Comptine d’un autre été: L’après-midi

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I’ve been playing the piano again recently. Found this song, Comptine d’un autre été: L’après-midi by a French composer, Yann Tiersen. It translates to “Nursery Rhyme of Another Summer: The Afternoon.” I wouldn’t have titled it that, but it’s an appealing melancholy song nonetheless.

The song is famous for appearing in the movie Amélie. I haven’t seen it, but it sounds interesting / thought-provoking.

It just took me two days to learn this, which is faster than normal. As soon as I abandoned the score and played it from memory, I was able to play much better because I could watch my hands instead of guessing or looking back and forth. That’s a step many musicians don’t reach, because they’ve been taught since childhood that you should not look at your hands and just read from the sheets. Phooey. It’s good to know how to read notes to learn new songs, but after practicing for days you should memorize every note. If it doesn’t happen, you’ve got a hard song so change that to weeks. Don’t try to memorize a song; if it doesn’t happen naturally play it more often, and if it still isn’t burned in your mind maybe you can’t memorize songs (!). Keep practicing always, as long as piano holds your interest.

The hard part is the arpeggios in the right hand, mainly because you have to balance them with the accompaniment in the left hand. The accompaniment is eighth notes and the arpeggios are sixteenths, so you have to play them twice as fast, alongside and synchronized. Your mind doesn’t like that and wants both hands to be moving at the same pace, but if you can disconnect your left brain from your fingers by spacing out, it becomes easy. Then polish it by regaining conscious control of your fingers but continuing with the rhythm. You’ll need this skill, particularly in ragtime.

My camera’s audio isn’t great, but you can download a higher-quality MP3 of my performance. Enjoy.