26
Jun 07

KITAN on the KEYS: a bad pianist’s practice diary #1

FT + Proven By Science + The Brown WedgePost a comment • 709 views

chopintoday was xi and x and nothing else [see here for haha key]:
the bach i just played through twice — it’s just like a computergame, how far can i get before i get zapped (by my own fumbly fingers partly, but also by failing to look ahead and remember the trick): ans = first time bar 5 [it’s only 27 bars long] at a place i have got perfectly right before now, and what was nice is that the next two bars went more or less exactly right after the fumble; second time bar six. In both cases it’s about a non-intuitive fingering trick, so if i keep my head, I’ll go straight through (and of course then fall over right after when I’m still patting myself on the back for getting through). I can also feel that speed is picking up on the second page, tho it’s still a LOT slower

the chopin must be a mess to hear: it’s all repeats and replays still at the places it goes wrong, like the first full chord change, which requires first off all a leap down to A low aflat i ALWAYS miss — get either Bflat or Gflat — and then NOT pausing for reboot my head for the chord after it… what’s nice is that there’s NOTHING hard in the piece, in terms of actually tricky fingers… really it’s just about high speed, and I’ll just have to get the transitions I’m stupid at more secure and relax into the speed. Also the four-against-three bar i’m actually playing as four aginst thre, not just in the little mnemonic that gets you there [=PASS-the-GOLDen-BUTter]. waltzes, tho — three-time generally. We just don’t FEEL em any more do we?
This wasn’t a proper rigorous practice — I’ve been doing my taxes all day so it was release and relaxation really. In both cases I could sort of hear — for the first time — that i really will be able to play these pieces properly, maybe by xmas?

The bach is probably a better guide to how the mind-body interplay works: first you read it, which is slow and laborious, but gets the sounds into your head and the finger shapes into your fingers (and reveals any actual tricky bits, or traps, of which it has LOTS). Then [haha FSVO “then”]  it’s in your fingers, and you don’t have to think where they’re going (what’s nice about this is that the more music is “in your fingers”, the better your reading of OTHER pieces will be, you just have to trust em and bingo-bango off you go). And then — when your fingers go the notes without you thinking about it, you can listen to the sound and think about phrasing and variation at that level, volume, smooth versus percussive, picking out the weaving voices — the last obviously being u&k with a fugue. This link, between brain acivity and muscle memory, is the GREAT FASCINATING MYSTERY to me: by all logic i shouldn’t even be able do what I can, surely? how the feck…?

ps actual real PHOTO of chopin! (for some reason i am ALWAYS flabbergasted by photographs of foax in the 1840s)

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