Piano - numerous questions

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OCTO
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Piano - numerous questions

Post by OCTO » 19 Jan 2017, 09:26

Here I face numerous questions. This example is very quick :4 = 160 or more. About 150 measures if this kind.

1. Is it OK to use so high octave, without 8va? The line moves quickly between low and high notes: without 8va it is obvious the direction.
2. Is it OK to use that way cross-staff, or cross-staff with beams on one side (not between) should be better?
3. For pianists: is this to quick? Would moving hands one octave apart be helpful, or there is no difference in performance? Is there any problem with RH/LH or LH/RH would be better?
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Knut
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Re: Piano - numerous questions

Post by Knut » 19 Jan 2017, 12:31

OCTO wrote:
19 Jan 2017, 09:26
Here I face numerous questions. This example is very quick :4 = 160 or more. About 150 measures if this kind.

1. Is it OK to use so high octave, without 8va? The line moves quickly between low and high notes: without 8va it is obvious the direction.
2. Is it OK to use that way cross-staff, or cross-staff with beams on one side (not between) should be better?
3. For pianists: is this to quick? Would moving hands one octave apart be helpful, or there is no difference in performance? Is there any problem with RH/LH or LH/RH would be better?
1. I would use 8va for this entire line, which should make the direction just as clear, while avoiding entire passages of notes 'floating' above the staves. If some passages in the piece feature notes in the first octave, I would omit the 8va for those.
While 8va indications might compromise the direction to a certain degree, they are completely standard in piano music, and completely appropriate for long passages like this.

2. Centered beams is the most (and only?) appropriate cross-staff notation for notes alternating between the hands.

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Re: Piano - numerous questions

Post by OCTO » 19 Jan 2017, 13:05

Thanks for that. But I have notes that are even very low, from :b to :t
Knut wrote:
19 Jan 2017, 12:31
2. Centered beams is the most (and only?) appropriate cross-staff notation for notes alternating between the hands.
Not always. Check Turangalila, with ledger lines or octave lines involved it is better not to have in between.
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OCTO
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Re: Piano - numerous questions

Post by OCTO » 19 Jan 2017, 13:10

OCTO wrote:
19 Jan 2017, 09:26
3. For pianists: is this to quick? Would moving hands one octave apart be helpful, or there is no difference in performance? Is there any problem with RH/LH or LH/RH would be better?
Additional question: is it possible to avoid cross staff and leave it up to performer? In a way it is easier to read these passages on single staff. John Ruggero?
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Re: Piano - numerous questions

Post by erelievonen » 19 Jan 2017, 14:10

OCTO wrote:
19 Jan 2017, 09:26
Here I face numerous questions. This example is very quick :4 = 160 or more. About 150 measures if this kind.

1. Is it OK to use so high octave, without 8va? The line moves quickly between low and high notes: without 8va it is obvious the direction.
2. Is it OK to use that way cross-staff, or cross-staff with beams on one side (not between) should be better?
3. For pianists: is this to quick? Would moving hands one octave apart be helpful, or there is no difference in performance? Is there any problem with RH/LH or LH/RH would be better?
1. In my opinion (as a pianist), 8va lines are not necessary for up to 4 ledger lines above or below. I don't mind the occasional 5th ledger line either. This is not unusual in piano notation. So only from 5th or 6th ledger line onwards I would prefer the notation with 8va.
Octo's example does not go beyond 4 ledger lines, so I would prefer it without 8va, just like it stands now. Even more so because, if using 8va, you would correctly have to place 8va lines over both staves (also the left hand stave!), which will make the space between the staves look quite crowded if the beams are between the staves as well.

2. This is the preferred cross-staff notation, as stated by Knut. You may beautify it further by taking care that the beam placement follows the musical line of both hands (for example: the beam jumping upwards between 3rd and 4th beats of the 1st bar is not helpful for reading, as the RH is not moving); and also by keeping the beams a bit closer to the LH stave, i.e. as much as possible in the space between the staves. (But do not increase the distance between staves! That would make cross-staff reading again more difficult!)
However, if all the notes on both staves would natively have their stems downward, I would not object to seeing all the beams under (or on) the lower stave. And the other way around in bass clef.

3. No, it is not too quick. But 150 bars of this might get tiring. I'd have a few questions in order to determine whether the alternating hands technique is actually the right technique to employ for the entire passage:
What is the dynamic level? Is it 150 bars of fortissimo? (Often, only in dynamic levels above forte does the alternating hands technique have a real advantage over other techniques.)
What is the desired articulation? Martellato? Staccato leggiero? Or legato? (Playing with alternating hands typically induces a martellato result.)

Moving one hand an octave apart might, technically, make this excerpt slightly easier, as the two hands would then never cross. But of course, it would sound entirely different, and the occasionally crossing fingers are not a big deal, IMO. Putting the hands an octave apart might actually make reading it more difficult, as then it is more difficult to understand the melodic line.
For this particular 5-bar excerpt, I think it would be easier to play if the hands were reversed (LH on the beat). But I cannot say for the other 145 bars. It would depend on the direction of the musical line, and how often and where the hands would cross. The hands could also occasionally change their order at suitable places (such as after a rest).

However - cross-staff notation such as this is not easy to read because a single musical line is dispersed over two staves, making it difficult to grasp the melodic line at sight. I'd suggest the following notation, which avoids cross-staff notation entirely. As long as there is a melodic line (and the hands are not jumping around or crossing each other wildly), this notation has the following benefits:
- Single-staff notation is easier to read. Easy to understand the melodic line even at first reading.
- No need to repeat accidentals for both hands separately (as visually there is only a single musical line).
- If an 8va line is needed, one will be enough.
- If tired with playing alternating hands, or if finding that alternating hands are not the best way to realize the music, the pianist can easily change to playing the line with one hand (or divide the line between the hands in some other way), without a need to renotate.
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Re: Piano - numerous questions

Post by OCTO » 19 Jan 2017, 14:32

Ere - EXTREMELY HELPFUL! Thank you! Kiitos!
This is the piano part in the orchestra, that is supported by the string section, in unison and in other chords.
The dynamics is ff and above. It should be played with Pedal constantly (to get an amazing echo).
The top note is a3 (4 ledger lines).
erelievonen wrote:
19 Jan 2017, 14:10
However - cross-staff notation such as this is not easy to read because a single musical line is dispersed over two staves, making it difficult to grasp the melodic line at sight. I'd suggest the following notation, which avoids cross-staff notation entirely. As long as there is a melodic line (and the hands are not jumping around or crossing each other wildly), this notation has the following benefits:
- Single-staff notation is easier to read. Easy to understand the melodic line even at first reading.
- No need to repeat accidentals for both hands separately (as visually there is only a single musical line).
- If an 8va line is needed, one will be enough.
- If tired with playing alternating hands, or if finding that alternating hands are not the best way to realize the music, the pianist can easily change to playing the line with one hand (or divide the line between the hands in some other way), without a need to renotate.
Absolutely fantastic solution.
How that can be achieved in Finale? As far as I remember, it was not so easy to achieve, because of the beams that become broken.
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Re: Piano - numerous questions

Post by erelievonen » 19 Jan 2017, 16:46

You're welcome! Ei kestä!
OCTO wrote:
19 Jan 2017, 14:32
How that can be achieved in Finale? As far as I remember, it was not so easy to achieve, because of the beams that become broken.
It is indeed a bit tricky to do in Finale.
To create the example, I selected Document options > Beams > Extend beams over rests & Extend secondary beams over rests.
If you cannot select these because of other requirements in the same score, you have to use a different workaround (see below).

Enter RH in layer 1, LH in layer 2.
(Or, since you have the notes already entered: un-cross-staff them; copy all notes to both layers 1 and 2; use JW Change to delete 1st and 3rd 16th-notes in layer 1, and 2nd and 4th 16th notes is layer 2. Or the other way round, if needed.)

Use JW Change to send unwanted sixteenth rests out of sight (Conceal).

To get rid of the hanging beam ends: break beams at 2nd 16th-note for RH (layer 1), and break beams at 4th 16th-note for LH (layer 2).
(I used Speedy edit. I didn't find how to make a plug-in to do that automatically, but probably there is a way.)

I hope I didn't forget some step.

If you cannot select Extend beams over rests, I can think of a workaround: Instead of a pair of beamed 16th notes (and an invisible 16th-rest between them), write just two 16th-notes (without a rest inbetween), and use Tuplet tool to make the first 16th a "1 16th in place of 2 16ths" tuplet (hide bracket and number).
There are other possible workarounds, too.
OCTO wrote:
19 Jan 2017, 14:32
This is the piano part in the orchestra, that is supported by the string section, in unison and in other chords.
The dynamics is ff and above. It should be played with Pedal constantly (to get an amazing echo).
Then the alternating hands is the right choice!
If you really want it to sound like a fortissimo virtuoso piano solo, then you could even do this... :) This is actually no more difficult to play.

(By the way, take note of where I choose to use the 8va: if everything is in octaves, even more than 5 ledger lines is no problem. Rather, I always try to avoid the paradoxical situation where notes have ledger lines below staff, but with an 8va above!)
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Re: Piano - numerous questions

Post by OCTO » 19 Jan 2017, 20:16

Oh, JW Conceal Rests saves my life! I used to HIDE them manually, and it always broke the beam!
It works perfectly now.

I will do this tomorrow when I am back in my studio.

Ere, I wonder if the piano will sound very virtuoso like, perhaps it is not needed, since it is just a part of the orchestra (orchestral piano).
Or octaving might reinforce it? Maybe to add at some point only, on crescendos just.
erelievonen wrote:
19 Jan 2017, 16:46
To get rid of the hanging beam ends: break beams at 2nd 16th-note for RH (layer 1), and break beams at 4th 16th-note for LH (layer 2).
(I used Speedy edit. I didn't find how to make a plug-in to do that automatically, but probably there is a way.)
I don't know what you mean, but I just used JW to hide rests and it worked imidiately.
erelievonen wrote:
19 Jan 2017, 16:46
use JW Change to delete 1st and 3rd 16th-notes in layer 1,
That would be great to automate, But how?
I have found in time of writing: Even numbered or opposite.

Many thanks for your support Ere! I will try to edit this tomorrow, seems less job than I expected. But your solution is wonderful indeed.
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Re: Piano - numerous questions

Post by erelievonen » 19 Jan 2017, 21:42

OCTO wrote:
19 Jan 2017, 20:16
Ere, I wonder if the piano will sound very virtuoso like, perhaps it is not needed, since it is just a part of the orchestra (orchestral piano).
Or octaving might reinforce it? Maybe to add at some point only, on crescendos just.
Feel free to disregard my suggestion about the octaves. They may indeed not be needed, as I have no idea of your context. And a modern piano should anyway be able to be heard over a string orchestra (if it is indeed only strings), even without octave reinforcement... But if you like to have more brilliance, as a color, you could consider adding octaves in the RH only (while LH plays single notes). Maybe something like this... But again, maybe that's not necessary either.
alternating_hands_3.png
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OCTO wrote:
19 Jan 2017, 20:16
Oh, JW Conceal Rests saves my life! I used to HIDE them manually, and it always broke the beam!
I used JW Change > Rests > Presence > Conceal. I think JW Conceal Rests does the same thing.
OCTO wrote:
19 Jan 2017, 20:16
erelievonen wrote:
19 Jan 2017, 16:46
To get rid of the hanging beam ends: break beams at 2nd 16th-note for RH (layer 1), and break beams at 4th 16th-note for LH (layer 2).
I don't know what you mean, but I just used JW to hide rests and it worked imidiately.
I meant, if you got beams like this:
alternating_hands_4.png
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But if you didn't, then no problem.
OCTO wrote:
19 Jan 2017, 20:16
erelievonen wrote:
19 Jan 2017, 16:46
use JW Change to delete 1st and 3rd 16th-notes in layer 1,
That would be great to automate, But how?
I have found in time of writing: Even numbered or opposite.
I used JW Change > Note Entries > Rest/Note > Rest, then selected Filters: Entries: On 8th Beats for Layer 1; then the same but Opposite for Layer 2. Your way seems to give the same result.

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