Practicing in the Key of F'ed Up Major

I adore the Chopin Barcarolle that I've started learning. You can watch a video of Krystian Zimerman playing it below (complete with crystal chandelier so that you know you're listening to Important Music). A barcarolle is a Venetian boat song, and as such, is generally written in a rocking, lulling 6/8 meter. What I don't understand, though, is why Chopin had to choose F-sharp Major as the key for his barcarolle. That's six sharps in the key signature, which means playing almost entirely on the black keys, and worse, whenever there's an accidental (which is like, always) the result is a double-sharp. I find myself constantly doing complex mathematical equations in my head to figure out what I should actually play. Not really, but I like to whine. Anyway, I can't think why the piece would be any less boatlike had Chopin started us out a half step down, F major. One lousy flat, that's all we would have had to deal with.

Yes, I realize this is only a legitimate gripe if you're an intermediate junior high pianist. But still. I have things to do, Chopin.


deb said...

I am *totally* an intermediate junior high pianist. I feel your pain.

I love the key of F. Or G could good too. A half-step in the other direction.

Or C? What's wrong with the beloved key of C?

On the other hand, my dad loved F#. He played mostly by ear, and he said he could feel his way around better on the black keys.

On the other other hand, the Barcarolle is worth the suffering.

Um, your suffering.

Eric M said...

You call it F Sharp; I call it pretty!

Stephanie said...

It's more boatlike in F-sharp because the black keys float on the white keys, like boats float on water. Duh! (Let me know if there are any other complicated musical mysteries that I can clear up for you.)

Ann said...

My current piece, which shall be heard only by my plants, passing walkers, a few birds who like to sit in my aspens, blind neighbor dog Ellen, and myself, is Glasgow Love Theme from Love Actually. Key of A. All the naturals negate the C#'s and F#'s in soft, romantic, non-black key ways.

Yes, I also am a proud intermediate junior high pianist. (With a piano that is worthy of much more.)

Thanks for the new itunes playlist (your recital program).

Eric said...

I've said this before, and I'll say it again: being at home while Scott practices is one of my most favorite things in the whole wide world. It's something I will never take for granted.

Ann, I'll perform my movie and TV hits (Terms of Endearment, Hill Street Blues, St. Elmo's Fire, Charlie Brown, to name a few) if you'll play Love Actually for me.

Eric said...

And I'll sing Billy Joel's "And So It Goes" with Scott accompanying. (We'd have to invite Deb, 'cause it makes her cry.)

deb said...

correction to eric: "and so it goes" makes my sister cry when her kids are singing it. i've decided it's a family holiday tradition to make my sister cry.

how come you didn't offer to play "nadia's theme" for the people?