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#1057813 - 02/06/09 11:11 AM slow going..voicing  
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 977
cardguy Offline
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cardguy  Offline
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I posted a question about this in the teacher's forum and got some good suggestions...I've made some good progress with my sight reading, and general facility with the piano, but now it's a step backward as I try to get a handle on proper voicing, something I had no idea even existed til I started taking lessons recently...I've been working on the same half page of a Beethoven piece for days now. The music is easy enough to read and play, but playing it well now suddenly means something entirely different to me...

Rather than asking about techniques to learn how to emphasize one note in a chord say, I'm more interested in the experience others have had. Was it a struggle? Have you made progress? Where are you now with it, etc etc..

Sometimes I'm afraid I'm really not going to be able to do this well. Other times, I happen to get it right, almost by accident and feel temporarily encouraged...

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#1057814 - 02/06/09 11:30 AM Re: slow going..voicing  
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GreenRain Offline
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Somewhere in Europe
I had the same problems 9 months ago, when i decided to play piano "serious".

All I could do was playing f,ff and "break those stupid strings", which my teacher rather called ffff. Over the summer i learned few harder 7th grade pieces, including Mozart Fantasia K.397 and 2nd mvt of Moonlight. After my first lesson, my teacher suddenly start giving me "easy" 4th grade pieces, which was making me really depressed and upset. Now, after 6 months i realised what was her purpose, and im glad that she did this. All the pieces that she assigned me involved a lot of emotional playing. I have improved a lot, and now i can play most of the 6th grade pieces solid. So in 6 months of hard work i improved a lot. I am glad that my teacher have such a good plan. Every piece that she assign me has a purpose and each piece help me to improve my playing. Do you have a good teacher?

Don't worry. With a good plan, lot of practice, and a teacher that know what are your weak points you can improve a lot. If i could, then you can too! I am completely without talent, all I needed was a good teacher and dedication.

#1057815 - 02/06/09 12:11 PM Re: slow going..voicing  
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cardguy Offline
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Thanks for the encouragement, Rain. I just had a decent practice session, so that felt a little better. The thing is, I thought I *was* playing expressively. Little did I know smile

I think I do have a good teacher, yes. At first I thought not because it was so frustrating, but now beginning to see the problem is with me, not him.

Incidentally, I'm sure you have plenty of talent. Maybe you do what I do, which is to think of "XYZ" really good piano player, and think, "Man, I've really got zero ability. Just listen to how beautifully this person plays."

But I'm guessing that this stuff is kind of self selecting...In other words, those with at least a modicum of talent are those that tend to stick with the lessons and endless practice. It's hard for me to think that a person who loves music, which is to say a person who on some intuitive level "understands" music, doesn't have at least some talent for actually playing...

Just my totally random, probably nonsensical thoughts smile

#1057816 - 02/06/09 12:40 PM Re: slow going..voicing  
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,156
Monica K. Offline

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Monica K.  Offline

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Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,156
Lexington, Kentucky
Quote
Originally posted by cardguy:
Rather than asking about techniques to learn how to emphasize one note in a chord say, I'm more interested in the experience others have had. Was it a struggle? Have you made progress? Where are you now with it, etc etc..
(a) Heck yes.
(b) Some.
(c) Always striving to improve.

If you haven't done this already, try browsing the archives of the pianist corner. I know I've seen some threads there on chord voicing that contained a lot of helpful advice.


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#1057817 - 02/06/09 01:25 PM Re: slow going..voicing  
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GreenRain Offline
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Somewhere in Europe
Just one thing that i would like to add. I am far away from good pianist. Just because i have made a lot of progress, it doesn't mean that my playing is good.

But what i wanted to say is that it's noticable.

Way to playing even easier pieces good is very long, and when i said that i can play most of the pieces solid, i meant that i can play them solid for a 6th grader.

#1057818 - 02/06/09 02:36 PM Re: slow going..voicing  
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cardguy Offline
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Rain,

Could you clear something up for me? I've heard these grades mentioned many times. I imagine it's some sort of academic system in the U.K.?
How do you know what your grade is? Can you give me an example of what grade some popular pieces are?

The most difficult piece I've learned so far is Claire De Lune for example. What grade would that be? How about Beethoven's Pathetique 2nd movement?

Very curious about this stuff. Anything you could tell me greatly appreciated...

Thanks for the suggestion Monica. smile I'll definitely do that as I can use all the help I can get. Funny how just after I posted this thread, I ended up having the best practice session so far with respect to voicing. It just kind of clicked a little. So, while I've barely scratched the surface of course, at least I've got some hope that I actually can do this.

#1057819 - 02/06/09 03:09 PM Re: slow going..voicing  
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GreenRain Offline
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GreenRain  Offline
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Somewhere in Europe
Grades are different in each country. USA doesn't even have them. The grading sistem in my country simmilar to the one in the UK. Althought there is no official grade x piece, grading is very simmilar to the ABRSM, although we have 2 grades more (10 grades)

Claire De Lune is grade 7, but im no sure.

2nd mvt of Pathetique is around grade 5-6.

But grades aren't that important. What matters is that you can play piece well.

I beleive that im not ready for 2nd mvt of Pathetique yet, because when im going to learn it, i want to play it very good. On the other side, i can play 2nd mvt of Moonlight pretty well, althought it's considered as aa 2 grades harder.

Please excuse my spelling, but im a little tired:)

#1057820 - 02/07/09 10:56 AM Re: slow going..voicing  
Joined: Apr 2007
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Morodiene Offline
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Morodiene  Offline
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Boynton Beach, FL
For me, I recall when I was told about voicing, not from my teacher, but from my older sister. I was listening to the Moonlight sonata with her and she pointed out that you were supposed to bring out the top note. I hadn't noticed it before, and so from then on I worked to do that when I played it. It wasn't overly challenging for me, because it was all about sound. Did it sound louder? If no, then I needed to do more. Of course, I was young then and thought it was only meant to be done with that piece. When I returned to lessons 10 years later, my teacher had told me that I needed to do it pretty much on all chords. She had assigned Debussy preludes and Ravel Sonatine (the 2nd movement) which really put a focus on that technique.

with my students that are ready for this technique, I think the problem is not listening for the top note. You must listen for it before you play it.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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#1057821 - 02/07/09 03:47 PM Re: slow going..voicing  
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Gyro Offline
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In my opinion, this is not something to be
concerned about, that is, playing "expressively"
and "voicing" properly, and "bringing
out certain notes over others," etc.
This is something that comes naturally with
experience and as you gain strength over
time. By insisting on these
things obsessively, all of the time, this will
have the effect of stymieing a student
in his tracks, so that he develops an
inferiority complex right off the bat,
and will always be looking over his shoulder,
concerned that people think he's not
"expressive" enough, a sure way to screw
up a student for life. Some teachers like
do this with a new student to put him
in his place and show him who's boss,
because it's not really possible to do this
kind of thing without yrs. of experience.
This is incompetent teaching, in my opinion.

What you need to be concerned about, first
and foremost, is hitting all the right notes
in the right time at speed. This is always
the number one problem in playing, at
any level. If you could hit all the right
notes in the right time at speed in, say,
the Rachmaninoff Third Concerto--never mind
the "voicing" and the "expressiveness"--that
would immediately vault you into the elite of
players in the world.

#1057822 - 02/07/09 03:57 PM Re: slow going..voicing  
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 888
GreenRain Offline
500 Post Club Member
GreenRain  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 888
Somewhere in Europe
Quote
Originally posted by Gyro:



the Rachmaninoff Third Concerto--never mind
the "voicing" and the "expressiveness"--that
would immediately vault you into the elite of
players in the world.
That's not true. There is a million of young pianists that can play Rach 3 well, but they will never make it as a pianists- lack of emotions.

It's also not something that comes naturally.


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