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 Post subject: Erratic playing
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 8:15 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2008 9:29 am
Posts: 56
Location: UK
Hello,

My playing is rather erratic. I'm learning some studies to improve my technique and have attached an example: Czerny Study no. 18 in Ab from The Art of Finger Dexterity OP. 740. Any feedback would be most welcome.

Kind regards


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 Post subject: Re: Erratic playing
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 8:56 pm 
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Location: Netherlands
I don't find so much erratic here. If the sound was not so strangely muffled this would be quite a good recording. Not to say that some things could not be improved, like pedal usage and tempo firmness, but it seems good playing to me.

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 Post subject: Re: Erratic playing
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 9:38 pm 
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Location: UK
Thanks for the feedback. Yes, I've had problems recording from my digital piano. I'm using Nero StartSmart and a jack lead between the piano and PC. Unless I turn the Nero volume down a lot (to 7%) it makes some truly distorted sounds - I wonder if it's telling me something :-)

It was worth recording this. By listening to myself play this piece for the first time, I've realised I'm missing a few notes in the bass in some tricky bars; I seem to have missed a beat too!


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 Post subject: Re: Erratic playing
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:44 pm 
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Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
I am being sincere when I say that I can't tell you how happy I am to hear Czerny! He has been my bread and butter, and I have feasted a-plenty on him. I must say that I would never attempt to record on a digital piano, though you may have no other option. I personally need the physical margin that a "real" piano allows. Having said that, the flip-side is that imperfections will be much better demonstrated so that you can pursue their irradication. Good luck! Thanks again for posting some Czerny. :)

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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: Erratic playing
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:53 pm 
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Location: UK
Thank you Eddy. Those Czerny studies are hard work :-)


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 Post subject: Re: Erratic playing
PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:06 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:11 am
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Location: Adelaide, Australia
This is nicely played and quite musical overall. I think the opus 740 set as a whole is a very useful collection: it's good to work through several of these pieces.

With the muffled sound quality and slight overpedalling, it's hard to hear exactly what your fingers are doing, so it's difficult to make detailed comments about technique. I noticed some slight rhythmic unevenness in the rising arpeggios, which leads me to suspect that your left hand finger articulation might not be quite as good as the right hand. Also you're using a little more rubato than is usual for Czerny studies--I can't tell whether this is an artistic decision on your part or whether it indicates a technical problem.

Can you say exactly what you mean by "erratic"? Are there any specific aspects of your playing that you're concerned about?

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 Post subject: Re: Erratic playing
PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 8:07 pm 
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Location: UK
Hello Alexander. Thank you for pointing out the issue with rhythmic unevenness and left hand articulation. Yes, I do struggle trying to play evenly both in terms of touch and speed (these are the things I mean by being erratic) but hand't realised my left hand is worse, so I will watch out.

Sometimes I practice the arpeggios without the pedal but it is rather difficult to do this at speed. And I do have problems with tempo control but my hearing is corrupted and I only notice the fluctuations when I listen to my recordings, which is quite disturbing as well as time consuming.

I am playing right at the top of my current technical ability at the moment, so it looks like I'm going to have to work in much more detail.

Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: Erratic playing
PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 12:47 am 
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Location: Adelaide, Australia
Chopinesque wrote:
Sometimes I practice the arpeggios without the pedal but it is rather difficult to do this at speed.

No it isn't! Just let your fingers do what they're already doing, but don't put your foot on the pedal. It's one less thing to do--it ought to be easier! Of course it won't sound as good (maybe that's what you really meant), but it will mean that you can hear clearly what your fingers are doing.

OK, I'm being a little bit harsh there. If you're used to using a lot of pedal, then it does feel strange to play without any at all. It takes a bit of mental adjustment, but it's well worth getting used to.

Quote:
And I do have problems with tempo control but my hearing is corrupted and I only notice the fluctuations when I listen to my recordings, which is quite disturbing as well as time consuming.

It's OK, this actually isn't unusual. Recording and listening to yourself is exactly the right thing to do (even though the process is a little painful)--try to do this at least a couple of times per week.

To improve the rhythmic evenness, have you tried practising sections of the piece with variations? e.g. all staccato (without pedal of course), or with dotted rhythms?

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 Post subject: Re: Erratic playing
PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:05 pm 
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I've tried your suggestion of playing it all staccato with no pedal and it sounded so grotesque and comical! But I think it's getting slightly better now. I'm going on a long holiday where (luckily for my husband's ears) there isn't a piano, but I will definitely indulge on a staccato and dotted rhythm binge when I get back. It's not the first time I've heard such good advice but for some reason I specialise in practising a lot but in a pointless way - the "lazy way". Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Erratic playing
PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2011 10:50 am 
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Location: Adelaide, Australia
Chopinesque wrote:
I've tried your suggestion of playing it all staccato with no pedal and it sounded so grotesque and comical!

Right. A lot of what we do in practice should sound bizarre, so that we end up with a final product that's easy and natural.

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Alexander Hanysz, http://hanysz.net


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 Post subject: Re: Erratic playing
PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:02 pm 
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hanysz wrote:
Chopinesque wrote:
I've tried your suggestion of playing it all staccato with no pedal and it sounded so grotesque and comical!

Right. A lot of what we do in practice should sound bizarre, so that we end up with a final product that's easy and natural.


I do not know about you, but to those not in the know, they never expect a real pianist to do such things: the real pianist just sits down and plays beautifully without any need to practise. :? Have you ever come across this attitutde?

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