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 Post subject: Re: Chopin
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:21 am 
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richard66 wrote:
Let me try again... Do you, Rainer, still hear an extra note? This time I caught it and knew just what to do!
No I don't. Bar 7 is fine now. Well done!

A few other points though.

I still think the ending slows down a little bit too much, i.e. the minim rest and the minim chords could do with being a bit shorter. Not enough to bother re-recording were it not for the following:

There is an unfortunate creaking noise just after the final chord has started. Must be the horse successfully keeping the cuckoo quiet.

There is something not quite right about the rhythm in bar 18 (at about 1:10, where the RH has the triplet). I've not commented on this before because I couldn't quite work out what it was exactly, but I think I've now figured out what it is. While with Chopin one can and should be quite flexible when the two hands have different rhythms, I think there is a limit to how flexible you can be in a simple 3 against 2 situation, especially when you are keeping the rest of the piece by and large fairly metronomic for now, and therefore I think it is worth putting a little effort into getting this bar's rhythm correct too. You want to avoid disrupting the LH quaver pulse here while the RH plays the triplet.

During the second beat of the bar, we should get four sounds, in the following sequence:
1) The RH high E together with the LH low A.
2) The RH low E.
3) The LH chord E=F#-C.
4) The RH A.

And indeed all the above do happen, and in the right sequence, but not quite at the right times. (1) and (2) are OK, and it is apparent that you have speeded up so that (2) happens one third of a beat after (1), which is good.

But the problem is that (3) should happen half a beat after (1), and (4) should happen 1/3 of a beat after (2) [or 2/3 of a beat after (1)], whereas it sounds to me as if (3) and (4) are both late, and that you are playing (3) 1/3 of a beat after (2), and (4) 1/3 of a beat after (3). In other words, the four events (1) to (4) are occurring at roughly equal time intervals of about a triplet each. The result is that beat 3 of the bar (where RH plays F#) is a triplet late.

Finally, on the point Monica raised about input volume, I wonder, are you doing any post-processing? If so, does it involve equalization? Perhaps that is what is beefing up the volume too much. Remember that even at the climax the dynamic does not rise above single forte.


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 Post subject: Re: Chopin
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:12 pm 
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rainer wrote:
richard66 wrote:
Let me try again... Do you, Rainer, still hear an extra note? This time I caught it and knew just what to do!
No I don't. Bar 7 is fine now. Well done!

A few other points though.

I still think the ending slows down a little bit too much, i.e. the minim rest and the minim chords could do with being a bit shorter. Not enough to bother re-recording were it not for the following:

There is an unfortunate creaking noise just after the final chord has started. Must be the horse successfully keeping the cuckoo quiet.

There is something not quite right about the rhythm in bar 18 (at about 1:10, where the RH has the triplet). I've not commented on this before because I couldn't quite work out what it was exactly, but I think I've now figured out what it is. While with Chopin one can and should be quite flexible when the two hands have different rhythms, I think there is a limit to how flexible you can be in a simple 3 against 2 situation, especially when you are keeping the rest of the piece by and large fairly metronomic for now, and therefore I think it is worth putting a little effort into getting this bar's rhythm correct too. You want to avoid disrupting the LH quaver pulse here while the RH plays the triplet.

During the second beat of the bar, we should get four sounds, in the following sequence:
1) The RH high E together with the LH low A.
2) The RH low E.
3) The LH chord E=F#-C.
4) The RH A.

And indeed all the above do happen, and in the right sequence, but not quite at the right times. (1) and (2) are OK, and it is apparent that you have speeded up so that (2) happens one third of a beat after (1), which is good.

But the problem is that (3) should happen half a beat after (1), and (4) should happen 1/3 of a beat after (2) [or 2/3 of a beat after (1)], whereas it sounds to me as if (3) and (4) are both late, and that you are playing (3) 1/3 of a beat after (2), and (4) 1/3 of a beat after (3). In other words, the four events (1) to (4) are occurring at roughly equal time intervals of about a triplet each. The result is that beat 3 of the bar (where RH plays F#) is a triplet late.

Finally, on the point Monica raised about input volume, I wonder, are you doing any post-processing? If so, does it involve equalization? Perhaps that is what is beefing up the volume too much. Remember that even at the climax the dynamic does not rise above single forte.


The creaking noise is cause by the action of the pedal. I tried to cut it out, but the result was worse. If I had noticed it before I had turned the recorder off, I would have redone the coda. As it is, I only noticed while editing.

The reason only now you can pinpoint it is because this time i spaced the triplet more than in other recordings. I am afraid that if we are aiming at perfection, we are not going to have it. While this might not be the best recording of the prelude on the site, I find it far better than some of those which have made the grade. One of them I had to switch off after a few seconds, because the pianist (no names, please) seemed incapable of keeping a steady pulse (RUBATO, of course) nad not two quavers was the same length. One of them is quite good, in my opinion, and I have it saved on my computer.

The piano is not in the middle of the room, but closer to the left wall than to the right (in the midlle it would block the window). Where I place the recorder is a little more to the centre of the room (and therefore in a straight line with the lower range strings of the piano), but still slightly to the left, the result being that almost always the left hand volume is louder in the recordings and that I have to de-amplify or whatever the word is (there is one) the left chanel, so that both are roughly equal.

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:42 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
The creaking noise is cause by the action of the pedal. I tried to cut it out, but the result was worse. If I had noticed it before I had turned the recorder off, I would have redone the coda. As it is, I only noticed while editing.
Bad luck! If the creaking pedal was a one-off occurrence, please disregard the rest of this paragraph. Otherwise, if the creaking is a regular problem, I presume you have developed a technique for minimising it, which involves concentrating on precisely how you move your foot. Just as with other aspects of playing, slight lapses in concentration are to be expected and this is one instance where the creaking may have been due to such a lapse. There are limits to our power of concentration, and without meaning this to sound nasty, the concentration you expend on anti-creak foot control could more usefully be expended on other aspects of your playing. Would it not be worth simply repairing the mechanical problem which causes the creaking, so that you could free up spare concentrative capacity? A repair need not necessarily involve paying a piano technician a fortune, and may be something you can tackle yourself. I had a similar problem on my piano: Wear on the pedal's pivot caused it to become quite floppy and prone to sideways movement and a bit of creaking too. The fix (temporary at least) was to restrict the sideways movement by lining the channel through which the pedal enters the piano casing (I'm talking about an upright here) with folded cardboard, cut out of a cornflakes packet. :idea:
Quote:
The reason only now you can pinpoint it is because this time i spaced the triplet more than in other recordings.
No, I noticed it in the two previous versions too, but only this time did I resolve to get to the bottom of what was going on.
Quote:
I am afraid that if we are aiming at perfection, we are not going to have it.
What a defeatist attitude, even though there is a lot of truth in it (for everyone). Perfection is something most of us will never achieve, largely because it's a moving target. The closer we get to what we once thought was perfection, the more we become aware that there is more to it than we had imagined, and we then set ourselves ever higher standards. In the final analysis, the constant striving towards perfection is more important than actually achieving it (Wer immer strebend sich bemüht, den können wir erlösen (Goethe, Faust)). The journey itself is more important than its destination. Sorry for waxing philosophical. The point is, don't give up too easily. This 2 against 3 thing is a very useful problem to solve because you will come across it fairly often.

Do you have the Mozart sonatas? Look at the F major KV332, 1st movement, bars 49-50 (and later again 185-186). I remember working on this while still at school, and I was struggling with getting the rhythm right. My teacher told me (nice man though he was, he really did put it almost as bluntly as this) that if I couldn't get those two (or four) bars right, there wasn't really much point in trying to play the rest of the movement. The remark helped. I persevered, and eventually conquered it. Please don't give up, you owe it to yourself to persevere.
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The piano is not in the middle of the room, but closer to the left wall than to the right (in the midlle it would block the window). Where I place the recorder is a little more to the centre of the room (and therefore in a straight line with the lower range strings of the piano), but still slightly to the left, the result being that almost always the left hand volume is louder in the recordings and that I have to de-amplify or whatever the word is (there is one)
attenuate?
Quote:
the left chanel, so that both are roughly equal.
I see. Would another possibility be to interpose an item of furniture (maybe a chair, perhaps with a coat draped over its back) between the microphone and the piano in such a way that its direct "view" of the lower range strings is equally as obscured as its view of the higher range strings, so that it picks up more of the reflected sound than direct?


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 Post subject: Re: Chopin
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 7:04 pm 
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Another go...

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 12:40 am 
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richard66 wrote:
Another go...
It's sounding more and more confident. The triplet in bar 18 is still not quite right, but let's not worry about that until you play the Mozart. :shock:

Were these creaks always there or am I just noticing them more? There are several, including one which would have been easy to edit out because it comes far enough after the last chord has subsided.

You're very patient with me concerning this minim rest at the end. I tell you to make it longer, and you do, then I tell you it's too long, and you make it shorter. Now it's too short again. :( Try to feel the quaver pulse of the previous bar continuing. You are duly holding the minim chord in the 3rd last bar for pretty well exactly 4 quavers, as printed, which is good, but then you are holding the rest for only 3 quavers worth of time. I reckon it should last a full 4 quavers, plus a little bit extra to pay lip service to the fermata. I don't think you should count to more than 4 during the rest, but just count the 4 quavers a little more slowly, not too much. Then play the following minim chords at the same speed as the rest, or a little slower still. At the moment you are playing them at about half the normal tempo, which I think is just too indulgent.


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 Post subject: Re: Chopin
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 5:21 pm 
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It's sounding better, although I wouldn't mind a little bit slower. And I know it's very hard, but if only your LH could be even slightly softer it would make a big difference. Rhythmically, the only thing that bothers me is the triplet in the RH that leads back to the main theme. You're almost there, Richard! :)

p.s. please private message me the name of the pianist with the terrible recording. We're trying to weed out old recordings that may have been acceptable in the early days, but are no longer because of our higher standards.

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin
PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 8:57 am 
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What bothers you about that triplet?

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin
PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:11 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
What bothers you about that triplet?
Oh, I missed this because I was concentrating on the triplet in bar 18 and on the ending. Presumably Monica means the one in bar 12.

There is a rhythmic unevenness which, by the way, was not present in your previous 3 versions, and will therefore probably fix itself in the next version without your having to think too much about it.

What is wrong with these three triplets is that they are sounding almost exactly like a quaver followed by two semiquavers. While this does of course have the effect of making the bar last the "correct" amount of time (exactly 8 quavers), in this particular place (unlike bar 18) that level of precision is not needed (and probably not even desired). This is one place where you should just feel instead of count. For example, it would be fine to play the second half of the bar like a quintuplet with rubato, starting under speed and accelerating a little. It's OK to be quite flexible here, but within limits so that the rhythm retains smoothness. Making it into an 8th plus two 16ths breaks the smoothness.


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 Post subject: Re: Chopin
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:16 pm 
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Richard,
I still had an earlier copy and could compare. There has been a lot of improvement, although your tempo is getting a little fast. I've heard others play it this fast, so it's still a matter of taste.
The triplets.... Most pianists have problems with the triplets in this piece. Why? I'm sure I don't know, but I do know that a couple of practice runs in which the triplets are the only things that exist might be good.
Some of my teachers would have made me sing those passages, in order to remove the mechanical distraction of the hands.
(Singing this piece also helps one understand just how long the phrases are! Whew - I'm glad I quit smoking.)

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:12 pm 
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Yes, it is getting too fast. I had Monica say that and what do I do? I play it even faster... Hopefully oe day I will get it right.

So many things get in the way of playing: hands, reading the score and so on. Yours is a good idea.

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin
PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 2:01 pm 
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why so much concern about the levare on the "0" bar? you can linger these notes *at will* and play A TEMPO only in bar 1 (you can even linger the first LH chord of bar 1, and play A TEMPO only later. =D ). no problem on it! Personally, I would linger them more than Richard did in this last recording. with no guilty conscience. :lol:

what I'd highly recommend (but it's also very difficult, and it takes time to play it "naturally") is to add a lot o tempo fluctuation. in this piece with repeated chords on LH you could linger the first chord of each beat more than the others, and rush the others a little. there are other passages where you can drag, like the crescendo in measure 9, for example (harmonically, there are sevenths, and dragging this passage is my suggestion to convey the listener of this harmonic effect).
you can also play it more rushed after bar 13, and then calm down at bar 19, antecipating or "preparing" the "smorzando" that appears later.

it must be clear that each one has a view of this piece, and it's really a simple one with lots of nuances, really difficult to play, so if you pay attention to what everyone says (including me), you'll never end preparing this piece. =D

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 8:48 pm 
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Thank you Luis.

I agree with you about the first bar, as it is an "introduction" to the prelude and, as the figure does not repeat itself (not as would have been the case with Bach), the lenghth one takes does not really distract. The same applies to the last three chords. Where I do not agree is with rubato in between those two milestones, let us call them. I feel the left hand must be precise and would only apply a little rubato in the last bar (or two, I cannot remember) before the "recapitulation", where the right hand plays alone. I feel it as a mini cadenza and adds effect to what follows. At the smorzando, I prefer to mark it with a subtle change of dynamics rather than tempo and add a long pause, before the last three chords. I feel that makes the closing bars welcome relief from the drama that has been acted before.

I feel, however, it is good to try most suggestions (excepting when the suggestion is to do something I have tried before without liking it). Many a time they offer a better solution than the one that I had reached. at times I discard the change, but at others I retain it, because I find it valid.

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:42 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
I agree with you about the first bar, as it is an "introduction" to the prelude and, as the figure does not repeat itself (not as would have been the case with Bach), the lenghth one takes does not really distract.

according to my studies, in Bach's case it would be quite the opposite: the upbeat should be played shorter than its rhythmic writing. and the first note of the of the first bar should be lingered a bit. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:52 pm 
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I really meant that the equivalent figure in Bach is always played n the same manner whenever it reappears.

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:55 pm 
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I think it varies a lot. There is a common Baroque practice which is overdotting, sometimes double dotting. There is also underdotting (when you have triplets in your other hand... so you play the 16th together with the "third" 8th of the tuplet).

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