Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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.


Week 16/97: Cavatina

January 22, 2009

This is the theme from the Movie The Deer Hunter, which features a surprisingly young Robert DeNiro, Christopher Walken, and Meryl Streep. Anyway, it was originally composed for the guitar. I started with a piano transcription but didn’t like it. The version here is a more faithful transcription, in that the notes are the same as those played in the guitar version (except for the parts where I possibly misread it… some parts don’t sound quite right…).

I would like to try to do a piece a week if at all possible. Next up is a Bach.

Week 15/97: Chopin Prelude Op 28 No 20

January 17, 2009

I hadn’t originally planned on starting a Chopin piece yet, but I started playing around with this piece and couldn’t stop. So, here we are…

The slight pause at the end of bar 8 is because I’m obsessed with getting some unacorda action into the last phrase of this piece…

I’ve figured out how to record directly to the laptop, bypassing the microphone and all of it’s noises. However, the audio from the program my webcam uses for recording is not as good as the audio from Audacity. Compare the video with this MP3. There is some kind of weird rolling sound underneath the music in the video. So I don’t know what the deal is with that, but I think it’s an improvement.

K545 still proves to be tres difficile. I am working on Cavatina instead. I didn’t think I was ready for this but it’s actually not so bad once you get into it. Arpeggios are harder than scales but 16th notes are more harder than 8th notes.

Week 11/100: Impertinence

November 30, 2008

It is true what people say. While I am making excellent progress, I am going to need to practice a lot more if I am to make my goal in time. Life has a bad habit of getting in the way of piano practice, though.



I’ve got the first section of K545 memorized, but that doesn’t mean I can play it up to speed. Still, progress is tangible.

I’ve started adding some structure to the pieces I learn. I try to always have 2 pieces, a long term project (something that’ll take a few weeks–right now K545), and a short term project (something that can be learned in a week or so). On top of that I always practice my scales (I now have 12!) and try to do something from Alfred’s if I’m not too tired. An Alfred piece can be learned over the course of a day, but I usually don’t spend that much time on it because I dislike them.

Handel’s Impertinence was my last short term project. So now I’m looking for a new one. I think… something from anime…