Thursday, July 20, 2006

July 20, Part 2

As promised, here is the second installment of my July 20 practice log!

I practiced for about an hour tonight. I didn't spend much time at all on scales, arps, and inversions. I was ready to get re-acquainted with the Liszt. So, after a few minutes of a "warm up," I went straight to Liszt.

The 9-against-4 is coming. Still not there yet, not completely, but it's coming. It's a LOT easier if I focus on the timing of the RH and not the timing of the LH. Much easier. Only thing is, it's not easy for my mind to focus on the RH. I don't know why this is. I consciously have to force my mind to think, "Triplets. Slow. Slower than if you were fitting them evenly into the LH notes."

I played through the rest of the piece, just to see where I was weak and what needed the most work. Narrowing it down to "Section 11" (measures 79-90), I practiced it the way I've been practicing the fugue: drilling, drilling, and more drilling.

This piece is very different from the fugue, but it does have one thing in common with it: multiple voices singing multiple melodies. In the Liszt, the RH (mostly) plays two voices: the main melody and its echo a third of a beat later. If that's not tricky enough, there are dynamics to think about. My RH will be playing two notes at once, but the bottom note is part of the primary melody and needs to be, say, mezzo forte, whereas the top note is part of the echo and needs to be piano. And both are in a crescendo, but a crescendo appropriate to their respective volumes. Argh.

Measures 81, 83, and 87 include grace notes. The fingering for these has been really tricky for me. Do I use 4-5-4? 3-5-4? It would be nice to use the same fingering for the melody and the echo, but that would be really awkward. Typically, the note that follows the grace note is the top part of a chord, so my 1, 2, 3, and 4 fingers need to be ready to play the chord, so that makes things even trickier.

I think I've found fingerings that I'm happy with. For tonight. They are as follows (lower melody is in bold; echo isn't.)

Measure 81: 3-5-3, 4-5-4
Measure 83: 3-5-4, 3-5-4
Measure 87: 3-4-3, 3-5-4

The 3-5-4 works beautifully on Measure 83, but it needs some work in Measure 87. The the grace note is B-C# to B, so even though 4-5-4 would be more within reach (and allow me to hold the note in the lower melody), it's very awkward for the grace note. 3-5-4 isn't much better, but it worked the best for me.

If anyone has suggestions for alternate fingerings, I'll be happy to hear them. I practiced these fingerings tonight and they sound pretty good (though the lost "hold" on the main-melody note in Measure 87 irks me).

OK. Boring technical discussion over. I love this piece. When I play it, I hear a million things I need to work on, but the tape-recording I made tonight sounded impressive. This is a big deal; rarely do I sound impressive to myself when I tape my playing. But I listened to myself playing Measures 62 to the end, and ... well, it sounded quite good. Put a big grin on my face, it did.

I was tempted to work on the Bach, but it's after 10:00 and I'm trying to overcome an insomnia problem. The fugue would probably not be conducive to sleeping.

Good night!

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