Week 3: Left Hand Magic

Welcome to the third week of "Imagination on the Piano: Improvising Classically with George Ko"!

This is the thread for posting the submissions and assignments for the third week. Watch the third Livestream to learn more about the Week Three Assignments!

There are different levels of improvisation. There鈥檚 Billy Joel. There鈥檚 Aretha Franklin. There鈥檚 Robert Levin. Then there鈥檚 Mozart. One distant characteristic that differentiates these improvisers is how they use the left hand. Classical music is all about crafting in the details, and composing creative journeys and destinations towards the final cadence, specifically in the left hand. This week we鈥檒l look at ways to use the left hand to elevate your improvisations.

Week Three Assignment

Share a quick 20-30s clip improvising using one of the left hand techniques we learned this week. Try to use Alberti bass, or if you鈥檙e more daring, a Chopin like left hand.

Watch George's livestream here!

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    Here's my attempt at some Left Hand Magic with some variations on "Groovy Kind of Love", which is a pop song from 1966 based on a theme from a Clementi Sonatina Op. 36, No. 5. (last movement). It's still very rough but I try out the 4 basic LH techniques described in the Workshop, changing key each time for good measure. inversions of the chords are also featured in various places. I even try my luck with a little cadenza at the end.  Lots of unintentionally dropped and added beats  -- hopefully they net out to a multiple of 4!

    Var. 1 -Bb - boom cha chords, to establish the theme

    Var. 2 B major - trying a Chopin Left hand and to do something with thirds and chromatics in the RH  -- not very successful but got to start somewhere

    Var. 3 C major trying a Rachmaninoff bass loosely patterned on the LH in his Eb Prelude, winding around the chord tones;  can't even think about the RH while doing this, it's just hanging on for the ride.

    Var. 4 Db  -- Alberti Bass, which is more 'native' to Clementi and fits comfortably onto this theme.. then a makeshift cadenza to take it home.

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      • George KoTeam
      • Classical Improviser 馃幑
      • GeorgeKo
      • 3 mths ago
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      Peter Golemme Very wonderful improv! Love how you're doing so many different types of left hands! I especially love the left hand scale you do, very reminiscent of Beethoven left hands!

      Nice cadenza improv on the right hand at the very end! 

      The only thing I would think about in your improv is to be more attentive to your pedalling and see if you can "see ahead" of your harmonies so they don't clash, aside from that, a very nice improv indeed! 

      If you want to create an even more of a challenge, see if you can incorporate inner voices or a middle melodic line, see you in the next session!

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    • George Ko thanks so much for the feedback George.  I will work on my pedaling.  I tend to forget it and let it be automatic, and I also unconsciously lean on it to cover up gaps and missteps in my runs... got to try not to do that! as Andras Schiff said, "legato is achieved with the hands, not the feet"  !

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    • Peter Golemme Amazing stuff, Peter! Well done! 

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    • CK
    • br0wn
    • 3 mths ago
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    Feel free to listen. Hope it's not too deviated to the topic (again!)

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    • CK very nice CK.  parts of it are very Chopin-esque!

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      • CK
      • br0wn
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Peter Golemme Thanks. I feel that I put too much of elements. 

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      • George KoTeam
      • Classical Improviser 馃幑
      • GeorgeKo
      • 3 mths ago
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      CK Nice job experimenting with the left hand! I like the trill transition in the left hand, and working with changing the pattern with the alberti bass and also the more melodic approach in the left hand. I would just work on maintaining the momentum with the left hand, or having a more deliberate section when the left hand changes. Haha I could hear some borrowed left hand from some classical composers, nice! well done!

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    • CK Amazing impro, CK! Beautiful! 

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    • Very beautiful 

      CK 

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