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This measure is from a score that was on the web a few years ago, on the Super Mario World "castle" theme.

Is it feasible to play the measure shown at the required tempo (quarter note = 127) on a classical piano ?

Remark : it is really necessary to play at this speed to make it sound very lovely, as we could check if we "accelerate" from a recorded sequence on a digital piano keyboard.

On my side, with important training, I could play it at speed of quarter note=80. So I should increase by 60 %, which looks quite impossible. (I can play most exercices of the first part of Hanon method at a tempo of 160 instead of the proposal maximum of 108, after a huge training. So I don't know how I could improve speed for this score)

What is the maximum speed that you could obtain ?

enter image description here

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    Before we make assumptions, many instruments use the grand staff. Is this in fact to be played on a piano?
    – nuggethead
    May 8, 2023 at 14:57
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    It is completely possible to play it at that speed. Why wouldn’t it be?
    – ojs
    May 9, 2023 at 1:51
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    @MathieuKrisztian yes I can. Like I wrote, it sounds like blurry scrambled mess and I think that the person on the video plays it slower because it sounds better that way, not because they can't play faster. But playing the entire passage at that speed would be exhausting. I don't understand the answer either, but it's the accepted one so I'm not going to challenge it.
    – ojs
    May 9, 2023 at 10:20
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    @MathieuKrisztian My fingering is 2-1-2-3-1-2-3-2-3-5-1-3 5-3-5-3-1-5-3-2-3-2-1-3. If you think about positions the changes happen at 5th and 11th note of the first cluster and the 6th and 12th of the second one, but it's more like continuous movement. I'm sure others have different fingerings that fit their anatomy and technique better. At that speed everything blurs into legato anyway.
    – ojs
    May 9, 2023 at 16:54
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    @MathieuKrisztian more like "a moderately skilled pianist with just a bit of practice". Somewhere near the top of RCM scale. Seriously, the part isn't that difficult. You just need to practice more than the Hanon exercises.
    – ojs
    May 9, 2023 at 20:45

1 Answer 1

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I’m quite sure a moderately skilled pianist can do this with just a bit of practice on a moderately good piano, the question is if it is worth the effort (many such arrangements are written for a piece of software, not an instrument, and might be somewhat lacking while also being hard to play). Speaking for myself, I am not a skilled pianist, and I am using a piano with a rather hard touch. But still I can somewhat play this at around the notated tempo, so I think if I were to practice this I’d be able to get this done considerably closer the the notated tempo than 4=80, and if I can you probably can too.

One thing I’d like to point out is that the playability will suffer from certain ways you think about the music. If you think in group like this

enter image description here

you’ll need to do quite complex movements for each group, making this fast. If you think of it like this

enter image description here

You suddenly get very simply movements (playing consecutive arpeggiated triads at a speed of an 8th each). So I suggest: Do not care about correct timing and beat at first. Practice the second way for speed and fluency. Then think about timing and beat.

Basically what limits our speed is mostly that our brain does not keep up. If you reduce the load of thinking required you can do faster, and once you brain knows how to do it without thinking to much you can do it in other ways.

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  • Indeed, I was thinking with the score "as it is written". Indeed, your technique of thinking in the second way looks very useful. May 8, 2023 at 15:22

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