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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 8:51 am 
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MindenBlues wrote:
pianolady wrote:
Are you using the pedal very much on the 28/3?


That is almost THE question for that prelude to me too. I do like to prolong the very first deep bass note of the LH runs at the beginning of every bar, since it is the fundamental tone of the harmony, that's why I try to let it stand out a bit. Without pedal it gets lost, unfortunately. So I take pedal, mainly to prolong that. The question is how long and how deep. One does not like to get the thing blurred on the other way. A possibility would be half-pedaling in order to prolong that strong bass notes a bit even if the other softer higher notes of the runs are damped. But not easy to get the right level of pedaling. So I rather let the pedal complete down for a half bar or so instead.

Do you take the pedal?


Yes. I have also been experimenting with it. Half-pedalling is so hard to do when the piece is supposed to go fast. I can't concentrate on keeping my fingers moving fast, staying relaxed, and remembering how much to push down on the pedal all at the same time. So basically, I'm leaving it down for practically the whole measure, maybe a little less. It's a little blurred, but when I hear the pros play this, I hear a lot of reverb, and I'm not sure if they are pedalling or not. Maybe we could use the middle pedal for the 1st low note so it could carry through. But since the tempo is fast, I'm not sure I could do that, either. Are you planning on recording this?

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 10:45 am 
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pianolady wrote:
Maybe we could use the middle pedal for the 1st low note so it could carry through. But since the tempo is fast, I'm not sure I could do that, either. Are you planning on recording this?


I also thought on the middle pedal, since the right hand chords are held down anyway, so the bass base note could ring without blurring the LH runs. Unfortunately, I have no middle pedal on my 75 year old piano, so I have no choice beside the normal sustain pedal :roll:
I think, in November or so I let tune my piano again, and try to record some pieces I worked on since short or long or even very, very long time (Chopin 2 little Mazurkas, Chopin g minor ballade with hopefully improvements compared to the recorded video, rerecording of some Bach WTC items). Could try to add that 28/3 prelude too to the "recording list", I like that prelude much. However my organ playing eats much of my given spare time, so not so much time for piano playing.

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 Post subject: Re: How valuable is practicing scales? Any good alternative
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:36 pm 
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I also had that thumb problem, but I often ignored it and it eventually went away. Scales - if done properly can definitely show quick results (increase finger independence and sensitivity) in my experience. I usually perform each scale for two octaves, staccato, lifting the fingers high and emphasizing every third beat (not the 4th as most written scale exercises would instruct). I found that doing them normally is completely useless - you're just memorizing linear movement and fingers remain imbalanced due to such a limited role. When you add the odd emphasis, it drops some of the mental load on the rhythm and makes the physical action more of a subconscious task while also balancing each finger by individually 'giving them the spotlight' so to speak. At least that's my theory on it, but the bottom line that it works. It's a bit difficult in the beginning, but becomes second nature once you get the rhythm down and each scale becomes easier and easier to learn and perform. Just make sure you don't overdo the emphasis or there's a tendency to numb the fingertips. The purpose of practicing scales - other than the tremendous aid in sightreading since you'll know how it 'feels' to navigate a scale, eliminating the need to look - is to expose the imbalances of each finger and correct them, so I would say they're a necessity. I don't think there's any alternative that can deliver such results as raw scales. Liszt even took it to the next level and mismatched the fingerings for different scales because he knew the importance of balance.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:01 pm 
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Quote:
scales are effective as long as you practice in all the major and minor keys. (Unlike Hanon...it likes to stay in one key for 80% of the exercises)


That's not true, Hanon's own instruction was that it was to be played in a variety of articulations in all keys. But nowadays it's only practised in C, at mf or f, and legato - especially for the first 30 or so exercises.

My personal opinion is take what comes and work on it. I've never done scales except what is necessary for stuff like the ABRSM graded exams, and now I do other kinds of exercises: in interest of training my left hand, some Chopin/Godowsky transcriptions of the études, and for octaves, Liszt passages work pretty well. I don't think scales should be studied apart from piano literature, but as part of it, in the context of the piece itself.

Hope this helps!


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 5:27 pm 
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I recommend practicing them in non-conventional ways..

eg. play two different scales at once and change as you ascend (eg. left hand plays C minor and right plays A Major for an octave, then you switch to say... G Major and E Major respectively, then descend, but right hand goes down in C minor then G Major and left goes down in A Major then E Major)

Also, playing two C major scales at the same time, but right hand gets different rhythms.

Most simple ones I can tell you...

Left hand gets 1 octave
right hand goes up 2x speed and does 2 octaves

Left hand gets 1 octave
right hand gets poly rhythm 2/3, and goes up 3 octaves

you could also do 3 against 4 and mix it up as well as you ascend and descend.

This is a good way to enforce your hand independence..

but yeah...

Bach.... WTC and Inventions and Sinfonias will get you more hand independence than any exercise that I've ever come into contact with.

EDIT:
also, don't forget to alternate your scales with staccatos and legatos, and when using legato: NO PEDAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 5:34 pm 
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I'm sorry if somebody has said this before in this thread or another, but practicing scales is
fundamental to eventually making your own music (i.e., composing and improvising).
If you don't care about making your own music then I agree with everybody that says
they are not that important, but I know many musicians that will sneer at a player that
can't play a solo over some simple chord progressions.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:41 pm 
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I can, as long as it's simple chords...

once I had a chord chart where I was needed to play like...

C# Maj 7-12-32 flat-6

and I'll never forget that....

It was given to me by David Liebman (the famous Sax player.. he lives around me and gives lectures and teaches at the local university)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 9:13 pm 
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Hello asf62,

I suggest you practice scale passages only in pieces you are currently playing rather than spending time with abstract scale exercies. This will help you focus on the problems at hand. When dealing with a challenge, I feel it is best to pick and choose one's priorities with great care. Practice only what you need to practice to improve your interpretation of the piece.

When you play your scale passages, try to zero in on the position that feels best to you.
Without straining any other part of your hand, perhaps you need to turn your wrist a bit to the right or the left. Do not try to compensate too much because you do not want to create a new problem from overuse. Try this slowly.

Try to relax your thumbs as much as you can while away from the piano by placing your hands on a table and tucking your thumbs slightly under your index fingers. I would try to do this a few times a day.

I hope you feel better.

Kaila Rochelle

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:43 pm 
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There has been a long-standing myth in pedagogy about "passing the thumb under the hand" in playing scales. There is actually no need of it. Scales are played more easily and efficiently with the thumb kept beside and parallel to the hand. What it means is that instead of using the third finger as a pivot point and turning the hand with the pivoting and the thumb diving under the palm, you simply move the whole hand laterally into the direction of the scale without the thumb ever ending up under the palm. If you try that, I believe you'll feel the greater ease of playing that way. Likewise, because we learn scales to assist us in playing passage work in repertoire pieces, there again, the thumb should live beside the hand, not under it.

David

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:48 am 
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Location: Piemonte, Italy
Rachfan wrote:
There has been a long-standing myth in pedagogy about "passing the thumb under the hand" in playing scales. There is actually no need of it. Scales are played more easily and efficiently with the thumb kept beside and parallel to the hand. What it means is that instead of using the third finger as a pivot point and turning the hand with the pivoting and the thumb diving under the palm, you simply move the whole hand laterally into the direction of the scale without the thumb ever ending up under the palm. If you try that, I believe you'll feel the greater ease of playing that way. Likewise, because we learn scales to assist us in playing passage work in repertoire pieces, there again, the thumb should live beside the hand, not under it.


How much I agree with you!

And, by the way: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/article-preview?article_id=351

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 2:00 am 
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Hi Alfonso,

Yes, that's interesting that Dinu Lipatti did not subscribe to passing the thumb under the hand. Also, Gyorgy Sandor was opposed to teaching that method of playing scales. Here are some excerpts from his book On Piano Playing.

"... we have to avoid placing the thumb under the palm of the hand at all costs. .... When the critical moment comes for the thumb to follow the third or fourth finger, let us anticipate the event with a slight outward motion of the upper arm (and elbow), a slight lift of the thumb alongside the hand, a slight lowering of the wrist in preparation for the thumb, and then a quiet descent of the thumb to the next note. The size of these individual motions is minimal. This preparation is a perfectly natural, easy motion to execute...."

It surprises me that there are still piano teachers out there training intermediate pupils in passing the thumb under!

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