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Debussy Arabesque No. 1 and the back story (Video)

Speaking of pianos, and decisions about which to use, I decided to give Haddy Haddorff another opportunity to sing like a nightingale. This was a late-into-the-night sound exploration following an earlier trip to the Mac Store at Fresno’s Fashion Fair Mall. The Yeti mic was not registering–no sound–no explanation, though it was properly connected.

So I shut down the computer, re-booted and checked for updates. It didn’t matter. Still mute despite visual sound waves galore.

Another lingering problem– the intermittent though disturbing, out of synch frames–an issue finally acknowledged by a Mac technician, who declared, “It may be related to the iMovie program.”

So what’s next?

I guess I’ll wait for the next update as I watch my hands and the music run off in different directions.

Meanwhile, I was given a new Yeti Mic, since the older one didn’t register at the store.(better than a squeak in a pedal disappearing when the tuner waltzes in) This time I had the upfront and personal evidence.

I came home, practiced, and found myself wandering from the Steinway back to Haddy playing the Debussy Arabesque 1.

The grand piano afforded a nice work-out because the action is stiff by comparison to Ms. Haddy. So if you hang around the Steinway long enough and then mosey over to the second piano, the playing is a piece of cake by comparison. It resulted in a smooth transition to the Debussy Arabesque No. 1 without instrumental resistance.

Maybe it’s not a bad idea to have a work-out piano until the knots are addressed. (I’m waiting for the Magical Messiah tech to appear)

Next year in Jerusalem?

***

It was well after midnight when I managed to upload the Debussy.

Yeti mic was humming, though a tad out of synch with my arms and hands.

Up at 5 a.m., I hoped nothing had imploded during my zzzzzs, and was pleasantly relieved to see the posting. It came with some kind of message that the rights to the Debussy were owned by some entity and such.

“GoDigital MG For a Third Party Content Type: Musical Composition”

You just never whose domain you’re trampling on.

It’s getting so bad now that these companies own Chopin and other composers who died over 150 years ago.

That’s worth another blog and a half.

So stay tuned….

RELATED:

Debussy Arabesque Instruction


https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/07/20/piano-instruction-debussy-arabesque-no-1-video/

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Jello and other mental images for pianists

Here comes the jello again. I thought I was the only one swimming around in it until I found the good company of Irina Gorin, piano teacher and author, who served what amounted to a jello substitute at her piano lessons. She had packed away a small tub of colorful putty that she dispensed to her very beginning students when they occasionally pounded the keyboard like it was concrete. Ouch! The impact alone should have stopped them in their tracks.

Tracks could have been another tone booster, if thought of as soft tracks of silky snow, before the meltdown or freeze! Better yet, Molasses would work wonders for an image starved pianist, without all the artificial coloring.

With a collection of volume enhanced images, a pianist could milk the piano for its singing tone while sculpting phrases par excellence.

The music of Debussy is sampled below:

Following this musical snippet, I’d skimmed the surface of a Scarlatti sonata, replacing jello with yet another image. Bouncing through light and lively staccato in K. 159, I imagined my springboard trampoline fueling my duetto in 3rds, 4ths and 6ths as it spilled into a shimmering trill.

After a fanciful display, I shifted my landscape in the first section of Mozart’s Sonata, K. 545 in C Major.

All I could think of was beautifully spun out operatic lines that the composer embraced. As a singer, first and foremost, I would shape phrases with the assistance of a supple wrist. Molasses and jello would support an outpouring without intrusive accents.

***
Mental images are always helpful to a pianist. Best integrated into a program of daily practicing that is mindful and phrase attentive, they fuel the imagination and allow the spirit to soar.

Related Links:

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/09/20/piano-technique-producing-a-beautiful-singing-tone-with-jello-as-an-image/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/10/06/the-art-of-piano-playing-is-about-breathing-and-phrasing-videos/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/07/09/more-ideas-about-piano-technique-and-mental-imagery-playing-into-a-bowl-of-molasses/


https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/10/20/piano-technique-avoiding-pencil-point-playing/

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Aiden Cat Dozes off to Debussy (Video)

Looks like Aiden was out like a light… except for 2 well-timed ear twitches … otherwise, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Arabesque no. 1
Played on my Haddorff console piano (manuf. 1951) a real musical treasure with divine resonance.

Aiden’s awake-time pics:

RELATED:
A Purrr-fect Musical Match Made in Heaven
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyY3XSl5Wuc

Aiden Cat Joins Ilyana, 8, at the Haddorff piano
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5tK4GvhqRo

Aiden Cat and Willie Wonka
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HV_Nk6JjoGE

Aiden and Chopin:
http://www.youtube.com/arioso7

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Piano Instruction: Part Two Debussy Arabesque, No. 1, Teacher, Shirley Kirsten (Video #2)

Part two transitions to A Major. (The composition is in E Major) and has a different character though motifs and ideas from the opening section intersperse this portion of the Arabesque.

A very noteworthy change that occurs with the modulation to A Major, is a prevalence of chords, some of which move homophonically (in the same rhythm) with a hymn-like character.

Once the triplets intertwine this section and the rest of the piece, the player has to be aware that this thread gives unity to the whole work.

On the last page an Extension or Coda appear at which point the bass line and tenor descend in a most beautiful mosaic against the melody.

At the very last line of the composition an opposite ascent of triplet figures divided between the hands, gracefully concludes the work as they wisp away after a preceding swell or crescendo.

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Piano Instruction: Debussy Arabesque No. 1 (Video)–and playing through the whole composition

I first came to know this piece when a fifth grader at P.S. 122 in the Bronx was selected to play it at our student assembly. The ebb and flowing beauty of this work was so poignant, that I stored it away in my memory until I was able to personally experience this composition years later as a student.

***

The Debussy Arabesque no. 1 is a composition from the Impressionist era of musical composition. (late 19th Century following the Romantic period) Debussy and Ravel were the hallmark French composers of the time.

Apparently, the two Arabesques were the first works Debussy had ever composed for the piano, so they had immense historical significance.

The vocabulary of Debussy’s music is rich in harmonic dimension. The composer uses 7ths, 9ths, 11th and more, while he intersperses whole tone progressions that are so characteristic of his writing.

One can use more pedal when playing Debussy and not worry about perfectly pure sounding lines, though in this particular composition, special care must be taken to shape and contour phrases so they aren’t blurred and over-pedaled.

If density or volume ever applied to musical performance, this piece meets all requirements for a slow entry into notes, and a swimming motion through them.

The video below suggests ways to approach the composition, following the harmonic rhythm, bass line notes, and rolling broken-chord patterns. The player must have relaxed arms, a supple wrist, and be immersed in wave-like musical forms.

I have first played it through from beginning to end before discussing part 1:

First section:

Playing the triplets against 8ths:

Video Part Two:

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/07/20/piano-instruction-part-two-debussy-arabesque-no-1-teacher-shirley-kirsten-video-2/


RELATED for use of supple wrists and floating arms along with rotation:

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/07/14/piano-instruction-schumann-arabesque-op-18-using-a-supple-wrist-follow-through-motion-and-parceling-out-voices-video/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/07/10/piano-instruction-avoiding-injuries-using-butterfly-by-edvard-grieg-as-a-slow-practicing-example-video/