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Posts Tagged ‘Chopin’

A bit of clarification is in order.  I told a wee bit of an untruth in my first blog entry, but it wasViolin on top of my piano unintentional.  Blame it on lack of sleep, call it a senior moment or what you will, but I HAVE had music lessons before.  I studied the violin, oh-so-briefly, when I was pregnant with my current music teacher.  I got as far as a very screechy rendition of “Ode to Joy” before we moved and I had a newborn to take care of.  End of lessons.

You would think I would have remembered this, given that I still have the violin, and it’s SITTING ON TOP OF THE PIANO.  Eh hem.  I hate to admit it, but I didn’t like that teacher very much either (see my first post).  He mainly played guitar, and he wasn’t very patient.  Is it really that difficult to find good music teachers?

I’m still interested in the violin, but I have a neck injury that makes it awkward to tilt my head for very long.  It’s not off the table yet, though.  First, piano.

Thursday night Elissa and her dad and I headed out to see some world-class piano-playing by Ian Hobson.  Because it’s summertime, and he’s a professor, this performance was somewhat casual and cost almost nothing.  We got seats in the front row, just to the left of the piano, so we could see his fingering.  Perfect.  (Except for the guy sitting next to me with Eau de Cigars on.)

Because I’m not a *professional critic* I can say that I was freezing my patootie off in the auditorium.  Do they keep it that cold so the piano stays in tune?  Or to keep people awake? (My boss says she always falls asleep when she goes to see the symphony.)

The theme of the evening: Chopin, in celebration of his 200th birthday.  I’ve listened to some Chopin, but I’m not intimately familiar with any composer.  When I listen to classical, it tends to be in the background.  You can’t appreciate Chopin if he’s in the background.  How amazing to watch the fingering on these pieces, which were all technically challenging.  But to fully appreciate the music, I had to close my eyes.

Elissa circled the ones she wanted to learn on her programme.  Ambitious girl.  Good for her!

A number of questions came to my mind as I looked over the programme.  Questions that until now had never occurred to me!  Like: What the heck is a mazurka?  What does it mean when they say, “Such and such in C major?”  And WHY DON’T THEY GIVE REAL NAMES TO MORE OF THESE COMPOSITIONS?

A mazurka, according to Wikipedia, is a Polish folk dance in triple meter, usually at a very lively tempo, with an accent on the second or third beat.  Come on, admit it.  You weren’t sure either.

From what I can glean, “in C major” means that the musician starts the piece in that chord.  (Elissa isn’t here to ask, so correct me if I’m wrong!)

I can’t find an answer to my third question; I’m not sure how to Google it.  I’m guessing it was just the standard way of doing things. I know some compositions have unofficial names, but it sure would be more memorable and less confusing if more of them did.

I think I’ll call my first composition “Whoohoo!  I did it!”

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