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Scherzo From Vierne 6


David Coram
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I've hit a brick wall with this piece. If you know it, could you help me by telling me how you got into it? I learned the first section and last section thoroughly, but really struggled with the second section (same as first but transposed a semitone). I had to skate through it for a couple of recitals so taught myself to be able to get through, making a vaguely idiomatically similar noise, without stopping. Now I want to polish it up and get it recordable, but every bar of the second section I improve results in me forgetting something else I already knew. How the hell do I get out of this rut? Or do I just accept that it's beyond me and go back to Eric Thiman? Can any of the many proper organists here offer any brain draining tips... before you all say it, I've tried going through slowly with metronome, doing hands alone, and all with no evident benefit...

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I've hit a brick wall with this piece.  If you know it, could you help me by telling me how you got into it?  I learned the first section and last section thoroughly, but really struggled with the second section (same as first but transposed a semitone).  I had to skate through it for a couple of recitals so taught myself to be able to get through, making a vaguely idiomatically similar noise, without stopping.  Now I want to polish it up and get it recordable, but every bar of the second section I improve results in me forgetting something else I already knew.  How the hell do I get out of this rut?  Or do I just accept that it's beyond me and go back to Eric Thiman?  Can any of the many proper organists here offer any brain draining tips...  before you all say it, I've tried going through slowly with metronome, doing hands alone, and all with no evident benefit...

 

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

 

I warn you! I can't play it, I don't WANT to play and I hate it....but......

 

Could it be, I wonder, if you aren't bumping into the old psychological phenomenon of "transfer?"

 

Transfer is when we do something new based on older patterns of learning, and it can be either positive or negative, as the case may be.

 

I've had similar problems with other works, and an absolute bitch to play accurately, is the Mozart K608.

 

When I got into something of a rut, I got out of it by changing the rhythm completely; thus negating the "transfer" of motor-learning patterns.

 

Just a suggestion, but try learning the NOTES as a a quick waltz rather than as a Scherzo middle-section. That way, your brain will switch off to what you have learned before.

 

On the other hand, it may not work at all!

 

Good luck with awful piece of music.

 

MM

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I've hit a brick wall with this piece.  If you know it, could you help me by telling me how you got into it?  I learned the first section and last section thoroughly, but really struggled with the second section (same as first but transposed a semitone).  I had to skate through it for a couple of recitals so taught myself to be able to get through, making a vaguely idiomatically similar noise, without stopping.  Now I want to polish it up and get it recordable, but every bar of the second section I improve results in me forgetting something else I already knew.  How the hell do I get out of this rut?  Or do I just accept that it's beyond me and go back to Eric Thiman?  Can any of the many proper organists here offer any brain draining tips...  before you all say it, I've tried going through slowly with metronome, doing hands alone, and all with no evident benefit...

David - I think it's a visual overload problem - there are so many accidentals and double sharps in the second section that your brain can't process them fast enough; you lose any sense of tonal centre and end up trying to read each chord again from scratch. Have you tried writing out the passage in question in enharmonic notation? It's essentially in a minor but just doesn't look like it, and I suspect that is part of the problem...the other thing that might help is piling up the arpeggiated groups and chordal clusters that follow as block chords, so you're programming your fingers to find the position quickly. Do you know what I mean? Haven't explained it very well. And choose your instrument carefully - any time lag and you'll come unstuck, as I discovered at the Methuen Music Hall in Boston....
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David - I think it's a visual overload problem - there are so many accidentals and double sharps in the second section that your brain can't process them fast enough; you lose any sense of tonal centre and end up trying to read each chord again from scratch. Have you tried writing out the passage in question in enharmonic notation? It's essentially in a minor but just doesn't look like it, and I suspect that is part of the problem...the other thing that might help is piling up the arpeggiated groups and chordal clusters that follow as block chords, so you're programming your fingers to find the position quickly. Do you know what I mean? Haven't explained it very well. And choose your instrument carefully - any time lag and you'll come unstuck, as I discovered at the Methuen Music Hall in Boston....

 

wow. two bits of fantastic advice. I confess I can play it more accurately WITHOUT the music cos I know what it's supposed to sound like (still only 2.3% right note factor however).

 

Going to try the block chord idea first. Very good suggestion. Did that with the Messiaen Vingt Regards on the piano.

 

MM - it's fantastic! what are you on about???

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I was taught to work on difficult passages by changing the rhythm, for example, if learning strings of semiquavers, make the rhythm dotted and learn the passage fluently, then reverse the dotting and do the same. Still works for me...

 

I suspect that techniques like this make one study the score closely and that the notes are taken into the little grey cells more permanently.

 

There is no doubt in my mind that the capacity to learn new music decreases in inverse proportion to age. It still seems easier to revise pieces I learnt in my youth.

 

...where did I put that Thiman...?

 

H

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Some suggestions that may be of any help:

1. Maybe you can learn it by heart (bit by bit) - in such a way that you're able to write down the piece on paper?

2. Similtaneously you could try to learn to play it VERY (VERY) SLOWLY; inforce the 'brain parts' and do not rely (only) on the finger memory

3. Study in random order - learn from end to start etc. - inforce the 'brain part'

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  • 3 months later...
Guest Barry Williams
I tried.  Accidental content falls outside the specified limits - not allowed.

 

 

Try analysing the structure - at the desk not the keyboard. Then work out the fingering and footing for every note. Then learn it very slowly. Tkae care, there are quite a number of misprints in the usual Vierne editions.

 

When you have learned the Scherzo, try the Final for a bit of fun - a really pagan toccata and great for weddings.

 

Barry Williams

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Try analysing the structure - at the desk not the keyboard.  Then work out the fingering and footing for every note.  Then learn it very slowly.  Tkae care, there are quite a number of misprints in the usual Vierne editions. 

 

When you have learned the Scherzo, try the Final for a bit of fun - a really pagan toccata and great for weddings.

 

Barry Williams

 

The final is a superb piece. According to various sources, there is only one mistake in it, too.

 

I cannot remember how many there are supposed to be in the Scherzo - I will check when I get back.

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Guest Lee Blick

Something I do when practising sometimes is to learn it backwards. Start at the last bar or line or phrase then add the previous bar, line or phrase to what you have already played and so on. Psychologically it helps me because the bit I have learnt is always being repeated and it feels better when you reach the end each time.

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First three pages, last three pages.  Closing the Sw for the middle three, & getting fifteen primed and prepared people to cough for 1 minute 14 seconds.

 

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

 

I determined early on in life, that I would leave learning this until my old age, when I will then have an excuse for never having to learn it at all.

 

"I would, but my fingers aren't what they used to be"

 

B)

 

 

MM

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