Making Progress With Einaudi.
A Brief Listen.
Upon first hearing an Einaudi piece, the first thought that runs through most heads is "This is complex" or "This is beautiful", or even "I could never play that". However, whilst the music may sound ridiculously difficult, in actual fact it is fairly simple. Naturally there are some tricky pieces, but every composer has their vice!
Take Le Onde (The Waves) for instance. What is in fact a two-handed piece initially sounds like a piece written for two pianos, merely because the music continues to flow, even in the 'quieter' passages. There is never a moment when only one line of melody plays, and there is never a moment when Einaudi rests during the music.
Another example of Einaudi being a tad frenetic is in the piece Eden Roc, which is possibly his most complex piece for piano. At first, it seems almost impossible to play, but as with most pieces simply takes practice in order to find the notes, find the rhythm and eventually play the piece to the best of one's ability. Of course, it does take a fair amount of patience to master Einaudi, but he is a lot simpler than a Beethoven piano sonata!
Ludovico Einaudi: Le Onde
As with all pieces of music, it is best to start with the basics. If you already have some proficiency on the piano, or can read music, it's an advantage, but those who can't read music have nothing to fear. As long as you can find middle C you'll be doing OK!
For those who can read music, the best place to start is with the first couple of bars. Take some time to figure out the notes, find them on the piano, and then begin to play slowly. If you need to, take it one hand at a time - so perhaps play only the right hand, or only play the left hand, whichever suits you best.
Once you've done that, build up slowly to four bars, eight bars, a whole line, a whole page etc until you can play the whole piece through, however slowly that might be!
For you guys it's a little harder, but not impossible. If you can't read music, try learning by ear or ask somebody to write the notes on the music for you. If you aren't a pianist, then start by learning the basic techniques like scales, arpeggios etc and then follow the steps outlined above.
The trick with Einaudi is to take it very slowly, and build up at a pace you are comfortable with. There's no competition and nobody will think you're a bad musician if you choose to play Einaudi slowly - even Einaudi doesn't always stick to the written tempos! The great thing about music is that it's open to interpretation and you can play it at whatever speed you are comfortable with, without fear of people judging you.
Once you've mastered one piece, the next trick is to either master other pieces or continue to build up your proficiency with one piece. I can still remember the first piece I ever learned, I Giorni (see video below). I spent ages mastering each note, each chord, and then slowly building up until I could play the whole thing at a "decent" standard.
What I love about sticking with one piece is that as you get used to it, you slowly realise that a lot of Einaudi's work is based on patterns and muscle memory. Once you can remember the pattern, the rest of it becomes almost laughably simple to play and can easily be applied to other pieces such as Una Mattina, Questa Notte and Melodia Africana IV (to name but a few). What Einaudi does is use patterns to create a deceptively complex piece of music that is in fact a joy to play.
If you've enjoyed this hub, I have listed below the book of sheet music that I bought. There are others on Amazon, but this one is my particular favourite and has served me well through many a recital.