Jazzedge Community Forums MusicTheoryOnline Reading / playing note-lengths is hard… Charlie Brown

Reading / playing note-lengths is hard… Charlie Brown

  • Participant
    Keith Nelson

    Hi, currently 2/3rds through MTO course, maybe I still need practise and yet more, but the Charlie Brown music by Vince Guaraldi has a left-hand doing one thing, and the right hand doing another, and I came from a ratios world of bar, half-a-bar, note lasting quarter of a bar, (1 1/2 1/4 1/8 occasional 3 with 4 of something) the teaching was always something was half a measure of something else, and for the life of me I can’t play the right hand notes in the right place with the left hand – at the right speed. The note left and the right-hand notes fall a bit between the left?

    At a slow enough speed that I could get it right its so slow I fall off the piano.

    Maybe their version of his score is too computer and it lost something in the translation? I feel it’s more I’m not used to reading/playing. Maybe they’ve tried to turn his original score which has the right demoninations of note-lengths into something more pianola and regular for simplicity?

    Happy, keen in fact, to order the original sheet music (saw your christmas piano course featured same including some sheet music, quite keen to do both)

    Vince’s timing is different in the charlie brown’s than these ‘piano guys‘ versions on muse-score – in particular the left hand has an extra note / beat in ONE of the cartoons than most of the others (his variation for that year’s charlie brown show I guess).

    Any tips for getting started in the world of TIMING re reading sheet-music? And maybe translating that into how you’re counting it? Is there a schoolkid error I’m making? Probably park this for after I’ve gotten going with easier pieces?

    Metronome (or software click) / returning to a really slow CLICK, sort of hurts. But ok, if that’s the only way I’ll do it!

    I just feel like Vince has favoured some whacky samba timing or maybe I’ve picked too advanced and wildly timed a piece to in any way help my confidence.

    Eg Max Richter‘s The Leftovers theme, or Mancini‘s The Pink Panther, I can hear and emulate the timing and so reading it isn’t so hard, though I am thoroughly rubbish at sheet music and one answer is just time like airline pilots’ air-hours.

    Also there’s the equal measure or 1:2 ratio in those but Charlie Brown first bit left and right hand – somehow I find it easier to cross my hands (which would still be quite a party piece!)

    (if anyone reading this sympthasizes with how rhythm eg learning drumming can involve making different bits do different thinks like drumming its hard to make your body go left foot right foot left snare right tom and keep that up, I found that at samba class, it hurts like I need to separate the two halves of my brain, only EVER got that right by switching conscious brain off, so if you think it’s that then please weigh in!)

    Cheers

    Participant
    Rodney Hill

    What is MTO course? Perhaps you could post a video of you playing this.

    Participant
    Keith Nelson

    Sorry if my question isn’t a valid one but MTO is Music Theory Online (one of the JazzEdge / Willie Myette’s other sites).

    If you hit play on any musescore it plays (unless somehow your web-browser isn’t supported) My point is possibly due to disability and pain when muscle plus signal plus tension equals panic, I cramp and it gets worse, I’m just trying to find how SHOULD I be doing it – the above notes seem quantized? (IE tied to exact simple measure, instead of as intended/played).

    Either hand alone is so simple I can’t understand my problem interleaving and I’d encourage anyone confused here to click above and try left and right hands together.

    Participant
    Olaf Wittler

    Hi Keith,
    I not sure if I am of any help. Yes, its difficult to get this coordinated. I would practice every hand with counting (1 + 2 + …). So your hands will lock the notes with the vocalization. When this works I would combine both. I would start slowly and continue counting. I would only get faster, when I know that both hands fit to the counting.
    Best regards, Olaf

    Participant
    Olaf Wittler

    … one more idea that may help. If you record one hand. You can play to the recording with the other one. Then you can see what it should sound like. … and I would then ask Willie in coaching with a recording of your practice. …

    Participant
    Keith Nelson

    CORRECTION! I’m talking about “Linus+Lucy”, I think someone on MuseScore posted sheet music and just described it as the charlie brown theme – apologies I’ve mistitled this post!

    Many thanks Olaf – I think Tom Lehrer and Vince Guaraldi are somewhat concert-level pianists and I’d do well to ride my big-wheel at 1mph and build up as you say till I’m ready to ride a grown-up bike (if you’ll forgive the analogy). Simply put (alternative version goes…)

    LEFT==12312312 12312312 12312312 12312312
    RIGHT=123-321- 2222111 123-3333 ——–

    I need to see the real sheet music because I have a strange feeling that normally the 1 on the left hand PRECEDES the 1 beat-wise.

    Will post a video, its tragic to see myself struggle but it will be informative.

    I become utterly enraged using the metronome (see below) – so I think you’re right and I have to start first without, just counting slowly and getting comfortable, then slow metronome and building (maybe for me with and without).

    Frustrated because it’s not so much hands separate that’s the problem as simply trying to NOT THINK and just play both together, but point taken, I probably can’t operate both hands simultaneously on autopilot without first training separately.

    • Side note: When young music was ruined for me by rigidity, metronome, sentiments such as: that’s terrible – you’re terrible – start over ie right this moment start absolutely from scratch (and in my head I’m still counting …2,3,4 so I have to delay or it sort of hurts, goes against the flow to harshly reset!) otherwise I might learn a terrible lesson and so you must reset

    I LOVE this site and network of sites as the teachers and learning materials seem entirely supportive and there to help build confidence – I might be overlooking the amount of time I have to put in on the mundane / donkey-work (or more properly – ‘ground-work’?)

    Glad it didn’t turn out to be a samba ‘just-before-or-after-the-beat’ oddity from the world of Scott Joplin / honky-tonk – would be interesting to find a copy of the 1950s songbook in case there’s notes on how to play it (ie square and robotic or with swing/lilt or a note on one hand leading/trailing the beat or the one, I’m sure the normal version starts on the 1 but thereafter lefthand’s first note in the patter PRECEDES)

    Short video to follow (in progress, will have to then stick with it practise practise practise and add a follow-up short video to show forward progress) – MANY THANKS!

    Moderator
    Michèle Kessler

    Hi Keith,

    I am glad you received great tips from Olaf, and I take this opportunity to thank you as well, Olaf!

    You may not need the following information now, but just in case, if you have access to the Piano With Willie site, I would suggest you check the “Pain Tension and Technique” Lesson.

    Can’t wait to see your video!

    Take care.

    Michèle

    Participant
    Keith Nelson

    MANY THANKS Michèle! Not a member but I can see the first 8 mins and yes this sort of lesson is IDEAL! Thankyou!

    In trying to film myself my voice is inaudible (will have another go with a microphone)

    Also height/posture: I noticed this is hard, scales too, wonder if its the height / posture? My coffee table with a cushion was immediately better, as is warming up, and doing an exercise for those positions. Anyway, now saving up for a piano-bench!

    Moderator
    Michèle Kessler

    Hi Keith,

    Glad it helps and that Willie deals with ‘Pain, soreness and tension’ mostly in the first 8 minutes!
    It’s great that you already pay attention to your posture. This is something I have to work on too, as well as getting a piano-bench!

    Hope to see you during next Coaching Session, on Tuesday 5 November, at 3pm Eastern Time.

    By the way, I suggest you check other Forums… you might be interested by some topics!

    Take care.

    Michèle

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