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#1991153 - 11/26/12 03:28 PM How to get “dynamic independence”?  
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Recaredo Offline
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I can hardly play with different dynamics on both hands. For example, if a passage asks crescendo only for the right hand, I tend to do that crescendo with both hands. If the sheet music indicates forte just for one hand, then I cannot avoid playing forte with both hands.

I’d like to know if there are techniques to improve this fault.

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#1991158 - 11/26/12 03:58 PM Re: How to get “dynamic independence”? [Re: Recaredo]  
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I learned a handy trick a while back. Play one hand quiet and let the other hand's note come in a bit later so you can feel the quiet and loud motion in each hand. Then make the break between the notes smaller and smaller until eventually you're playing them simultaneously (over days).

#1991166 - 11/26/12 04:14 PM Re: How to get “dynamic independence”? [Re: Recaredo]  
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Recaredo, I know exactly what you mean and at first can seem difficult. To answer your question, you must be able to separate the two hands in your mind by simply only thinking of one. Or at least mostly one!

The hand you are thinking of will be the 'master' hand for the moment while the other 'slave' hand will be doing something automatically which won't require much thought.

Good thing too because your mind will be busy with the 'master' hand.

The only thing is that the master and slave position can, and will change throughout a piece. It just depends on the piece.

The most basic way I can think to work on this is to start playing a left hand arpeggio, say c-g-c. Keep playing it over and over and over continuously. At some point, after you can't stand it anymore, simply play the basic 'Mary had a Little Lamb' tune with the right hand along with it. (e-d-c-d-e-e-e....)

When you do this, your mind will be focusing (for the moment) on your master hand (right), while the slave hand (left) is playing that same never ending arpeggio almost automatically.

This is it.

You will need to learn to focus more on the hand you are accentuating while the other hand plays along without as much thought needed.

Of course, this is an extreme oversimplification and in reality sometimes micro second decisions need to be made between both hands.

I learned to separate the weighted thought process between both hands while drumming. Using a Bongo drum, (or just tapping out a beat on the counter top, who cares?) you can start to learn to separate different beats between your hands both physically as well as recognizing it in your mind.

Try tapping out a varied drum beat with different rhythms in both the left and right hand. This is an excellent development skill for your mind to be able to recognize the different beats between both hands. After a while, apply the same concept to the piano like the Mary had a Little Lamb suggestion.

Once you can do that, you just build off of that basic framework and progress with it at whatever pace you want and can.

Good luck.


#1991170 - 11/26/12 04:20 PM Re: How to get “dynamic independence”? [Re: Recaredo]  
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I don't recall ever seeing a dynamic indications specific to one hand, Recaredo. Can you give an example?



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#1991177 - 11/26/12 05:03 PM Re: How to get “dynamic independence”? [Re: Recaredo]  
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Richard, if there is a melody then usually the melody is played louder than the accompaniment. At other times in counterpoint-type music you bring out different voices at different times, sometimes in the same hand. It isn't indicated in the music, but it is still expected. I think that's what Recaredo might be talking about.

#1991180 - 11/26/12 05:08 PM Re: How to get “dynamic independence”? [Re: Recaredo]  
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I'll assume that to be the case then, keystring.

What I do, before I even start playing the piece is analyse it carefully and determine how the dynamic (and any other) indications apply to the hands. If there's a section marked Piano, for example, is it sudden or is there an implied diminuendo? Is it in contrast to the previous section or a gradual breathing?

In a melody and accompaniment piece like a Chopin Nocturne it's fairly obvious that the melody should come above the accompaniment but in the Mendelssohn Song Without Words that I shall soon be starting on, Op. 62/3, most of it is in chords and the dynamics aren't split much at all.

When the dynamics change they tend to change together but one hand or one note might need to maintain a slightly dominant voice. It's not like one hand is getting louder and the other softer (in any piece in my recollection). Control, then, is the same as playing a piece like the Moonlight sonata Adagio or a Chopin Nocturne, bring out one melody line.

It starts, of course, by practising scales that way bringing out first one hand, then the other. That's the basic technique.

When you start with a new piece it's fairly easy when you consider the dynamics and articulation from the outset to concentrate on that when you're still at the one or two bars a day stage.

The difficulty is when you've already learnt a piece and realise that you're not bringing out the dominant line sufficiently. You might try singing the piece each day to concentrate more on the melody. This often helps me to bring out the melody but I don't know if it's because I already have that control. You might try exaggerating the melody and playing the accompaniment whisper soft while thumping out the melody.

I've tackled pieces this way in bringing out the accents in a measure (loud-soft-medium-soft). By exaggerating them during practice they tend to stay there when I don't try to bring them out.

Are you doing scales in thirds, sixths or octaves yet (in one hand)? If you are, you might try bring out one line then the other as extra practise. You should be comfortable with regular double-note scales first though!



Richard
#1991181 - 11/26/12 05:14 PM Re: How to get “dynamic independence”? [Re: Recaredo]  
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Thanks Keystring and Mr Super-Hunky for your advices. I’ll follow them these days. Right now, developing that dynamic independence seems so difficult to me, I’d say almost impossible smile.

Richard, I don’t know if I’m wrong, but I’m practicing my song without words for the next recital, and imagined the music score indicates different dynamics for each hand.

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#1991183 - 11/26/12 05:19 PM Re: How to get “dynamic independence”? [Re: Recaredo]  
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Oh I didn't see your last post before posting mine, Richard. I don't play scales, but I know I should do it.

#1991198 - 11/26/12 05:53 PM Re: How to get “dynamic independence”? [Re: Recaredo]  
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Ah, yes, constant accompaniment. I don't recall seeing independant markings before but I can understand it here.

Here it's your fourth and fifth fingers bringing out the melody over a subdued LH bass and subdued rocking in the RH 1, 2 and 3.

It's going to get harder around M18 as well where the accompaniment spills over to both hands. The thing to do here, at least the way I would tackle it, is to work each measure in isolation, also each hand separately as well as together.

Be patient with yourself, the deadline for this is completely unimportant compared to getting it right. Get M3-5 right before you start M18. Prepare every keypress before making the keypress and take several seconds per quaver if you need to. Once you get the hang of it your hands will perform subconsciously and the tempo will automatically rise - you don't have to concern yourself with it.

By the time you start M18-34 you should have the technique and the method for tackling them and the confidence to know it works. You can still be working slowly through M6-17 while you're taking M5-7/M40-46 at the start of each practise session.

I know you use a digital but I don't know if it sounds below a certain level. An acoustic is mute if you play soft enough but my digital still sounds. If you can play the keys without sounding them do that for the accompaniment. Let only the melody sound (you'll need to go really, really slowly for this but it doesn't slow your progress or the time taken to learn it - trust me on this). Or emphasize the melody as I detailed in my last post.

ETA. Scales aren't everything, Recaredo, if you work your pieces sufficiently. They CAN be a great way of developing these sort of techniques, though, if you have them.



Richard
#1991199 - 11/26/12 06:05 PM Re: How to get “dynamic independence”? [Re: Recaredo]  
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Originally Posted by Recaredo
I can hardly play with different dynamics on both hands. For example, if a passage asks crescendo only for the right hand, I tend to do that crescendo with both hands. If the sheet music indicates forte just for one hand, then I cannot avoid playing forte with both hands.

I’d like to know if there are techniques to improve this fault.

Best "trick" I know of is improvisation. When you're working with someone else's notes, you're concerned about a lot more than dynamics. Make up your own, without worrying about theory or "musicality", and focus solely on dynamics. Play something within your technique level (ie- don't try to sound like Liszt on day one). Heck, try a C-chord.. repeatedly.

This is one of those things you have to "feel". If mental processing helps, consider that more "weight" should be behind one hand than the other (or one finger than the other). If you're a physicist, use "force" instead of "weight". (Though, if you're a physicist, you would understand that "weight" is a "force", and thus translates to a change in "acceleration" since you can't change "mass". wink )

Hope it helps! smile


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#1991200 - 11/26/12 06:09 PM Re: How to get “dynamic independence”? [Re: Recaredo]  
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Thanks Richard for your detailed explanation, I’ll follow your advices as well. This piece is harder than it looks, at least for me smile

#1991207 - 11/26/12 06:29 PM Re: How to get “dynamic independence”? [Re: Recaredo]  
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You’re right Derulux, these things have to be felt. I liked those parallelisms that you commented.

Thanks for your suggestions!

#1991218 - 11/26/12 06:57 PM Re: How to get “dynamic independence”? [Re: Recaredo]  
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The simplest trick is this:

The hand that needs to play softer: don't actually play it, just mime it by touching the surface if the keys.

The louder hand: play really loud.

This should be done simultaneously - it might be difficult at first, but you should get it after a couple of tries.

Once you've got this going comfortably, simply allow the miming hand to play very softly, and relax the loud hand until the balance is where you want it.

#1991221 - 11/26/12 07:16 PM Re: How to get “dynamic independence”? [Re: Recaredo]  
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This is a very useful thread. Thank you for asking the question, Recaredo, and thanks for all the great answers, all.

This is why I love pianoworld.


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#1991241 - 11/26/12 08:21 PM Re: How to get “dynamic independence”? [Re: Recaredo]  
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I like the exaggerated dynamics which has been mentioned a couple of times. Hands separate too - just enough to know what dynamics you want for each hand.

And try to hear it internally too ... that really helps with how it comes out.


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#1991242 - 11/26/12 08:22 PM Re: How to get “dynamic independence”? [Re: Recaredo]  
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Sing the melody while you play. It will naturally be emphasized in your playing, while the accompaniment will be softer.

Don't ask me why, but it seems to work.


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#1991254 - 11/26/12 09:13 PM Re: How to get “dynamic independence”? [Re: Recaredo]  
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Thanks for asking this Recaredo!

I'm on page 35 of Alfred's Adult all in one (Merrily we roll along and Largo) and it has this! Been slowly chipping at it. I've been doing one measure at a time. First I play the p chords, then the mf melody and then add it together. I've almost gotten to the point where I can do the whole song now.

My left sure wants to bang though! LOL

Excellent tips from every one. Thanks so much!


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#1991379 - 11/27/12 08:32 AM Re: How to get “dynamic independence”? [Re: Plowboy]  
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Originally Posted by Plowboy
Sing the melody while you play. It will naturally be emphasized in your playing, while the accompaniment will be softer.

Don't ask me why, but it seems to work.


This is helpful to do. Listening for the melody to stand out above the accompaniment is also helpful.

Keystring's advice (I think this is what she was saying) works very well also: you play the LH on the keys only but don't press them down to make any sound with the LH. The RH you play normally. You may get a LH note coming out now and then, that's OK, just repeat the passage until you can keep the LH completely silent while the RH actually plays the notes. When you can do this with some degree of success, then actually play the LH notes so they sound, but now you will be able to keep it soft while the RH is heard above that - crescendo and all.


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#1991389 - 11/27/12 09:04 AM Re: How to get “dynamic independence”? [Re: Morodiene]  
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Quote
Keystring's advice (I think this is what she was saying) works very well also: you play the LH on the keys only but don't press them down to make any sound with the LH. The RH you play normally. You may get a LH note coming out now and then, that's OK, just repeat the passage until you can keep the LH completely silent while the RH actually plays the notes. When you can do this with some degree of success, then actually play the LH notes so they sound, but now you will be able to keep it soft while the RH is heard above that - crescendo and all.


My teacher refers to this as "ghosting" and I found it to be difficult to learn. After I finally learned that technique; it made the dynamics easier to play correctly. I particularly had a problem with staccato notes and keeping the melody more prominant. Sometimes I think my left hand is possessed eek


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#1991397 - 11/27/12 09:27 AM Re: How to get “dynamic independence”? [Re: Ragdoll]  
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Originally Posted by Ragdoll
Quote
Keystring's advice (I think this is what she was saying) works very well also: you play the LH on the keys only but don't press them down to make any sound with the LH. The RH you play normally. You may get a LH note coming out now and then, that's OK, just repeat the passage until you can keep the LH completely silent while the RH actually plays the notes. When you can do this with some degree of success, then actually play the LH notes so they sound, but now you will be able to keep it soft while the RH is heard above that - crescendo and all.


My teacher refers to this as "ghosting" and I found it to be difficult to learn. After I finally learned that technique; it made the dynamics easier to play correctly. I particularly had a problem with staccato notes and keeping the melody more prominant. Sometimes I think my left hand is possessed eek


LOL! Really the way the piano is built it works against us. Generally the melody is found in the highest notes, and yet the higher pitches on a piano are quieter than the lower pitches. So we constantly struggle with bringing out the melody and lessening the accompaniment as a result.


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#1991398 - 11/27/12 09:31 AM Re: How to get “dynamic independence”? [Re: Morodiene]  
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
...the higher pitches on a piano are quieter than the lower pitches. So we constantly struggle with bringing out the melody and lessening the accompaniment as a result.

But the higher pitches have clarity in their favour. How hard is it to control the theme in Chopin's Prelude No. 6 by comparison or the final measures of the Moonlight adagio?



Richard
#1991864 - 11/28/12 08:44 AM Re: How to get “dynamic independence”? [Re: zrtf90]  
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Originally Posted by zrtf90
Originally Posted by Morodiene
...the higher pitches on a piano are quieter than the lower pitches. So we constantly struggle with bringing out the melody and lessening the accompaniment as a result.

But the higher pitches have clarity in their favour. How hard is it to control the theme in Chopin's Prelude No. 6 by comparison or the final measures of the Moonlight adagio?



True, I have heard renditions of both without attention to bringing out the melody. My technical suggestion works for both smile.


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