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Thread: Rhythm Techniques - Triplet against Eighth

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    Default Rhythm Techniques - Triplet against Eighth

    Hello all, I'm new to this forum.

    So, I've taken a couple of years hiatus from playing the piano after performance burnout, and I'm working on rebuilding a repertoire of pieces to play. I've recently started learning Debussy's Arabesque no. 1 and was hoping someone would have any suggestions for techniques in order to tackle that pesky triplet against eighth note rhythm.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Here is the suggestion, and the only one which really works -- because it is what pianists really do to get the problem down, under control, and no longer a problem.

    Almost always, one of the two sets of tuplet groups (most usually, the left hand) is accompaniment, and still very much on the prime beats of whatever the meter / pulse indicated.

    Those tuplets which are the accompaniment must be practiced separately (counting the main pulse of course) until they become a matter of the executante having them as wholly confident single gestures, played smoothly one after the next.

    That will then have the accompaniment and whichever hand is doing it well practiced into motor memory, the 'big picture' metric counting in place, and then you can put the two sets of tuplets together while consciously only needing to count / think about / concentrate upon the non-accompaniment tuplet groups.

    Approach to practicing the non-accompaniment tuplet groups is of the exact same disposition, so should be practiced similarly as are the accompaniment configurations, while the accompaniment is always the part to best get down first on that more subconscious and reflexive level.

    While we're both here, those other long and extended tuplets, say right-hand configurations in Chopin where you can and do find some very odd number fit over an entire bar of three or four quarter notes (29 notes over four quarters, anyone?) must be practiced in the very same fashion, the difference there (a more advanced step to be sure) is in having enough of a developed inner clock to reflexively and accurately 'feel / sense' the length of an entire measure (vs. one quarter note.) These longer flourishes can be worked out somewhat in sub-groupings, but often will not tidily fit evenly over the quarter notes (since you are dealing in decimals which are just not possible to count, out loud or more rapidly in mind.) The ideal is to 'get the time fit' of the whole measure, the gesture as 'one movement' and practice the whole grouping so it can fluidly fit within.

    P.s. I would strongly advise against any advice of 'counting out' those simultaneous tuplets which do fit whole numbers easily, i.e. the two against three can be 'counted in six' but the tendency is invariably to accent either the three or the two, yielding a less than satisfactory result as well as a fault having become habitual to later undo.
    Last edited by PetrB; Sep-16-2014 at 10:28.

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    Senior Member hreichgott's Avatar
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    Cross rhythm scales, if you aren't already doing them.
    You can use cross rhythm scales to get at what PetrB is trying to get you to do (good ideas if you ask me) by making one hand much louder than the other.
    Heather W. Reichgott, piano
    http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hreichgott View Post
    Cross rhythm scales, if you aren't already doing them.
    You can use cross rhythm scales to get at what PetrB is trying to get you to do (good ideas if you ask me) by making one hand much louder than the other.
    Slightly louder, or you could just listen harder to the one you would play louder while still playing evenly, lol :-)

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