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Filtering by Tag: Schubert

Exciting New Music for Piano: "In Days of Yore"

Cory Hall

In Days of Yore was composed in April, 2011, and is the first piece in my 4 Medieval Portraits, Opus 2. It is published both separately as well as in the complete Opus 2 set and may be performed as an independent piece. It is ideal for students to seasoned artists, is moderately difficult (perhaps around level 6 or 7), is highly idiomatic and well-written for the piano, and is a joy to play. It is published by BachScholar Publishing, LLC, which offers the highest quality digital sheet music on the internet today. With its "medieval" title and musical material, In Days of Yore is especially well-suited for high-school-age students for study as well as in concerts and recitals. ⇒ BUY THE SHEET MUSIC FOR "IN DAYS OF YORE" HERE! ⇐ ⇒ BUY THE SHEET MUSIC FOR "4 MEDIEVAL PORTRAITS, OPUS 2" HERE! ⇐

Not only does In Days of Yore offer satisfying and alluring music, but it is also of great pedagogical value. The piece consists of two primary alternating sections ("A" and "B") with an additional "C" section that extends out of the "B" section. The "A" section resembles a slow and lyrical siciliano (an old dance from baroque "yore") while the "B" section resembles a canary (not the bird, but an old dance from renaissance "yore") which evolved into the baroque dotted-note gigue. Both of these sections are in 6/8 time, one slow and one fast, and are therefore beneficial in teaching students two highly contrasting aspects of an otherwise often elusive time signature. The "C" section continues the fast 6/8 time established in the "B" section with fast ascending arpeggios introduced in the left hand along with descending parallel, staccato sixths in the right hand. This section is rich and orchestral sounding (with much damper pedal) and is highly "Brahmsian" in character. I believe this section sounds much harder than it really is because everything lies very easily under the hands and fingers. Another beneficial pedagogical aspect of In Days of Yore is pedaling, since all three sections require careful use of the damper pedal.

Performers are free to make up their own stories to accompany In Days of Yore, which is another reason why this piece is so well-suited for high-school-age students. I did not have any program in mind when composing the music, but one invariably pictures such medieval images as castles, knights, battles, romance, and old-world chivalry.

In sum, In Days of Yore offers alluring program music of the highest order that students to seasoned artists are guaranteed to love and cherish for years to come. The musical and pedagogical benefits of In Days of Yore are immense, but at the same time, it is "absolute music" not composed with the intent of being "teaching music" or "pedagogical music" per se. It is simply great music that every pianist should have in his/her repertoire.




Established in 2011 and making its debut on the internet in September, 2012, BachScholar Publishing, LLC, produces quality digital sheet music for pianists. With an emphasis on clean and accurate "Urtext" editions, each BachScholar™ score is meticulously engraved with staves up to a full inch longer than conventional sheet music resulting in exceptionally clear and easy-to-read manuscripts. All scores -- formatted for "letter" and "A4" paper sizes -- are delivered via PDF files for instant downloading, printing, or saving for future reference. BachScholar™ is the first and only publisher in the world to publish and produce exclusively digital sheet music.

BachScholar Publishing holds publishing memberships in both ASCAP and BMI (the latter, doing business as "BachScholar Global Publishing"), permitting composers belonging to either performing rights organization to officially register and publish their works through BachScholar's ASCAP or BMI affiliations. Benefits of publishing with BachScholar™ include: one-on-one personal interaction with the editor and publisher, highest quality musical manuscripts, marketing on YouTube, music presented and sold on a high-quality e-commerce website, royalties for each copy sold. One of BachScholar's missions is to publish and promote the highest quality piano music being written today by our world's most talented composers.

In addition to publishing and producing the highest quality digital piano sheet music on the internet today, BachScholar™ also offers Piano Lessons via Skype to students worldwide. Dr. Hall is a devoted piano teacher with over 30 years' teaching experience who welcomes students of all ages and levels. BachScholar's website also offers a large selection of musical instruments and CDs by popular, worldwide artists. BachScholar Publishing, LLC, is fully accredited by the Better Business Bureau of the United States and Canada.

Developing a Classical Piano Repertoire and Building a Music Library

Cory Hall

One need not be a concert pianist to take the time and effort to develop a substantial repertoire. What does "repertoire" mean anyway? In short, repertoire is a body of works that forms the pianist's core or foundation. Many pianists believe that one must keep all pieces "under the fingers" or readily playable at all times and that this constitutes one's repertoire. I believe, however, that repertoire implies something more all-encompassing. Let us now examine the term and explore the most efficient ways to develop, expand, and nurture it: Five Golden Rules of Building a Substantial Piano Repertoire 1. Practice, practice, practice 2. Micro-cycle works you are currently practicing 3. Macro-cycle works throughout your life 4. Consider that no work is ever "finished" 5. Constantly add books and sheet music to your library

The first rule of practicing hardly needs explaining. To become better and more proficient at anything, one must do it, do it often, and love doing it with all one's heart and soul. Tiger Woods did not become a great golfer by nibbling on snacks and watching TV. The world's best surgeons did not get there by hanging out in bars and drinking beer. Likewise, an aspiring pianist wishing to have fun and success playing hundreds of pieces will never get there by neglecting to practice on a regular basis. Ideally, one should practice not out of obligation, but rather out of the love of music and heart-burning desire to improve.

The second rule of micro-cycling works constitutes the pianist's short-term plan, which may range anywhere from a few weeks to several months or perhaps a year at the most. This is what most people imply with the word "repertoire," since it is the timeframe in which one could sit down at any time and play (preferably from memory) a set number of works. I have found the best results for micro-cycling by focusing on about five works at a time. For example, I will often spend an entire week practicing exclusively one work (like a Joplin rag), the next week exclusively another work (like a Mozart sonata), and the next week exclusively another work (like a Liszt étude). Then, I may not even touch them at all for two months and, upon returning to one of them, it feels like "meeting an old friend" which accelerates its re-learning phase. What once took a week to accomplish now takes only a couple days. Ideally, the pianist should strive to learn, forget, and then relearn works in monthly, weekly, and daily cycles. This is the eternal and never-ending plan I follow when practicing and preparing for my YouTube videos.

The third rule of macro-cycling works constitutes the pianist's long-term plan, which may range anywhere from one to ten years. A thirteen-year-old just starting out usually does not realize that what is learned in these formative years sets his/her musical foundation for life. I am constantly amazed at just how resilient and powerful the human brain really is. For example, a few years ago when I began practicing Mendelssohn's Rondo Capriccioso after it had lain dormant and totally untouched for 27 years and I was shocked when it came back to me memorized again in only three days. What took as long as three months to learn well at the age of 20 took me only three days to relearn as well or better at the age of 47. This is one of the intriguingly satisfying aspects about music and piano repertoire. All music ultimately remains in your conscience and forms your "musical identity" until the day you leave this earth. It is never too late to learn piano, develop a repertoire, and tap into the power of one's musical memories.

The logical successor to the third rule of macro-cycling is the fourth rule of considering a work to never be finished. When I was a freshman music major in college at the young age of 18, I thought works became "finished" after performing them in a recital or concert. My usual plan of action was to work on a set number of pieces for a semester or year, "finish" them, and then move on to the next pieces my professor assigned. Now at 47 I can't help but smirk at my youthful innocence. As demonstrated with my "Rondo Capriccioso" experience, I have learned through time that no work will ever be finished. Never. Micro- and macro-cycling piano repertoire is the bread of the pianist's musical life. These cycles continue until the end just like food and water. I am constantly resurrecting works once thought to be finished, and never have I been more content with my musical evolution and progress.

While the first four rules constitute the mental or immaterial components of developing a large piano repertoire, the fifth rule of constantly adding books and sheet music to one's library constitutes the physical or material component. Just as one cannot wash dishes without first buying or acquiring plates, cups, and utensils, a pianist will never succeed in developing a large repertoire without buying or acquiring printed music. Books last a lifetime and can be used and reused until the end of one's life. Relying exclusively on free downloads is like eating from paper plates and plastic utensils; however, paying a little money for high-quality, custom digital piano music, like from BachScholar Publishing, is something entirely different. Ultimately, the pianist will never formidably expand his/her repertoire without acquiring the physical accessories (i.e. books and high-quality digital sheet music).

So there it is in a nutshell: practice, micro-cycle, macro-cycle, no work is ever finished, constantly add music to one's library. These are the five golden rules of building a substantial piano repertoire. Happy practicing, fellow pianists!