Piano Practice & Music Theory 23-11-2020.


Consider this a very delayed post. More or less, I sprained my left-hand from over-practicing and had to rest it for a good week or two.

By my teacher’s estimation, I should be at Grade III music theory by the end of the year. That isn’t bad at all, considering that it took me a total of five months to get up to that point. By that measure, next year… I should be well past the sixth grade of music theory. And in no-time, I should be up to aMus (Associate Of Music, Australia).

Theoretically speaking, AMus is diploma level of music in theory. Even if I don’t advance that far, in pianism… I can still surely excel in music theory, and study musicology. Although, I would always wish to use the piano as my instrument for entry. The piano has given me, much more than I could ever wish for.

This week, marks the third month I had since started learning piano. I am a couple of weeks away from Grade I repertoire.

In discussion of building muscularity for one’s fingers and wrists, it appears that I’m doing fine. My wrists pain, as well as my fourth fingers but I expect that. My teacher mentions that I ought to allow them to become stronger, on their own terms. That is, through the progression of this pianistic journey. Never force anything. Tiredness in the fingers and hands aren’t bad. It means that they’re being strengthened. Good pain is like fatigue. A tiredness. I have also taken the task of re-adjusting my posture, so that I may allow better circulation around my body… and by extension, hands. I know it’s working if my hands pleasantly tingle, after practicing scales.

More on discussion, speaking of pianists… especially concert pianists, there appears to be a lot of economizing in utilizing their energy. That is, one wants simplicity in their movements and gestures to conserve that much needed energy. When one reaches those higher grades of repertoire, it’s especially demanding. My teacher said that it can be exhausting, when one performs. Just as well, I’ve noticed some of the pianists I’ve watched ‘sweat’ whilst performing.

After they’re done, just as well. They look exhausted. Winded.

Pianists fascinate me. Your metaphorical toolbox of techniques is observed to never end. Even when you reach the higher levels, still you’ll always be learning. New repertoire introduces new meta-skills to add to one’s metaphorical toolbox. Articulations, for one, are like tools used for rendering finer detail… precision. It’s like, as my teacher said… little pockets of skill, that pianists build on top of one another to create something beautiful.

They’re like athletes in a way. Such skill goes into pianism. One ought to be disciplined. One ought to take it seriously.

My teacher likes metaphors.

I miss watching pianists perform.

Music Theory:

  • Memorize all Grade II terms.
  • Memorize all key signatures up to five accidentals. From both sharps and flats. On both the treble and bass clefs. Then, play this on the piano is memorize it further. Annotate these key signatures in 2 8ves.
  • Practicing the writing of accidentals for keys must be exact, that is the ordering. Take reference of the mnemonic:’

    Fresh. Cherries. Grow. Down. At. East. Brunswick.

    Some further notes:

    A hemiola is a type of syncopation. Syncopation is the displacing of time, in music. It’s, to put it simply… about messing with the hierarchy of beats within a piece. The displacement of normal accents of beats and/or pulses. Jazz is a genre which does this. This is comparable to, rubato. Rubato, instead… stretches time. It alters the tempo past the hierarchy of beats.

    By advice, I can learn how to sight read by memorizing where all of the notes are… and also, read in thirds.

    Accents In Verse (Poetry):
  • In verse, words are arranged in rhythm. With verse, just as one would find in music… there are both accented unaccented words.
  • Unaccented and accented words stress which words in verse, are to be aligned with a note.
  • In general, small words such as ‘and’ or ‘the’ are often unstressed or unaccented.
  • When words in verse are formed with more than two syllables, one will syllable of the two will often be accented.
  • Accents within syllables, often begin with the first portion of the word.

    Pui = More.
    Meno= Less.

    I.E: Pui Forte = More Loudly.

    Mosso= Movement.
    Refers to tempo markings, or renderings of time. I.E: Pui Mosso = More movement.

    Words such as ‘Pianissimo’ and ‘Fortissimo’ which denotate dynamic changes are original words such as ‘Piano’ and ‘Forte’, rendered by the superlative ‘issimo’. The Italian ‘issimo’ renders the original meaning of the words–soft and loud, to very of each.

    Issimo= A superlative, which means ‘very’. Adding another ‘iss’ before Issimo renders it further to ‘Very-very’.

    Pianississimo: ppp.
    Fortississimo: fff.

    D.C Al fine: Play from the head upon repeat, and cease playthrough ’til ‘Fine’.

Pianistic Practice:


2 8ve, begin from the end at stop at the beginning:
C Major.
A Natural Minor.
A Harmonic Minor.
G Major.
E Natural Minor.
E Harmonic Minor.

RH: 123,1234,123,123
LH: For the next octave, the 4th finger comes over.

For scales, I will be focusing on learning every single key and their respective minors. My teacher mentioned that she plays scales every practice, and in doing a play-through it takes her 20 minutes to play through all scales up to the eighth grade. Eventually, I will be doing this for the rest of my pianistic journey too. Always, will the pianist need to play scales. Always.


Articulations for ‘Quadrille.’

For articulations, I have been taught a new technique. One the last note of a mini-slur, as a staccato. A mini-slur comprises of three notes of less in a slurred together. The pianist plays the last note of the mini-slur, generally as a staccato.

Staccatos take gentle movements of both finger and the wrist. A see-saw motion.

Staccatos ought to be crisp, and sharp when heard by the ear. The key is swiped with a gentle movement.

I am again, encouraged to go slow. To be fluid in my movements, and not clunky. That is, to move with a combination of fingers and wrists. Never should the fingers be doing all of the work. Never.

And remember, the weight distribution of the fingers. It is subtle. It is slight. As if performing surgery, in a weird way… errrrrrr.

Dynamics for ‘Royal March Of The Lion.

Mozart’s ‘Aria’. Note: Transcribed from an Operatic piece, there is a bar where one plays different parts. I.E: Holding down a note, then adding to that note like a mini-canon except with fingers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s