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Wright Pianoforte Tutor -

Around a year and half back, after I started my tentative steps towards learning piano at the ripe age of 50, My then tutor in Mumbai suggested this book to me. While it was available in a city music store I was surprised to see very little reference of this book on the internet. Most recordings of from the book on the YouTube, although not many, came from India only. The book however is printed in England.

I had on my own purchase Alfred's adult all in one level 1.

Side by side, I preferred the latter much more but kept on persevering on the first book as well. However when there was the longish break in my lessons on account of move across the country, I totally weaned off the first book.

I took another break, (not from playing) from my present tutor in this month, and on a whim, reopened the book - and faced these two pieces. And I am totally at a loss!!

My questions are:

  1. Doesn't the first piece sound very un-melodic? In fact, I don't know what that 8th bar is doing?

  2. What are these pieces teaching? Especially the LH movements in the second piece?

  3. And, (I know that this is subjective), aren't these pieces a tad too difficult (technically) as early pieces in a beginner book?!enter image description here

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    1. Odd - haven’t heard of that book - definitely not standard for Piano teaching. Alfred’s is much more mainstream. That 8th measure is leading back up to the beginning of the antecedent of the first phrase again. – jjmusicnotes Jul 29 '18 at 11:03
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    2. The first piece is likely trying to teach parallel 3rds like somebody said. I disagree with the 2nd piece teaching Alberti bass - that’s not Alberti bass. That 2nd piece is unfocused and arbitrary. – jjmusicnotes Jul 29 '18 at 11:05
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    3. Not sure where you’re at with learning, so hard to say if these pieces are too difficult. Surely there is more than 1 Piano teacher in Mumbai? – jjmusicnotes Jul 29 '18 at 11:06
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    @jjmusicnotes curious why you posted an answer as comments? – Andrew T. Jul 29 '18 at 12:01
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    @jjmusicnotes, why do you consider the 2nd piece unfocused and arbitrary? There is certainly a discernible form and a singable melody. – Heather S. Jul 29 '18 at 18:14
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Good question; it's important to know what skills are being emphasized with etudes like these.

  1. The first piece is a little un-melodic, but that's probably because this piece is designed to test right hand parallel thirds. In doing so, they wanted the notes themselves to be very easy, so they stuck with a clear five-finger setup. Notice how your right hand really never moves away from the C–G range; your thumb sticks on C, your pinky is on G, and the other fingers just fall right in place. (The only exception to this is when the thumb hops down to B a couple of times.) By sticking with this range limitation, it's understandably tough for them to create the most memorable melody. (Note: As Todd Wilcox correctly says in the comments, this piece may also serve to introduce the player to the waltz style.)
  2. The second piece seems to be getting the player comfortable with the Alberti bass, a very common left hand arpeggiated figure in the Classical style. If you ever have intentions of playing any Classical piano sonatas, you must become comfortable with the Alberti bass.
  3. Yes, they're probably a bit difficult for early pieces in a beginner's piano book. But that really all depends on how "early" it is and just how "beginner" of a book it is.
  • Thanks a lot for your valuable answer. Especially for introducing the concept of Alberti Bass. It is really emotionally difficult to play, tough not-so-musical pieces, if one does not even know what is it for. The problem with the first piece is at one end, it is difficult. And then there is no joy in the music as well. The difficulty of the piece comes from managing the parallel 3rds, along with the octave jump with small hand, especially the jump of the little finger back from the lower octave G to C. – Subir Nag Jul 29 '18 at 9:04
  • Actually I got that I was playing some arpeggiated chord formations, like (CGEG - Cmaj), (FDAD - Dmin), (GFBF - G7maj), etc. The difficulty in this is the left hand jumps between scale positions. Given that I like to intellectualise music, I would now think this as a form of I-ii-V-I progression. That may take away my playing frustration. :-) – Subir Nag Jul 29 '18 at 9:14
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    You could add that the first one seems to give a taste of a waltz rhythm also. – Todd Wilcox Jul 29 '18 at 10:48
  • And -- this might be pushing it -- you can relate the title of the first piece "Hide and Seek," to the actual children's game, where one person is blindfolded and spun around, and then tries to find the others ("Blindman's Bluff"). See how the melody spins around and around? The "unmelodic" aspect may actually be what we call tone painting. – Robert Fink Aug 1 '18 at 4:13
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"The Wright Pianoforte Tutor" is a bit old-fashioned, but none the worse for that! I've seen it in many British piano stools. We still play melodies in 3rds and 'Alberti' patterns in the LH. (Not sure why @jjmusicnotes says it isn't Alberti?)

If these are too hard for you, come back to them later.

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    Thank you for your reassurance about the book, Laurence. It's actually quite significant. I love the oh-so-English expression "none the worse for that"! :-) – Subir Nag Jul 29 '18 at 16:20
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I would give my beginning students pieces like these a little bit after they finish book 1 (kid version) of the Alfred series.

I don't find those pieces to be too difficult for a beginner who has built up a little experience, though the second one is significantly more difficult than the first. They are probably grouped together for fitting on the page.

Any note on the piano can be played by any finger, so I try to get my students away from "positions" as soon as possible. What matters is what finger plays each note, because it is fingering that really sets up the pianist's ability to move from place to place on the piano.

Both these pieces are missing articulation, dynamic, and phrasing markings, which contribute to the impression of a lack of musicality. I believe if they were added in, the character of the pieces would improve.

I would recommend this book if you are looking for beginner classical pieces. The book contains pieces of a wide variety of difficulty, though all are at the beginner level. https://www.amazon.com/Joy-First-Classics/dp/0825680662/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1532859942&sr=8-1&keywords=joy+of+classics+piano

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    Thank you Heather. The Joy Series is a welcome suggestion. I guess Amazon India imports the title, and I'll get it. BTW, I find the combination of left hand jumps, along with the 3rds on right, to be a bit difficult and frustrating. – Subir Nag Jul 29 '18 at 16:18
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    @SubirNag, it is important to find out why you are finding that difficult, because it really is not. The LH fingering pattern is 5-1-1 the whole entire piece, and you only have three notes the whole time until the last measure when you have one additional new note. You are also always moving back to the same G on the top space in the bass clef. Try slurring the 1st two notes in each measure. (Again, the problem with the lack of articulation.) Try analyzing the piece to find the repeated patterns (not just within measures, but groups of measures.) This should help. – Heather S. Jul 29 '18 at 18:19
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    If you can't figure out on your own what is tripping you up, you need to make sure you get back to studying with a teacher. – Heather S. Jul 29 '18 at 18:20
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    Thanks for your suggestion again. I'm quite analytical in nature and thus realised the reason for my difficulty with the first one. The difficulty of the piece comes to me from managing the parallel 3rds, along with the octave jump with small hand, especially the jump of the little finger back from the lower octave G to C. Anyway, with perseverance, I'm making progress. – Subir Nag Jul 30 '18 at 3:20
  • @SubirNag, that is great that you are sticking with it and making progress! – Heather S. Jul 30 '18 at 10:00

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