Piano: Zan the Grand
Remind me not to schedule my Carnegie Hall debut for the week before my period.
Yes, I had a PMS practice today. (Sorry if that’s TMI for some of you.) My fingers feel like five little water balloons at the end each hand. In addition to that, I have the requisite UMS (Ugly Mood Swings) to go along with it. So you’d think today’s practice wouldn’t be so good.
It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t too bad, either. Kind of lukewarm. A four on a 10-point scale.
I started with the usual scales and arps and played them pretty well, considering I had water balloons for fingers. I’m at 80 for scales and 54 for arps. I’d gotten a lot faster on them until Deborah said (noticed? realized?) my technique had gone back to pot, and that I was being all finger-y and not arm-y enough. So
"It's like five years spread over fifteen; it may have only been five years of study, but because of intervening time making the total fifteen, it seems like fifteen years of study."
I continued the usual “warm-up” routine of the C# P&F and “The Elf.” Then it was onward to the new pieces …
Bach, Prelude & Fugue in B-flat
Prelude: Where to start? I’ve written in all of the fingering. I’ve studied it enough to have an idea of how the chords are progressing and how things are happening musically. I’m ready to start bumbling and fumbling my way through learning the notes.
The first step, for me, is to look through the whole piece and divide it into sections. I came up with 10 sections, which is a lot for a 3-page piece of music. The last five sections are all on page 3, though. Each new line offers a new cadenza-style challenge, so I figured each should have its own numbered section.
The next step is to eyeball the individual sections and determine which one is likely the most challenging, and to start working on it. I decided on Section 10, the very end. It was a good choice for two reasons: it looks like it’ll be the
So I started working on the last few measures, using blocked intervals.
It’s going to be a long road. I’m giddy, the same way I used to get, back when I was young and spry and in college, upon embarking on a really long road trip.
Fugue: I didn’t have a lot of time for the Fugue, but I did review what I had worked on yesterday. Amazing how after 24 hours, some things just seem to sink in. ("And then sink back out," murmurs Pessimist Self).
Shostakovich, Lyric Waltz
Next, I moved to the Shostakovich. The fingering on this one is tricky, and I am open to suggestions. I think I may be making this more difficult than it is.
OK, if the same note is to be repeated multiple times, it typically works best to let the fingers take turns playing the note. It helps keep the repetition from sounding tired and … well, repetitive (in a bad way).
What do you do if the same third is to be repeated multiple times? And then that third moves up by a half-step? And then that third moves up by a half-step? If I use the same 1-3 or 1-4 or 2-4, I get that tired and repetitive (in a bad way) sound. If I let my fingers take turns (on the higher note, at least), the sound is much better, but then I get a “back-against-the-wall” feeling when it’s time to move up a half-step.
Sadly, my practice session came to an end much too soon. I’ve been feeling PMS-y and yucky all day, and the practice session really helped me to get my mind off of it. Again, it wasn’t a great practice session … but I did get some good work done, I think. I do feel sorry for the church employees, who can't help but hear me practicing. I fear I treated them to what sounded like a bad rendition of the Raindrop Prelude, Shostakovich-style.
Ah, my days of playing through Bach and Liszt, working on “continuity” and “flow,” are definitely a thing of the past for those unfortunate listeners.