July 2011

July 2011

Tuesday, 5 July 2011



Hamish likes to play fast. Very fast. I am not sure what the fuss is about, but Hamish likes it fast.

I had given him an arrangement of 'the Entertainer' to play and the faster he could do it the more entertainment it was for him. 

And my refusal to follow in his footsteps gave him even more satisfaction, because he was convinced that I didn't play it that fast, because I couldn't do it as fast as he could. And so I heard him say to his Dad after I closed the door on him: 'He can't play fast!'

So of course, the week after I had no choice but to play it twice as fast as he did. May Scott Joplin forgive me. 

What then is the art of playing fast?

In fact I believe there is no fast music! 

That may solve the problem all right then you may think. But no, there is a philosophy of 'playing fast': All music is performed at heart beat speed I believe, unless the music is meant to rouse the emotion. But in fast music much more is happening during the same basic pulse.

You can apply the same thoughts to learning your scales. It is not the issue of playing the same scale the same way but faster.

When a horse goes slowly it walks. When it goes faster the horse trots and then it gallops. Why would it do that? It does that to regulate its energy better. 

When you want to go faster you maintain the heart-beat pulse, but you play two notes in one beat: Tadi-tadi-tadi-tadi-etc. If you want to go faster again you still maintain the heart-beat pulse, but you play four notes in one beat: Tadititi-Tadititi-Tadititi-Tadititi-etc.

You can continue this process: 8 notes in one beat or 16 notes. That's advanced stuff but once the student gets the hang of it many will try that and they will manage.

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