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 Post subject: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:38 pm 
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Greetings to you wonderful piano keyboard experts and acrobats,

Some 55 years ago, I practiced the piano accordion for about 10 years by ear, but then my working life allowed less time for practice. Later on I discovered my whistling to music (audition my whistled ChopNocturne1. below).
Since the late organist Klaus Wunderlich confirmed (in writing) that my hearing seems all right, thus now in my retirement try to rekindle my past piano Kbd joys on a Yamaha Tyros3. At the moment I just play my Tyros non-stop at any rhythm and fitting melody I find interesting.
It's weird that I never run out of "puff" (i.e. "melody")... says my wife. She finds it interesting and thinks its "a big song". Yet, I reckon my skills are just plain horrible, because I play just bits and pieces of yesteryear's' melodies, which come to mind. When it gets boring, I press "Transpose" and straight away a new melody springs into mind... but it really keeps me going!! :oops:
The sad truth is... my Tyros Kbd is actually "playing me" and I wonder when the day will come on which I'll be playing the Tyros? :?
Thus, since I don't like to get into notation, I would be grateful for some practical advice on how best to advance my dexterity and mind synchronization? I suppose it's merely a matter of practice? Yet, I imagine "the right practice" is important!
I mean, I can hear when some combinations go wrong and thus, immediately correct them, yet progress seems to be very slow. Maybe that' normal? Once a great accordion player told me something similar. Anyway, I developed the habit to practice the piano Kbd for about 2-3 Hrs. and so, hope to getting better with spit and patience.
I'm also toying with the thought of converting my Kbd to a 3-layer Janko/Uniform layout, which I already successfully built, a couple years ago over the Kbd of my old Roland D20 Synth. That would do away with learning (& keep on practicing) additional 11 major and 11 minor scales.
Warm Regards,
Johannes K. Drinda from summery Chile


Last edited by jjj on Fri Apr 06, 2012 6:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:52 pm 
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Hello Johannes, and welcome to Piano Society! :)

This is the most incredible and unusual recording of this nocturne that I have ever heard! :o :o Wow!!!! I was totally unprepared and shocked, but really this is so delightful! And your introduction is a delight too - I am glad you have come here. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:51 pm 
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Odd, beautiful, mesmerizing, definitely musical ... stop-you-in-your-tracks (I'm having difficulty forming complete thoughts). Whatever else can be said, the performance at the piano was very well executed and very musical, in fact, artistic. You need to be on some TV talent show. If I must be critical of something, then let it be said that sometimes the pitch is not accurate. Very interesting!

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"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 12:42 am 
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Thx for the flowers... but you are sooo much better at the keyboard. That's why I was thinking to shower you with some of my whistled piano tunes in the hope that you in turn help me with some practical advice on how I can get better at my Piano Kbd.

That my pitch is "sometimes not accurate" makes me sad. I'm grateful to you to put me right, albeit I won't be ever able to work out, for I'm a lousy musical theorist & mathematician, yet make up for it with emotional feel. :) To blame are the late conductor Stuart Challender (who awarded me $1000 in a musician's competition, organist Klaus Wunderlich (whom I sent 3 audio cassettes), and violinist Jaroslaw Powichrowski & concert pianist Prof. Gerhard Erber etc. I live performed with, for they suffer from bad hearing and flawed musical judgement and made me believe in wrong achievements.
The problem with me is that I embrace music purely emotional; by heart & soul without notation and robotics. That in turn might confuse many strict musicians, focusing onto note-by-note... whereas I conceive the piece note-by-note plus emotional passage-by emotional passage and thus, try to do justice to both entities.
Well, allow me to try again... and see if this time someone of your great piano finger acrobats and artists are willing to kick me to some practical guidelines on how I can get better at my piano Kbd! :)


Last edited by jjj on Fri Apr 06, 2012 6:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 1:43 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:28 am
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Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
But Johannes,
My comment about pitch is about your whistling, not the piano playing. It only happens when you try to reach extremely high notes that are too high for you. You could try bringing it down an octave if needed (if you understand what I mean). Your emotional connection to the music is very evident and captivating.

Best wishes,
Eddy

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Eddy M. del Rio, MD
"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 3:52 am 
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musical-md wrote:
But Johannes,
My comment about pitch is about your whistling, not the piano playing. It only happens when you try to reach extremely high notes that are too high for you. You could try bringing it down an octave if needed (if you understand what I mean). Your emotional connection to the music is very evident and captivating.
Best wishes,
Eddy

Thanks Eddy for the comment. The thing is, I don't think much about whether to whistle high or low. I am totally devoted to the music and to me my whistling sounds right otherwise I would not even whistle it. I happen to enjoy high whistling tunes, because (like a violin) they dominate the melody emotionally. I like to thing that the soul is the most important bit in music.
Sure some high tunes might sound " a little overstretched", yet in most cases (when I apply it) this is a desirable effect. Like in the Warsaw Concerto I introduce lots of "seemingly overdone high tails and tremolo/ vibrato variations", yet again ...I feel they are necessary in the emotional context.
I got professional musicians, who told me that from now on they are going to enjoy the Warsaw Concerto only with my whistling. It's, because when you look at it from the music-lover point of view: it has been emotionally enhanced. That's my endeavor and makes me very happy, when music lovers/ musicians confirm it on their own accord.
My sister plays the flute and objects to my improvisations of Mozart's music. She insists that Mozart did not write them and therefore I should strictly stick to his compositions. Yet, I feel that my improvisations are emotionally in perfect parity with Mozart's creativity and it's the melody itself, which "kick me to indulge in them".
Here's yet another whistled roller-coaster piano performance with lots of high and wrong pitched tunes, yet I reckon it fits the piece!:


Last edited by jjj on Fri Apr 06, 2012 7:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 5:05 am 
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I'm a little confused....you are whistling along with recordings, right? And sorry, but Eddy is correct about your pitch not being accurate on the high notes. Mostly your pitch is good when the notes are mid-range. But those high notes are just simply too high! For anyone! It's very apparent on the Mozart Rondo, although it did sound cute for a little while. "Ave Maria" is okay, except you went up an octave right near the start, and then you go off the melody and improvise a little along with the accompaniment, which I guess I am like your sister in that I don't think one should stray off the melody in this piece (it's one of my favorites) (I don't like when present-day pop singers do that, either). But still, your love of music is obvious and should be commended.

However, when it comes to helping with improving your own piano playing when you admit to playing only by ear, then we have a problem. All of us here have seriously studied with piano teachers for many, many years, and really the best advice for you is to hook up with your own teacher. Playing by ear is good and can enable one to play a lot of music, but think how great it would be if you could also read music! Then you could actually learn to 'play' and also 'whistle along with' some of the music you know and love! :)

Sorry, that's the only advice I can offer you right now. Maybe some other members will have more to say....

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

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano


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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:06 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 11:45 am
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Hello Johannes,
I think the Chopin nocturne is very tastefully an artistically whistled along to. Not sure if adding anything to such a piece is the right thing to do, but it sort of works here. You sound sometimes like a bird and sometimes like a violin played on the highest pitch. The highest notes being a little flat did not bother me so much here.
I've only listened to parts of the other tracks, I found those to get too schmaltzy and operetta-like. Nothing wrong with that per se, but not my thing. I would have no idea to advise you on your keyboard playing. as we don't get to hear any of it here. My advice to everybody wanting to improve their skill and musicality is to play Bach, but as you seem more of an improviser, this may not work for you. Maybe some of the folks here who also improvise have some tips.

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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 5:45 pm 
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Thank you all for the good advice on how to improve my Kbd skills. I might consider the WYSIWYG Klavarskribo notation, for it somewhat limits the theoretical bit.
In regard to my whistling, I suppose it's all a matter of individual musical taste. It's the same with me for not liking Hip-Hop, Rap and most of Metal- & Rock music. I enjoy romantic, emotionally rich music (like the Warsaw Concerto and some of Suppe's overtures. etc.) and it really grabs me. Here's my whistling rendition of Suppe's "The Beautiful Galathea" and "Dichter und Bauer" (Poet & Peasant). Again, you might object to incorrect pitches of my high tunes, but maybe able to tolerate them in the context of the performance. Besides, in Sydney.au a great pianist enjoyed my whistling in the latter piece:


Last edited by jjj on Fri Apr 06, 2012 7:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 6:45 pm 
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I much enjoy Suppe's rousing overtures. But preferably without all the continuous whistling, which really wears thin after a while and starts to become irritating, distracting from the music. It's also quite off-topic for a piano forum, so I don't think you should be posting any more of this.
Klavarskribo is indeed an option if you don't want to learn the conventional notation. A great many amateur organists use Klavarskribo, not sure why.
Pianists use it less I think, and probably the available repertoire is just a tiny fraction of all there is. It will severely limit your choice of pieces.

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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 12:28 am 
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techneut wrote:
I much enjoy Suppe's rousing overtures. But preferably without all the continuous whistling, which really wears thin after a while and starts to become irritating, distracting from the music. It's also quite off-topic for a piano forum, so I don't think you should be posting any more of this.
Klavarskribo is indeed an option if you don't want to learn the conventional notation. A great many amateur organists use Klavarskribo, not sure why.
Pianists use it less I think, and probably the available repertoire is just a tiny fraction of all there is. It will severely limit your choice of pieces.

Yes I agree, the acceptance of whistling to music is purely a matter of personal like or dislike, too.

Klavarskribo is easier to learn and read, for its a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) notation. They even got a small freeware program, called "KlavarScript", which automatically transcribes MIDI-files into Klavarskribo notation; i.e. any MIDI program converts traditional notation into a MIDI-file! Hence, your PC makes this progress possible!

Most pianists were and still are forced to learn the traditional, zebra piano Kbd layout and its traditional notation and that explains why they got stuck with it and nobody wants to relearn! I somewhere read that it takes about 6 times longer to master the present zebra piano layout, then with a Jankó piano layout and Klavarskribo notation!!

The Jankó piano layout is as progressive as the Klavarskribo notation. At the time of its invention, the Jankó keyboard was hailed as revolutionary. Arthur Rubinstein said of the Jankó piano, "If I were to begin my career anew it would be on this keyboard." Franz Liszt said "This invention will have replaced the present piano keyboard in fifty years' time!"
Little did they know how "inflexible, stagnant and bleak" its evolution is going to turn out... up to this very day!

As mentioned, I built a 3-row Jankó/ Uniform Kbd over my old Roland D20 piano Kbd (see attachment). I even designed a special/ appropriate notation and a template for it, which graphically corrects the KlavarScribo program.

Apropos "acquisition of dexterity":
I thought you accomplished Kbd artists and acrobats might have some practical guidelines for by ear- learners on hand, but it doesn't look like there's such a thing!? Hence, all I can and will do is, to apply my rather poor Kbd experiences of the past and just play on... until I get the results I long for !?
The other time, I tried to get my fingers used to running the Kbd up and down on several days. First only the white keys and then chromatically and noticed, that this somehow helped me. You see, that's the kind of guidelines I was looking for, in this forum and I am still somehow certain that a number of this type of practical guidelines do exist.


Last edited by jjj on Fri Apr 06, 2012 7:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 1:16 am 
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Here I found some interesting advantages about of the JANKO piano Kbd layout:

Paul von Janko, noble of Enyed, was bom June 2, 1856, at Totis, Hungary. After finishing his preparatory studies, he entered both the Polytechnicum and the Conservatory of Music, in Vienna. It is quite characteristic of the dual nature of the
virtuoso-inventor that he left both institutions with the highest prizes they offer.
He continued his musico-mathematical studies at the Berlin University under Helmholtz. The immediate result of these
researches was the keyboard which bears his name. From 1882 to 1884 he experimented on an ordinary parlor organ; in 1885
the first Janko grand piano was built; and on March 25, 1886, he gave his first concert thereon in Vienna.

The most ingenious and really meritorious invention, revolutionary in its character, is the keyboard patented in 1882 by Paul
von Janko of Austria. Moved by the desire to enable the amateur to execute the brilliant, but technically exceedingly difficult, essays of our modern composers, Janko constructed a keyboard of six tiers, one above the other, similar to the organ keyboard. On this keyboard tenths, and twelfths, can easily be produced by reaching a finger to the keyboard above or below that on which the hand is traveling. Arpeggios through the whole compass of the keyboard can be executed with a sweep of the wrist, which on the ordinary keyboard would hardly cover two octaves.

Indeed, with the Janko keyboard, the hand and arm of the player can always remain in their natural position, because to sound an octave requires only the stretch of the hand equal to the sounding of the sixth on the ordinary keyboard.
It is difficult to realize the manifold possibilities which this keyboard opens up for the composer and performer. Entirely
new music can be written by composers, containing chords, runs and arpeggios, utterly impossible to execute on the ordinary keyboard. It is not nearly so difficult for the student to master the technic of the Janko, as to become efficient on the present keyboard.

Like all epoch-marking innovations, this great invention is treated with indifference and open opposition. That poetic per-
former on the piano, Chopin, refused to play on the Erard grand pianos containing the celebrated repetition action, because his fingers were used to the stiflF percussion of the English action. Today however, English makers of concert grand pianos use the Erard action which Chopin disdained !

The piano virtuosos and teachers of the present day are opposing the Janko keyboard because its universal adoption would
mean for them to forget the old and learn the new. The music publishers object to it, because their stock on hand would depreciate in value, as the Janko keyboard naturally requires different fingering than that now printed with the published compositions.

My PS: Sadly, it would also mean less earnings for piano teachers. Hence, are we better off with the present layout ? :roll:

Source: http://archive.org/stream/pianosandthei ... g_djvu.txt


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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 2:21 am 
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Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
Johannes,
Though I recognize your fine practical craftsmanship, what you decry as stayed, entrenched, inflexible, narrow or what ever you may wish to call it is nothing less than Knowing music! Though you speak with music by imitation, you are nonetheless illiterate in it. As a direct analog to language, you can talk to another, but you can neither write it, read it, parse it nor understand it's grammar or lexicon. Music has all of this, as well as it's many genres as does literature of any language. What you are attempting to promote, is an acknowlegment (and perhaps even an admiration) for musical illiteracy. Mechanical means of transmitting performance instructions, i.e. tablature, whether for a guitar, organ or piano, is nothing more than a pretense to enable those who know not the language -- a set of physical instructions totally devoid of artistic content and meaning. I think that your ability to mimic is remarkable, even fantastic. But you know nothing of what you are sounding. Additionally, it is a false dichotomy to suggest that because you approach music from a strictly emotional avenue, that trained musicians do not also embue their music with emotional expression and pathos. Rote learning has always been a defective means of learning, because its knowledge is stayed and limited. For you to now learn a piece for the first time would be horribly inefficient, where someone who can read music may possibly perform it at sight, just as a literate person make pick up a poem and read it aloud.

As far as the universal keyboard and the testimonials, suffice it to say that it has gone the same route as the invented universal language of espiranto: nowhere. You might as well attempt to invent a new system of measuring. We at PS are a group of pianists first and foremost. We share the literature with eachother and critique eachother and speak on terms that include the jargon of the art, whether theoretical, practical or aesthetic. In my opinion, despite your age (for I feel it is never too late to learn in general) you should begin the process of learning about music. It would be for you like entering for the first time into an enormous amusement park ready to be explored and discovered at every turn. Everyday would bring light upon some unknown aspect of this greatest of arts. As a former instructor in university and college, I would love to know that someone near you could begin to reveal these concepts to expand your understanding. It is far easier to learn the science of music at an advanced age, than it is to develop the skill to execute it. Think about it. Even zebras have their stripes for a reason!

Sincerely,
Eddy

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"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 3:36 pm 
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jjj wrote:
Apropos "acquisition of dexterity":
The other time, I tried to get my fingers used to running the Kbd up and down on several days. First only the white keys and then chromatically and noticed, that this somehow helped me. You see, that's the kind of guidelines I was looking for, in this forum and I am still somehow certain that a number of this type of practical guidelines do exist.


You might also know these as scales. You should work on these all the time. I try to work on scales and arpeggios daily. My first two years of playing I did not work on scales and my technique suffered because of this. I'm still trying to get rid of some bad habits I learned early on. Also, when I started working on scales daily my playing improved much more rapidly.

Even if you are determined to stay away from conventional teaching and theory, I would at least compromise and learn how basic scales and arpeggios work. Not only will this help your technique, it will probably help your playing by ear a lot as well. After all, tonal music is basically embellished/rearranged scales and arpeggios :P


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 Post subject: Re: Young pensioner (70) learning the piano Kbd by ear...
PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:53 pm 
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Eddy,

It's true that I have had no formal education in music. My love and ability for whistling to music stems from my forebears. Hence, I merely discovered, developed and enjoy their gift and even like it that way. It's part of my life's mission! To ensure its quality and not making a fool of myself, I requested the confirmation of qualified musicians and to my surprise their confirmations were pretty explicit and very encouraging.
In that way I gained confidence that I'm on the right track and so, enjoyed my musicality for many years. I said to myself "well, if these truly great musicians give you the blessings, that entitles you to reject the lesser opinions!" Sure there is always room for growth and improvement. That's why I re-perform many of my recorded pieces in an effort "to perfect them". It's only now that your evaluation puts all these confirmations to shame. :shock:

My piano Kbd ambitions are merely part of my musical happiness. I just love the sound of great pianos and most other instruments and harmonies. I also discovered that I got the latent ability for composing melodies and 20 years ago, even put it to the test. There again, I relied purely on my emotional musical creativity. Thus, (...you are right in thinking that I) developed a dislike for music theory, for they rather interfere then assist me in my artistic creativity. I also wrote a series of philosophical books, titled "A Guide To... Personal Contentment". There too, I failed to study theories/ works of other philosophers, out of fear to forsake my source of reasoning. Some readers accused me of "arrogating myself the origin of certain insight of other philosophers" to a point that I had to pacify them by assuring that that "if other philosophers mentioned the same insight readers can be certain that they have stolen it off me!"
During my musical pursuit too, I have been accused of having earned my abilities at the conservatory ...albeit I didn't even visit a crematory! My only piano Kbd practical experiences stem from playing the accordion and now the Yamaha Tyros.
My piano Kbd ambitions are to play it by ear & emotional feel. This might help me to dream up some interesting compositions.

For that I came here to this forum, requesting some good practical advice on how I can improve my Kbd dexterity, but I now see that the only advice I can hope for, is: starting aged 6, choose a piano teacher and practice 1000 hours p.a. for 15 years!
My solution: Help yourself so helps you God! Realizing that the traditional zebra piano Kbd layout requires about 6 times more learning time and practice, compared to the the Janko/ Uniform Kbd and Klavarsribo notation layout, I'm seriously consider accelerating my learning time with the latter setup. The great thing is that I'm still "a beginner at the Kbd" and i.e. having less to relearn! All that's left is to wish me good luck! :)

Sincerely,
Johannes


Last edited by jjj on Sun Mar 25, 2012 5:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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