Archive for January, 2010

I am not dead

January 13, 2010

I just wanted to check in and let everyone know what I’ve been up to. I logged in today and realized that people still read this blog XD. So, thanks for that.

I have not stopped playing. I only got lazy about updating. If you go to my youtube account you can see all my videos (and I’ll just post it again: ). After the last update in this blog (oh my god, a year ago! time flies) I finished up Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata Mvt 1. I kind of slowed down after that and went away for a while, and then during the summer I was out of the country and without a piano. (Actually, I started another blog to document my adventures (with pictures!), which is up at: I tried to keep it current during the summer but lost that battle maybe two weeks in. At that point life overwhelmed me and I was too busy having fun to keep an online journal–I’ll try to go back and retroactively fill the rest in.)

In the fall I returned in earnest and got back into the swing of things. I polished up Adagio Cantabile from Sonata Pathetique, but never got around to recording it. Then I learned and recorded Chopin’s second Nocturne. After that I have been working on Clair de Lune, and after the new year I started working on a Chopin Waltz (64-2) concurrently.

The two pieces I’m working on right now are faster. I think Clair de Lune is more difficult than the waltz. It has a middle section (bars 28-46. Actually the section goes on for a few more bars after that, but it slows down and there isn’t a clear division between the fast stuff and the slow stuff. 28-46 comprise the middle 2 pages in the sheet music I have, so that works for me) which is quite fast. I timed this section on various recordings, and they all clock at 1:00 exactly. I would say that is a pretty good consensus on how fast I need to play it. It is quite difficult. I can play it error free in probably something like 1:30. I can play it with a few errors at 1:15 (let’s say a 5% error rate). I tried to play it at 1:07 and this resulted in something close to a 50% error rate. As you can see there seems to be an “event horizon.” As I push closer to the 1:00 mark things go bad very quickly.

I can describe the feeling of playing this section quite accurately for you. It is like falling off a horse. You start off okay–a series of arpeggios, the horse is galloping along. Then your finger slips off the black keys (because your roommate is King McGreasester of Greasetopia, who bathes in a tub of lard)–just one slip, but you’ve fallen off the horse, or at best you’re hanging off the side with a tenuous grasp, and it’s not long before you fall off completely and the horse races on leaving you paralyzed from the neck down in the dust. That is exactly what it feels like.

Anyway, hopefully I can update soon with a video.