Monday, December 13, 2004

Good Practice & Pulsations

[Note: I've listed the pieces I'm working on in the sidebar on the right ... so when I talk about "the Mozart" or "the Dett," etc., you'll know what I'm talking about.]

What a dee-lightful pianokeysiastic lunch hour I had today!

I practiced the Sextus spells for a little while, then moved on to the true raison d'etre of my lunch hour: piano.

Technique-related things take up a good half-hour of practice sessions these days. That is a little frustrating, since I only have an hour of lunch hour for practicing, and I'd rather just be able to sit down and play beautifully and effortlessly for that hour. The technique practices are certainly worth the time and effort, though. I'm just happy no one else has to listen to them.

Then on to the Mozart--my pulsating Wolfie. Today I focused on the theme (one of many) of pounding, pulsing, whatever you want to call it. All through the Andante and Adagio sections, there is this constant sense of pulsation, of insistent repetition. Sometimes it's obvious, like when the E "pulses" in measure 20. Sometimes it's not so obvious, like with the soft pulsing D in measure 12 or the intense, fast pulsing G# in measure 53.

But I practiced the piece with an "ear out" for pulsation-type motives. And as I practiced with attention on all of the "pulsings," obvious and otherwise, it just seemed like a completely different piece than the one I'd been playing all along. Kind of like looking at a picture in terms of negative space--it's the same picture, only it looks different because you're perceiving it differently. This change in perception made sections of the piece seem less sweetly melodic and more ... sinister. More intense.

It was cool.

Of course, when I focused on the pulsings, I realized that they could sound a lot more, well, pulse-like, more sustained, than I was making them sound. So that's what I worked on. Pulsing. Sustaining the pulses. Using them to create a delicious sense of dark, underlying tension that doesn't wane. All while keeping a sense of steady control. A challenge, but such a thrill when I actually seem to approach the effect I'm striving for.

I just re-read what I wrote, and it sounds kind of erotic.

Sigh. I love piano. I love Mozart. I love life.

Anyway, I moved on to the Dett after that. Then squeezed in a playing of my beloved Chopin Nocturne in Bb-minor before heading back to Cubicle Land.

What a lunch hour. Good practice.

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