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
November 17, 2017 at 3:03pm

Piano Island Festival - 9th to 15th Jan 2018. Has anyone ever heard of this event co-sponsored by the Portuguese Embassy and Steinway? Is attending such Masterclasses/Lectures worth it?

https://www.pianoislandfestival.com/calendar

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Goh Zensen

I have several pianist friends (who were graduates from overseas' prestigious music conservatories) who agree with me that music theory stemming from the 5-lined staff system is indeed superfluous... See More

I have several pianist friends (who were graduates from overseas' prestigious music conservatories) who agree with me that music theory stemming from the 5-lined staff system is indeed superfluous and complicating, and there is a political reason for them to stay put that way (instead of being overhauled and simplified to meet the ease of learning by the masses). The reason is to preserve their elitism and exclusivity, period.

November 24, 2017 at 9:36am
Gavin Koh

I would tend towards disagreeing. The ability to learn and read music is no more elitist than say the ability to learn and read English. I feel that the language of music is likewise imposed upon... See More

I would tend towards disagreeing. The ability to learn and read music is no more elitist than say the ability to learn and read English. I feel that the language of music is likewise imposed upon by something akin to grammar - as in rules that you must follow on how to place notes and rests properly on the staves. It is an efficient system for communicating ideas on a musical level.

You could compare a lively piano concerto to be equivalent to a suspense novel from Tom Clancy, but that is something that you don't boast to friends who don't know anything about music. To do so is to invite people to start labeling you - they may make a snide comment saying you are a "show off". But they are right, because you are actually letting boasting about your skill in knowing another "language" - the language of music. For some reason, this boastfulness may be misconstrued as a form of elitism.

Surely we do not want to regress back to the era of bards and skalds where we repeat everything to our students. But, it is ultimately your prerogative If you want others to learn by playing by ear. They can always embellish or rearrange however they wish, of course, enriching a musical piece this way - but you would have lost the original version. This is probably how songs like Greensleeves and Sakura (and a million other traditional songs) were passed down through the ages.

But in today's context, it would be silly to not use a proper music notation system to preserve and communicate your work to the next generation. Just power up Finale (or Musescore) and enter in your music, as simple as ABC.

If a person should feel that the 5-lined staff system is too complicated or elitist, there are always other music systems around - like the interesting Klavarskribo or the Lead Sheet used by jazz musicians to abbreviate the gist of a song. The most common of these alternative music notation systems would likely be the numbered musical notation system. There are reams of these scores being passed down to preserve the rich musical heritage in China, and you could always promote that as a good alternative to the 5-lined stave system. I guess looking at a page full of numbers, dots, and underlines, would deem to be less elitist.

November 24, 2017 at 12:05pm
Goh Zensen

Spot on, Gavin! It is exactly the choice of notation system I'm talking about (when the use of notation is necessary like you've rightfully pointed out). I'm advocating the use of cipher (numeral... See More

Spot on, Gavin! It is exactly the choice of notation system I'm talking about (when the use of notation is necessary like you've rightfully pointed out). I'm advocating the use of cipher (numeral) notations adopted by millions of Chinese because this is a much simpler way to understand music, read music, play music, etc., and also, like what you'd highlighted, DOCUMENT music throughout the ages. I'd in fact conducted a full Western orchestral piece using the Cipher notation system, dismissing the myth that it is too simple (i.e. not sophisticated enough) to match the needs of the Western music tradition. This IS the revolution I've been talking about!

Many who were initially unconvinced by me were encouraged to watch the movie The Time Machine (2002 film). After watching it, many became convinced!

Also explaining why SOTA admits pupils who can sight-read on any other forms (need not be the 5-lined notation system).

November 24, 2017 at 12:43pm
Carlyn Ng

So, anyone going?

December 19, 2017 at 5:03pm
December 5, 2017 at 8:38pm

Is there anyone seeking to play a duet or a piece for four hands or maybe needs a vocalist, instrumentalist or more? Why not list your title and composer below and we can take it away by contacting each other through the user messaging function for a lively collaborative performance at our weekly recitals.

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Gavin Koh

Would love to play a duet of Grieg's "The Last Spring" from this book. Anyone interested?... See More

Would love to play a duet of Grieg's "The Last Spring" from this book. Anyone interested? Please message me by selecting my name and then clicking on the Message button. Or, you could easily find me on Facebook and Friend me there. Thanks.

December 6, 2017 at 12:59pm
Carlyn Ng

Gavin, I only managed to play very very simple duet with my teacher, hehehe. I'm still beginner. But I like duets!

December 16, 2017 at 10:59am
Gavin Koh

Yes, duets are great fun!

December 16, 2017 at 10:03pm
Gavin Koh

Here are books of classical duets from various composers that are begging to be performed by Pianovers:
a)... See More

Here are books of classical duets from various composers that are begging to be performed by Pianovers:
a) A Book of Piano Duets
b) École de la mesure
c) Melodien-Album
d) Pianoforte-Album
e) Moore's Irish Melodies
f) Payne’s Album für Musik
g) Modernes Vortragsalbum ausgewählter neuzeitlicher Tonstücke

Of course, you can just go to IMSLP and pick a composer that you like and look up their list of duets or 4 hands piano pieces.

December 19, 2017 at 8:18am
December 15, 2017 at 8:46am

We know how to play a normal glissando, but how do you play these glissandi?
a) Black keys glissando
b) Chromatic glissando
c) Thirds (or doubles) glissando
d) Octave glissando

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Gavin Koh

Please share if you know of another piece that lets you perform a special glissando. Just wanted to compile a list:
a) Lotus Land - Cyril Scott (Black keys)
b) Cadenza to Liszt's... See More

Please share if you know of another piece that lets you perform a special glissando. Just wanted to compile a list:
a) Lotus Land - Cyril Scott (Black keys)
b) Cadenza to Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody #2 - Marc-André Hamelin (Black keys and octave)
c) Feux d'Artifice - Claude Debussy (Chromatic)
d) Missing You - Namine, Kingdom Hearts Piano Collection (Chromatic)
e) Das Geisterschiff or The Ghost Ship - Carl Tausig (Chromatic)
f) Albredo Del Gracioso from Miroirs - Maurice Ravel (Thirds)
g) Hungarian Rhapsody No 15, Franz Liszt (Thirds)
h) Pour les huit doigts from 12 Etudes - Claude Debussy (Black keys)
i) Petrushka arrangement, Igor Stravinsky (Octave)
j) Variations on a Theme of Paganini, Book 1 Var 13, Johannes Brahms (Octave)
k) Waldstein Sonata, 3rd movement, Prestissimo section - Beethoven (pseudo Octave)
l) Khachaturian-Solin - Sabre Dance from Gayane (Black keys)
m) Pierre Sancan - Toccata (Chromatic)

December 17, 2017 at 1:20am
November 28, 2017 at 4:56pm

How many pianists here love taking a hiatus now and then from playing the piano and trying something else - like learning another instrument, composing music, limelighting as a lyricist, or partaking in singing?

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Goh Zensen

Cakewalk! Superb! Been using its ancient versions for orchestral music arrangements since the early 90s, recently upgraded to using Sonar Artist!

December 2, 2017 at 11:56pm
Gavin Koh

Arrgh... why do I keep typing Cakewalk. I am using Sonar too.

December 3, 2017 at 2:36pm
Carlyn Ng

Teik Lee, what is comping?

December 16, 2017 at 11:01am
Gavin Koh

"Comping" is short form for complement or accompaniment. You can read more about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comping... See More

"Comping" is short form for complement or accompaniment. You can read more about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comping

December 16, 2017 at 10:02pm
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

November 29, 2017 at 7:44pm

Sanctuary of the Heart - Music by Albert Ketelbey, Lyrics by Goh Zensen, Soprano Vocal (to be) by Karen Aw:

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Goh Zensen

Karen is with the Singapore Symphony Chorus, singing the soprano part. I also introduced her to the Pianovers; and as a result, she has found several good friends!

December 2, 2017 at 11:54pm
Carlyn Ng

I see! I haven't heard a performance by Singapore Symphony Chorus before. ? Hee. Does she play the piano too?

December 5, 2017 at 12:09am
Gavin Koh

You can watch the Singapore Symphony Chorus (plus the Children's Choir) performing "Bimm Bamm! Es sungen drei Engel" from Mahler's 3rd Symphony.... See More

You can watch the Singapore Symphony Chorus (plus the Children's Choir) performing "Bimm Bamm! Es sungen drei Engel" from Mahler's 3rd Symphony. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sW0dIi4mqas&t=1h14m15s

And, I'm pretty sure Karen plays the piano too: https://www.thepiano.sg/pianover/karen-aw-2622

December 5, 2017 at 1:07am
Goh Zensen

Yes, Karen is a piano tutor too!

December 5, 2017 at 12:05pm
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"

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