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Bartok- First Term at the Piano #1, 2, 3

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by juufa72, Jan 10, 2007.

  1. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    So I discovered 23 "simple" pieces for children composed by Bartok. Surprisingly these were harder than I thought.

    One would think that such simple pieces could be, well, easy to pull off; I can't do it without mistakes or getting so mad that I wish to punch a hole in my wall. Then you ask me, "so why not play more difficult pieces?" Because then I will have many slips and wrong notes played. So I guess I can't play easy pieces and I can't play hard pieces (my version of hard pieces would be Chopin's Mazurka op.33 #4 which I played once for a informal recital, and I stumbled greatly--70% satisfactory-- but yet in private and without a recorder I could play 95%, but then again that is subjective).

    With this in mind I present to you Bartok's simple pieces named "First Term at the Piano" and the first page of exercises: "Step One", "Walking", and "Little Invention"

    Please refrain from laughter at my skill, piece selection, and keyboard. I tried my best. :wink:

    Thank you,
    -JG
     
  2. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    EDIT: I believe I deleted "Walking" somehow. So you'll just have to wait until I rerecord it. :x
     
  3. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    These were note perfect.

    But Juufa, you have played harder pieces than this. What gives?
     
  4. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I'm just trying to expand Pianosociety's database with pieces seldomly heard. Go ahead, check out anyother database and you will see a gagillion recordings of Moonlight Sonata, Hungarian Rhaposdy #2, Raindrop prelude, revolutionary etude, Claire de lune, etc! Gah! There is only so much I can take of the same stuff over and over and over again.

    -JG

    p.s. C.P.E Bach's Sonata is giving me bouts of temper swings and vulgarity rarely heard from me! :evil:
     
  5. schmonz

    schmonz Amitai Schlair Piano Society Artist

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    Hear, hear! May I recommend the three books of Medtner on Dover? :) :)
     
  6. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I wonder whether that 'First step' was actually intended for performance - it's pretty lame.
    The Little Invention is altrady a bit more interesting, but not much more so. You played it well, but do not seem to observe the slurring. This kind of music (Bartok in native/educational mood) is often closely related to song, and there should definitely be some breathing space between the phrases - or otherwise the slurs would have no meaning at all. And Bartok is always extremely precise about what he means. Now, go and complete that cycle, it gets more interesting once you progress (from the look of it, I've not played it myself).

    Also, consider Mikrokosmos which has just a bit more meat than this, as early as the second book.
     
  7. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    The thing is...I was never told (or I was but forgot) how to "slur". What do you mean by slurring? I can read a music dictionary but that does not tell me how to play it. Do I use the pedal? Do I hold down the notes until I run out of fingers to use?

    I know there is no meat to this volume. I consider them "studies" to help the beginner. Would you not call it on the same level as an etude? Back in the day no one thought that etudes were worthy for performances, but look at today's pianist, if one does not play a famous etude one is not accomplished!

    If you don't want to expand the database with the beginnings of this set then it is fine by me. I thought that I could just help build this website. Who knows--maybe there is a young beginner out there who is looking for a recording of "First term at the piano" and cannot find one. Oh well.

    I will record what I feel that I have done well. I am no superman or a fantastic sightreader. It took me about 20 minutes to "perfect" the first piece and that is after a few days of working with it.

    If you decide to put this up on the site then I will add to it slowly along with Tchaikovsky's Album for the Young. But it takes time and slow teadious practicing.

    Thank you. -JG
     
  8. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hmmm... this is fairly basic knowledge if you want to play the piano....................

    The slur is the long curved line above the notes. It has nothing to do, obviously, with using pedal or keeping fingers on the keys. All it means that you play everything inside the slur a perfect legato, and that between slursp, you clearly lift the hands from the keyboard and make a little breathing space, like a singer would have to do when singing it. If you look at the slurring of these pieces you see that they are like songs, with strophes that could be sang (Bartok was very aware of this vocal element in his writing, and hugely inspired by native singing).

    Oh, stop whining :roll:
    For your information, I need about 2 hours to polish and record a little one-page organ piece that I already know very well (and in fact had already recorded earlier). And even then it's not perfect. So don't think that we don't all need to sweat on a recording.

    I would consider putting the First Term on the site but on following conditions:

    1) You do the complete cycle, and deliver it in one track. These are too short and simple to make them into separate downloadable tracks. Just not worth the effort, and you don''t want to be on the site with a 20-second track of not even two dozen notes. BTW My Dover book has only 17 items, not 23 !?

    2) You perform them perfectly. In kid stuff like this there is no excuse for making mistakes or playing anything that is not written (or not playing anything that's written). Your target audience needs a role model here, and that you can be - you are not an absolute beginner even if you make it sound like you are sometimes.

    Now this should not be such a daunting task, and then we'll have something worthwhile that you can be proud of, and that can be a great service to young people learning the piano.
     
  9. MindenBlues

    MindenBlues New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Regarding slurs, Chris is entirely right of course. Also that it has not necessarily something to do with using sustain pedal or keeping fingers on the keys. However, both things are commonly used tools to get a singing like phrase within a slur.

    For romantique music, all things what helps to imitate a singing phrase helps to improve the playing of a slur.

    Beside what was already mentioned, it is also that it usually starts and ends soft and has a climax within the phrase - of course depending on the content of the phrase and there are exeptions that the beginning and/or end is louder. But in general it is so.

    Furthermore, singer tend to delay their beginning of a phrase (also because of breathing after the phrase before!) but like to sing longer at the end. It would be consequent to imitate that too (that is what I don't do, but would be valid - or are there other opinions on that?).

    Hey, that comforts me a bit. In the other thread you did not mention that these 2 hours are only for polishing. You made me believe that you need 2 hours at a whole for a, let's say one page of an average Orgelbüchlein piece (however nothing is average in those pieces...).
     
  10. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    [OT]
    I have done that in the past , just start on a new one and record it in one session. But the result of that kind of approach is no longer satisfatory. Would work only for the simplest of pieces.
     

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