Phrasing - How to do it right

Technique, methods and advice for learners

Postby Stretto » Thu Oct 06, 2005 8:35 am

I would be willing to participate in an analysis-type forum as you described, again if there were at least 2 or 3 other people willing to regularly participate. I don't think I would be a good candidate to moderate it as I'm a little rusty on the analysis stuff but probably know enough "basics" to work my way through a piece. My 'other' idea was just an attempt to save a little extra work (I'm always considering what something would involve in someone else's time), but I would be glad to participate in a new analysis-type forum as you described if anyone else is interested. It would be kind of fun. Does anyone else like digging into a score? I know it would help keep my mind sharper on this stuff being able to discuss a piece this way with others.
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Thu Oct 06, 2005 10:00 am

Stretto, you're certainly right about lifting the hands at phrase endings; it should be natural, often so slight you hardly see it, but it's there. Let the wrist break a little.

But m. 28 is not a "no man's land"--it's using a piece of the main subject for four bars to make a transition into the dominant key (using it's OWN dominant) in order to start the second subject of the Rondo in m. 32. Those off-beat octaves in the right, then left, hand, plus the succeeding r.h. scales, are Subject II; this all happens again in the Tonic in m.128ff. It shows why Form books call them 'subjects' instead of 'themes'--Beethoven's subjects might just be figurations of some sort rather than tunes.

(Sorry to sound like a professor, guys.)

Bill.
Technique is 90 per cent from the neck up.
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Postby presto » Sat Oct 08, 2005 4:10 pm

Stretto wrote:Finally, in this piece, just an estimated observation that may or may not be true. I almost wonder if although the piece is written in the key of A-flat Maj., Beethoven isn't trying to 'trick' everyone into thinking the piece is in E-flat Maj. This sounds like something Beethoven might try to do (purposeful avoidance of the home key), as the piece seems to gravitate toward the heavy use of the E-flat chord or some resemblence of it, which is the chord based on the 5th note of the A-flat Maj. scale (called a V chord or dominant chord). Coming to the E-flat chord at the end of the phrases so much instead of using the A-flat chord (I chord or tonic), gives the piece the sound like it's heading somewhere but never quite arriving. As I said earlier, kind of reminds me of a drive in the country where the passengers are headed somewhere but never quite getting there and they start feeling more at ease as they come across more familiar grounds. Or kind of like a movie, not always sure where it's headed. Kind of fun to play a piece like this as you can be the one who knows where it's headed and 'trick' the audience or keep them dangling not quite sure when they will arrive. Well, I may be off-base on this as one does find the A-flat (home key) chord appearing strongly in the piece at several junctures, just a feeling I get from going through it.

gain, I wish you the best of luck! :)

Stretto,

Yes, it does sound like Beethoven is trying to "trick" us into thinking that the key is Eb when it is really Ab, doesn't it? I didn't really realize that I'd subconsciously noticed it until you mentioned it.

Thanks for all the good wishes, for taking such an interest in my little problem, and for coming to my help, you and Dr. Leland both! I've been considering all the advice given here, and I've come to the conclusion that according to you and Dr. Leland, I've got the right ideas about the phrasing and dynamics (even if I'm not doing them perfectly yet), but my other "problem" is probably just a matter of my music teacher's tastes. For one thing, when I do those little "breath" pauses, she will often say that it wasn't long enough, and that it should be longer, but leaves me confused as to just what she means, although now I think I know what to do: I try to make the little pauses more obvious, and, like Dr. Leland suggested, do the common-sense thing of bigger, longer pauses after a musical idea is finished. That seems to do the trick.

Do you either of you think that the piece I chose is a good one for an audition, and do you think that "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" by Bach would be a good second choice (I have to play two contrasting pieces)? And lastly, do you think I'm rightly nervous about it, or am I making a bigger giant out of it than it really is? Any kind of audition advice will be gratefully received and very much appreciated! :)
88 keys--
10 fingers--
No problem!
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Postby presto » Sat Oct 08, 2005 4:11 pm

Stretto wrote:Finally, in this piece, just an estimated observation that may or may not be true. I almost wonder if although the piece is written in the key of A-flat Maj., Beethoven isn't trying to 'trick' everyone into thinking the piece is in E-flat Maj. This sounds like something Beethoven might try to do (purposeful avoidance of the home key), as the piece seems to gravitate toward the heavy use of the E-flat chord or some resemblence of it, which is the chord based on the 5th note of the A-flat Maj. scale (called a V chord or dominant chord). Coming to the E-flat chord at the end of the phrases so much instead of using the A-flat chord (I chord or tonic), gives the piece the sound like it's heading somewhere but never quite arriving. As I said earlier, kind of reminds me of a drive in the country where the passengers are headed somewhere but never quite getting there and they start feeling more at ease as they come across more familiar grounds. Or kind of like a movie, not always sure where it's headed. Kind of fun to play a piece like this as you can be the one who knows where it's headed and 'trick' the audience or keep them dangling not quite sure when they will arrive. Well, I may be off-base on this as one does find the A-flat (home key) chord appearing strongly in the piece at several junctures, just a feeling I get from going through it.

Again, I wish you the best of luck! :)

Stretto,

Yes, it does sound like Beethoven is trying to "trick" us into thinking that the key is Eb when it is really Ab, doesn't it? I didn't really realize that I'd subconsciously noticed it until you mentioned it.

Thanks for all the good wishes, for taking such an interest in my little problem, and for coming to my help, you and Dr. Leland both! I've been considering all the advice given here, and I've come to the conclusion that according to you and Dr. Leland, I've got the right ideas about the phrasing and dynamics (even if I'm not doing them perfectly yet), but my other "problem" is probably just a matter of my music teacher's tastes. For one thing, when I do those little "breath" pauses, she will often say that it wasn't long enough, and that it should be longer, but leaves me confused as to just what she means, although now I think I know what to do: I try to make the little pauses more obvious, and, like Dr. Leland suggested, do the common-sense thing of bigger, longer pauses after a musical idea is finished. That seems to do the trick.

Do you either of you think that the piece I chose is a good one for an audition, and do you think that "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" by Bach would be a good second choice (I have to play two contrasting pieces)? And lastly, do you think I'm rightly nervous about it, or am I making a bigger giant out of it than it really is? Any kind of audition advice will be gratefully received and very much appreciated! :)
88 keys--
10 fingers--
No problem!
presto
 
Posts: 69
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2004 4:13 pm

Postby Stretto » Wed Nov 23, 2005 9:50 pm

presto wrote:Do you either of you think that the piece I chose is a good one for an audition, and do you think that "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" by Bach would be a good second choice (I have to play two contrasting pieces)? And lastly, do you think I'm rightly nervous about it, or am I making a bigger giant out of it than it really is? Any kind of audition advice will be gratefully received and very much appreciated! :)

____




Presto, How are things going with your pieces now? I'm not sure about pieces for auditions. I didn't get a performance degree and in a way "snuck in the back door" sort of speak without finding out all the proper channels (a long story). What I would recommend is if you are able talk in person or at least by phone or e-mail to at least one or better yet all of the piano professors at the university you will be attending and get their take on whether the pieces would be suitable and any other advice. Also, find out whether they have a music dept. handbook or something similar. When I first started college, I didn't know the music dept. had a music dept. handbook and it listed a lot of "what is expected" kind of stuff that would have been helpful to know ahead.

I accidentally put my reply in the quote box so I tried to divide what I wrote from the quote rather than retype it. Sorry if it creates any confusion. :O
Stretto
 
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