Thursday, July 20, 2006

July 20 Practice, Part 1

I'm calling this "Part 1" because I'm planning a second practice session this evening.

Spent about 50 minutes on the piano. About 15 minutes were devoted to scales, arps, and inversions. The Bb-minor scale was giving me some trouble, for some reason. I do not want to devote a huge percentage of my practice time to scales, but last week's 20-minutes-per-scale work was surprisingly helpful. So I spent some extra time drilling Bb-minor.

I took about five minutes to play through the C#-major prelude, and then the rest of the session was spent on the fugue. (This morning, when my alarm went off, my first thought was, "I'm tired. I don't want to get out of bed yet." Then I thought, "But I get to practice the fugue today!" And I got right up.) I now, ladies and gentlemen, have not one and a half, but TWO and a half measures in the bag. Measures 17 and 18, with half of 19 (the end of Episode I) are sounding nice. I'm also learning the measures by memory as I go. It's making them easier to learn, since I'm forced to focus on how the notes look in my hands, what intervals are being played, etc.

My brain is turning cartwheels. I love this stuff. I wish I could spend all day working on it. But I'm not thinking, "Oh, why didn't I start learning HT sooner?" I think I started it right when I needed to.

Tonight I'm going to revisit Liszt. It's been awhile since I've worked on it, so tonight's practice will probably be more of a "re-acquainting" session than anything else. Oh, and the 9-against-4 section is on the agenda, as always!


robert said...

Just a technical comment this time, Waterfall. The Bb minor scale. I had a serious go-round with it about a month ago. I got mad -- it was the least good of my scales. My issue was contrary motion the hands tended to get out of synch. But my solution may have more general uses. In no particular order:
1. Emphasize the gestures slomo, and make sure they're still present, albeit reduced, when faster. The hands can't cue each other as in the more "normal" scales.
2. When it's firm, work on it in groups of 5, then 7, then 9. 9 is important, since it takes you through one octave. Start on Bb for the first one, then a note up, then the third note up.
3. Practice with the C major fingering. That's right. It's hell, esp. in contrary motion. But after a couple of weeks it was less psychedelic. And it had an enormous positive effect on the regular fingering.
4. Practice HS 9 notes up, 8 notes down, then nine notes up, and so on for 2 octaves. Then do in reverse descending. At any kind of speed, not at all easy. Really gets the fingering into the claws.

Hope this helkps!

Waterfall said...

The Bb-minor scale is weird. It's always been one of my favorites-- of course, that was BCM (Before Contrary Motion).

I've worked in groups of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 at different times, but I've never thought to try 9. Good idea.

Why do you think it helps to practice with the C Major fingering?

Your suggestion #4 excites me the most. It does sound very hard, but hey, I like a good challenge. I'm going to try it tomorrow.

Thanks for the suggestions!

robert said...

Easily answered, Waterfall! C major fingering helps with finger independence. In two ways. Radically different for the scale. And because we all get into ruts on fingering scales, it forces one out of the "this fingering for this scale" mindset. It's easier than #4, believe it or not. But both approach the same end. Warning -- #4 done HT is...something else!