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Thread: Should we memorize music?

  1. #16
    Member RobertJTh's Avatar
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    Sviatoslav Richter was once asked why he always played from the score at his concerts.
    His answer was: "Ich kann Noten lesen."

  2. #17
    Senior Member JTS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertJTh View Post
    Sviatoslav Richter was once asked why he always played from the score at his concerts.
    His answer was: "Ich kann Noten lesen."
    Richter took to playing from music as in later life he had a hearing problem which interfered with his sense of pitch. I heard Clifford Curzon play at the RFH and he played from music years ago. What’s the odds? If you play better from music why not? I have heard both Yuja Wang and Angela Hewitt and they had iPads on the pianos. I believe the first person to actually play without music was Clara Schumann to show she could do something that the men couldn’t!

  3. #18
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Memorization was required during my years of private organ instruction. I would be required to play for various competitions and it was necessary to memorize the piece being performed in front of the judges.

    I suppose mine is motor memory ... the constant repetition of church hymns played over the past 62+ years.


    On a humorous note, I have gotten so used to playing from my iPad Pro that when reading actual printed scores, I routinely tap the lower right part of the page and nothing happens .


    Kh

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    Senior Member arpeggio's Avatar
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    My experience at memorizing.

    I took piano lessons when I was a kid. I liked to memorize when playing the piano because one could concentrate on my hands and keys.

    As a wind player when I played a solo I always use music even when I could play the music for memory. When playing a solo on a wind instrument I had nothing to look at. My eyes would tend to wander I would get distracted,
    It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious. And I am a very ingenious fellow

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  6. #20
    Senior Member tdc's Avatar
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    I agree with much of what is posted here, but I must say it just looks more impressive when a musician is playing without sheet music, because it seems to imply either that:

    A) they have a good memory

    and/or

    B) They have devoted so much time and effort to the piece that they don't need the score.

    When sheet music is seen it can cause one to question whether the performer really loves the music they are playing, or are they just a really proficient sight reader playing a paid gig.

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  8. #21
    Senior Member tdc's Avatar
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    I know some use sheet music because they respect the composers wishes so much that they don't want to make any errors. That was the case with Richter, who I believe started using sheet music after he discovered he had been playing one note wrong in a Bach piece for years.

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  10. #22
    Senior Member Potiphera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 444mil View Post
    Hi, i've been playing the piano for 10 years, and i mostly played from memory during my first 3 years with the instrument, and eventually for a work wich requires to (like Chopin etude opus 10. no 1)

    I'd like to memorize some music but i'm bad at it, or i don't have the will/time to do it.

    I'd like to be able to, as i would like to play some simple pieces for some friends at the piano in their houses (for example mozart piano sonata k330) without carrying the score.

    Do you think playing from memory is any important?
    Do you have any recommendatios? thanks


    444mil.

    If you are playing in front of an audience it is best to have the sheet music in front of you so that you can refer to it , even if you have memorised it there is always the possibility of mistakes if you say yourself that you are bad at memorising. Nothing wrong with memorising though.
    ''I doubt sometimes whether a quiet and unagitated life would have suited me - yet I sometimes long for it.” George Byron

  11. #23
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Potiphera View Post
    . . . If you are playing in front of an audience it is best to have the sheet music in front of you so that you can refer to it , even if you have memorised it . . .
    I do that at church with the hymnal, even though I've played every single hymn at least a thousand times over the past 62+ years, and can play all of them from memory, I still prefer to have the music in front of me during the service.

    There is nothing wrong with having printed scores to play from during a concert/recital. Page turners and registrants are a big help ... but make sure your page turners can read music, particularly the Bass Clef.

  12. #24
    Senior Member tdc's Avatar
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    If you're Richter you can have Gavrilov as your page turner.


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    Senior Member hammeredklavier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdc View Post
    If you're Richter you can have Gavrilov as your page turner.
    And is there any reason Gavrilov couldn't have Richter as his page turner?

  14. #26
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    Rarely does one see a soloist reading the score while performing a concerto. Even the best of the best, like Itzhak Perlman and Lang Lang memorize what they're playing.
    Last edited by progmatist; Oct-12-2021 at 21:41.

  15. #27
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    Playing the piano is an art of repetition.
    For me, that's repetition on the order of the supernatural.
    So, for me, memorization of a piece is simply a matter of consequence.

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