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Gospel Flair - ABRSM grade 2 piano


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#1 linda.ff

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Posted 20 September 2017 - 15:55

I have an adult student who's just started this piece, and because I liked it, I bought online a second-hand copy of the book it comes from, Mini-Jazz by Manfred Schmitz.

 

At the end of the preface, the composer says "By the way, there's another very important thing to remember in playing jazz: all eighth-note groups should be played as triplets" and then goes on to show examples of the crotchet-quaver and three-quaver patterns typical of swung quavers.

 

I do wonder if those who set the exams this year had actually read this introduction. Of course it's a sweeping statement, but just because he doesn't add that "equation" at the beginning of the piece that signifies swung quavers, doesn't mean he didn't intend it, as shown by the introduction.

 

All the videos I've seen of this piece play it straight, and one of them is labelled ABRSM so I'm guessing that it's the same on the CD that comes with the exam book. 

 

Should I even mention it to my student? It would seem that swung is the composer's preference!


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#2 Latin pianist

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Posted 20 September 2017 - 16:00

In the notes at the bottom of the piece in the exam book, it says In Gospel Flair quavers should be straight not swung.
There's also a German address where you can enquire about the piece.
I feel the accented notes would sound strange in a swung rhythm.
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#3 linda.ff

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Posted 20 September 2017 - 17:28

In the notes at the bottom of the piece in the exam book, it says In Gospel Flair quavers should be straight not swung.
There's also a German address where you can enquire about the piece.
I feel the accented notes would sound strange in a swung rhythm.

Try it - they sound fine, in fact I just played it swung and then straight, and I thought they sounded better swung!


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#4 The Great Sosso

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Posted 20 September 2017 - 17:53

I think it sounds much better straight.  It has much more drive and direction when played straight, which I think mimics the style of "gospel" preaching found in the Deep South and on American TV stations - with the congregation responding "A-men" on the chords after each quaver set. 

 

I teach the son of a steward from my local ABRSM centre and she had heard (through the door of the exam room) it played swung but we are sticking to the printed direction at the foot of the page.

 

TGS x


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#5 hammer action

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Posted 20 September 2017 - 19:37

 

 

 

 

Try it - they sound fine, in fact I just played it swung and then straight, and I thought they sounded better swung!

 

 

Interesting.  I'm playing it swung in my head right now and, yes, i think it actually sounds better!  I have a G2 student playing this soon for her exam, but we are doing it straight.


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#6 jenny

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Posted 20 September 2017 - 20:34

This is really interesting! I'm teaching it straight and I think it makes sense that way because of the accents. The piece will obviously sound quite different if played swung - I think I'm going to ask mine to try it like this and see if they prefer it.


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#7 Latin pianist

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Posted 20 September 2017 - 21:08

I find it hard to believe that Abrsm, having got a quote from the composer about how it should be played, would not have checked whether it should be swung or not, and would not have categorically said quavers should not be swung, without checking.
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#8 ten left thumbs

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 09:29

People talk a lot of guff about swing. Played well, it will sound good either way. My student it doing it straight as the book directs, and is enjoying it immensely. 

 

I have a feeling, from the exam board's point of view, the calculation will be as simple as, they like the piece, they want to use it. They feel that grade 2 is too tender a time for the student to be introduced to the notion that sometime different rules apply to what is written down. At that point, you really just want the student to obey what is on the page without the complication of, if it says swing at the top, then you go like tum ti tum ti tum.


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#9 linda.ff

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 11:59

In his introduction the composer also suggests that once you know the piece you should feel free to alter whatever you want to in it - from just taking a repetition down an octave to playing a run upwards instead of downwards. I doubt the ABRSM would accept that in the exam either :)


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#10 Latin pianist

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 13:29

Why would you want to play the piece in a style other than Abrsm has specified? If straight quavers werent mentioned, it would be different but I generally encourage my students to observe anything in the notes below the piece. This piece is being used for exam purposes without any expectation that teachers will buy the book it comes from and read the composer's suggestions there.
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#11 linda.ff

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 21:19

Why would you want to play the piece in a style other than Abrsm has specified? If straight quavers werent mentioned, it would be different but I generally encourage my students to observe anything in the notes below the piece. This piece is being used for exam purposes without any expectation that teachers will buy the book it comes from and read the composer's suggestions there.

Why? Because the composer himself recommended it the other way? In other words, assuming he did really mean it, the ABRSM is telling you to play it "wrong"? They are usually at pains to explain why they print, for instance, first and second time bars, or published metronome marks (which they do say they will be happy to accept slower). It's because they feel a responsibility to reproduce an accurate document.

 

We will be doing it the ABRSM way, though.


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#12 Digby

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 05:58

I'm thinking I should have another look at this piece, not one of my Grade 2's have chosen it, they've mostly gone for 'the cat', with one 'piper' and a couple of 'Goose girls'. 


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#13 fizzyorange

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 08:36

I think it's what Ten Thumbs says - it's just a bit too tricky to swing (difficult to pull off the accents) so they have kept things simple to be in keeping with a Grade 2 level of playing. It sounds good either way, so why not?


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#14 linda.ff

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 11:00

I think it's what Ten Thumbs says - it's just a bit too tricky to swing (difficult to pull off the accents) so they have kept things simple to be in keeping with a Grade 2 level of playing. It sounds good either way, so why not?

PA-dum PA-dum-ba-dum-ba-dum-ba-dum. Or maybe BE-doo BE-dooby dooby doo

 

Because the ABRSM tell you to play them straight and the composer tells you to play them swung.


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#15 pianoisthebest

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 20:56

I'm doing it straight as thats what it says but will outside of exam allow some swinging for fun!
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