Paul Lansky - Hop(2)

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8Keep Offline
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Paul Lansky - Hop(2)

Posted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 7:33 pm



Hey everyone, I would really like to eventually be able to play this piece. Here is a video of it:



I would consider myself begginner - intermediate with stevens grip and have been working on stevens grip for a few months now. What kind of exercises should I learn and master to be ready to play a piece like this? Can anyone describe what kind of exercises they use to build strength and technique?


marimbamboo Offline
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Re: Paul Lansky - Hop(2)

Posted: Thu Nov 27, 2014 11:52 pm



Hi 8Keep,

I'm going to preface this post with this disclaimer. I'm going to be a downer here. I'm not going to diss your playing (frankly, I have no idea how you play), but I will give you some real advice. This is exactly what I wish I had been told several years ago when I was starting percussion.

Don't play Hop(2) yet. Not for several years, until you've had far more experience performing on marimba. It's far too difficult.

Hop(2) stemmed from Paul Lanky's "Hop", written for Nancy Zeltsmans' violin and marimba duo, Marimolin. It had a groovy section, which Nancy really liked and convinced the composer to write "Three Moves for Marimba". This groove turned into one of the most difficult pieces of the marimba repertoire. Hop(2) uses some incredibly advanced technique, including parallel intervals between hands and between manuals on the keyboard, controlled crescendi/diminuendi, tenuto accents, large intervals (up to tenths depending on your stickings), agility and facility around the entire range of the instrument, not to even mention the constant sixteenth notes that litter (yes, litter) this beautiful piece of music. Hop(2) is exactly as it sounds - the piece is designed for you to know the keyboard so well that you "hop" seamlessly between registers of the instrument at breakneck tempo, all while keeping Lansky's initial indication of "Find a Groove".

These techniques will get you through the piece. They will not, however, give an inherently musical performance of the work. "Three Moves for Marimba" demands amazing control and facility from the player - the techniques employed in the composition are only a vehicle by which you can give your musical ideas life. This is a piece of music designed for advanced (if not professional) players ONLY. Keep in mind that there are also two more movements of the work, "Turn", and the even more difficult "Slide" to learn.

I'd really encourage you to, as much as you love this piece, work up to it. Play some beginning and intermediate level repertoire. I'd highly recommend getting familiar with the books "Intermediate Masterworks for Marimba", commissioned by the Zeltsman Marimba Festival. These pieces will allow you to learn individual techniques and master them. Only with complete mastery of basic technique can one (at least in my opinion) have an enjoyable time learning a work of this level. This is analogous to a very young pianist (less than 16 years old) attempting to play Beethoven's "Hammerklavier" sonata - these pieces are designed for mature performers. I'm in no way saying that you're an immature performer, but with more time and more experience will you be able to work up to pieces such as "Hop(2)" and have an enjoyable time doing so.

Trust me, waiting will allow you to not hate yourself learning a work, because playing something incredibly above your level simply isn't fun. I've had those experiences with several works.

For a bit of context, I'm working on "Three Moves for Marimba" now for my Master's percussion recital at my university. Shoot me a PM if you have any questions about playing.

As for advice for you now - check out the books I recommended above. Learn to really police yourself when you're playing, and make sure that you have a desirable sound. Don't settle for anything sub-par. Eventually, you will be ready.

Again, shoot me an email if you have any specific questions about the work. Sorry to be a downer, but I would have loved to have heard this when I was a new player.

Warmly,
Matthew
Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets 2011 - Rack / BellsDCI Open Class Bronze Medalists
Vanguard Winter Percussion 2011 - Vibraphone PIO 2011 World Champions


marimbamboo Offline
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Re: Paul Lansky - Hop(2)

Posted: Thu Nov 27, 2014 11:54 pm



As well, if you're dead-set on learning Steven's grip (I'm solely a Burton grip player) - find a teacher who plays and learn all you can.

Read Method of Movement (MoM) cover to cover. Master every single exercise. Aim for optimal sound quality and comfort.

If it doesn't feel good to play, it probably (sorry) doesn't sound good.

Warmly,
Matthew
Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets 2011 - Rack / BellsDCI Open Class Bronze Medalists
Vanguard Winter Percussion 2011 - Vibraphone PIO 2011 World Champions


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