I’m generally an optimist; I always have been. I’m not sure why or how certain people end up either glass-half-full or half-empty types. It could be nurture, or nature. If anyone is a psychologist out there and has studied this please do let me know. As a happy go lucky kind of guy I’m strangely drawn to ‘melancholic’ music. I bring this up because in a comment to a video I posted, papayapieces said that her partner ‘Mr H’ described the piece Limbo as sounding sad. I hadn’t really thought that before, but I can see what he means. It made me think about some of the other pieces that I have learnt: Barber’s Adagio for Strings, Chopin’s Prelude in E Minor, On My Own, Londonderry Air and Chopin’s Raindrop Prelude. None of which can be described as upbeat.
In fact when I was learning the Raindrop Prelude, my wife wellywoman described the middle section as sounding like a funeral march. To be fair I was playing it so slowly whilst learning that I did turn it into a bit of a dirge. What is it that draws a naturally upbeat person to such tunes?
I asked my wife what melancholic songs she liked, and she couldn’t really think of anything. The only one that we eventually came up with is Time to Say Goodbye by Andrea Bocelli. It’s a similar story with films, she would much rather watch a comedy, whereas I’ll happily sit down to a weepy.
I do want to play more upbeat pieces and learnt a little of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ which is definitely a much cheerier tune; so will be taking this back up again soon. But I have to perform publicly in a week or so, so I am spending all my playing time trying to perfect The Girl With the Flaxen Hair, I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to Be Free and a new track from Einaudi called Underwood, from his latest album In a Time lapse. On the CD it is a violin/piano duet, but I have the solo piano sheet music.
The notes are not difficult, but the key to it is trying to convey the right emotion. It is definitely not an upbeat track but I love it. The sheets have a few dynamics on them, but I am really trying to highlight each of the individual phrases.
I have recorded a version for you to listen to. I’m not massively happy with it. I moved the camera position so that the keyboard is more in view, but it means that the sound quality is not great. I’m using the inbuilt camera microphone, and although when I was playing I felt that the different phases were noticeable, I don’t feel that it comes across too well. The other thing about the video, that I only noticed whilst watching it back is that for some strange reason I appear to be playing with my little pinky sticking up, like I’m drinking tea from a posh china teacup. Anyway I hope you guys like it, and don’t find it too sad 🙂