Is this hopeful for an absolute beginner?

Questions on learning to play the piano, and piano music.

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Colin Nicholson
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Re: Is this hopeful for an absolute beginner?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 04 Oct 2010, 08:12

Hi Kari,
Its nice to be able to pick a tune up by just listening to the music first - but Chopin is one of the hardest to copy!! He uses all sorts of suspensions in his melodies (and harmony) - and fancy things called "chromatic decoration", notes of anticipation - all a bit steep, but if you learn the theory of music aswell, you may understand. He also often 'holds' a melody note against the prevailing harmony - so the melody note is not part of the chord, then later allows it to resolve "into the harmony" - and special technique that Chopin uses. His dissonance is also unique, but when the melody eventually sounds correctly against the harmony - its like a ray of sunshine beaming through.... maybe a bit steep for you to understand the theory aspect, but you may know what I mean by the sound of it.

I am not sure which version of the music you have, but A flat major has 4 flats in its key signature: Bb, Eb, Ab and Db - wow!! so you have to remember to flatten all those notes on the music - unless they are cancelled or added # and b added. This etude is also one of my favs, I learnt at college - but in the proper edition of this etude - this piece starts on E flat as the melody note (Dominant) - then loads of little semiquaver triplets hovering underneath it (making a broken chord of A flat major) - its a lovely key to play in - the "flat" keys seem warmer. So it may either be the edition of music you have, or your piano may not be tuned to "Concet Pitch" that may make you think it starts on a D?
Yes, there are 5 successive melody notes, the first one is an upbeat, so the music starts on the last beat of the bar.... 4, 1 2 3 4 etc. then it changes to F - but here we are - this note is played against the broken chord of Ab major - so the F is sometimes referred to an "accented passing note" - or this note of anticipation...... you've got me playing this piece now!!
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Re: Is this hopeful for an absolute beginner?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 04 Oct 2010, 12:29

That explains things. So when the music on the MP3 player is "sounding" at the right pitch (Eb) - this sounds as an E on your piano; this means that your piano is about a semitone flat, so by playing the note E, this will sound more or less in tune with the 'CD' version. This will mean you have to 'transpose' the music - but it will in effect be easier to play!

Depending on the condition of your strings & tuning pins (as mentioned), some old pianos never see "Concert Pitch" again, and we occasionally have to accept it sounding slightly 'lower' in pitch. A huge job for an old piano, strings might break and the tension may not hold...... so its best just to play the music without knowing its true pitch. If ever you get the chance to play with a violinist, flautist etc.... you'll see what I mean. Hope that helps.
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Colin Nicholson Dip. Mus. CMIT CLCM PTLLS
Piano tuning & repairs. Full UK restoration service
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Re: Is this hopeful for an absolute beginner?

Post by Gill the Piano » 05 Oct 2010, 15:50

If you can bear your piano not being at a definite pitch (ie, between two 'real' notes) then you could ask your tuner to raise the pitch a tiny bit each time s/he comes to visit. Old pianos often don't realise they're being crept up on that way!
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

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samasap
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Re: Is this hopeful for an absolute beginner?

Post by samasap » 20 Jan 2011, 12:49

I think indeed it is hopeful, if you can play by ear it's always a very good benefit, and you can almost use music as a referall and to maybe help you out where needed with working out certain sections.

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