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 Post subject: Knowing the correct tempo
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2006 10:37 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 1:03 pm
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Location: Obamanation, unfortunately...
Hello all,

I've always had trouble identifying the correct speed when using the metronome markings and the verbial phrases. Since I am moving onto pieces that are rarely played, and ones that I never heard before, I am struggling to find a correct speed to play. What I always do is listen to a professional play and then judge it from there. But this time that technique wont help me.

For example, there is a piece by Chopin, nocturne I believe op.15, that has a metronome marking of 60bpm for the dotted half note value, however that is quite fast for a "lento" verbial phrase. So what do you use the "bpm" or the "lento"?

Now in my case, I am playing CPE Bach's Sonata in F. This is day three. The first movement is "Allegro Maestoso" with the typical 16th note JS Bachean/ Mozartean pattern in the left hand throughout. How should I go about setting the correct tempo? Because it is very important to play Bach & sons correctly and strictly, thats were their virtuosity shines.

Below is a recording of the first few bars of the Allegro movement. And the sheet music for it.

Am I playing this too fast? Too slow?

-the juuf

p.s. we need a "classroom" section in the forum. :P :wink:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2006 10:37 pm 
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Location: Obamanation, unfortunately...
edit: I am unable to include pdf format attachments. :roll: sorry.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 3:39 am 
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Location: Bard College (NY)
I'm sorry if this sounds like a stupid answer to you — but you should play any piece at the tempo that feels right to you. Tempo markings are often vague and leave room for interpretation (more in some pieces than in others) and metronome marking are often editorial. If John Cage tells you to play at a quarter note = 120, you should probably play it at exactly that tempo or as close to it as possible — but if Chopin tells you to play at that tempo, there would be a range of acceptable tempi, and you should choose a tempo that allows you to play the piece in the most convincing manner possible.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 10:39 am 
yeh, i agree...sure it may be a bit vague but its all about interpretation! i always like to listen to other people playing that piece (like a recording) and deciding on it myself..however, lucky me im young enough to have a fantabulous (haha) teacher to help me on that sort of stuff (not that older people dont have teachers)


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 9:48 pm 
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Location: Sydney, Australia
Mr. Rifle man.... :D
By listening to the profesionals is a reference, but remember, there tempo is at the concert speed. That means they work 4-8 hours a day for that condition. Even myself, I set myself a goal but still need to work 8-12hrs a week to acheive 90% of the professionals. Sometime I do exceed the speed and its depends on the DIFIICULTY LEVEL.
Generally speaking for an Ametuer player, one can reach 90% of professional speed is a good news. Again, dnt strat to run untill you can walk, do slowly first.

Aim for your interpretation thats what counts.

You allegro sounds right to me, perhaps friction slower to work on your rh more.
I hope this helps


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 Post subject: tempo
PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 6:22 pm 
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Location: Miami, Florida, USA
I've heard that original Metronome markings from Chopin's time are too fast for today. They used a "lighter" piano and the pedal could not sustain notes the way our modern piano can. Therefore, they played many pieces faster than we need to today.

I don't remember where I heard or read this. Does anyone else know more about it?


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 Post subject: Re: tempo
PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 6:50 pm 
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John Robson wrote:
I've heard that original Metronome markings from Chopin's time are too fast for today. They used a "lighter" piano and the pedal could not sustain notes the way our modern piano can. Therefore, they played many pieces faster than we need to today.

I don't remember where I heard or read this. Does anyone else know more about it?

I have read this too but not sure if I agree. Yes, the keys today have a more heavy action to produce more dynamic changes but that still does not prevent us from playing fast.

Also, Chopin stopped giving metronome marks after op.27 and only added the tempo in piano terms which for Chopin is rather confusing. As for example the Mazurka op.17 no.4 which is marked "Lento, ma non troppo. (d=152)". So what do you do when you see that Mazurka op.63 no.2 is marked Lento?

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 Post subject: Re: tempo
PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:30 am 
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Location: New York
And how come no composer ever marks "Troppo lento?" :-) :-) :-)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:37 pm 
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Location: Obamanation, unfortunately...
That's what I am confused about:

How can you play "lento" while your metronome is having a heartattack at 152bpm?

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 Post subject: Re: tempo
PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:53 pm 
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Location: Sydney, Australia
[ I don't remember where I heard or read this. Does anyone else know more about it?[/quote]
I have read this too but not sure if I agree. Yes, the keys today have a more heavy action to produce more dynamic changes but that still does not prevent us from playing fast.

talking about heavier action, mine is done with extra 38g. By all means, this ,makes my finger strong and proved in many cases.

Also, Chopin stopped giving metronome marks after op.27 and only added the tempo in piano terms which for Chopin is rather confusing. As for example the Mazurka op.17 no.4 which is marked "Lento, ma non troppo. (d=152)". So what do you do when you see that Mazurka op.63 no.2 is marked Lento?[/quote]

May be when chopin is fragile and weak he is unsure whats the best tempo speed to indicate, but rather an estimation??


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 Post subject: Re: tempo
PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 7:27 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2006 5:29 am
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Location: Germany
robert wrote:
Also, Chopin stopped giving metronome marks after op.27 and only added the tempo in piano terms which for Chopin is rather confusing.


Interesting that Chopin stopped giving metronome marks at a certain point! After a short look in my Urtext scores indeed in higher opus numbers there was no more metronome marks.

The question is also, can one trust the metronome markings from Chopin? Was his metronome precise? Are there sources available about that?

johnmar78 wrote:
talking about heavier action, mine is done with extra 38g. By all means, this ,makes my finger strong and proved in many cases.


I can't imagine that it is helpful to add additional lead in the keys. Because the additional mass makes the key more sluggish. And it will also not be helpful to play soft on a normal action if you are used to hit the keys more heavily.

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 Post subject: Re: tempo
PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 6:08 pm 
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Location: Sydney, Australia
[
johnmar78 wrote:
talking about heavier action, mine is done with extra 38g. By all means, this ,makes my finger strong and proved in many cases.


I can't imagine that it is helpful to add additional lead in the keys. Because the additional mass makes the key more sluggish. And it will also not be helpful to play soft on a normal action if you are used to hit the keys more heavily.[/quote]

true, can you hear any soft passages on all my playing??? just imagine now, I remove all the weights and play again with more power but less effort..


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