WEEK ONE Updates: Main Thread - Let the dancing begin!

Hello and welcome to the WEEK ONE Main Thread for this challenge! 馃ぉ

 


Alright everyone - this is the thread where we'll all be posting our daily updates.   

Make sure you've read the rules before replying (<- click)

 

Twice a week between November 1 - 8th I hope to be reading your daily updates in this very thread right here!   


Download the music:

Brahms: 16 Waltzes op.39


Please use the following format when commenting (feel free to copy & paste!):   

  • Waltz you worked on:
  • One thing you found easy:
  • One thing you found difficult:
  • (Optional): a video of you performing it!

Sample daily update:   

  • Waltz you worked on: No. 1
  • 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!

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    • Worked on: took a quick look at, and tried to play through, all of them, some very superficially. (N.B. I've decided to work on the more difficult version of Op. 39 to challenge myself further. Not sure this was a good idea, but was inspired by Sindre!)
    • Found easy: Dominic's range of levels seems spot on. Found his category of 'easy' very pleasant to sightread. Think I will spend less time on these easier ones. Those I could sightread through with few errors (5 and 9, for example) I will not spend much time on. They are beautiful but not challenging enough for me.
    • Found difficult: after a fairly challenging Number 1, all was well until I hit Number 6. Woah! Seven sharps?! I have never played anything in C-sharp major before, that's for sure. Why have I always found sharps more intimidating than flats? Brings me back to that stage of learning as a child (probably teenager) when I realized that sharps and flats could correspond to white keys! Took a long time for me to get my head around that and, honestly, I feel the same way when I look at Number 6 as an adult. This 'phobia' of sharps puts Number 6 in a category of its own for me. Number 1 is tricky, but in a fun, manageable way. But when I tried to sightread my way through Number 6, it was as though I'd never played the piano before. Difficult!

    Away until the 8 November, starting tomorrow, but I hope to read about what the rest of you are doing. Will take my score and red pencil with me and will try to stay focused, but will not be at a keyboard again until next week. Good luck, everyone!

    Like 5
      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Chad Langford This seems like a great start! Yes, seven sharps are pretty rare, it can be scary even for the most seasoned pianists :D I feel the trick is to focus deeply on that E being an "F" and the B being a "C". 

      Like 2
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Chad Langford OK, I just got back to my piano after 2 weeks out of town and 1 week recovering from arm pain from my Covid booster. So, I鈥檓 starting today also.  For some weird reason, my score has NO sharps for #6!!  How can it be in C# with no sharps written down.  I鈥檓 so confused.  Maybe I have the wrong score?

      Like 2
    • Gail Starr Hello, Gail! You do not have the wrong score, fear not! This particular opus exists in several versions. The two-hand piano solo version, for example, exists in two versions: an 'easier' (though everything is relative!) version and a tougher one. The version Dominic put online is the easier of the two. I discovered that my collection of Brahms includes both versions and decided to work my way through the more difficult one. Am beginning to wonder if I've been too ambitious! Anyway, the version is transposed down a half tone. Hope to hear more about how it's going on your end! Hope you have recovered from you booster shot!

      Like 2
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Chad Langford Thank you for clearing up my confusion!

       

       I thought I knew my key signatures, when I heard it was C# and then saw NO sharps, I was starting to doubt myself.


       I actually took a theory class for adults on Saturdays many years ago, I had remembered drilling key signatures, LOL! 馃槀

      Like 1
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Chad Langford I have totally recovered from the booster shot, thanks!  And now I will finally feel safe attending concerts in person. 

      Like 1
  • I consider myself a late beginner/early intermediate pianist that started as an adult learner. This is my first community challenge and I鈥檓 looking forward to the additional 鈥減ressure鈥 to get practice time in. I鈥檓 working through No. 2. I鈥檓 finding playing each hand separately pretty easy but putting them together I鈥檓 working through the rhythm still as well as some of the jumps (small as they are) in hand placement.

    Like 6
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      shelljb Welcome to this group of fun-loving Community Challengers.  We are so happy you are here!

      Like 1
    • StacyA
    • StacyA
    • 9 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Worked on:  No. 1

    One thing I found easy:  Rhythms and notes are easy enough to read.   Played through slowly with few mistakes.

    one thing I found difficult:  It is surprisingly difficult to accurately navigate the left hand jumps.  I don't usually have to look at my hands, but I'm definitely going to have to in order to get this up tempo.

    The right hand patterns feel pretty safe, but my brain hasn't latched onto the left hand yet.  Lot's of repetition coming up!

    Like 8
    • StacyA yes, I am starting with this one too and I also decided to immediately begin to memorize it as I learn it because of all the jumps. It鈥檚 fun.  Like trying to get to the next level in a video game. 

      Like 2
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      StacyA We need to learn your secret to easy jumps.  A bunch of us are finding the jumps tricky!

      Like 1
  • Worked on: No.1 (started yesterday)

    One thing I found easy: Notes were easy to understand (learning the first coda鈥檚 melody was easy).

    One thing I found difficult: the jumps with the left hand (have to do it super slow with both hands, don鈥檛 know if I鈥檒l achieve the right tempo soon).

    Like 7
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      David Bermudez I know what you mean about the jumps!

      Like 1
    • Brett Gilbert
    • Piano and classical guitar
    • brett_gilbert
    • 9 mths ago
    • Reported - view
    • Waltz you worked on: 1-5, which make a nice "set" to play together I think.
    • One thing you found easy:  No technical difficulties in first 5 (starts to get more challenging with 6!).
    • One thing you found difficult: 1 is the most difficult of the set for me, and I think will require some memorization to make the big jumps.

    I wish I had a more time this challenge but my goal is to at least make a video of 1-5.

    Like 7
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Brett Gilbert good plan. Less is always more and you鈥檒l get so much out of learning Waltzes 1-5. What a great set, anyway! My favourites are 1-4; Kissin has a YouTube recording of these - fabulous!

      Like 1
    • Doug Ward
    • Doug_Ward
    • 9 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    This is a BIG challenge for me. I mostly play pop and jazz and not too many formal classical pieces. But I'm gonna give it a try! I am gong to start with no. 2 and see how it goes.

    Like 6
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Doug Ward Awesome!  Can鈥檛 wait to hear you!

      Like 1
    • Sindre Skarelven
    • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
    • Sindre_Skarelven
    • 9 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Mid-week update week 1:

    • Worked on: Mostly 11, a little bit on 13, a taste of 14, sight-reading threw 15 a couple of times (advanced version) 
    • Found easy: Learning and playing 11 has been very enjoyable, and the technic required suits me pretty well.  
    • Found challenging: The technic for 13 is more challenging for me! The appoggiaturas with the chords that follows is a little tricky.    

    Can't comment on 14 yet, but I look forward to dig more into it on the weekend. 15 is just a delight to play :) 

    Like 4
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Sindre Skarelven I can鈥檛 wait to hear you!

      Like 2
      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Gail Starr Thank you, Gail! It鈥檚 great to have you back! 馃槃

      Like 1
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Sindre Skarelven 13 is an interesting one to start with! For me, it鈥檚 the one most unlike a dance and his makes it difficult. What is your tempo for No. 14?

      Like 3
      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Monika Tusnady  I was checking the tempo for #14 and I think around 110 on the quarter note. I know from what Dominic said about Brahms, that he is not about speed. But still there needs to be a spark in this one, and Brahms certainly is after different qualities in these waltzes. #13 I will keep on the slower, more brilliant side. What do you think?  

      Like 2
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Sindre Skarelven That鈥檚 a great tempo for No. 14, steady and not rushed. Besides, there鈥檚 lots happening there and you don鈥檛 want to lose any of it. I also take No. 13 slower, to make room for the contrasts between mm 1-2 and then 3-4; you do want them to run I to each other! I鈥檒l work on these and post after you鈥ometime. 

      Like 2
  • I love this challenge. I will like to study the no 1 to  no 4 waltzs.  The 11 to 14 if I have the time for it during this challenge. I still try to complete the Beethoven variations. I am new in Tonebass. 

     

    For now I work on the No 1...

     

    What I found easy on the no 1 , easy notes, easy rythem, waltz in 3...I like the mouvement of  waltzs. 

     

    What I found difficult, Ok maybe I will sound strange but in my case I found the notes at the left hand, sounds wrong...I don't know why...I do the good notes but I found it strange...I always look at the partition if I touch de good ones. lol! Am I alone to feel that ? Please help me, lol! And I don't feel the waltz, the sound of it yet...It is strange that I feel that...is in it? Maybe because I am not use to play Brahms repertoire. I trust mysel anough to be able to pass over that feeling...I hope so..

    Like 4
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Aline Valade I鈥檓 new to Brahms also.  I have REALLY small hands, so I never tried Brahms before but some of these waltzes seem possible with small hands.  Can you explain a little bit more what you mean by  a 鈥渨et鈥 sound?  (Vous voulez dire une sonorit茅 mouill茅e (wet) ou mou (soft)?

      Like 1
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