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 Post subject: Problem with a measure in Chopin's Op. 44
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 5:36 am 
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Most of what I have learned so far has fallen under my hands easily. But there's one measure that's really been getting me. I was wondering if any of you had any advice on how to master it. I can play either hand's part by itself, but I cannot put them together to save my life! :oops:

I've attached a screenshot of the specific measure, and one of the bar in which it falls. Please note that I do not use the Klindworth edition for a study score; this is just an easy way to illustrate the measure.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 4:21 pm 
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I took this excerpt to the piano and played it through a couple of times. Indeed, it's tricky! :roll: I suspect the main difficulty is with that sixteenth-note E-flat octave, C-grace note, and C-octave (RH) group? I found it easier to play the C-grace note with the thumb instead of the third finger. And I believe you have to play the grace note before the beat, so that the C-rolled octave and the rolled chord below it are rolled at the same time. The three notes or octaves end up following each other in rapid succession.

I know I'm probably not saying anything you don't already know, but I hope it's helpful in solving your problem. Getting "blocks" when you're in the middle of a piece you've otherwise nailed is absolutely no fun!

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 4:30 pm 
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Thanks, I'll try your suggestions when I practice today. The problem is putting the two hand's parts together. Hopefully I can make some headway on it now... :D

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:27 pm 
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Things like this are where the Chopin rubato comes in handy - so long as your left hand keeps the tempo, the right hand doesn't have to be exactly as it's written. :lol: But to get as close as possible (or even exact, though that's a bit boring), I suggest slow and soft and a lightweight, floating hand, until it comes to feel natural. There are similar spots in various Chopin thingies, and this method of practice works best for me.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:52 pm 
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Thanks, Terez, I'll keep that in mind. ;)

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 12:30 am 
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Yeah, I know...not really all that helpful, eh? :lol: I have one measure (25/7 m. 26) that's giving me grief at the moment as well. Measures like yours, I don't have so much of a problem with, but this one is annoying me. :evil:

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 4:45 am 
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Oh, no. I'm still HS, but the floating hand idea allowed me to play the LH rolls much more fluidly. :)

What's your measure look like?

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:39 pm 
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EDIT: okay, here 'tis - the measure that's vexing me is the one on the middle line, and the LH trill going into it, but I figured I'd give context:

Image

I haven't even decided which fingers to use for the trill yet. I'm leaning towards 1-3 now, with 1 on the B and 3 on the C# (this score agrees with that, but IIRC my Mikuli edition does not - edit, I checked, and Mikuli doesn't even suggest a fingering there. So I guess it's a good sign that the fingering I was leaning toward was suggested by someone :lol:).

When I originally began working on this piece, I figured that other measures would give me more trouble than this one (for instance, that measure on the 3rd line), but no...it's this one.

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Last edited by Terez on Thu Apr 09, 2009 5:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 4:01 pm 
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AHEM - yeah, that measure looks like a real pain in the neck. :roll:

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 4:13 pm 
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Yeah, well - it's probably not as painful as it looks, actually. :lol:

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 6:33 pm 
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1-3??? B and C# respectively? LH? :shock: I don't see how that could possibly work. Wouldn't it be the other way around, with 1 on C# and 3 on B? I'd say that measure calls for lots of slow practice. What exactly is vexing you about this measure? ;)

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 6:41 pm 
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Well, having my thumb on the black key just doesn't seem to work. And it's possible - only takes a slight curving of the wrist and bending under of the thumb to make it comfortable (try it!) - and after having tried several finger combinations, that one seems to be the most comfortable.

I suppose what is vexing me the most about the measure is the back-and-forth aspect of it, and the changing note values. And you're right - it will just take a lot of slow practice to make it happen.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 6:54 pm 
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Terez wrote:
Well, having my thumb on the black key just doesn't seem to work. And it's possible - only takes a slight curving of the wrist and bending under of the thumb to make it comfortable (try it!) - and after having tried several finger combinations, that one seems to be the most comfortable.

I suppose what is vexing me the most about the measure is the back-and-forth aspect of it, and the changing note values. And you're right - it will just take a lot of slow practice to make it happen.


I'll try it in a bit. ;) Dang, it must be hard with all those differing note values. I'd almost rather have a continuous polyrhythm like the Fantaisie-Impromptu, but I'm sure it can be mastered. :D Do you practice HS? I always isolate big runs immediately when I start a piece and learn them first. Quite a few of them in Op. 44, too. :)

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 6:58 pm 
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Watch this video of Valentina Lisitsa playing this Etude. Might be a good hand shot at the point you are having trouble. BTW, she has a lot of great vids in HQ and even HD on her channel. 8)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRrduXWh0Ag

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 9:08 pm 
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Terez wrote:

I haven't even decided which fingers to use for the trill yet. I'm leaning towards 1-3 now, with 1 on the B and 3 on the C# (this score agrees with that,


Terez, I suspect that the fingering there is for a trill that starts with the main note (which is probably wrong, since in Chopin trills usually start with the upper note), in fact just before the trill there is a "2" on the B.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 9:39 pm 
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alf wrote:
Terez wrote:

I haven't even decided which fingers to use for the trill yet. I'm leaning towards 1-3 now, with 1 on the B and 3 on the C# (this score agrees with that,


Terez, I suspect that the fingering there is for a trill that starts with the main note (which is probably wrong, since in Chopin trills usually start with the upper note), in fact just before the trill there is a "2" on the B.

Yeah, I considered that, and I just did my piano lesson (on a nice Steinway in the recital hall, woo!) and I realized I was using 2-1, with the thumb still on the B, so that I don't have to change to a thumb pivot to get down - I'm already there (3 goes on the A#). Seems to save trouble. I tried a few other ways and didn't find anything that felt less awkward.

I will say that Chopin gets easier and easier (and this is all relative, mind) the more Bach I play...which, admittedly, is not much, quantity-wise. I just play the same Bach a lot. I'm learning so very much about the key of E minor.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 10:12 pm 
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I missed this post:

Horowitzian wrote:
Dang, it must be hard with all those differing note values. I'd almost rather have a continuous polyrhythm like the Fantaisie-Impromptu, but I'm sure it can be mastered. :D

Yeah, I just need to do it over and over again until it feels right. I do love the accelerando effect it creates, and though it's marked with some tempo variation, I'd like to keep it as steady as possible for that reason.

Horowitzian wrote:
Do you practice HS? I always isolate big runs immediately when I start a piece and learn them first. Quite a few of them in Op. 44, too. :)

Yes, I always practice hands-separate (writing it out cause it took me a while to even figure out what you were talking about :lol:). Well, obviously I do both, but working out difficulties is much easier by practicing hands-separate every now and then, especially for the fiddly bits.

Horowitzian wrote:
Watch this video of Valentina Lisitsa playing this Etude. Might be a good hand shot at the point you are having trouble. BTW, she has a lot of great vids in HQ and even HD on her channel. Cool

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRrduXWh0Ag

I think she's overrated. :lol:

I've mentioned this before, but I'll say it again - it's much harder for an unattractive female pianist to make a name for herself than it is for an unattractive male to do the same (though I'll admit it plays a part for both).

But I will watch the video anyway, because she's better than me. ;)

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 10:34 pm 
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Well, I don't hold her in as high regard as Horowitz and a few other greats. :lol: I think she's improved over the years, and shows in the video of the complete Schubert/Liszt Schwanengesang (also on her YT channel) that's she's capable of more than pure technical brilliance. ;)

Now off to practice my difficult measure. :shock:

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 11:55 pm 
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Terez wrote:
EDIT: okay, here 'tis - the measure that's vexing me is the one on the middle line, and the LH trill going into it, but I figured I'd give context:

Image

I haven't even decided which fingers to use for the trill yet. I'm leaning towards 1-3 now, with 1 on the B and 3 on the C# (this score agrees with that, but IIRC my Mikuli edition does not - edit, I checked, and Mikuli doesn't even suggest a fingering there. So I guess it's a good sign that the fingering I was leaning toward was suggested by someone :lol:).

When I originally began working on this piece, I figured that other measures would give me more trouble than this one (for instance, that measure on the 3rd line), but no...it's this one.


I just looked at my pdf of the Cortot edition of the Etudes. The LH of the first beat of the measure in question is notated as one 32nd note tuplet, with 13 notes. Interesting.

I also posted a detail of the trill. ;)

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 12:04 am 
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And here is Cortot's introduction to this Etude. :)

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 1:01 am 
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Yeah, he says a lot of good stuff about it in that. I won't do the exercises because I hate exercises, though. :lol:

I was having difficulty earlier bringing out the right hand properly because the piano I was playing on had a muted quality in that range of the instrument, and in the range of the left hand, it's particularly loud. But my teacher complimented me on my voice balancing, and I mentioned to her that I'd first learned that technique from the 10/3 etude, so Cortot recommends a good one for that. :D

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 2:11 am 
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Terez wrote:
Yeah, he says a lot of good stuff about it in that. I won't do the exercises because I hate exercises, though. :lol:

I was having difficulty earlier bringing out the right hand properly because the piano I was playing on had a muted quality in that range of the instrument, and in the range of the left hand, it's particularly loud. But my teacher complimented me on my voice balancing, and I mentioned to her that I'd first learned that technique from the 10/3 etude, so Cortot recommends a good one for that. :D



;)

If you would like the entire Op. 10 and 25 PDF(s) (they are separate), I'll post them.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 5:18 am 
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Not unless they're public domain. ;)

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 7:06 am 
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Terez wrote:
Not unless they're public domain. ;)


I think they are, but I'll do some research first. ;)

[edit] Not so sure now, it's the Salabert editon, which is still published AFAIK. I think I'll keep 'em to myself.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 7:56 am 
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I got the keys to the hall with the Steinways for the weekend, and I practiced till my fingers started to tense up. Haven't done that in a while. 8) I played Chopin lots, and Bach too. Played around with extra suspensions in Bach, and some portato/legato switching. I guess you could call that "exercises" but I will probably keep some extra suspensions in performance, maybe only for repeats, and there's no telling exactly how I'll articulate in performance.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 6:06 pm 
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Terez wrote:
I got the keys to the hall with the Steinways for the weekend, and I practiced till my fingers started to tense up. Haven't done that in a while. 8) I played Chopin lots, and Bach too. Played around with extra suspensions in Bach, and some portato/legato switching. I guess you could call that "exercises" but I will probably keep some extra suspensions in performance, maybe only for repeats, and there's no telling exactly how I'll articulate in performance.


Now that sounds like a recipe for a good weekend to me. 8)

Have fun! ;)

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 8:09 pm 
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Now I'm angry. There's something wrong with the water in my shower at the dorm I live in - it's coming out dirty - so I might have to go home to my mom's for the weekend. :evil: Just when I've got the keys to the Steinways! My mom has a Yamaha baby grand, and it's nice, though a bit dry...but it's just not the same!

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 11:22 pm 
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Terez wrote:
Now I'm angry. There's something wrong with the water in my shower at the dorm I live in - it's coming out dirty - so I might have to go home to my mom's for the weekend. :evil: Just when I've got the keys to the Steinways! My mom has a Yamaha baby grand, and it's nice, though a bit dry...but it's just not the same!


Or not shower at all. :lol: One might go to any lengths to practice on the good pianos. ;)

Seriously, plumbing problems suck! :evil:

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 12:04 am 
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The problem has been fixed, apparently. Yay! I was really not looking forward to giving up the Steinways. And I think I will get to that now...

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 3:28 am 
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Terez wrote:
The problem has been fixed, apparently. Yay! I was really not looking forward to giving up the Steinways. And I think I will get to that now...


That's great! Glad to hear it. ;)


8)

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 5:56 am 
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Would you believe that I went up there, and there was a stupid horn player in the hall, sitting on the Steinway's bench and practicing? hmph...I'll be going back soon. :D

The measure is getting better, by the way. The one after it, with all the little notes, is near perfect now, and I never thought I'd get there. The chromatic run later in the piece still isn't there yet, but that's because I've barely worked on it at all. It's not as interesting:

Image

I've never had to play anything chromatic that fast, so it will just be a matter of repetition.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 6:42 am 
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Terez wrote:
Would you believe that I went up there, and there was a stupid horn player in the hall, sitting on the Steinway's bench and practicing? hmph...I'll be going back soon. :D

The measure is getting better, by the way. The one after it, with all the little notes, is near perfect now, and I never thought I'd get there. The chromatic run later in the piece still isn't there yet, but that's because I've barely worked on it at all. It's not as interesting:

Image

I've never had to play anything chromatic that fast, so it will just be a matter of repetition.


Stuff a dirty sock into his bell. :lol:

Glad it's getting better for you. I love that Etude, one of my favs from either Op 10 or Op 25. Never played it, but I sure love listening. Nothing like repetition to master those tough spots. ;) I've been doing the same with all my pieces. :D

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 7:15 am 
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Horowitzian wrote:
Stuff a dirty sock into his bell. :lol:

Her. ;) :lol:

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 5:55 pm 
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Terez wrote:
Horowitzian wrote:
Stuff a dirty sock into his bell. :lol:

Her. ;) :lol:


Oops, my bad. :shock:

:lol:


;)

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 5:54 pm 
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So, Terez, did you get any practice on the Steinways without errant horn players butting in? :lol:

On another note, I here there's supposed to be rough thunderstorms down your way today. Duck and take cover! :shock:

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 12:54 am 
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haha, yes I did get tons of practicing in, but I started practicing other stuff besides that annoying measure. At least I've finally got fingerings I'm happy with for it. That's a good start - now I just need to add speed.

Because I know we're all bored...

Been mostly practicing the courante from the Bach e minor partita. It's got some tricky stuff in it that I'm finally almost able to play perfectly. Almost. This is at eighth note = about 144-160 (I think - not good at figuring out tempi in my head, don't pay attention to the numbers on the metronome, and I know I'm just playing it about as fast as it can possibly be played):

Image
On that one ^ I'm suspending bottom sixteenth note in the right hand, in the last measure of the first line, and etc. in the next two measures.

Image
Trying to suspend the pedal tone somehow in this one - right now, just with a touch of pedal on the downbeats, but I've thought about using the sostenuto pedal. :lol: In the second, third, and fourth measures of the first line, I just hold the descending bassline with my finger while playing the other notes (probably staccato).

Image
This one is fun to play, but tricky cause in that last measure on the top line, in the right hand, you have to do some rapid stuff with 4 and 5, and the RH first bit on the second line is STILL vexing me - the change of direction, I think.

Image
This is the trickiest bit in the whole piece, but I think I've finally got it down. I'm playing the right hand staccato through this one right now, just to make SURE I've got it, and it will probably be staccato-ish in performance.

Image
Same thing in a different key, but I'm suspending the top note of those same measures instead of the bottom one.

Image
Same thing in a different key, but this one's harder I think, because of the second measure. And the third.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 4:15 pm 
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Wow. That looks hard. :shock: Glad it's coming together for you, though. ;) Those rhythms in some of those excerpts look downright scary. :lol:

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 6:28 pm 
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Meh, the rhythms themselves are easy for me. I played this for a master class the other day, and the lady running told me that I had a "good sense of rhythm" and that most people have a lot of difficulty with this courante because of its syncopations. But the syncopations don't bother me at all. Just the fast bits with awkward fingerings. :?

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 9:00 pm 
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Glad to hear it. ;)

I was mainly kidding. At least they fit together in some way, unlike a polyrhythm. :?

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 9:12 pm 
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Yeah, it's not really hard, unless the fingering is awkward. But it is so much fun to play. :D

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 5:41 pm 
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I played that courante in departmental recital class this morning (not a big deal - just for the piano majors/faculty) and managed to screw up every single excerpt I posted above. :lol:

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 8:20 pm 
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Back to the practice room. :lol:

I hope you can get it down to the point it's second nature, even in pressure situations. :D

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 11:27 pm 
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Yeah, I hope so. I'm really good at screwing things up though. :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 12:49 am 
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I know the feeling. I totally screwed up the Rach Op. 3 no 5 that was in my sig at my teacher's studio recital a few weeks ago. I lost count of how many times I had played it through. I managed to improvise my way through it. :lol:

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