even with those figures, shifting fingers to retain the bass in the top note of the octave might be enough to retain the flavour of that particular chord. Otherwise keep the notes in your grip, releasing each note only at the expiration of its tempo (making obvious adjustments depending upon the context ;) ). You might find yourself exhibiting a lot more initial-grace-note-type jumps between chords to keep within the beat, but after practicing this in strict style at first, you can later relax the technique somewhat by adding in tasteful pedaling where needed. Does this help at all with the problem, or am I completely misunderstanding your questions? :oops:

Love is the law, love under will.
Aryobrand

P.S: If you are thinking of practicing this technique (depending on whether this has any bearing upon the problem you're encountering or not), it will be MUCH easier to practice the technique starting with something like Bach's Wohl-Temperierte Clavier (all of them from both volumes apply).


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 3:04 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:45 am
Posts: 113
Location: Manteca, CA
Scriabin did indeed write two versions of that piece, and Horowitz recorder the alternate version a few times, and Sofrinitsky did also.

I think you definitely gave the best possible advice of all, and i was rather surprised because you stated it very clearly. I practice using that method a bit, but i never necessarily set it apart as a specific way to improve upon pedaling. I notice the same ideas with Pogorelich when he pedals while playing Scriabin. Thank you for the very applicable advice.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:23 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2008 4:03 pm
Posts: 58
Very interesting answer Aryobrand thank you !

I use the pedal to sustain most left hand notes actually ; I'm not sure if this is because of my electric piano (quick fading notes ; for instance I have to pedal the Prelude Op.10? n°14, even prestissimo, on my electric, but not on a grand, so the difference is obviously huge). Maybe it's not even a problem of sustaining, but more one of touch ; on some quick key presses, I've noticed the electric piano doesn't produce a full tone like a real piano would, but just a quick bip-like sound. I hate it.
I always assumed it was the only way to produce legato here, especially since there are some huge jumps (I play all the notes from the bass clef with the left hand too), but your idea of holding the upper bass note is certainly interesting. Usually I don't use much pedal (none in Bach obviously), but there I just thought it was necessary (despite not being indicated) : like you say not using the pedal in that Etude makes the sound incredibly choppy and ugly (almost staccato despite my best effort, and I know my left hand isn't THAT bad).
I totally agree on usually holding full lenght on notes, I learnt it with Bach and I've always done it since - that's also why the pedal here bothers me, you are having held notes on the right hand, but it doesn't really matter since you're sustaining everything.

On another note, I don't care much for the other version, though I did learn it for completion's sake. I almost never play it (and when I do you can bet I'll get confused). And regarding Scriabin's own playing, I read "somewhere" his playing varied quite a lot depending on his mood, and he varied it greatly with added rubato ; I'll try to find that again (the source was actually one of his contemporary). Of course "a lot of" rubato can mean many different things depending on who hears it ! I like clean sound so I usually refrain from it, but I know it can be used to great effect in many Scriabin works (and I don't mean Chopin rubato for the right hand only, but huge tempo alterations - whether it be rushing or dragging ; the 8-12 Etude seems to call for it sometimes, in the end or during the 3/2 passage before the final for instance).


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2009 7:21 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun May 17, 2009 6:47 pm
Posts: 102
Location: New York City
The original post is a bit old, but I would like to make a comment, by way of a warning. Even though 2 successive notes may be played legato without pedal, it may be very dangerous in Scriabin to rely on finger legato everywhere. The hand can be very seriously injured. Best to divide hands, as well as use pedal, in many wide skips, even though it may be possible, with effort, to connect them without pedal using the same hand. Musical notation should, in general, be seen as representing the musical intention, but not necessarily the technical intention. To paraphrase the Aleister Crowley quote, "Do what thou wilt - to achieve the musical result without hurting thyself!" Interesting board!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 7:36 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:22 pm
Posts: 61
Location: currently California, USA
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

I completely agree with you regarding exercising care not to injure yourself, but I made the assumption that most, if not all, people here already knew that if something feels strained it probably should be done carefully. (I'm now fully recovered from overexuberant Bartok! :oops: so it's not only Scriabin that can injure or strain.) However, the technique to which I was referring doesn't involve unnatural stretching (much more so than ANY Scriabin compositions do), but rather a quick finger change such as one might meet in a Czerny exercise or a Ravel poeme. E.G. picture going up the keyboard in van Beethoven style octaves using the 5th finger first, then switch to thumb for the second iteration on the same note - from here you can reach yet another octave higher with the 5th, only to switch to the thumb again on the same note. I hope I described this well enough that it doesn't sound too confusing ... :oops: ! Someone who has built up a solid musculature of the hands and wrists through daily practice for decades should be able to feel for situations where something might be injurious. For beginners: just keep in mind that anything that feels strained should not be persisted - most certainly NEVER at a fff!!! If I feel an undue strain in my hands it's usually a sign to me that my fingering should be modified, which can usually remedy the situation. I hope that clears up what I meant, I keep forgetting that when I reply to someone in particular, everyone else is reading it too - including people that may have merely stumbled upon this forum. Sorry for any misunderstandings.

Love is the law, love under will.
Aryobrand

P.S. Teddy, I was thinking about the short 'bip' sound that you're getting upon a stacatto touch on your electric piano and thought I would add: Exploit the bip. If your piano is producing an unnatural sound that normally wouldn't be found on another piano, then exploit it. Use that new sound as a new shading or colouring in your expressivity. Certainly if this is a mechanical problem that prevents other touch from being played have it fixed, but if it's merely an anomoly that can be used to extend your expression, then by all means you shouldn't fret about it but rather try to find ways that this can be used to more advantage. Just a thought since I can relate to pianos making horrendous sounds. I also have an old Rhodes 88 Suitcase model and although I would never attempt some pieces on it (BY CHOICE), it still has other colouring and tone than can be wonderfully exploited in other situations. However due to circumstances sometimes I ONLY have access to the Rhodes. As a result my playing adapts to it, then I have to practice extra hard when I regain access to my Schirmer upright!! I've learned that it's so much more productive to try to look forward to expanding my expression when I'm stuck with only the Rhodes. ... Just trying to find the silver lining ... :wink: ... OK I'll shut up now.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 1:47 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun May 17, 2009 6:47 pm
Posts: 102
Location: New York City
Hi Aryobrand,

On re-reading your original post, I see that I missed the finger-replacement aspect, which obviously presents no danger at all. I was thinking of more rapid passages, such as found in op. 42 no. 1, to pick an example, where finger replacement would be out of the question.

Thanks for your explanation, which was very clear.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 4:15 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2008 4:03 pm
Posts: 58
Yes, finger legato is definitly different in Scriabin's music than it is in say Chopin's ; it is often not possible, and even when it is, pedal might sound superior (except maybe in a few pieces with an ostinato bass)... But using the pedal is huge work, and I think when I wrote my original post I was underestimating it. After working on it, I think I definitly understand Debussy better when he said pedal using was "like breathing". That makes it frustrating on an electric piano where there is also poor pedal control, but meh...
I've been playing quite a lot of Rachmaninov recently, and there are many "effects" to be done with the pedals, so I found it was a great way of improving that aspect of my playing. I also love Prokoviev, but the more "percussive" aspect of his music is absolutely horrible on my piano ; even non-musician friends can tell how ugly the tone is.
Regarding finger legato, I usually persist with it even if it hurts (though I'm obviously careful not to injure myself) ; the more you practice some strange legato, the easier it becomes : not only because your muscle get used to it, but also because your whole wrist, arm and body integrate the movement required for that legato better. I mentionned Chopin 10-9, and I think it is a good example of that : the 5-4-1 fingering might seem odd (many people argue different keyboard size with Chopin's, etc.), but after a bit of practice it gets really easy and you acquire some "pivotal wrist"-skills that are very useful (like, in Barcarolles). Then again, there's practicing and practicing ; I know people that want to play that D-G chord in Scriabin's 8-12 without arpeggiating it, streching their hand all day, there's just no point to me. Remember Schumann !

On finger switching, I had never really tried before, so it feels really strange to me (never had probleme before, even though I don't have the biggest hand, I can hardly manage a clean 11th). I'd take any advice on an Etude on this, if you know one that focuses on that aspect of play. I just finished Debussy's repeated notes Etude, and I loved it ; I had so so many problems with repeated notes and I feel it got A LOT easier after that (still need a few months of practice though !).
Anyway, I've become really fond of holding only the upper bass note (especially of left hand octaves) rather than using pedal to color a bar, don't know if it's really a good thing... but it can give a really beautiful and clear tone.

Regarding the tone of my piano, I think there's absolutely no upside, and sadly it's not a mechanical problem ; it's like those cheap synthetiser keyboards, they have no sustained tone unless using tons of reverb, though because it's more expensive, you get better touch and a slightly better sound. The bass sounds good an full when played legato (like Chopin 10-9 or Scriabin 11-5), but the right side of the keyboard tones is ugly and empty. But I also dislike Yahama's high pitched sounds most of the time (like broken bells or tiny shrieks, playing Liszt in the high register is like walking on baby frogs), I like full and heavy tones in general. I guess you get what you pay for though, a 1000$ home keyboard is not going to equal a high-end grand Steinway...


A last thing regarding the pedal in general - I just don't understand something : it is so important, often making THE difference between two players, and yet composers almost never bother writing it. I'd even argue it's more important to pedal correctly (and often harder too) than to have proper dynamics (though both are not unrelated). Why didn't Scriabin write the pedal for all his pieces ? The same goes for Rachmaninov, when he wrote it, it is often interesting, but most of the time he just left it out. Are we just supposed to figure it out ? Is there some "pedal 101" course that I missed ? I hate it when I have to figure whether one voice must be held with the hand or with the pedal (no way I'm playing 4+ voices without pedal indications now...)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 5:48 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun May 17, 2009 6:47 pm
Posts: 102
Location: New York City
Hi Teddy (and I hope I'm using the reply correctly!),

You pose some interesting and important questions. If I may boldly jump in here....

Quote:
Regarding finger legato, I usually persist with it even if it hurts (though I'm obviously careful not to injure myself)


My opinion: if it hurts, it is not good. Piano playing or practice should not hurt. Try using the wrist to rotate (up and) around. Re: op. 10 no. 9 - true, Chopin did indicate 5-4-1 in the first edition. Your "pivotal wrist" discoveries will help. Try to lift the wrist before you pivot (using an "upper arc" to reach the C), and the strain will be reduced Also, a complete legato is entirely unnecessary between the F and C; the pedal takes care of it, so what might be called a "light-legato" would be fine there.

Quote:
I know people that want to play that D-G chord in Scriabin's 8-12 without arpeggiating it... remember Schumann!


I can't imagine why! You mentioned Schumann. Anyone who has studied his Toccata (completed during the time his right hand injuries were seen as permanent!) knows he had a thing for stretches! But even in an Allegro work like the Toccata, 10ths can be broken.

Quote:
I can hardly manage a clean 11th.


My word! Why would you ever need a clean 11th?! Some pianists in history had famously large hands (Weber, Henselt, etc.) but one does not need them. Josef Hofmann had quite small hands. He certainly did not need his special smaller keyboard to play beautifully.

Quote:
I'd take any advice on an Etude on this, if you know one that focuses on that aspect of play.


Try Scriabin op. 42#1. But be careful out there! Re: no pedal marks in Scriabin... I think he knew that different artists would play his pieces differently. He himself changed his interpretations just about every time he played! And indeed, pedaling requires very careful thought in Scriabin. One cannot always pedal "by instinct" in his music. The harmonies must be studied and listened to very closely, to see at what point the build-up of sound gets in the way of clarity. Often the pedal will be changed in unlikely places relative to the time/rhythm/melodic structure. An atmospheric balance must be reached between dryness and mush. But there are many solutions and possibilities within those extremes. His étude op. 8 no. 2 is an excellent study for pedaling and its manifold possibilities, and is technically not too difficult (once you have acquired a feel for the polyrhythms).

You said about pedaling:

Quote:
it is so important, often making THE difference between two players, and yet composers almost never bother writing it.


Perhaps you should say, "it is so important, often making THE difference between two players, because composers almost never bother writing it. Also, pedal indications are usually very incomplete. Chopin's markings is a good example of that. By the way, the question of just how the pedal was used in the time of Chopin is a fascinating one. His manuscript indications seem to suggest that the previous pedal is lifted before the next pedaled note is played - that is, not "syncopated", as we all do now. The details of pedaling are rarely brought up in 19th century piano methods. Were Chopin's indications only an approximation of what was generally understood, much as the dotted 8th to 16th when accompanied by a triplet means triplet quarter to triplet 8th?

On the subject of electric keyboards... I sympathize with those who cannot afford pianos, but at the same time I would say that even an old upright is preferable to a "keyboard". Call me old-fashioned.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 9:08 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2008 4:03 pm
Posts: 58
Quote:
My opinion: if it hurts, it is not good. Piano playing or practice should not hurt. Try using the wrist to rotate (up and) around. Re: op. 10 no. 9 - true, Chopin did indicate 5-4-1 in the first edition. Your "pivotal wrist" discoveries will help.

It's exactly like sports ; you will get tired, your muscles will strain, but the more you do it, the further you'll be able to push it. You don't have to fear the pain, just keep track of you limit ; I often have pains in my fingers or arms when learning a new and hard piece, but I've never been incapacitated (and I practice a lot). For me it usually is painful when away from the piano (when writing for instance, or using the computer), and it gets better after I warm up.

Quote:
I can't imagine why! You mentioned Schumann.

Well, if I remember correctly, he injured his hand trying to stretch it ; the same way Scriabin injured his right hand overpracticing (over- is the key part !). Every time I see I'm mindless repeating some painful movement at a fast tempo, I think "Schumann !" and it makes me take a break ;D

Quote:
Why would you ever need a clean 11th?!

Sounds cool ? It's like octave glissandos ! you don't need it, but for a reason you want to have it.
All in all, more than a 10th sure isn't that useful, but when playing Liszt and sometimes Scriabin (though I guess it was meant to be arpeggiated then) I sometimes wish I had a better reach.
Plus my fingers aren't really cute, makes me sad. Some people I know at the Conservatoire have long and slender fingers, huge span, you know, those hands that make you gap and think "he must be a pianist !" (though I guess it's totally unrelated). I'm so jealous.

Quote:
Try Scriabin op. 42#1

I'll have a look at it, from what I understand though the Op. 42 is quite hard, not only technically, but also musically.
This days, I really have huge trouble getting my Scriabin to sound the way I want ; for instance my 8-12 is note perfect at a proper tempo, but when listening to my recordings of it, I can't help but hate it. I seem to miss something, some kind of "special effect", some rubato or pedal or stacato or anything, because it sounds dull and uninteresting. Let me give you an example : for 8-12, I find the second page impossible to play nicely without using outrageous amounts of rubato ; the written rhythm is quite mechanical yet you have to make it sing (most recordings I've heard hardly follow the rhythm on the sheet I think). Does that mean I am supposed to play it "freely" ? This problem most likely includes the pedal for me : what are the choice you can make when playing Scriabin ? It seems to require more than "what's usually permitted", as in "if you don't go the Horrowitz-way it won't work".

I play the 8-2, I love it (I like Pogorelich's too) ; learnt it for the polyrythm along with the Chopin nouvelles études, and it's a beautiful piece you can play quietly or with anger, at various speed. Not everybody likes it though.
I use the pedal quite mechanically there as far as I know (like I would in say, Chopin).




Sounds like I'm venting, sorry...
I don't understand why composers leave out the pedal ; as you said, it might be understood at the time (for Chopin it is fairly straightforward, I think), but when you get to XXth century music, it no longer makes any sense to me. I've been looking for books on the subject, but have yet to find anything. Surely, the pedal has its root in the construction of the piece, like the dynamics ; when pieces get stranger like they do in the XXth, the dynamics get harder to predict (in my opinion ; the phrasing also gets different), but they are still indicated. The pedal gets harder to use, but you're still free to do whatever. Is bad pedal something you can work on in itself (a series of effect you use to emphasize parts of the piece), or is it something you only get through proper analysis of the piece (a coherent and essential part of the piece) ? I still wonder, and the "listen and make it sound good" method is very hard for me (brains first kind of playing I guess). I need reasons behind my choices...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 10:16 pm 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:38 pm
Posts: 8532
Sorry to interrupt, but Teddy - if you want to study pedaling techniques, there is a book that may help you. I found it interesting and very detailed. It’s Enrique Granados’ own teaching method which he taught his own students. The book is in the set of newly published urtext editions of all Granados’ music, edited by Alicia de Larrocha and Douglas Riva. The publisher is Boileau and the book I refer to is called 'Pedagógicas 2 – Vol. 9'. In it you find such a great wealth of information regarding piano technique and the section on pedaling is unbelievably thorough. I’ve read it, but will have to read and study it again because there is so much that I could not take it in all at once.

_________________
"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 12:22 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 8:33 am
Posts: 224
Don't forget about Joseph Banowetz's exemplary book, The Pianist's Guide to Pedaling. ;)

This book–and several other good music references–are available here in electronic form for free:

http://www.iupress.indiana.edu/iol/

All you have to do is sign up.

_________________
Best regards,
Horowitzian


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 1:50 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun May 17, 2009 6:47 pm
Posts: 102
Location: New York City
Hi Teddy,

You wrote:

Quote:
It's exactly like sports ; you will get tired, your muscles will strain, but the more you do it, the further you'll be able to push it. You don't have to fear the pain, just keep track of you limit


Every pianist has different keys to success. I'm no student of the musculature of the hand and arm. I guess that would be a worthwhile study for folks like us! But for me, a pianist cannot be absolutely compared to a sportsman. There are similarities, but I do not see the purpose of practice as building strong muscles, as with ballet dancers, whose lives are filled with pain and physical stress. They defy gravity, while we utilize it. After all, we can play as loudly as we'll ever need to simply by letting our arms drop freely onto the keys! For me, technique is the art of throwing one's weight around in a relaxed fashion.

Of course, pianists have strong hand muscles, under the palms, necessary for finger strength. But after a point, I see the goal as not overtaxing those muscles while maintaining the strength and control. And I believe that warming up requires absolutely no stress. For me, purposely causing any tension in the hand at all (pain = tension) is a no-no. Others here may disagree, and feel that pianists must "pump iron" - "no pain, no gain". I however could not disagree more strongly, and feel that pain should play zero role in developing a technique. "Musclebound" playing will surely not have a beautiful sound, or be fluent and supple.

Pianists may increase their range. Henselt is the great example. He compared his hands to shoe leather, and stretched them to improve his reach... or so he claimed. And he had one of the most supple and velvety sounds in piano history! But I wonder if any muscle pain was involved. Honestly, Teddy, the way you speak of embracing the pain instead of fearing it makes me a little afraid for you. I would say "Be afraid ... be very afraid" when it comes to bringing on a daily dose of hand pain as you practice. Think of Graffman and Fleischer as well as Schumann, who used a harmful mechanical device to bring about his pianistic downfall. If you do not want to suffer from drunkenness, then take a path far around the vineyard, and do not approach it, to paraphrase the Talmud. Not the most apt analogy, but it's an appealing sentiment, anyway!

My best teacher espoused what he called the "open position" when practicing... lifting the fingers very high (except for the thumb, which he called "a ground animal"). Jorge Bolet took it a step further and suggested attacking the keys from high in the air, with an accompanying arm motion, to improve sureness and accuracy (I think he got that from Saperton). This is what Tetzel and Deppe termed "free-fall", and is done while as relaxed as possible. All practice can be accomplished without too much tension. We do use our muscles, and we do need to take breaks during practice... but long before we feel actual pain. There can be significant muscular development without pain or even serious fatigue.

Again, it's a personal thing. Others will surely have other opinions. Perhaps there are excellent pianists who feel exactly as you do. But in my own experience, pain is something to be avoided at all cost.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 3:11 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2008 4:03 pm
Posts: 58
Quote:
Honestly, Teddy, the way you speak of embracing the pain instead of fearing it makes me a little afraid for you. I would say "Be afraid ... be very afraid" when it comes to bringing on a daily dose of hand pain as you practice.

I guess it is personnal indeed :) But in the end I think we both agree that overall pain is to be avoided ; we just have different thresholds for it I guess. I'm not injecting my hands with painkillers either you know :P I just feel that there is no way I can avoid some pain if I want to learn and acquire technique at a reasonable speed ; there's not only pain though, a warmed up hand is very pleasant to use, and for instance playing a Bach fugue after practice has a gentle tingling feeling exactly opposite to the pain of technique acquisition (which is mostly caused by bad wrist movements, lack of relaxation because of new material, and intensive strechs ; all those are problems solved by time and practice).

Thanks a lot Pianolady and Horowitzian for the book references, I'll be sure to check them out. Might have to get the Granados one ordered on the internet though, don't know if it's available in Paris'.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 3:45 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 8:33 am
Posts: 224
No problem! ;)

_________________
Best regards,
Horowitzian


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 5:14 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:22 pm
Posts: 61
Location: currently California, USA
camaysar wrote:
...
My best teacher espoused what he called the "open position" when practicing... lifting the fingers very high (except for the thumb, which he called "a ground animal"). Jorge Bolet took it a step further and suggested attacking the keys from high in the air, with an accompanying arm motion, to improve sureness and accuracy (I think he got that from Saperton). This is what Tetzel and Deppe termed "free-fall", and is done while as relaxed as possible. All practice can be accomplished without too much tension...


Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Something in this paragraph really bugs me ... Basically I think that the "pain" that Teddy's referring to is not what I would call "pain". Let me explain ... sometimes when I'm practicing something new that I've never played before, the piece will require some new unique combination of notes, or some new phrasing, or some such, that it will feel really awkward at first. Some of Czerny's exercises in "School of Velocity Op.299" are like that if you use the fingering exactly (as one should) [especially his repeated note study 4-3-2-1 on the same note in 32nd's up different scales, which might be a similar exercise to what someone was seeking]. It's not really painful in the sense of smashing your toe with a hammer (I couldn't use that analogy while referring to fingers) type of pain, it's more of a tired stressed-out kind of "pain". This "pain" I feel is not only good, but if you never get this type of "pain" then I think you're just not challenging yourself enough. This type of "pain" ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS goes away within a couple of hours. That's why I usually don't use the word "pain" to describe this feeling, I would just say that piece gave me a good warm-up.

Now the other type of "pain", which is pain that won't go away for weeks and sometimes months, and in some classic cases of certain composers became a new permanent resident in their hands and wrists; this other type of pain, definitely SHOULD be avoided at all costs. ... and this is where something just bugs me about your comments ... This real injurious type of pain is usually the result of mechanics working against the natural state of the hand, MUCH MUCH more often than as a result of vigourous practice (although that could still be possible, i.e. to injure the hands/wrists by overpractice). This technique of "free-fall" just made me gasp!!! One should NEVER NEVER NEVER need to lift the hands up high above the keyboard and slam them down onto the keys to achieve different effects - EVEN IF the hands are relaxed. Doing this would most certainly cause injury to the hands if one just happened to "land wrong" on the keys, or if they applied too much force, etc. I'm not saying that there is no reason to lift the hands completely off the keyboard, as during some slow legatissimo pieces I've been known to lift an arm above the level of my head on occasion, but that was almost always upon lifting the hand FROM completion of a phrase - never IN PREPARATION for a phrase. I personally think that one should seriously reconsider ANY KIND of "free fall" type motions when playing the piano. If one has properly prepared through daily practice even the most passionate and gregarious Bartok FFFFFF could be played without lifting the fingers more than 6-8 inches above the keyboard.

No offense to Jorge Bolet, but this technique sounds VERY dangerous to the hands. As my father the Engineer always used to say, "A finger can break with less than 10 pounds of pressure." or some such poundage, I forget exactly which ... the point is that structurally the finger is a relatively thin piece of bone tissue that if one were lifting their hands high above the head to slam them down on the keys, ... :!: ... that really couldn't end well. :shock:

Now I'm sure that that's not what you were suggesting that anyone do, but I guess I was just being hyperaware of some beginner coming across the forum and saying "Neat. Look at this new technique I just learned." and end up crippled for life!!!

In summary, the "pain" of building the muscles of the fingers should definitely be embraced, but any type of unnatural structurally straining motion, as well as any "sprinting before stretching" should definitely be avoided at all costs. The first "good" type of pain can easily be achieved just by playing through the entire School of Velocity in one sitting (for many this would only take playing the first book in one sitting) while using the proper listed fingering. This would clearly demonstrate the different kinds of "pain".

... and now I feel that I'm starting to ramble again, so I hope my point was made. :oops:

Love is the law, love under will.
Aryobrand


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 4:46 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun May 17, 2009 6:47 pm
Posts: 102
Location: New York City
Hi aryobrand! Thanks for your well-considered reply.

Well, I anticipated different opinions, and we have them. Teddy said:

Quote:
I usually persist with it even if it hurts (though I'm obviously careful not to injure myself)


"Hurts" is a strong word. It hurts enough that he thinks of the possibility of permanent damage to his hands ("injure", "Schumann"). Only Teddy can tell us what he actually meant by pain. As you have suggested, I'm sure he does not cry out with a loud "AYEEEE!!" (at least I hope not! :?). But I read that as a warning. I can just imagine Schumann saying to Clara, "Oh don't worry about this contraption - of course I'm careful not to injure myself."

"Hurts" sounds to me like an even more serious experience than "feels strained".

I cannot conceive of any professional pianist who would ever say that pain is good in practice (I know that you don't think Teddy means "pain", but caution makes me assume that he does until he clarifies further), much less that he "persists with it even if it hurts". Discomfort, in the sense of awkwardness at a new passage - that lack of easy control - is very different, and I would never use the word "pain" to describe that feeling. You wrote:

Quote:
This type of "pain" ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS goes away within a couple of hours.


I cannot imagine feeling uncomfortable (can we agree that anything described as "pain" is uncomfortable?) after-effects of a practice session for 2 hours!

I agree with what you said in a posted reply to me:

Quote:
anything that feels strained should not be persisted - most certainly NEVER at a fff!!! If I feel an undue strain in my hands it's usually a sign to me that my fingering should be modified, which can usually remedy the situation


That is great advice, aryobrand! If not a change in fingering, then a change in mechanical approach. A player may feel dangerous strain when beginning the left hand of Chopin op. 10 no. 9 with Chopin's fingering (5-4-1-4-1), but may solve the problem while keeping that fingering by raising the wrist, as we have discussed.

If I feel stiff after not playing for a while, I relax as much as possible until it goes away. I cannot conceive of ever practicing by working through that feeling or worse. I would respectfully repeat:

"Pain" that "hurts" (not my words) plays no role whatever in my practice or playing, and I would strongly advise any pianist to find another way of working that does not call to mind those words.

As for the so-called "free-fall" of Bolet, it is one of many practice techniques (we were discussing practicing), not a playing technique, and neither is the "open hand" technique. I never suggested coming down on the keys as hard as humanly possible. As you wrote:

Quote:
Now I'm sure that that's not what you were suggesting that anyone do
, and you were correct.

Still, it is for advanced students who have already acquired some finger strength, and know how to relax. You are quite right that it is not suited for beginners, less because of danger of injury than the beginner's lack of finger strength required for accuracy. I assumed that anyone who is working on Scriabin études is not a beginner. Still, bearing in mind, as you said, that this site is open to all levels of pianists, a word of advice, if not dire warning, directed towards beginners may be called for before suggesting such a practice technique here. The free-fall, and open hand technique are combined, in my own practice, with other techniques that involve close-key and softer playing. Neither freefall nor open hand produce anything that could even remotely be described as "pain" or even "tension" if done in a relaxed manner.

By the way, my use of the term "free-fall" is really a practice extension of a playing technique. Bolet did not use the words "free fall". But the expression seems to me to imply that little additional force is involved other than gravity. It has been advocated by many pedagogues, including Karl Leimer, who wrote:

"Bend the arm, keeping the elbow, wrist and fingers in a fixed position but free of stiffness. The fingers must be firmly set in order to strike the desired keys. The arm should fall loosely from the shoulder joint; the fingers should perform the function of aiming at the respective keys without unnecessary maneuvers.... The free fall and touch, which involve fixation, muscular action, firm strokes, flexible and relaxed arms, hands and fingers, can come into their own under one condition only, that is, if fatigue is never prevalent. Where fatigue begins, technique ends."

In near-conclusion, you mentioned that "good pain" can be achieved by playing the entire School of Velocity straight through (personally, I would feel more danger of mental than physical pain if I did that!). On the subject of beginners who read these posts, I would say that the mere mention of such a thing as "good pain", whatever it may mean to you, is a dangerous concept. I cannot imagine that any known pedagogue would say such a thing. If you can show me an example, I would be astonished, not that I am dismissing the possibility outright! Most pedagogues I have read suggest immediately stopping at the first sign of pain or tension, not working through it for the purpose of reaping the benefits of this "good pain". I could easily be wrong in this, but I need to see it. It does "take all kinds" though, so chances are that some known quantity has previously suggested this approach. I'd just love to know who! And then, all I could say is: "I disagree".

"Awkwardness", "weakness", "lack of control", "stiffness" that requires warming up - these things I know. But "good pain" or positive, result-producing tension are foreign to me. I suspect (and hope) that all this boils down to semantics!

In the end, no two pianists work in the same way. It is a certainty that personal practice or playing techniques of some will seem ridiculous and useless, or even dangerous to others. I am merely expressing a personal opinion here.... that "pain" (as opposed to a transitory "tension" or "fatigue") of any type or degree has no place in my practice or playing, and I certainly do not feel that I am, as you suggested, "not challenging myself enough" because I choose not to inflict discomfort upon myself during practice! I assure you that there are quite enough challenges in learning to play difficult music well without adding the challenge of withstanding self-inflicted pain. If it works for you, what can I say but that I chose another path?

I advise on the basis of my beliefs, as would any teacher. If Teddy's "pain" and "hurt" were not clearly expressed to reflect his actual experience, I still would rather err on the side of caution in my suggestions. It would be irresponsible not to take him at his word, lacking further elucidation from him.

I would add that discussions on a message board are susceptible to misinterpretation, as they do not allow the instant corrections and adjustments in communication that personal discussions allow, whether in descriptions of experiences, or in clarity of meaning in general.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2009 7:38 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:22 pm
Posts: 61
Location: currently California, USA
WARNING!!! WARNING!!! WARNING!!! WARNING!!! WARNING!!! WARNING!!!

THE FOLLOWING POST WAS WRITTEN BY A MADMAN WHO HIMSELF HAS SUFFERED FROM
INJURIES TO THE HANDS FROM HIS EXTREME APPROACH TOWARDS PRACTICE. IT WAS
ALSO WRITTEN UNDER THE ASSUMPTION THAT ALL WHO READ IT WILL NOT TAKE
ANYTHING TOO SERIOUSLY ABOUT IT.

WE FURTHERMORE STRONGLY SUGGEST THAT ONE CONSULT FIRST WITH A DULY
LICENSED AND CERTIFIED PEDAGOGUE CONCERNING ANY AND ALL PRACTICES
CONTAINED HEREIN. ALSO PLEASE NOTE THAT SOME OF THE THINGS
DISCUSSED MIGHT REALLY REALLY DISGUST SOME PEOPLE THAT ARE
A BIT SQUEAMISH, SO IF YOU CAN'T STAND FINGERNAILS ON A CHALKBOARD THEN
DO NOT READ THIS POST. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED, FOOLISH MORTALS.

OH YEAH, ...

THE VIEWS REPRESENTED IN THE FOLLOWING POST DO NOT NECESSARILY
REPRESENT THE VIEWS OF PIANO SOCIETY OR ANY OF ITS OTHER MEMBERS, AND FURTHER
ASSUMES NO LIABILITY FOR ANYTHING IMPLIED, SUGGESTED, OR OTHERWISE, ETC ETC ETC

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

camaysar wrote:
... "Awkwardness", "weakness", "lack of control", "stiffness" that requires warming up - these things I know. But "good pain" or positive, result-producing tension are foreign to me. I suspect (and hope) that all this boils down to semantics!...


camaysar wrote:
...
Quote:
This type of "pain" ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS goes away within a couple of hours.


I cannot imagine feeling uncomfortable (can we agree that anything described as "pain" is uncomfortable?) after-effects of a practice session for 2 hours!...


Sometimes after playing through something as vigorous as Rachmaninoff's First Piano Sonata followed immediately by his Second Piano Sonata, I must get up from the bench just to shake out the "pain" in my hands. Sometimes this "pain" even persists for quite a while as I take a break and try to do something else (after wiping away all the sweat, tears, blood, etc). Back in my early twenties I can remember more than once ripping open one of my fingers in an abrasion from a sharp cracked corner of an ivory key that left blood dripping and trickling all over the keyboard, yet still I played on. Even today sometimes the edge of a rusty hinge or somesuch will be quite painful when scraped against while playing, that I'll usually just ignore. Not to mention when an untrimmed 1/8"+ fingernail (cf. other thread on "Nail Care") happens to catch sideways between two notes during a vivace passage and tears away a little from the flesh. All of these are examples of pain that occurs during practice that goes away within a couple of hours. Yet since we were discussing muscular pain (I think) only the first one of these examples need be considered further.

As one begins to play songs of longer and longer duration, he will necessarily need to continue to build up endurance and stamina as well. This was what I meant when I said good pain. As long as no muscle tissue is torn, and no bones have been splintered or cracked, let alone fingernails ripped from the flesh, then the pain that one can sometimes feel after an especially vigorous practice session should cause no great long-term injury. Obviously if someone pushes themselves too hard or too far all at once (or without stretching or shaking out the tension beforehand), they might cause the muscles to rip away from the attachments which can cause permanent damage. This tearing of muscle tissue is the main concern that I would have with trying to overdue one's practicing. When one overexerts themselves, the pain will stay with you for weeks if not months, and THIS is the type of pain that one should avoid AT ALL COSTS.

There becomes a way to differentiate between the two levels of exertion, unfortunately, only after you've either been very lucky once, or after you're totally screwed. My Bartok injury was very lucky, Schumann was screwed. The best advice that I could give (as a non-pedagogue), would be to err on the side of caution, but sometimes even artists and musicians lose track of where their bodies are at concerning overexertion. Some helpful advice might be to study human anatomy to learn the internal structure of the hand ("Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body", the book from 1918, NOT the TV series, is a great resource), and other advice might be to practice Yoga to become more aware of just how each part of your body feels as you play. I do realize however that during performance sometimes that last thing one thinks about is how the body feels. For example, once when I was channeling the dead spirit of Mozart, he just kept demanding "schneller noch, schneller noch" ("faster, faster"), and even though at the time I was playing the passage to the fastest of my ability, he still DEMANDED more! So comply I did, just to keep his spirit from drifting back into the mists. Luckily there was no injury from that incident, but at the time I was just so psyched to be getting a lesson from Mozart that worries about how my body felt at the time were totally inconsequential to me.

The point that I guess I'm trying to make is that, I can completely relate to someone feeling fatigued from building up the muscles in the hand; for without toned musculature, it would become near impossible for one to play any kind of marathon sessions or lengthy pieces which naturally includes many of the world's greatest pieces. But this type of pain is VERY different from structural damage that can't be easily repaired, and cuts short one's ability to perform which almost always happens by sharp movements such as an untrained "free-fall", or by unnatural twisting or dislocation, or muscular tears from working out too hard without stretching first. I'm sure that someone will misinterpret this so ... :roll:

camaysar wrote:
...In near-conclusion, you mentioned that "good pain" can be achieved by playing the entire School of Velocity straight through (personally, I would feel more danger of mental than physical pain if I did that!)....


__________ :lol: _____________________ :lol:

But didn't someone tell you ... We're all mad here!!!

:lol: ______________ :lol: _____ :lol: __________ :lol:

Love is the law, love under will.
Aryobrand


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2009 3:17 pm 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:38 pm
Posts: 8532
Michael, I just want to say that I really enjoy your posts! :)

(And can you please tell me how to channel Chopin?)

_________________
"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2009 9:41 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun May 17, 2009 6:47 pm
Posts: 102
Location: New York City
Aryobrand, as I suspected, it's mostly semantics.

Quote:
Obviously if someone pushes themselves too hard or too far all at once (or without stretching or shaking out the tension beforehand)


or immediately after feeling discomfort?

Quote:
they might cause the muscles to rip away from the attachments which can cause permanent damage. This tearing of muscle tissue is the main concern that I would have with trying to overdue one's practicing. When one overexerts themselves, the pain will stay with you for weeks if not months, and THIS is the type of pain that one should avoid AT ALL COSTS.


This is exactly what I have been saying all along. We are both talking about overexertion. What you call pain, I call transitory tension, which is a normal part of technical development and super-repetitive daily practice. Perhaps that is what Teddy meant (remember Teddy? :o ). My concern about his post was his statement that he "works through it even though it hurts". I stop as soon as I **begin** to feel it. I don't think, "ah, here comes the good pain... I'll keep going for another 10 minutes". What Teddy said sounded dangerously close to that. My only uncertainty about his post was about knowing when to stop. Does he really? Do we? I believe, as you also believe, that working too long even while experiencing this non-traumatic tension can become damaging. I "err on the side of caution" (is this a new Piano Society stock phrase?) and stop. I still have trouble with your "2-hour pain limit" :? But, I'm me, not you.

Yeah, I can be hyper-serious when I'm not being idiotic (you may think "at the same time as ..."). Thanks for the balance!! Your introduction made me laugh out loud!

By the way, what happened to your hand? You mentioned Bartok. Can you describe the cause and symptoms? I'm very interested.

James


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 1:07 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:22 pm
Posts: 61
Location: currently California, USA
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

camaysar wrote:
...My concern about his post was his statement that he "works through it even though it hurts". I stop as soon as I **begin** to feel it. I don't think, "ah, here comes the good pain... I'll keep going for another 10 minutes"....


Part of my point was that sometimes I just work through the pain as well. For example, when playing through an entire book at one sitting of Czerny or somesuch, about the sixth through eighth exercise through I will end up looking for passages where there is no right hand motion just to shake out the tension from my right hand while continuing to play the left hand. Same for the other way around if it's my left hand that's beginning to experience transitory tension. I know from past experience that this technique is HIGHLY risky, but due to previous experiences I can pretty much gauge if the level of tension is TOO high to continue or not. If I sense that there is just too much tension at that moment I will usually stop for one-half hour to an hour, then return to practice if I feel up to it. Like I said above this technique is HIGHLY risky, and I should know better by now, but ... ah, well.

camaysar wrote:
...I still have trouble with your "2-hour pain limit" :? But, I'm me, not you....


I probably had developed such a high pain threshold from my previous studies into body-building, back when I was much younger. Through the techniques of working out (in a gym), I came to notice the different levels of pain that one experiences. This is why even though I was trying to avoid using the phrase "working out too hard without stretching first", I finally could state my point in no other way. You get a feel for what the muscle is doing when you work with pushing them to their limits. Although I would never even THINK of pushing the muscles of my hand to those kind of extremes ("strip sets", "Haney burns", etc), the fundamental conscious feeling of muscular tension is still present. Obviously someone who has not had a lot of exposure to long hours of muscular pain might have some difficulties in gauging the level of tension, i.e. as to its recoverability or otherwise; and therefore the best policy should remain "err on the side of caution".

camaysar wrote:
...By the way, what happened to your hand? You mentioned Bartok. Can you describe the cause and symptoms? I'm very interested....


Well, the cause of this temporary injury was my own stupidity. :oops: The background for my stupidity was working on a piece that I had never played before "Allegro Barbaro" by Bartok. If you're familiar with it he varies the intensities considerably at one point going from a pppp to a f sff. The trouble that I had was that I had never really done a lot of work with as many octaves and wide intervals before, and so naturally the muscles in my hand were not up to the task of playing this piece "fully" yet. In a rush to try to get a recording out, I pushed myself way too hard and coming down on a sff, my right hand just went ZAP like an electric shock almost. Being "inspired" at the time :roll:, of course I kept going to finish the song (like a total idiot), then when I finished I didn't really feel the pain that much. Owing to my previous experiences I knew that I MUST stop at that point, and ended the practice session with lots of hand massage and stretching. I thought everything would be fine, but for about the next two to three months every time I tried to play anything above a mf with the right hand I would receive a shock of pain. It's back to normal now (or what can be thought of as normal for me ;) ), so I usually don't have much trouble and I count myself very, VERY lucky. :oops:

Because of that incident I will NEVER even sit at a piano bench with out slowly stretching out the muscles in my hands and shaking out any tension that's there, ... although sometimes I still do love a marathon session. 8)

Love is the law, love under will.
Aryobrand


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 1:27 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:22 pm
Posts: 61
Location: currently California, USA
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

pianolady wrote:
Michael, I just want to say that I really enjoy your posts! :)

(And can you please tell me how to channel Chopin?)


Hey Monica, and thanks!

I recall that you've asked this question before and wasn't sure if you were just joking around or if you were serious or not. I've actually thought of answering this question before, but I'm just kind of unsure of how to answer. I'm definitely NOT ignoring you (although it might have seemed like that due to the non-response), I'll just have to try to think about how to answer.
.
.
.
For me ... I have to work myself into the proper trance-state for at least a month before doing any kind of deep spiritual work with visions or converse with the spirit world. You see I live somewhat of a double life, much of the time (and unfortunately MOST of time recently) I have to maintain the intellect-centred 9 to 5 mentality just to be able to interact properly with the 9 to 5 type world. In order to get into altered states of consciousness (where such experiences take place) takes some preparation. 666 (Aleister Crowley) often said "Enflame Thyself with Prayer", and that gives a good general idea of how to reach the first stage. As to the subsequent levels, I'll have to think about how to explain it more deeply, as, if I tell you just to call them forth, it probably won't mean to you what I mean it to mean, you know what I mean? :? Fortunately for me, and oft times unfortunately as well, I've had and received visions and glimpses into the other worlds since I was a little boy, and that also includes sometimes seeing the spirits of the deceased. Many times the rest of the family are off at a funeral due to a death in the family, but the deceased is actually sitting with me talking, wondering "Why are they all so sad, it's great over here."

At least for me, there's usually no need for sacrifices and graveyard fieldtrips, although the fieldtrips can be fun, too. :wink: Let me ponder the question a bit and think if I can explain it later in better terms... Sorry for not being of much help. :cry:

Love is the law, love under will.
Aryobrand


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 4:59 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun May 17, 2009 6:47 pm
Posts: 102
Location: New York City
Hi aryobrand,

Your description of your injury - how you got it and its effect - is the most valuable part of this whole discussion.

By the way, we have another common interest. I collect old manuscripts of practical kabbalah, mostly in Hebrew, and some Arabic. I've read Crowley on gematria, etc. I forget the book... is it "777", or is that just a part of it? He explained the commonly-used techniques of letter manipulation. I read Eliphas Levi, Papus, Waite, Mathers, etc. (some earlier writers) as a teen, but my interest in "Magick" turned to traditional "Magic" - the semitic variety. Now I collect and translate books of segulot, refuot, kameot, etc. as a "hobby". Here's a couple of pages of a manuscript in my collection, from late 17th - early 18th century Europe. The content will doubtless look familiar to you. I also compose and write amulets (kame'ot) on parchment for people.

Nice to meet you, and be careful out there!

James


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 7:54 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:22 pm
Posts: 61
Location: currently California, USA
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Alas... I feel that we are of opposite schools ...

Image

No matter, ... if we both love Scriabin. :)

Love is the law, love under will.
Aryobrand

P.S. I've also added some other information under the "Composing" sub-forum in the Thread entitled Scriabin's Harmony


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 12:15 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun May 17, 2009 6:47 pm
Posts: 102
Location: New York City
Well, we've certainly made a beautiful webpage together!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 1:51 pm 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:38 pm
Posts: 8532
Wow – I am just blown away here. Both of your interests (Michael and James) are very interesting! :wink: :lol: I’ve only dabbled in some of these things for a project I was working on but have always felt that if I had more time, I’d like to study it more.

Michael – I am serious. I just wasn’t sure if you were. I’ve read books and things and attempted to go into that ‘special’ place in my mind so that I can ‘receive’ visits from certain people, but I lack patience and more thorough knowledge of how to actually get into that state of being so it never worked. And I’m sure I would faint if Chopin actually did come to me, but I’d be ready for him the next time. So if you think that you could possibly write down some instructions which I could try, I’d be very grateful. I am most of the time very bored with my everyday life so I could use the diversion. It’s ok if you think I am being ridiculous and there is no chance that it could work for me. But if you do, then perhaps you may want to continue this conversation in private? You can email me or send me private messages here on the forum. Whatever you want is fine with me. But I just thought of something else: When Mozart visited you, were you able to ask him questions? You know where I’m going with this….you connect with Chopin and then read him the list of questions I’ve given you. :D

_________________
"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 6:52 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun May 17, 2009 6:47 pm
Posts: 102
Location: New York City
Quote:
P.S. I've also added some other information under the "Composing" sub-forum ... Scriabin's Harmony


See my post there. (And I knew you would recognize the ms. page with "angel writing".)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2009 2:59 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:45 am
Posts: 113
Location: Manteca, CA
My god, i'd just like to give both of you a hug. You know we could just start a topic in the general section about babbling religions. We could pull our hair out, wet our pants with laughter, and maybe even scream blasphemy while clutching garlic!(Oh dear god, do i love garlic...)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2009 12:46 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun May 17, 2009 6:47 pm
Posts: 102
Location: New York City
Hi Lukecash,

Sorry if I sounded overly-critical back there. I was just putting forth my views relative to yours. But I know we can be sensitive online, myself included! People, through their posts, can really make you feel bad, so I try to avoid doing that. But one cannot always predict another's reactions. Here's a big hug! :D

By the way I also love garlic, but love blasphemy even more!

James


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 31 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 1 hour


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group