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
November 27, 2017 at 10:44pm

Piano Piece Pick of the Day #6 - For those looking to be armchair travelers, let Albert William Ketèlbey take you on a journey "In a Persian Market" and "In a Chinese Temple".

I remember playing the latter many years ago and still recall the enchanting tunes that Ketèlbey created to make you believe you were in a faraway place. The orchestral version features all kinds of exotic sounds - from oriental themes to mystical gongs and chanting "monks".

Listen to them and then grab... See More

Piano Piece Pick of the Day #6 - For those looking to be armchair travelers, let Albert William Ketèlbey take you on a journey "In a Persian Market" and "In a Chinese Temple".

I remember playing the latter many years ago and still recall the enchanting tunes that Ketèlbey created to make you believe you were in a faraway place. The orchestral version features all kinds of exotic sounds - from oriental themes to mystical gongs and chanting "monks".

Listen to them and then grab the scores to practice on the piano below.

Chinese Temple: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXXozkxE40M
Persian Market: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ede2QMi5JM

Scores: http://imslp.org/wiki/Category:Ket%C3%A8lbey,_Albert_William

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Gavin Koh

Haha. Hence, the need to promote Ketèlbey to a new generation.

Lyrics to Sanctuary of the Heart? That's really nice. Would love to hear it one day. Live performance, perhaps?

November 29, 2017 at 4:30pm
Yu Teik Lee

Oh my gosh... In a Persian Market is one of the songs that motivated me to ask my parents for piano lessons. Saw one of my schoolmates performing the song at school and I was immediately blown... See More

Oh my gosh... In a Persian Market is one of the songs that motivated me to ask my parents for piano lessons. Saw one of my schoolmates performing the song at school and I was immediately blown away. Thanks Gavin for sharing and reminding me of the song. It really brought back fond memories.

November 29, 2017 at 12:48am
Gavin Koh

No problem! Ketèlbey's music seems to have that surprising charm to nab avid afficionados. It's no surprise he became a millionaire selling these two pieces and "In the Mystic Land of Egypt."

November 29, 2017 at 2:00pm
Goh Zensen

Ketelbet's Bells Across the Meadows is another soul-touching piece whereby I used to get my students to write lyrics to it too!

November 29, 2017 at 7:27pm
November 24, 2017 at 7:09pm

Piano Piece Pick of the Day #4 - For those who love ice skating, Les Patineurs Valse, or more popularly known as The Skaters' Waltz, Op. 183, is a waltz by Émile Waldteufel that is sure to please; this is possibly his best known composition.

The Waltz sets out to capture the atmosphere of skaters on the surface of the frozen River Seine, and it achieves this admirably through an introduction, four brilliantly enchanting waltz themes and a coda section that captures that wintry spirit... See More

Piano Piece Pick of the Day #4 - For those who love ice skating, Les Patineurs Valse, or more popularly known as The Skaters' Waltz, Op. 183, is a waltz by Émile Waldteufel that is sure to please; this is possibly his best known composition.

The Waltz sets out to capture the atmosphere of skaters on the surface of the frozen River Seine, and it achieves this admirably through an introduction, four brilliantly enchanting waltz themes and a coda section that captures that wintry spirit.

Video | Score

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Goh Zensen

This is one of my favorites - though I personally like his Estudiantina Waltz better.

November 27, 2017 at 8:47am
Gavin Koh

Yes, that one is as popular, but I guess I am a teensy bit biased towards music that have appeared in video games. I always associate The Skater's Waltz with a cute little animated penguin skating... See More

Yes, that one is as popular, but I guess I am a teensy bit biased towards music that have appeared in video games. I always associate The Skater's Waltz with a cute little animated penguin skating whenever I hear it.

November 27, 2017 at 10:22am
November 15, 2017 at 9:03pm

If I move my piano to another location, and during the moving, the piano got a few fresh scratches, is the piano mover liable to pay for the damages?

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Mabel Ong

Sounds like a tricky situation. Did it really happen to you?

November 17, 2017 at 12:35pm
Liew Soo Hin

Didn't happen to me. But to my friend. Was asking on her behalf, and see if anyone has similar experiences.

November 24, 2017 at 5:07pm
Mabel Ong

Hope it ended well for her! ?

November 27, 2017 at 9:57am
November 26, 2017 at 10:42pm

Piano Piece Pick of the Day #5 - Mention Alfred Hitchcock and you might remember the diversity of dramas, thrillers, and mysteries from "Alfred Hitchcock Presents", a TV series that was produced back in the mid-60s.

Indelibly linked to the TV series is Charles Gounod's Funeral March of a Marionette. Originally planned as part of a suite dedicated to a music critic, only this piece was released after the critic's untimely death. Listen to the familiar strains of Gounod's music in the... See More

Piano Piece Pick of the Day #5 - Mention Alfred Hitchcock and you might remember the diversity of dramas, thrillers, and mysteries from "Alfred Hitchcock Presents", a TV series that was produced back in the mid-60s.

Indelibly linked to the TV series is Charles Gounod's Funeral March of a Marionette. Originally planned as part of a suite dedicated to a music critic, only this piece was released after the critic's untimely death. Listen to the familiar strains of Gounod's music in the video below.

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

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Gavin Koh

Score to the Funeral March of a Marionette is here.

November 26, 2017 at 10:44pm
November 21, 2017 at 3:55pm

Piano Piece Pick of the Day #1 - Was playing this piece earlier today at URA Centre, when I thought, why not introduce it here for Pianovers to play.

Granados' well known piece from the Goyescas suite called "Quejas, o La Maja y el ruiseñor" or aka "The Maiden and the Nightingale". This piece is actually what the famous song "Bésame Mucho" (composed by Consuelo Velázquez) was based off.

Listen to a performance of the piece below:
... See More

Piano Piece Pick of the Day #1 - Was playing this piece earlier today at URA Centre, when I thought, why not introduce it here for Pianovers to play.

Granados' well known piece from the Goyescas suite called "Quejas, o La Maja y el ruiseñor" or aka "The Maiden and the Nightingale". This piece is actually what the famous song "Bésame Mucho" (composed by Consuelo Velázquez) was based off.

Listen to a performance of the piece below:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7naaVPKatOo

of 1
Gavin Koh

Score to Goyesca is here

November 26, 2017 at 10:17pm

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