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Tips for technique


Guest Salamine
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Guest Salamine

Perhaps we might use this thread to share some simple and general technical tips which would be of use (not specific to any particular piece, although reference to one might be helpful). If I gave the following example as a starter perhaps you'd get my drift. (with due acknowledgement here to Roger Fisher where I first came across some of these tricks of the trade).

 

Bonnet - Elfes : Play the 4 note semiquaver figures as block chords first to memorise the pattern and finger position. Following that, then play them as a dotted rhythms and then try again as even notes. I tried it - it really did make it easier to learn. This can then be used as a transferable skill for other such perpetuum mobile works. There is also the RF idea of playing the figures forwards and backwards.

 

I only intended one example and three have just popped out!

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Perhaps we might use this thread to share some simple and general technical tips which would be of use (not specific to any particular piece, although reference to one might be helpful). If I gave the following example as a starter perhaps you'd get my drift. (with due acknowledgement here to Roger Fisher where I first came across some of these tricks of the trade).

 

Bonnet - Elfes : Play the 4 note semiquaver figures as block chords first to memorise the pattern and finger position. Following that, then play them as a dotted rhythms and then try again as even notes. I tried it - it really did make it easier to learn. This can then be used as a transferable skill for other such perpetuum mobile works. There is also the RF idea of playing the figures forwards and backwards.

 

I only intended one example and three have just popped out!

 

 

=================================

 

 

Anything which is an aid to improved learning is to be welcomed, and as someone who was almost totally self taught, I sometimes used a bit of ingenuity in the process.

 

Everyone knows how tedious it can be learning new repertoire; especially when one is young and impatient. While others spents weeks and months preparing and learning Bach Trio Sonata movements, I "discovered" a new way, (I'm sure I didn't), which works extremely well as a way of speed learning. The trick was to record the right hand and pedals, and then replay it; adding the left hand. The great joy of this, is the fact that one immediately becomes a single player in a trio, and at the same time, it is possible to enjoy the music in its entirety while still learning it. The further advantage is seeing and hearing how the left hand fits into the contrapuntal scheme of things. What I discovered, is that memorising a left hand part makes it all so easy, (relatively speaking), because most things in Bach are dominated by the top and bottom parts, with contrapuntal ingenuity woven around it. This means that onve the left hand is properly learned, the right hand and pedal just seem to fall into place; all the terrors of vertical learning evaporating instantly as the linear falls immediately into place.

 

I'm not sure how much time is saved by this method, but it is considerable.

 

Best,

 

MM

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Guest Salamine

Nice one - as a matter of course when practising for a recital. I always leave a recorder running and then listen with the score afterwards away from the instrument with the score. With digital recorders at less than £100 these days it is a real boon. Like the photograph the recording doesn't lie and it's a very sobering exercise to listen to yourself in the cold light of day.

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I've re-visited works that I thought I knew securely, using a metronome. I am astonished that one can easily slip out of sync and it really does highlight how easy it is to scurry over quavers, shorten notes on phrase-ends, etc. I get a weird sensation that the metronome is varying speed, when in reality...it's me!

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For me some simple 'rules' make life easy: practise hands/feet separately, practise from fast to slow (not the otherway around hitting the brickwall), memorize (structures, proceedings, notes, whatever), LISTEN.

 

Somewhere I read 'good technique is in the ears', I tend to agree.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Nice one - as a matter of course when practising for a recital. I always leave a recorder running and then listen with the score afterwards away from the instrument with the score. With digital recorders at less than £100 these days it is a real boon. Like the photograph the recording doesn't lie and it's a very sobering exercise to listen to yourself in the cold light of day.

 

Would anyone care to suggest a make/model that works reasonably successfully in a church building?

I'd like to try some of the suggestions some of you have mentioned.

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Would anyone care to suggest a make/model that works reasonably successfully in a church building?

I'd like to try some of the suggestions some of you have mentioned.

 

I would highly recommend the Zoom H1 for practice recording. Extremely easy to use, amazing quality for the price (79 GBP at Amazon.co.uk) and records for ages on a single AAA battery. Easy to carry around with you, and cheap enough that I'm not paranoid about someone nicking it while I'm practising.

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Does anyone record using their smartphone? Seem to be virtually ubiquitous these days and wide choice of recording apps regardless of platform ie Android, iPhone etc.

 

Although there are some really useful recording apps available (i. e. Tape Machine, Easy Voice Recorder for Android and iTalk Recorder of iOS), there is still the problem of the internal microphones not being really suitable for recording music. There is, however, the option of connecting an external mic to your smartphone, but in order to do that you need a special adapter (such as these here). I was trying to find something similar at our local tech store, but it seems I’m going to have to order the adapter off the internet.

 

Edit: I just discovered another adapter for connecting external mic and headphones simultaneously to your smartphone.

 

M

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Hi

 

There are higher quality mics available that just plug in to the smartphone's audio jack - see for example the Studiospares catalogue - go to http://www.studiospares.com/. One example is the MicW i436 - others are available, as are other suppliers.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

Thanks for the tip. However, I’ve had this really good microphone for quite some time now. I bought it years back together with a MiniDisc recorder (which, by the way, is still fully functional and makes great recordings, albeit one ultimately has to copy them to the computer), and intend to keep using it in the future. So for me, in order to be able to make decent recordings on my smartphone, the only option is to get an adapter.

 

M

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Thanks for the tip. However, I’ve had this really good microphone for quite some time now. I bought it years back together with a MiniDisc recorder (which, by the way, is still fully functional and makes great recordings, albeit one ultimately has to copy them to the computer), and intend to keep using it in the future. So for me, in order to be able to make decent recordings on my smartphone, the only option is to get an adapter.

 

M

 

 

I smile at this, because anyone who wants cheap, but also wants quality sound, could do worse than obtain a battery powered, Sony condenser such as I have. I have some very expensive microphones, but my old Sony ECM99 is almost a match for them, and ideal for organ-music. All that is required is an adaptor from 1/4" jacks to the usual mini-jack of to-day, (I use a mixer unit), and you can get one of these microphones for about £10 on e-bay.

 

There's nothing wrong with old (1970's in this case), if it's also quality sound.

 

Best,

 

MM

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