Friday, February 29, 2008

"All it does is go 'Oom pah pah Oom pah pah...'"

The problem with our piano I alluded to last time is that there is a new vibration in the middle / lower registers, something I haven't felt before. I thought I was the only one who noticed it, until Jillian was talking about it, and actually imitated it. I felt very much vindicated by this, and so now we are really are going to have someone come out and take a look at it. If it will cost more to fix the piano than it costs to buy, say, a Casio PX-200 or a reasonably used / priced upright, then we may, after all, bid adieu to our big, clumsy, lovable piano when (or even before) we move.

Anyway, I have been light in reporting my progress (or, lately, lack thereof) in Alfred's. I went through the first 60 or so pages very quickly, taking no more than a couple of days on any piece until I had some trouble negotiating the G and D7 chord transitions. Given these troubles, it took me maybe a week to go through the Harp Song / Beautiful Brown Eyes / Alpine Melody pieces. Pretty much everything since then has taken at least three or four days, and the time period is getting longer the more I progress.

I have spent all week on the Lone Star Waltz. One evening, after fighting with this thing for four days already, I noticed that the second round (after the DC al Fine) is played with both hands one octave higher. Somehow, this made the transition infinitely easier, and I am now comfortable enough to progress to the next piece. Not so comfortable that I am ready to put Lone Star Waltz to bed, mind you, but comfortable enough to try working on something else.

After a week of Lone Star Waltz, what awaited me? What did my success buy me the right to attempt?


Jillian commented, while I was in the early (and necessarily ugly) stages of learning this piece. "Wow, daddy, the left hand part looks pretty easy. And pretty boring. All it does is go 'Oom pah pah Oom pah pah...' is all piano music like that?" I tried to explain it as a matter of 3/4 time (an AWFUL explanation, in retrospect, remind me to undo that one, she deserves better). But you know, if all you had to work with was Alfred's Book One, you might think that, yes indeed, all piano music goes "Oom pah pah oom pah pah" with the one hand or another. By my unscientific count, there have been... well, let's count the number of "Oom pah pah" songs pieces:

  • Page 42 - What Can I Share? This one has the added bonus of asking the right hand to join in the fun. I did like this piece, FWIW.
  • Page 49 - Waltzing Chords Again with the right hand. The left hand is just doing some chords, which, I guess, is actually even less exciting. Alfred is just lulling the left hand into complacency here.
  • Page 65 - Beautiful Brown Eyes Man, did I have trouble with this one. And it seemed so simple on its face.
  • Page 69 - Alpine Melody Just because the right hand is going the work doesn't mean it's not an "Oom pah pah" piece:
  • Page 71 - This one isn't even labeled.
  • Page 73 - Waltz Time They should have just named this one "Yes, another one of THOSE".
  • Page 90 - Lone Star Waltz
  • Page 94 - Café Vienna
I'm afraid to look ahead, out of fear that more await me. So that's 8 waltzes in my first month of learning the piano. No wonder Jillian thinks all piano music sounds like that.

Any theories as to why they do this? I'll let you know if any occur to me.

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