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Author Topic: Difficulty Rating  (Read 220 times)

ToastBros

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Difficulty Rating
« on: October 16, 2020, 09:40:22 PM »

Hello NinSheetMusic,

My name is ToastBros and I have used this site for many years now learning a few pieces here and there. However, more often than not I encounter a piece that's way too advanced for my level. I think adding a difficulty rating system would be beneficial for novice/intermediate players such as me. I vaguely remember there being a difficulty scaling during the site's older days but I'm probably mistaken (most likely I thought the bar on the right side was a difficulty meter).

I understand how difficult it may be rating all 4323+ sheets, but I'm certain the outcome will be very well worth it!

And yeah, you could just say that I should just tough it up and learn through trial and error, but I'm just throwing ideas to make this already great site greater!

Thank you for reading, and eat your toast  8)
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Static

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Re: Difficulty Rating
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2020, 10:31:02 PM »

Good question! This topic gets brought up time to time.

Basically, the biggest issue with implementing something like this is that difficulty is very subjective. What counts as an easy piano piece for you might be hard for me, and vice versa. It's relative to the individual player's skill.

If you want a sheet to be easier or harder, it's easier to just remove/add some notes or simplify/complicate accompaniment patterns. That's what I do all the time when I play sheets from here, I use the sheets as a base and then change it to what suits me the best.

LeviR.star

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Re: Difficulty Rating
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2020, 10:49:22 PM »

Good question! This topic gets brought up time to time.

Basically, the biggest issue with implementing something like this is that difficulty is very subjective. What counts as an easy piano piece for you might be hard for me, and vice versa. It's relative to the individual player's skill.

If you want a sheet to be easier or harder, it's easier to just remove/add some notes or simplify/complicate accompaniment patterns. That's what I do all the time when I play sheets from here, I use the sheets as a base and then change it to what suits me the best.

^^ What Static said. This certainly is a good question! We have on here a long history of arrangers, and many can tell you that accuracy and "playability" are hard to balance. Some arrangers with little experience with performance may make sheets that are hard to play for the general audience, and others that have considerable experience make sheets that match their own abilities, but also exceed most others'. I personally have taken five years of piano lessons, but I wouldn't even call myself capable of taking on intermediate arrangements. I can't play most of my own, to tell you the truth.

What amount of skill is considered "average" for a performer? We don't know, which is why sheet difficulty is just too subjective for us to implement. Everyone appreciates your idea, believe me, but the fact remains that it wouldn't work out very well in practice. Thank you for asking this.
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ToastBros

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Re: Difficulty Rating
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2020, 11:07:25 PM »

Yeah, you have good point. Thank you for the response! And thank you for the tips!
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Kricketune54

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Re: Difficulty Rating
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2020, 02:41:01 AM »

If I could throw in my two cents, maybe we could have a separate board or thread that is specifically centered on piece feedback.  Maybe people could rate their opinion of the difficulty, play-ability, etc. that way?

ToastBros what do you feel comfortable with as a player? I know myself I struggle with active LH parts such as moving eighths at medium tempos.  I'm better than I used to be, but I definitely am not as comfortable with my left compared to right.  I myself am currently enjoying the New Horizons Main Theme sheet!
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Dekkadeci

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Re: Difficulty Rating
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2020, 12:50:12 PM »

Even with my years and years of piano lessons under my belt, I have abnormal difficulty with large leaps and transitions between large chords, but fast single-note runs (e.g. scale runs) are fine and tremolos are OK. I can also keep up fast repeated-note runs without switching fingering for short periods (generally by vibrating my hand). I am not good with cross-rhythms: I already struggle with 4 against 3, and the only one I am confident with is 3 against 2. I can deal with regular syncopation and mixed meters better, though. Likely adding to my struggles with some advanced pieces is the fact that the largest interval both my hands can play accurately is an octave each--I always play adjacent inner notes if I try to reach a major or minor ninth.

For example, I find Rachmaninoff's famous Prelude in G Minor, Op. 23, No. 5 to be more difficult than claimed.

This is one example of how a comprehensive difficulty rating can prove hard to implement.
 

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