“Se fiera belva ha cinto” — Albéniz style

I would like more time in the woodshed on this one, a lot more. One measure in particular is always a monster. Nevertheless, this one was quite fun and a real merge of two very different styles. Think “Asturias” when you hear it, although the emotional feel is quite different since this is a fairly bright Major-key piece.

Probably “Confusa se miri” next but my brain is dangling shiny things in front of me in the shape of a ragtime “Non è si vago e bello,” so we’ll see whether I can herd it into the appropriate direction.

Quarter note is 50 fucking bpm

So that’s where I am with this pseudo-Asturias thing. 60 seems to be where the tires aren’t gripping the road anymore, and I want it around 70-ish, maybe a little more. This is going to be a long, boring slog.

And right on schedule, my brain insists on churning out a rag for “Non è si vago e bello” from Giulio Cesare. It wants a distraction, so it’s dangling shiny objects in front of me as a means of distracting me from making it fight for every stinking notch on the metronome. *sigh*

The piano pedals — a wee guide

Here’s a brief definition list for the curious:

  1. The damper or sustain pedal: Lifts the dampers from the wires and allows the sound to sustain until it is released again.
  2. The sostenuto pedal: Lifts the dampers from the wires of the keys that are down at the time, allowing for some special effects.
  3. The una corda pedal: Lifts the eyebrows of the listener in direct proportion to their opinion of themselves, and allows them to completely discount your playing.

It is vitally important to never, ever use the una corda pedal. Ever. It’s not really meant to be used. It’s a trick pedal. It’s there to trap and subsequently “weed out” players who are undeserving of the precious and priceless admiration of those who fancy themselves piano experts. If you absolutely must use it, please be sure to present a research thesis of no fewer than 350 pages to support your contention that you can’t plausibly avoid using it.

Well … unless you are actually willing to entertain the idea that a control lever that has been placed on a device is actually meant to be used from time to time, clearly a dangerously uncontrolled notion held only by reprobates who have no business going anywhere near a piano.

I don’t suppose this needs a sarcasm alert. For fuck’s sake, it’s right on the front of the piano. If you want that nice fogbound sound it can impart, then use it.

“But what I’m saaaaaaaying is that you shouldn’t use it if y–“

Oh, shut the hell up.

DAMN, this thing’s hard.

It’s only six stupid measures, but they exhaust my right hand and brain. I’m really going to have to cut this thing into extremely tiny pieces before I can get it down well enough to record it. What a pain in the ass.

I am also finally beginning to appreciate the old advice given to pianists to not look at the keys, because your eyes aren’t fast enough to use as a guide once the music starts getting too out of hand. It’s just very difficult to stop doing it. It feels like working without a net, and I suppose in a way it is. I still hate it, even though I’m a bit better when I do it.

Ssh, don’t tell the violinists. :-)

Pianists have the coolest brains in the universe

We have Braininators!

We are awesome and terrifying!

Accept us as a primal force of Nature before we destroy you!

*clears throat*

Anyhow, it’s a fun article.

Update: I like this one, too. Now, I don’t really think that any one instrument is “harder” than any others. More ergonomic instruments generally are expected to be played at a higher level with more challenging music, so it all evens out in the end. There are no “easy” and “hard” instruments; there are merely instruments with high and low expectations attached to them. But given the attitudes of some violinists other musicians, I just like pointing this out. Heh. We rock.