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Just a short post since I'm tired, but..

I had a really great time this evening with a friend from work ^_^ She invited me over to her house to practice together, and for dinner as well (though I didn't know about the dinner in advance).

To make a long story short, it was really funny intriguing to play on a real (baby grand) piano with real action again after more than 6 months. ^^;; And even though we made a ton of mistakes (I was playing the primo part and she was playing secondo), we were both able to play it twice without giving up completely, and we didn't blame each other for the mistakes, instead laughing at the mistakes. ^^;;;

I also got to meet a friend of hers and her family (her husband couldn't make it), and she sang so beautifully it brought tears into my eyes. T_T Which was what they said about my playing, too, especially when I tried the solo version of Pas de deux and later on played La Savane and Berceuse (Cradle Song)...

Overall, it was a really good time and I hope to meet my friend again to practice together with her. I think her piano teacher's even looking for duets that we can both play and is planning on hearing both of us play live. ^^;;;
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I got an email last night that they were ready, and so I listened to them this morning.

I can't believe I played like that ^^;; But in any case, I have the recordings now. Leave a comment if you'd like to hear them~
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I watched 타짜   (Tajja - War of Flowers) on Wednesday, and it was a really interesting movie. It centered around several gamblers and various card games, and ways that people would cheat at the card games and double-cross each other. There was quite a bit of violence, blood, nudity, sex and other things, but those didn't detract from the story line at all. ^^;;

It was really a good movie and I was really fortunate to be able to watch it with a (Korean) classmate of mine and his friend. :)

The Open Mic went off pretty well, although I had forgotten to take a stand and bench, so I had to put my keyboard on a table and sit in a chair. ^^;;; The keyboard vibrated quite a bit, but I was still able to give a pretty good performance. I'll see whether I can share out the recordings once I get them...

[Edit] I performed Souvenir de Porto Rico, Swipesy and Maple Leaf Rag, and I think a lot of people were really enchanted by Souvenir. ^^;
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My item's from 5:50 pm to 6:10 pm, or thereabouts, and I'm pretty excited about the chance to perform in front of people again!

I'm also looking forward to listening to the rest of the concert. :)
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I went for dinner with [livejournal.com profile] itsacz last night at Bellevue Square, and after dinner we were wandering around for a while, and we found a music store. It was like offering a dying man water. :P

He ended up buying a ring-bound collection of 75 pieces (I saw some too, and one of them even had The Banjo and Kitten on the Keys as novelty solos!!), while I bought three scores. One was a collection of Scott Joplin's rags (I didn't know the Maple Leaf Rag had words...), and the other two were a set of Chopin's Ballades and Nocturnes each, including the famous Ballade no. 1 in G minor, which was featured in The Pianist.

And I decided to try it.


I must be insane. :D

But I can get (somewhat) through the first 5 and a half pages, although it of course sounds nothing at all like what it's supposed to be... ^^;;;;; I doubt I'll ever reach "Maksim"'s standard, much less a professional recording...

Edit: You can buy the soundtrack here on Amazon.com.
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Yes, this is my first recording in a while... ^^;;;

But I decided to do something slightly different. Instead of just playing something and recording it, I thought, "why not weave a [short] story around it?" So, here goes...

Musings on a Maple Leaf Rag )

It's probably a cliche'd story, but.. it's interesting? You can download it here if you'd like to.

If you want to find out more about the original Maple Leaf Rag, there's a pretty informative article on Wikipedia (including links to the score and some recordings) here.
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06/03/2007 09:36:48 <Phificks> -15 here
06/03/2007 09:38:09 <&Haplo> -26°C here. :(
06/03/2007 09:38:11 <%butsuri> [14:39] <Livia> it's still -38...

It went as high as 60 degrees F (15.5 degrees C) here during the day, and that was the warmest it's been in a while. And it was really great leaving at 5:30 and not having the sky become pitch-black. Although my ride to Bellevue American (or should I shorten it to American Music?) was slowed down both by the traffic (for which I got onto the sidewalk) and the fact that for about half the journey, there was this guy walking slowly in front of me, and the sidewalk wasn't wide enough to pass him safely. But I was still able to clock an average speed of about 7 mph. :P

I bought a carrying bag for my keyboard, which I had to leave in "layaway" (at the store) because I obviously couldn't carry it back when cycling, and some audio cables (2 10-foot 1/4 inch Peavey-branded audio cables, a 1/4" to 3.5mm adapter, and a Y-plug 1/4" to 3.5mm adapter). As a result, I can now record in stereo on my laptop, and hopefully I can put up some recordings soon if SmartFTP cooperates. I've recorded only once so far, but the quality is just amazing. ^^

In other news, work is starting to get really interesting and busy. I hope I won't have to work long hours, but it may become a reality soon...
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I bought it yesterday evening, because I just couldn't wait any more. :P It came up to quite a bit (around $1850 for everything, including $150 sales tax), and was considerably over my initial estimates, but I don't really care. :D I had an interesting time thinking of how to get it into [livejournal.com profile] itsacz's car, but fortunately the employees and the manager (at least, I think he was the manager) had done this before (moving keyboards in boxes into compact cars), so there weren't many problems. And I'm glad I put it in the box, because it's still intact :P

I've uploaded some photos here. I like these three in particular. ^^

The keyboard )

I also went for dinner at a family friend's house last night, and it was great to be able to eat favourites like vambatu (fried brinjal) again, as well as some other dishes like salad with mozzarella and lamb. ^^;;; I also had a really interesting time there, with the conversation topics ranging from Microsoft vs Google (kind of a given, really, seeing how many MS,ex-MS and soon to be in MS people there were there - someone made a comment that Redmond is like a magnet for everyone and they're irresistibly drawn to it), to the whole Anna Nicole Smith controversy from both a social and legal perspective (one of the people there last night was a lawyer, and apparently there are some really interesting legal issues, that I can't remember right now, about the whole thing, starting from how she was awarded the money), to dealing with ADD/ADHD and how "the pill" (Ritalin, etc.) is a short-term solution and makes people completely unable to function without it. There was even some talk about Mayuri and how it reminded people of Pettah or Maradana on certain days. :P

It was a really great time and I've been invited to another dinner on the evening of the 9th. I also don't need to worry about brunch today, because I have leftovers

And this is totally crack, especially for the comments XD (warning, may contain lots of spoilers if you're watching Irohanihoheto BKI Iroha)
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I didn't find my YDP-213, unfortunately...

But I did find the CP-33 for the same price as the P-140 (a digital piano, but perhaps more suited for home use - it comes with two headphone outputs, among other things and its own internal speakers), and I'm already about halfway sold on the CP-33 (which is a stage piano, and moderately portable, at 38 pounds weight). With pedals (a set of 3 mounted), music stand and bench, it comes up to $1500; speakers or headphones (the CP-33 has no internal speakers of its own) are about an extra $100-150. The P-140 saves on the speakers/headphones, but is only about $50-80 cheaper (the stand is more expensive).

Plus, the CP-33 just feels at home on a stage. It's got direct amp/PA outputs, and has both MIDI and USB outputs as well, in addition to having pitch/modulation controls. I imagine it'd look great in PR1, or the AR, or UCC Theatre (dare I say Hall!?), or even at home. ^^;;

So, yeah, it's not cheap by any stretch, but it is an attractive deal. I also saw [livejournal.com profile] itsacz's model there, but I wasn't too keen on it, mostly because the touch seems rather odd to me (I can hear both my playing and the striking of the actual key). It is a pretty good keyboard for home use, though. :)

And the person in charge of the keyboard section is a really nice guy. Even if I decide not to buy from that store (which doesn't seem very likely), I appreciate the fact that he gave me advice about shopping online and some of the risks that are present in doing so, even though it can be significantly cheaper. He was also really helpful in trying to find a keyboard that suited my needs when I told him I really wanted something like the YDP-213 (three pedals, a stand and a 88-key keyboard), even though they didn't carry it at all. And he suggested that if I really wanted to find it, I could try Best Buy or Target, or another place like that.

Now I just need to find reviews and decide...

It's a good thing I didn't have my credit card today xD
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Well, I'm pretty sure now it wasn't caused by the flu. ^^;;;

I think it might have been either because I was cycling in the rain on Saturday or because of accumulated stress from the last few days (stress from work and from worrying about cooking an authentic mee goreng for [livejournal.com profile] itsacz, among other things). (My mother says that what I made isn't mee goreng, but rather stir-fried noodles with vegetables. Oh well.)

Since I'm feeling somewhat better now, I thought I'd post some links/observations over the last two days, as well as things I'm going to do over the next few days:

List of things to do )

But I'll probably have to go in person to the nearest Yamaha/piano equipment dealer and see what options there are, anyway, as well as the touch... Of note is that some of them are not portable. :P Memories of transporting a certain person's digital piano in 2003 come back...

And once I get a keyboard (as well as headphones and a bench, if needed), I need to transport everything back and then start practicing almost non-stop ^^;;;

Apparently I can cycle to the nearest dealer (Bellevue American Music) from work, too, so I might check it out tomorrow or on Tuesday (depending on my schedule).

Cycling directions )
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So, I'm on a mailing list at work, and I posted a question about performance opportunities, and someone replied saying that he was going to organize an Open Mic event. In case you don't know what that is, it's basically like a free concert which doesn't have a fixed genre. So far, I think there are about 6 or 7 items, including several bands, and possibly even a jazz sextet (I think).

And... I'm thinking of performing some (maybe two or three) ragtime pieces. ^^;;;; I need to buy a keyboard first and practice like crazy, after my first paycheck I haven't decided exactly which ones yet, but I have some in mind, including possibly a certain ghostly rag. :P

I'm somewhat nervous about it, of course, but... We'll see how it goes?

In other news, mee goreng is coming up soon, and [livejournal.com profile] itsacz will finally get the chance to try my cooking and provide an unbiased review. Hopefully that will be enough to silence the critics such as [livejournal.com profile] wao... ^^;;;
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I had a nagging feeling when I woke up that something was wrong, so I went to look at my documents again and decided to re-type my DS-157 (which I'd originally handwritten) and attach that to my package to replace the handwritten form. I think that helped quite a bit in the end. :P

I had to wait under a tent outside the Embassy until I was called to enter and submit my documents, but the actual process didn't take that long and within 2 hours I was done, though I need to go back on Monday afternoon to collect my passport. That must have been one of the fastest visa applications I've ever done, and it certainly beats out waiting a week through a travel agent especially one who doesn't know what documents are and aren't required.

After that, I wanted to go to Marks & Spencer to look for a suit there, but I got off at the wrong bus-stop (whether by accident or choice, I don't know) and ended up at HMV instead. 30 minutes and 8 CDs later, I came out with the CD that I'd been looking for for over a year: William Bolcom's Music for Two Pianos. I'd ordered this CD back in December at HMV and completely forgot about it until today. :P But now it's in my possession! ^^;;;; Muahahahaha! The Serpent's Kiss (one of the most famous pieces) features foot-stomping, tongue clicking and piano-drumming as various special effects. :P

I did end up going to M&S in the end (at Wheelock Place), but they don't seem to have anything in my size. Guess I'll have to either tailor it or see what can be done.

...I should seriously update my CD collection post one of these days now. :D
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So, yeah, I'm back. I needed some time off, but not that much.

Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] el_espada for the CD yesterday, and to redacted as well for the wonderful time I spent with them and for even escorting me to the interchange :)

I'll be sad to miss both of you when I go whenever that is... but... let's keep in touch! ^^

So, following in [livejournal.com profile] haplo3k's footsteps...

Journal entries: 913 914
Comments posted: 1,952
Comments received: 1,698

I wonder whether I'll hit 2,000 comments posted or received before I hit 1,000 journal entries. :P
nyankoframe: (myu~)
I just thought it was one or the other. :P

Lyrics )

So yeah... I'm a bored and depressed pianist! XD
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After a hiatus of a few months, I decided to play some old rags which I'd neglected for a while: Kitten on the Keys, Peacherine Rag and Ragtime Nightingale.

It was somewhat harder than I thought, and my fingers were at first unused to some of the jumps required. But after the first time, it got better and I was able to play them almost at the same level/standard as before.

And amazingly enough, playing Kitten on the Keys no longer makes my elbows ache tremendously! Perhaps that's a side effect of learning the Seabiscuits and Graceful Ghost rags, or maybe all the arm manipulation involved in practicing Bamboula, but it means that I can now play the piece faster without having to suffer for it afterwards. ^_^;;

I don't feel comfortable enough with any of them to make any public recordings yet (and since my piano's unlikely to get tuned unless I pay for it, who knows?) but perhaps in the future I may.


Sep. 22nd, 2006 09:03 pm
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So I didn't make it through after all. :P But I'm not disappointed, because I...sort of knew after last night that I probably wouldn't make it.

But at least I put in a good effort, even if it was somewhat ruined by excessive pedalling and nervousness (with some rushing and quite a few missed notes/mistakes) on my part. And that was something that was recognized by the person conducting the auditions. In fact, he suggested that I try to find a duet version of this score, and he would then coach me and a partner in it.

I thanked him for the offer, but I declined because right now I'm already going through enough personal crises without needing to deal with another source of stress. ^_^; Besides, I've already achieved my life-time goal of performing in all three variations: solo, duet and two-piano.

I wish everyone luck for the concert! :)
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I can sympathize with [livejournal.com profile] el_espada and how he feels. :P

Right now I'm trying (Gottschalk's Bamboula, Danse de Negres, op. 2 (tempo allegro, 1 crotchet = 112 beats) for fun and it's a very nice piece to listen to (and I hope to be able to find a recording), even if playing it makes my arms feel like they no longer exist. :P

More information about the Bamboula can be found here.

The source of the pain, part 1 )

The source of the pain, part 2 )

The source of the pain, part 3 )
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This entry is dated in the future because I will most likely not be around to post it on the actual date...

After about a year of practicing, having my arms fall off several times, being discouraged more than once and wanting to abandon this project, it's finally ready! :D (Incidentally, this piece is where this came from. ^^)

I'm lazy to type again, so I'll just copy and paste the notes about the piece which I typed earlier.

If you would like to listen to it, you can download it here.

Background information about the piece, and a brief explanation of its structure and content )
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Fortunately, I'm not playing them this time. :P

Unfortunately, I still don't like them a lot... although I do like this piece in general (Hesitation Tango).

Did I mention I don't like triplets? )
Double the trouble... )
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I really do! Even if you cause my fingers to break out or curse you sometimes when they make mistakes.

What am I referring to?

This. )


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