Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Day 2 of New Leaf

I spent the morning working on Chapter 16 of my novel. Then I went and got my oil changed. Then I was going to come home, change clothes, and go work out (yes, I'm making the most of this last "free" week before my new job begins).

So I got home. I thought, "If I don't practice now, I'm not going to practice at all today." After all, I do have a meeting from 6 to 8, and then a conference call from 8 to 9, and we can't forget that the season finale of "House" comes on from 9 to 10.

I know. Pitiful. "House" shouldn't trump piano. Ever.

So I sat down at around 2:30 p.m. and practiced.

Scales: G Major and E Minor. Both sounded fine. I'm at 92 still--as I said in an earlier post, I'm pretty much picking up where I left off when I stopped practicing regularly a few months ago.

Onward to arps at 72. Today I did B Major and G# Minor. They sounded fine. Not great. I don't know if I will ever be remotely happy with my contrary-motion arpeggios. I can't avoid that messy little "jumping" sound (or actually the jumping "silence") that occurs when the fingers cross over. I want my arps to sound like a machine is playing them: perfectly even, perfectly smooth. I'm not there yet. They sounded fine, but not fine enough for my ears.

No intermediate piece today. I have no love for the intermediate piece, delightful as it is. It always takes me a while to warm up to a new piece. Always.

Bach Prelude: Played through a few times. No real practice on this one today.

Bach Fugue: Yes, it's a guilty pleasure, the fugue is. I worked on mm 35-38 primarily, including the transition from 38 (with the trills in the RH) to 39 (where the bass voice swoops in to begin playing the primary "melody").

In case I haven't mentioned it before, I just love practicing Bach. I love practicing this particular fugue. I think I would love practicing any fugue. I just love to practice very slowly, listening intently to how the different unbroken intervals sound, how the tone and color of the piece change from sixteenth note to sixteenth note.

I worked pretty hard on mm 35-43 then, playing all in rhythms and then playing them through at increasing tempos maybe 25 times. By the time I was finished with that practice, I was no longer thinking about the fingering and was focusing more on how to get the different voices to sing out at different times, how to control my hands so that there are no sloppy changes in dynamics as the different voices intertwine.

Then I played through the entire fugue. Yes, it's rusty, but I really can't complain. It doesn't sound bad, and it still feels good and familiar in my fingers.

Liszt: I played through the Liszt a couple of times. I'm going to need to devote several whole practices to it--to picking through it, playing in rhythms, getting to know the piece again. I've gotten sloppy.

No. I haven't gotten sloppy. I've always been sloppy. So that's the news on the Liszt: several months of piano sabbatical have not decreased my sloppiness, not one bit. So much for that experiment.

All in all, I was happy with the practice, which ran for about an hour and fifteen minutes. I'm picking up where I left off, and am thrilled that I don't seem to have "lost" any of these pieces.


Philosoraptor said...

The Bach fugues are awesome. I learned his first prelude and fugue in C major from the WTC book I. I want to try his second in C minor.

That Liszt transcription/Schubert Seranade is quite the piece. I was going to learn it but then I decided to learn part of a Schubert sonata.

Keep up the work! And welcome back to the piano.

Waterfall said...

steinway09: I'd love to play the C minor P&F as well.

Isn't Schubert wonderful? I'd love to learn several of his preludes.

Thanks for visiting!