Piano Pieces

November 3, 2017 at 10:55pm

It is amazing that four decades after the movie’s release, people are still finding new ways of interpreting Halloween’s theme song. The original theme was created with simple piano music, however, sometimes it is simple things that really capture people’s imagination and withstand the test of time. As John Carpenter said, “Horror movies will live forever.”

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Adelynn Khoo

You watched the movie? Quite an old show.

November 13, 2017 at 1:11pm
Carlyn Ng

Nay.. I didn't watch. I avoid horror shows. I run away! I guess you did?

November 30, 2017 at 2:36pm
Adelynn Khoo

I didn't as well. But I'm familiar with this famous title. Just like how I know the existence of Lord of the Rings, but I have never watched them.

December 20, 2017 at 8:53am
Mabel Ong

My first time with this piece! ?

December 20, 2017 at 10:50am
December 8, 2017 at 12:10am

Piano Piece Pick #14 - Looking to perform for a wedding, but yet you have been requested to perform something other than the standard Wedding March (Mendelssohn) and Bridal Chorus (Wagner). And you have been further instructed to avoid overused romantic pieces like Canon in D (Pachelbel), Claire de Lune (Debussy), Ave Maria (J S Bach), and Ode to Joy (Beethoven).

So, what will you perform at this wedding? I recommend "Wedding Day at Troldhaugen" from Edvard Grieg. It is the last... See More

Piano Piece Pick #14 - Looking to perform for a wedding, but yet you have been requested to perform something other than the standard Wedding March (Mendelssohn) and Bridal Chorus (Wagner). And you have been further instructed to avoid overused romantic pieces like Canon in D (Pachelbel), Claire de Lune (Debussy), Ave Maria (J S Bach), and Ode to Joy (Beethoven).

So, what will you perform at this wedding? I recommend "Wedding Day at Troldhaugen" from Edvard Grieg. It is the last piece from Volume 8 of Grieg's Lyric Pieces (a large collection of 66 solo pieces). Click on the video below to listen!

No? A bad choice, you say? So, what would YOU recommend we play at this wedding other than the pieces listed here?

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gq83dUB37rI
Score: https://imslp.org/wiki/Special:ImagefromIndex/285710/ft01

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Gavin Koh

No, I don't think so. Canon in D doesn't sound that nice on the piano, not without some strings backing.

December 9, 2017 at 9:46am
Mabel Ong

Most gals would melt with Canon in D, even just piano alone!! ?

December 10, 2017 at 1:54am
Carlyn Ng

Yes Mabel, I will melt... ?

Gavin, to me, I don't think this song is suitable for a wedding here in SG leh. Hehehe, just my personal opinion, at least for my wedding.

December 19, 2017 at 5:07pm
Gavin Koh

Ok... majority wins, I suppose! ?

December 19, 2017 at 5:08pm
December 10, 2017 at 1:39am

Piano Piece Pick #15 - With the evil clown "It" terrorizing cinema goers, it is perhaps never a better time then to think about addressing people's coulrophobia, or fear of clowns.

What about learning how to play the tune that started it all for the world of the Ringling Brothers, and Barnum & Bailey Circus? And, that would be Czech composer Julius Fučík's Entrance of the Gladiators (Op 68). The march gained popularity in circuses after it was arranged for wind bands and... See More

Piano Piece Pick #15 - With the evil clown "It" terrorizing cinema goers, it is perhaps never a better time then to think about addressing people's coulrophobia, or fear of clowns.

What about learning how to play the tune that started it all for the world of the Ringling Brothers, and Barnum & Bailey Circus? And, that would be Czech composer Julius Fučík's Entrance of the Gladiators (Op 68). The march gained popularity in circuses after it was arranged for wind bands and published as "Thunder and Blazes". Today, it is played to introduce clowns.

So, let's "Send in the Clowns". Click and listen!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_B0CyOAO8y0
http://imslp.org/wiki/Category:Fu%C4%8D%C3%ADk,_Julius

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Goh Zensen

Playmobil evades copyright issues by composing "this song using different notes but of the same style"! Give it a listen!

... See More

Playmobil evades copyright issues by composing "this song using different notes but of the same style"! Give it a listen!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pt2xGsUsQQ

December 10, 2017 at 4:55pm
Gavin Koh

Laugh out loud! Yes, it is a rip off of Fučík's march. But, I don't think you can get away scot free in today's music industry; you will very likely get sued if there are derivative similarities... See More

Laugh out loud! Yes, it is a rip off of Fučík's march. But, I don't think you can get away scot free in today's music industry; you will very likely get sued if there are derivative similarities.

December 11, 2017 at 8:48am
December 7, 2017 at 12:15am

Piano Piece Pick #13 - Claude Debussy wrote a 6 piece suite for children back in 1908. The final piece of the set contained this peculiar title - "Golliwogg's cake-walk". But, what does the title mean?

Well, a golliwogg is a stuffed rag doll characterized by white-rimmed eyes, clown-like lips, and frizzy black hair and skin. The cakewalk is a dance invented by slaves to make fun of the elite class; often slaves would dance against each other to win a delicious hoecake (southern... See More

Piano Piece Pick #13 - Claude Debussy wrote a 6 piece suite for children back in 1908. The final piece of the set contained this peculiar title - "Golliwogg's cake-walk". But, what does the title mean?

Well, a golliwogg is a stuffed rag doll characterized by white-rimmed eyes, clown-like lips, and frizzy black hair and skin. The cakewalk is a dance invented by slaves to make fun of the elite class; often slaves would dance against each other to win a delicious hoecake (southern cornbread).

Debussy's Golliwogg's cake-walk invokes an image of black dolls dancing in mocking fun and the music borrows elements from ragtime and jazz. And boy, doesn't that distinctive melody take the cake?

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCLVB2tPY98

December 5, 2017 at 12:21am

Piano Piece Pick #12 - With Christmas just 20 days away, it's time to prepare a piece for that all important recital. Why not pick something jazzy this year?

Mel Tormé's The Christmas Song is etched indelibly in our minds with its famous opening lyrics - "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Jack Frost nipping at your nose." The song becomes extra special however when it gets that special jazz treatment.

Plus there are other Christmas jazz songs as well, so maybe we'll hear one... See More

Piano Piece Pick #12 - With Christmas just 20 days away, it's time to prepare a piece for that all important recital. Why not pick something jazzy this year?

Mel Tormé's The Christmas Song is etched indelibly in our minds with its famous opening lyrics - "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Jack Frost nipping at your nose." The song becomes extra special however when it gets that special jazz treatment.

Plus there are other Christmas jazz songs as well, so maybe we'll hear one this year at Pianovers Meetup #64?

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqHOG9KSYAg
Score: Available in Musescore

December 4, 2017 at 2:20pm

Piano Piece Pick #11 - Following on the études from the last article, today I introduce a set of 7 Virtuoso Études from Earl Wild. This set are virtuosic transcriptions of George Gershwin's popular songs and include I got Rhythm, Oh Lady be Good, Liza, Embraceable You, Somebody Loves me, Fascinatin' Rhythm, and The Man I Love.

If you are up to this fresh challenge, take the plunge on the Wild side and try your hand at one of these well-loved songs from Gershwin. You will meet... See More

Piano Piece Pick #11 - Following on the études from the last article, today I introduce a set of 7 Virtuoso Études from Earl Wild. This set are virtuosic transcriptions of George Gershwin's popular songs and include I got Rhythm, Oh Lady be Good, Liza, Embraceable You, Somebody Loves me, Fascinatin' Rhythm, and The Man I Love.

If you are up to this fresh challenge, take the plunge on the Wild side and try your hand at one of these well-loved songs from Gershwin. You will meet polyrhythms, demanding scales and arpeggios, staccato playing, brilliant jazz rhythms and more.

Video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYJY2glnyL0
Score - Available by Googling for "wild gershwin sheet pdf"

December 2, 2017 at 1:21am

Piano Piece Pick #10 - Bela Bartok's Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm feature some of the most peculiar time signatures in piano pieces that you are ever likely to encounter.

In actual fact, these six pieces make up the last 6 of a set of 153 pieces from the Mikrokosmos collection, études ranging from very very easy, leading all the way up to fiendishly difficult. So, there is something for everyone here.

#148 is 4 + 2 + 3 quavers in each bar
#149 is 2 + 2 + 3 quavers in... See More

Piano Piece Pick #10 - Bela Bartok's Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm feature some of the most peculiar time signatures in piano pieces that you are ever likely to encounter.

In actual fact, these six pieces make up the last 6 of a set of 153 pieces from the Mikrokosmos collection, études ranging from very very easy, leading all the way up to fiendishly difficult. So, there is something for everyone here.

#148 is 4 + 2 + 3 quavers in each bar
#149 is 2 + 2 + 3 quavers in each bar
#150 is 5 quavers in each bar
#151 is 3 + 2 + 3 quavers in each bar
#152 is 2 + 2 + 2 + 3 quavers in each bar
#153 is 3 + 3 + 2 quavers in each bar

Listen to Bartok playing Bartok and share your opinions below.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cj306a_qTPk
Score: http://imslp.eu/files/imglnks/euimg/2/21/IMSLP465640-PMLP3661-Bela_Barto...

November 30, 2017 at 11:56pm

Piano Piece Pick of the Day #9 - 彩云追月 (Cǎi Yún Zhuī Yuè), or translated as "Colourful Clouds Chasing the Moon", is a piece composed by 任光 (Rén Guāng) back in 1932.

Imagine a scene of the night sky filled with multi-coloured clouds trying to play catch with the moon. And to that visual picture, coupled with a modern cosmopolitan beat, singer 爱戴 (Ài Dài or Edell) added poetic lyrics to the song in 2003 for her album "Love"; she sings it both in Cantonese and Mandarin.

Listen to... See More

Piano Piece Pick of the Day #9 - 彩云追月 (Cǎi Yún Zhuī Yuè), or translated as "Colourful Clouds Chasing the Moon", is a piece composed by 任光 (Rén Guāng) back in 1932.

Imagine a scene of the night sky filled with multi-coloured clouds trying to play catch with the moon. And to that visual picture, coupled with a modern cosmopolitan beat, singer 爱戴 (Ài Dài or Edell) added poetic lyrics to the song in 2003 for her album "Love"; she sings it both in Cantonese and Mandarin.

Listen to three versions of the song below:
Lang Lang's - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3JT5giyVMM
Li Yundi's - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-EZTdVJmVQ
Edell's - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PQr3qnly80

Score: Follow the link found in the Youtube description for the version performed by Lang Lang.

November 29, 2017 at 1:41am

Piano Piece Pick of the Day #8 - Today's focus is shifting gears to bring you something from mother Russia. Entitled Дорогой длинною (or pronounced "Daroguy D'lina-you). This piece is simple to play and famous the world over, including Singapore. It's a great piece for children or adult beginners, plus it makes a great cultural crossover.

The song has been covered by many other singers including Bing Crosby, Roger Whittaker, Dolly Parton, and even sampled by 50 Cent in "When it rains... See More

Piano Piece Pick of the Day #8 - Today's focus is shifting gears to bring you something from mother Russia. Entitled Дорогой длинною (or pronounced "Daroguy D'lina-you). This piece is simple to play and famous the world over, including Singapore. It's a great piece for children or adult beginners, plus it makes a great cultural crossover.

The song has been covered by many other singers including Bing Crosby, Roger Whittaker, Dolly Parton, and even sampled by 50 Cent in "When it rains it pours". Originally composed by Boris Fomin, Eugene Raskin penned the English lyrics, and Welsh singer Mary Hopkin actually made it famous in 1968.

No guesses for what this song is. Just listen to it below (preferably the Russian version - sung by Sergey Lazarev):
Russian: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmRynue6_MA
English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3KEhWTnWvE

Score: https://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/20774692/164648859/name/Those+Were+The+Day...

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Gavin Koh

The irony here is that the Russian and English lyrics have not that much in common. The former called "By the Long Road" is a romantic gypsy song, whereas the latter "Those were the Days" is more... See More

The irony here is that the Russian and English lyrics have not that much in common. The former called "By the Long Road" is a romantic gypsy song, whereas the latter "Those were the Days" is more a celebration of life.

The saddest thing though for the Russian version was that romantic songs were eventually banned in Russia back in 1929. Poor Boris (the composer) eventually went to prison in 1937 for his songs and much later on died from tuberculosis in 1948. But in between, Boris had to endure the shame of composing songs that were considered anti-socialist in nature!

November 30, 2017 at 8:14pm
Gavin Koh

@Zensen: Helmut Lotti's singing shows us that he is quite a smooth crooner whereas Sergey Lazarev's singing tends to be more flamboyant. What can I say, I like both performances!

November 29, 2017 at 11:33pm
Goh Zensen

Yes! And I''m impressed that Mabel knows this song despite being so young!

November 30, 2017 at 10:39am
Mabel Ong

Zensen, it's in one of those Alfred learning books for beginners! ?

November 30, 2017 at 1:08pm
November 28, 2017 at 1:00pm

Piano Piece Pick of the Day #7 - The Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia from Act Two of the ballet Spartacus by Aram Khachaturian probably needs no introduction.

To find a great piano transcription that does it justice while bringing out the beautiful love theme however, can be quite a task. But, I have recently found one on the web (possibly by Emin Khachaturian, Aram's nephew) and wanted to share it with all here. Enjoy!

I was playing this piece earlier (after watching an... See More

Piano Piece Pick of the Day #7 - The Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia from Act Two of the ballet Spartacus by Aram Khachaturian probably needs no introduction.

To find a great piano transcription that does it justice while bringing out the beautiful love theme however, can be quite a task. But, I have recently found one on the web (possibly by Emin Khachaturian, Aram's nephew) and wanted to share it with all here. Enjoy!

I was playing this piece earlier (after watching an encore of 童话 by Eng Wee at the URA Centre), and I must say that the Adagio of Spartacus and Phryigia is quite a challenge for the uninitiated, but definitely navigable for experienced sight readers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xbs5vsqZMhQ

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Gavin Koh

The score for the Adagio is here

November 28, 2017 at 1:02pm
Goh Zensen

I prefer the original orchestral version whereby during the climax, the strings play in triple-diap (octaves) layers for the main melody while the trumpets play the counter melody. My friend... See More

I prefer the original orchestral version whereby during the climax, the strings play in triple-diap (octaves) layers for the main melody while the trumpets play the counter melody. My friend Martin calls it, "Emotional Peak"!

November 29, 2017 at 7:33pm
Goh Zensen

Though this piano solo arrangement/transcription adheres largely to the piece, during the climax it falls short of one important counter melody (from 5:20 to 5:22), namely the notes G#, highF then... See More

Though this piano solo arrangement/transcription adheres largely to the piece, during the climax it falls short of one important counter melody (from 5:20 to 5:22), namely the notes G#, highF then B (originally by the trumpets).

November 30, 2017 at 10:40am
Gavin Koh

Well, I guess you can't win them all with piano reductions. Or, maybe you could add in the counter melody yourself.

But I am guessing it is a balance of wanting a transcription to be... See More

Well, I guess you can't win them all with piano reductions. Or, maybe you could add in the counter melody yourself.

But I am guessing it is a balance of wanting a transcription to be accurate vs the transcription being playable by pianists. Which was why the counter melody was not added.

November 29, 2017 at 8:27pm

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