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#38812 - 08/06/08 01:13 AM How to play mysteriously?
C.Y. Offline
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Registered: 08/06/08
Posts: 15
My 6 years old son started taking lesson two months ago. This week, one of his homework is to think and try to play "Tom Cat Howl" (PA T&A level 1) mysteriously as written (he already can play notes and rhythm correctly). Could you give me some pointer on helping my son understand and be able to play mysteriously? I don't have much music background, I would think that a cat walking at night (left hand staccato?) should be played very softly, but I can't think of it to be mysterious. Thanks!

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#38818 - 08/06/08 12:36 PM Re: How to play mysteriously? [Re: C.Y.]
Lillystar Offline
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Registered: 02/04/08
Posts: 16
C.Y. You have the right idea using imagery to help evoke the mood of your piece. I'd use your 'cat walking at night' example with your son. Also - look for clues on the music page - what are the dynamic symbols? Dynamic symbols such as: p , mp , f , indicate how loud or soft one should play. Also look for articulation symbols like the staccato to give you additional clues on how to play the piece. HTH.

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#38821 - 08/06/08 11:06 PM Re: How to play mysteriously? [Re: Lillystar]
C.Y. Offline
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Registered: 08/06/08
Posts: 15
Thanks for the answer, Lillystar. It does have dynamic symbols (p) and staccato for the left hand. I am just not sure why Mrs. Faber put "mysteriously" on the top left corner where usually shows the tempo of the song. I can understand if it is slowly , quietly or lightly. But I don't know what Mrs. Faber expects kids to play by saying mysteriously.

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#38827 - 08/07/08 01:44 AM Re: How to play mysteriously? [Re: C.Y.]
Arlene Steffen Moderator Offline
Star Member

Registered: 06/20/00
Posts: 2972
Loc: Fresno, CA USA
Because all music has mood of some kind. It helps to stir the imagination! That's what music is all about! I bet your son knows exactly what to do with that.

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#38835 - 08/07/08 11:33 AM Re: How to play mysteriously? [Re: Arlene Steffen]
unreal Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 06/23/03
Posts: 945
Loc: CA
Lots of music shows mood there too, i.e. molto espressione, con brio, cantabile, lento placido, nerveux et avec humour, anime et tumultueux, triste et lente . I found these in a quick thumb-through of Beethoven and Debussy. Even allegro really means "cheerful." Ahhh, I'm moody and smiling just thinking about them all. grin


Edited by unreal (08/07/08 11:40 AM)

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#38836 - 08/07/08 12:22 PM Re: How to play mysteriously? [Re: unreal]
xstitch4me Offline
Star Member

Registered: 08/15/04
Posts: 2167
Loc: Idaho
Using staccato, soft and a slow tempo DOES sound mysterious. If it is modeled for the student, they GET it. They will copy it too. The student has to think about the music before beginning to play it. Read the words. Think about the story it tells. Sometimes that is all it takes to play mysteriously right away. A good teacher will explain the difference, if you play loud and fast, it won't sound mysteriously.

How boring if every piece was the same tempo with the same dynamics. If you look at that exact piece, I think Nancy hits the nail right on the head by suggesting to play it "mysteriously"!

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#38842 - 08/07/08 11:32 PM Re: How to play mysteriously? [Re: Arlene Steffen]
C.Y. Offline
Contributing Member

Registered: 08/06/08
Posts: 15
Originally Posted By: Arlene Steffen
Because all music has mood of some kind. It helps to stir the imagination! That's what music is all about! I bet your son knows exactly what to do with that.

If my son knows how to play mysteriously, I wouldn't have posted this question for him. When he plays "Shepherd's Song" in the lesson book, he does know how to play peacefully by playing slower and softer. At least for us, what he plays sounds peacefully. Maybe not for you guys, but the word "mysteriously" is somehow hard for us to feel or express it through music.

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#38843 - 08/07/08 11:36 PM Re: How to play mysteriously? [Re: unreal]
C.Y. Offline
Contributing Member

Registered: 08/06/08
Posts: 15
Originally Posted By: unreal
Lots of music shows mood there too, i.e. molto espressione, con brio, cantabile, lento placido, nerveux et avec humour, anime et tumultueux, triste et lente . I found these in a quick thumb-through of Beethoven and Debussy. Even allegro really means "cheerful." Ahhh, I'm moody and smiling just thinking about them all. grin


We are talking about a 6 years old beginner here. You guys are professional, please don't use your standard and assume everyone knows it. Thanks!

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#38844 - 08/07/08 11:55 PM Re: How to play mysteriously? [Re: xstitch4me]
C.Y. Offline
Contributing Member

Registered: 08/06/08
Posts: 15
Originally Posted By: xstitch4me
Using staccato, soft and a slow tempo DOES sound mysterious. If it is modeled for the student, they GET it. They will copy it too. The student has to think about the music before beginning to play it. Read the words. Think about the story it tells. Sometimes that is all it takes to play mysteriously right away. A good teacher will explain the difference, if you play loud and fast, it won't sound mysteriously.

How boring if every piece was the same tempo with the same dynamics. If you look at that exact piece, I think Nancy hits the nail right on the head by suggesting to play it "mysteriously"!


Thank you for pointing out the slow tempo. My son was playing with tempo of 120 or so, but he did play softly on left hand. Maybe that's why this becomes his homework. Buy why not just say "slowly" and maybe in the Discovery question area author can ask student that do they feel mysteriously when playing slow and soft?
I think (at least for us) it is easier to feel mysteriously by knowing how to play it (slow and soft). And it is harder to figure out how to play in order to feel mysteriously.

p.s. I would think a tom cat should walk fast, a slow tempo sounds like it is an old cat. xD

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#38845 - 08/08/08 12:42 AM Re: How to play mysteriously? [Re: C.Y.]
xstitch4me Offline
Star Member

Registered: 08/15/04
Posts: 2167
Loc: Idaho
C.Y. I think your attitude kind of stinks! You've come with questions and we've been trying to explain to you and you come back with quite a rude response. If you know better than us as "professionals with such high standards" why ask? I don't think any answer any of us gives you will satisfy you. There is so much more to music than just "play loud", "Play soft", "staccato", "legato"..........by setting the tempo of the song as "mysterious" the child is able to use his/her imagination to create more than just a piece of music with notes written on a page - he/she can tell a story through their playing.

I hate to say but you may just be one of those parents a lot of us dread having. It's good to ask questions and to be curious - that's the way we learn. But to not accept the advice, knowledge and suggestions of a teacher makes asking questions pointless.

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