Week One: Bonjour!
Hello and welcome to the WEEK ONE Main Thread for this challenge!
Alright everyone - this is the thread where we'll all be posting our daily updates.
Twice a week between May 9-16 I hope to be reading your daily updates in this very thread right here!
Please use the following format when commenting (feel free to copy & paste!):
- Piece you worked on:
- One thing you found easy:
- One thing you found difficult:
- (Optional): a video of you performing it!
Sample daily update:
- Piece you worked on: Ravel's Prelude
- One thing you found easy: Learning the notes, and rhythms were rather straight-forward, and not challenging!
- One thing you found difficult: Shifting the Hands was a bit tricky to get smooth!
Feel free to make these updates as short or long as you wish!
I have always loved the music of France, which partly relates to time I spent living and studying in the country. For this month I am going to work on at least three different pieces. Today I'll upload a practice piece of a work I've tried to learn previously but never properly, César Franck's Prelude Chorale and Fugue (he was naturalised French but Belgian born I think!)
One thing I found easy were the slower chord passages in the opening.
More difficult is trying to balance the voices in the opening and bring out the melody which had a echo effect as composed. The last few bars I find tricky with large chord spans which I have to break up.
Other pieces I want to learn are one of Poulenc's Novelletes and I'll return to Ravel's Sonatine to hopefully learn the second movement to add to the opening of the piece I've played before.
I will update as I make progress! Bon courage à tout le monde!
This is my first community challenge, and hopefully I will be able to follow through with the practice and updates. I have chosen a small piece by Alkan, Allegro Barbaro Op 35, no 5. I am away from home at the moment so I am just reading through the score and trying to understand the scope of the work and taking in the different sections mentally. I think the biggest challenge of the piece will be playing with precision and clarity at the metronome marking indicated by the composer. As well as bringing musicality into a piece that is seemingly bravura in nature yet delicate in many of its melodic variations.
- The piece you worked on: Debussy's Arabesque No. 1, Andantino con moto
- One thing you found easy: it's pretty easy to make this piece sound easy (even when you don't play it so well), so my partner didn't mind my practicing as much as usual :)
- One thing you found difficult: The rhythms! this was actually why I chose this piece. I wanted to work on my ability to play different rhythms. I had a few slips up on the polyrhythm in the second section, but overall, I am happy with my progress.
I chose this piece after watching Peter Dugan's lesson on tonebase (who is fantastic, I love his dorky personality, which shines when he talks about his pinky as the baseman!). I had been looking for some music that featured polyrhythms more prominently (as an aside, if someone can recommend a 3-against-4 piece to try next, I would appreciate it). A few pieces that I played recently (Schubert's Sonata in A major, D664 1st movement, and Beethoven's Sonate No. 8, “Pathétique” 3rd movement) featured a few measures with such rhythms, and I had a tough time as I just had not had much experience dealing with those. As Peter notes in his lesson, the piece is beloved by all. It is so lovely, and it makes you want to preserve to get it right because the result is so rewarding to play.
I like to give a "rough cut" first attempt for these challenges as I am trying to simulate a live performance. I hope that I get more comfortable so I feel up to joining one of the community challenges over the next couple of months.
There are some areas that I like here. Others I need to work on. I thought I was doing a better job voicing a few things and noticed that they were not coming out in the recording.
Oh, and I need to buy a few new sweaters or at least choose one that doesn't have a hole in it before I record next time :)
I learned this nocturne today. I love the sublimity of the piece. One of the most beautiful last pages of any nocturne.... ahh, what bliss! The easy part is feeling the long phrases - they just come organically with this piece. And the difficulty with rhythm, this is tricky, because there are polyrhythms in the recapitulation. But the final page is worth all of it... <3
This section which I'm sharing with you is a marvelous display of Faure's imagination. He takes the fast, restless motif of the previous page and transforms it into something ethereal and soaring. The underlying figure in the LH displays the rhythmic juxtaposition between triplet RH and sixteenth-note LH passages, having transformed the restlessness into a staid beauty that allows the melody flight into the world beyond. It is easy to love this music, and the difficulty comes in interpreting it! So many possibilities for sound with Faure.... I am glad to begin to play his music this month - I've never played him before!
Thanks to tonebase for giving us this challenge, and see you all on the forum. :) xx
Here's Chaminade's Romance op. 123 no. 7, from the first Children's Album, which I really enjoy. It isn't yet perfect, but I will be working on it throughout the month, as well as three other pieces from the two Children's albums. I found the opening to be fairly easy, while the ending was rather more challenging, as it is somewhat... Harmonically strange.