fig leaf rag scott jplin

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filmsrose789
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fig leaf rag scott jplin

Post by filmsrose789 » 27 Jul 2011, 14:44

Hi there, just joined the forum today.
I am trying to learn
Scott Joplin fig leaf rag which is on the new trinity guildhall grade 8 syllabus. Having got to the change of key section I realise that my hands are too small for the chords. Any advice??
Thanks!

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Colin Nicholson
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Re: fig leaf rag scott jplin

Post by Colin Nicholson » 28 Jul 2011, 07:57

Hi there.....

I think you are referring to "from bar 53" ?? .... where it changes key from B flat major to the subdominant - E flat major?

There is no other way to say this really but...... best to learn another piece, especially if its for Grade 8. Joplin's music is famous for his "octaves & thirds" then syncopated full four-note chords!!.... bit of a beast to learn. In some music, the lower "doubled tonic" of the chord can sometimes be omitted, so long as this doesn't spoil the general harmonic effect of the music, but if you are struggling with these chords & stretching, you risk hitting wrong notes. For Grade 8 though, the examiner will want to hear the "full monte".... and spreading the chords is not an option - too many of them. If you hand span comfortably reaches an octave or 7th (without the 3rds & 5ths between) - then personally, best to choose something else. I teach piano to Diploma, and a pupil of mine wanted to learn the Prelude in C# minor by Rach...... first 3 pages, no probs.... but then couldnt manage the 4 note chords (in both hands) for the double staves on the last page.

Not worth "hindering" the music & reducing the tonal effect of Joplin - his music is too specialised.... it even says.... "A High Class Rag" !!!!

Hope that helps...

Colin Nicholson
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Re: fig leaf rag scott jplin

Post by filmsrose789 » 28 Jul 2011, 10:33

Hi Colin
thanks for your quick response. Very disappointing, but I agree with you, best to give up on the piece as an exam one. My span is a reasonably comfortable octave and I find it limits me a lot with choice of exam pieces.
If it's not too much trouble, which pieces from the trinity syllabus would you recommend for small hands?
Thanks again,
Rachel.

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Re: fig leaf rag scott jplin

Post by Colin Nicholson » 28 Jul 2011, 20:30

Hi again,

Sorry I can't be of much use there, as I have used the ABRSM syllabus for 30 years+!
If I get the chance, I will have a look at their syllabus on-line (if available). However of course the pieces remain just normal pieces of music.

I was playing the Fig Leaf rag today, and heard a fairly decent recording of it on YouTube..... some of the 5ths of the chords 'could' be missed out.... but not sure if the examiners would spot it or not!!

Hopefully I'll get back to you....

Colin
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Re: fig leaf rag scott jplin

Post by Colin Nicholson » 28 Jul 2011, 21:06

Hi Rachel

Right then.... found Grade 8 piano on the 38th page of 68! - unusual way to do it.

List C: Praeludium by Paul Hindemith is a good piece, I did this for my Grade 8, and very exciting to learn. A very ferocious opening, and then ripples of demisemiquavers - you need your metronome to get a sense of the rhythm - cant count it!!. Hindemith never uses key signatures for this series - accidentals everywhere. The middle section is very 'aria - like' and very melodic - then bursts into like a cadenza!

The ending is in 15/8 time, and modulates to F# major.... very unusual, but some cracking chords - easily manageable (compared to Joplin).... here are the opening 4 bars.... dont be put-off!! it took me a while to get into this piece, I hated it at first, then gradually became to love it!

Certainly worth a bash. (The last piece of the book, "Postludium" - he basically turns the Praeludium upsidedown and played backwards!!!!) .... and it works! If you get it, try and get the Schott & Co London edition.

Here it is ...... first 4 bars.... enjoy!
Ludus Tonalis.jpg
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Re: fig leaf rag scott jplin

Post by Colin Nicholson » 28 Jul 2011, 21:22

here is some of the middle section - almost 'aria' in style, but also recitative....
Middle section Hindemith.jpg
middle aria
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Re: fig leaf rag scott jplin

Post by Colin Nicholson » 28 Jul 2011, 21:25

...... and here is the ending!! my favourite bit..... (it ends where I have written 'F# major' in pencil) ....
Ending Hindemith.jpg
Ending of Praeludium
ps... can you spot the deliberate mistakes in the left hand?
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Colin Nicholson Dip. Mus. CMIT CLCM PTLLS
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