Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers

Looking for music...


Recommended Posts

Hi everyone! 

I'd like so much if you could tell me the name of these two pieces of music from two exercises of Vaganova ballet academy; I'm looking for them since more than a year!

https://youtu.be/Vin0E3GaqKU

This at 16:18

https://youtu.be/zW1_46pBbac

And this at 13:06

Thank you!! 

Link to comment

Sorry, I do not know either piece, however many times the music is improvisation. Some teachers do not allow ballet class to known ballet pieces.

Link to comment

I didn't know this! Do you know the reason? I love when I recognize the music played by my ballet teacher at lessons!

Link to comment

It is important that students listen to the music therefore it is recommended the accompanist use improvised music so that the students do not memorize tunes and not actually hear the music. Not all teachers agree with this but many do. I prefer for a qualified accompanist to improvise. because then the music is tailored to teaching the students what to hear. Music that is too orchestrated is difficult for untrained ears to hear not only the rhythm or beat, but also the dynamics and the melody. In ballet, the arm movements are generally the melody while the leg movements are the beat.

Link to comment

I'm pretty sure the first one is a piece by Chopin by the way, but I don't know which exactly is

Link to comment

It does sound like Chopin but it also be an improvisation on a Chopin piece.

Link to comment
  • 1 year later...
On 3/31/2020 at 12:19 PM, vrsfanatic said:

It is important that students listen to the music therefore it is recommended the accompanist use improvised music so that the students do not memorize tunes and not actually hear the music. Not all teachers agree with this but many do. I prefer for a qualified accompanist to improvise. because then the music is tailored to teaching the students what to hear. Music that is too orchestrated is difficult for untrained ears to hear not only the rhythm or beat, but also the dynamics and the melody. In ballet, the arm movements are generally the melody while the leg movements are the beat.

I know this thread is pretty old but I wanted to weigh in as a ballet accompanist.  My approach is to very specifically NOT use improvised music.  While I agree with the general premise that dancers should not be dancing to music to which they already associate movement (they should be thinking of the exercise in front of them, and not the variation they remember this music going to) that does not mean the only alternative is improvised music.  Music that is not FROM ballet leaves, more or less, ALL of piano repertoire to play, and there's an almost infinite variety of music that fits and works with ballet, and the two classical art forms complement each other perfectly, if you know how to do it. I play Chopin, Schumann, Beethoven, Rameau, Handel, Bach...really there's just so much out there that not only supports and fits whatever exercise you can dream up, but also provides the correct supportive phrasing that will complement the movement assigned.  I very specifically do NOT play music from ballet and have never improvised other than the necessity to know how to pull a selection back around and conclude.  Or maybe bridge from one section to another in order to keep going. I play introductions that clearly establish the upcoming rhythm, quality, and tempo, and make sure what I am playing fits clear ballet counts, either as written or with minor edits to make sure it does. 

I play for Russian-method classes, generally, and this is the approach that is asked of me (do NOT improvise, and do not play music from ballets), and the way in which I was trained and apprenticed. 

As for the original post, I do not know the piece in the second video (only one of the videos is still available to view), but generally speaking, what you hear in those Vaganova exam videos is similar to what I would play in class myself, with one important distinction: those videos are almost always exam videos, which means the music and the exercise is pre-selected.  I haven't really seen what accompanists pick for non-exam technique classes, but I imagine the process is pretty similar--listen to the movement assigned, know enough selections from the classical repertoire that you can pick one that will support the movement, phrasing, accent and arc of the exercise.  I have several Russian books that are a bit of a go-to for your classical ballet accompanist; I would assume these are as well-used in those schools as they are by me.  If I were a teacher, before trying to go with improv-based accompaniment, I would probably prefer to work with a classical pianist and give him or her a few books like these that shows your average classical pianist how to select and play the music they are familiar with already. Over time, it becomes pretty clear what works and what does not with ballet, and how to find and add selections that will be exciting and sophisticated.  Do you like the rhythm of some Grieg lyric piece?  If you start here...and go to here... and repeat these four measures, voila, it's 32 counts square and the perfect tendu. 

Having your accompanist improvise probably ensures that you can just pick a rhythm and a quality and have it more or less work with whatever you assign as a teacher, but there's a whole separate world of ballet accompaniment which very much carefully puts classical music to classical dance.  I guess it requires your accompanist to know more ballet than your average pianist does (and while I am not a dancer, I have done the work and even attended training as a ballet teacher in order to fully understand how to be the best accompanist I can), but it's absolutely a thing.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that if sticking with improv piano is a way to ensure more consistent success in your accompaniment, that's fine, but I don't know if I would go so far as to recommend it because I think there's an even more ideal situation that truly puts both classical arts together. 

Link to comment

How lovely and enlightening to hear from the pianist's point of view, thank you! 

It must be marvellous to have live accompaniment; when training to teach, we did of course have a pianist to work with. Most (private, often smaller) ballet schools cannot afford that, nor do many have the space for a piano in the studio. 

A good, attentive and knowledgeable pianist is worth her/his weight in gold, in my opinion. Often I wish that were possible. 

-d-

Link to comment

How I love your response balletpianist. 🥰 Thank you so much!! If we ever have any job openings, I may contact you! 🤩 In the previous statement, I was discussing classes at a lower level where it is imperative the students hear the correct rhythums and dynamics. I would never complain if an accompanist understood the rhythums, dynamics and movements in a combination and chose classical music that was suited to teaching the students musicality and artistry that was age and level appropriate. It seems, you have a wonderful background in ballet accompaniment and a good amount of experience. Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers. Can't wait for your further participation!

 

Link to comment

Yes! There's so much out there and I love the collaboration between teacher and pianist.  When it works, it's really so satisfying. 

We don't have live accompaniment until the mid-intermediate level (fifth year) and then from then on through pre-professional (and all adult classes), all classes have live accompaniment.

While I enjoy playing advanced classes, my favorite classes actually are adult intermediate/low advanced and student level intermediate.  First, the adults often just love the music, and it's a pleasure to play for them.  The mid-intermediate students are also a pleasure because it's the first time they are dancing with an accompanist, and it's satisfying to watch them start to take ownership of their artistic development...with live accompaniment they start to feel like "real" dancers and I love watching that transition in them!

I pick different tempos and selections for the intermediate students than for advanced classes, but even mid-intermediate, I'm playing real music for them.  There's plenty that has clear, easy-to-follow contours to it but is still sophisticated and artistically important: gavottes, etudes, gigues--you name it.  I often use a lot of pedagogical pieces for piano...Kabalevsky, Burgmuller, or from classic children's albums like Schumann and Tchaikovsky (non ballet, haha) etc.  Folk music is so useful here: Scottish, Russian, Klezmer, German--you name it.  Usually totally square and very rhythmic. 

But my favorite class just happened recently.  The power went out just as an end-of-year parent observation class was about to take place for a third year class (my school does not do recitals on principle, but parents come and watch a technique class at the end of the year to see progress).  Anyway, without power, there was no way to use a CD, but pianos don't need power!  The kids did great, they were a bit intimidated at first, but then really rallied and the parents just loved it.  Definitely called for massively slow tempos, clear rhythms and accents, single side exercises...but a pleasure for me to figure out how to bring it musically, and still keep them showing their technique at its best. 

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...