Pieces for the Precious

As mentioned before, I intend to blog my progress (at least in the early days) of dusting off my long-neglected piano skills. I’ll have more detailed things to say in a while, but to start off with, I figured I’d give a run-down of what exactly I’m trying to play.

There are two basic categories. The first is “Operation Remember How It Goes.” Right now I’m working on pieces I used to have memorized, and can play in their entirety or very near to it . . . so long as I don’t think about what I’m doing. The instant I pay attention to my fingers, fffffffffft. Goodbye. My mother will be mailing a stack of old sheet music to me, so I’ll be able to refresh my memory, and eventually move on to the pieces I can’t play anymore, but used to know very well. For now, however, there are three major things in this category:

“No Holly for Miss Quinn” — this is an Enya piece off Shepherd Moons that I taught myself to play by ear. It’s very simple, and I really can still play all of it; I just have to not let my mind wander, or I end up stumbling onto the wrong arpeggio. I’ve been using it as a warmup, and the goal is to get back to the point where I can reliably play it in my sleep.

“Solfeggietto” — C.P.E. Bach. One of the last pieces I learned, back when I was still taking lessons. It’s a fun, impressive-sounding thing, but the basics of it aren’t that hard; it’s just hard to play well. Right now I forget bits and pieces and have to jump past them to continue on, so I’ll either need to cudgel my brain into coughing up the rest, or wait for the sheet music to arrive. Then it will be time to act like a grown-up and do the exercises my piano teacher set me back in the day, that I hated at the time. They’re boring as hell, but kind of necessary to make sure you play the piece evenly, without the sixteenth notes lurching around like drunkards.

“Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” — J.S. Bach. Learned this, or rather the first part of it, at the same time as “Solfeggietto.” I remember much less of it, and will definitely need the sheet music to get all of it back. But it’s also fun and cool-sounding (especially now that I can play it with an organ tone instead of a piano one). Barring a few bits, it isn’t very hard, either.

The second category of music are the project pieces, i.e. the new songs I’m trying to learn. Right now there are two of these, both chosen for their relatively low difficulty level.

“Roslin and Adama (Simplified Version)” — I reported on this before. I’m nearly at the point where I can play both hands together at tempo; it’s just a matter of getting myself reliably back to the point where my fingers (especially on my left hand) remember their way around a keyboard well enough that I don’t have to watch them all the time. I also tried the non-simplified version briefly last night, and nearly fell over with hysterical laughter — I don’t think I have EVER played a piece that actually used that much of the piano’s lowest register. The amount of time spent counting ledger lines before I could play the next chord . . . yeah. My brain needs more of a refresher course before I can do that one.

“O” — from the Cirque du Soleil show of the same name. Again, my left hand needs to remember more of its former competence before I’ll have this one down; there are too many stretched arpeggios that it has to be able perform without direct supervision. But we’ll get there.

I have a few other things I’m dinking at, but that’s most of it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go spend more time with the Precious . . . .

0 Responses to “Pieces for the Precious”

  1. maratai

    Yes, the “Solfeggietto” is mostly a matter of being very steady, but it’s fun to impress people with. 🙂 I’m glad you’re having such fun!

    My strategy for tricky pieces is to memorize the music and then I can watch the keyboard all I like without having to look at the sheet music, but I hate turning pages in sheet music to a rather irrational degree, so YMMV.

    • Marie Brennan

      I need one or the other — either I need to know the music well enough that I don’t have to look up, or my hands need to know what they’re doing well enough that I don’t have to look down. Right now I haven’t achieved either. <g>

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