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Overplaying #2778457
11/05/18 03:33 PM
11/05/18 03:33 PM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 11
Houston, TX
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tkdoyle Offline OP
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tkdoyle  Offline OP
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Houston, TX
Playing Schumann War Song (op. 68, no. 31) that has lots of fortes and staccatos. I find myself pounding at the piano to create the fortes and getting weighted down so that the staccatos are difficult; my hands tend to grip. My piano (Steinway L) has a heavyish action, and I'm on the comeback trail from years of no playing. Any suggestions to accomplish both forte and staccato without overplaying?

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Re: Overplaying [Re: tkdoyle] #2778478
11/05/18 04:27 PM
11/05/18 04:27 PM
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Southwestern Ontario
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prout Offline
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Originally Posted by tkdoyle
Playing Schumann War Song (op. 68, no. 31) that has lots of fortes and staccatos. I find myself pounding at the piano to create the fortes and getting weighted down so that the staccatos are difficult; my hands tend to grip. My piano (Steinway L) has a heavyish action, and I'm on the comeback trail from years of no playing. Any suggestions to accomplish both forte and staccato without overplaying?
I have never played these pieces, but I checked out Clara’s edition of her husband’s work. There are no staccato marks in the piece. I think this may be a part of your difficulty. We tend to think of staccato as meaning ‘attack to note’ and then get off as quicly as is possible. Forunately, there are very few instances in piano music where this is the actual case.
[Linked Image]
Note the opening dynamic is only f. The sf refers only to the first note. The stress marks on the notes are there to say “These are an important part of the melodic arc. Don’t toss them off.” The upper notes in the right hand are essentially the melody of the piece and need a slight voicing emphasis. Practice slowly, releasing the tension used to play each note between each note. Feel what your body is telling you. If you practice these slowly and don’t worry about trying to play ff, you will find that the ff will occur naturally once you have the notes comfortably under your fingers.

Re: Overplaying [Re: tkdoyle] #2778481
11/05/18 04:32 PM
11/05/18 04:32 PM
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prout Offline
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Later on, when you really have this piece under control, you may decide that the stress marks are meant to imitate gun sounds. This could be, though the Gatling hadn't been invented yet, so playing them evenly would be unrealistic - erratic gunfire and thus erratic playing of the octaves would be more appropriate. whistle

Re: Overplaying [Re: prout] #2778491
11/05/18 04:53 PM
11/05/18 04:53 PM
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Posts: 11
Houston, TX
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tkdoyle Offline OP
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Houston, TX
Interesting. The old Schirmer edition I've been using (which, sadly, I was unable to attach) has staccatos on almost every third and sixth beat of most measures as well as beats 4-6 of measures 7 and all of measure 15...and it goes on from there. The preface does not mention the source of the articulation marks. What edition are you showing?

Re: Overplaying [Re: prout] #2778496
11/05/18 05:03 PM
11/05/18 05:03 PM
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Tyrone Slothrop Offline
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Originally Posted by prout
but I checked out Clara’s edition of her husband’s work. There are no staccato marks in the piece.

The Henle doesn't show any staccato marks either:
[Linked Image]


across the stone, deathless piano performances
Re: Overplaying [Re: tkdoyle] #2778499
11/05/18 05:15 PM
11/05/18 05:15 PM
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Southwestern Ontario
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prout Offline
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The edition picture posted above is Clara Schuman’s edition of her husband’s work. There are many wonderful elements in this collection of pieces. They introduce just about every concept for musical playing. If one really digs into the markings as well as the notes, Schumann is telling you how he hears each piece. Look at this one. This is played p and clearly shows the phrase structure. It is composed in ABA. But notice the open/close hairpin in the middle of the 3rd system. What is a teacher going to tell you to do with that marking? This one marking makes all the difference in this piece.

[Linked Image]


Here is another. In measure three, how does one play a fp along with a closing hairpin? Again, if you know the conventions, these markings allow Schumann to show you how to interpret his musical ideas.

[Linked Image]



Last edited by prout; 11/05/18 05:17 PM.
Re: Overplaying [Re: tkdoyle] #2778541
11/05/18 07:04 PM
11/05/18 07:04 PM
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Posts: 11
Houston, TX
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tkdoyle Offline OP
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Houston, TX
Great suggestions. Thanks! I always forget that there may be significant variations between sources. The Album for the Young is full of interesting pieces at all levels of difficulty. I would recommend it to anyone at the intermediate level. Even though it is labeled as a sort of early repertoire book, I have read that Schumann was a mature composer when he wrote these. Back to the keyboard!

Re: Overplaying [Re: tkdoyle] #2778561
11/05/18 08:07 PM
11/05/18 08:07 PM
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Dublin
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Regarding you original post and finding it hard to play staccato and forte. You might try imagining the key is a diving board. Put your fingers on the keys without pressing them. Now use your fingers to jump up off the keyboard, just as you would use your legs before diving. The higher you try to jump, the louder your staccato will be.

Re: Overplaying [Re: tkdoyle] #2778677
11/06/18 08:40 AM
11/06/18 08:40 AM
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Philadelphia, PA
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jdw Offline
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Also don't forget that power comes from the arm, not the fingers.


1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Chopin, Waltz in E minor (op. posth.)
Schubert, Op. 90 no. 2
Mendelssohn, Op. 19 no. 2
Re: Overplaying [Re: tkdoyle] #2778679
11/06/18 08:48 AM
11/06/18 08:48 AM
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prout Offline
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The marking of staccatos is an interesting topic. There are many levels and reasons for the markings.

Some staccato marks are meant as choreographic marks - that is, to indicate that you need to lift the hand away from the key in order to move it to play the next note. It is not necessarily short, just shorter than the indicated length. Brahms uses this a lot.

Some are meant to say “voice this note or these notes lightly, compared to the other lines.” Again, the note is not necessarily short. Debussy use this a lot.

Some are meant as slight ‘pings’, almost bell-like in touch. These notes are short, but usually held with pedal. Debussy use this as well.

Some are meant to be short and delicate. Chopin uses this a lot, with and without damper pedal.

Some are meant to be short and sharp. This is the least often seen.

Re: Overplaying [Re: prout] #2778684
11/06/18 08:59 AM
11/06/18 08:59 AM
Joined: Apr 2018
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Tyrone Slothrop Offline
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Originally Posted by prout
The marking of staccatos is an interesting topic. There are many levels and reasons for the markings.

Some staccato marks are meant as choreographic marks - that is, to indicate that you need to lift the hand away from the key in order to move it to play the next note. It is not necessarily short, just shorter than the indicated length. Brahms uses this a lot.

Some are meant to say “voice this note or these notes lightly, compared to the other lines.” Again, the note is not necessarily short. Debussy use this a lot.

Some are meant as slight ‘pings’, almost bell-like in touch. These notes are short, but usually held with pedal. Debussy use this as well.

Some are meant to be short and delicate. Chopin uses this a lot, with and without damper pedal.

Some are meant to be short and sharp. This is the least often seen.

Wow. What a great list! I'm going to add this to my study binder. Are there any other levels/reasons that you can recall other than what you just listed? I've been viewing staccatos in only the last way.


across the stone, deathless piano performances
Re: Overplaying [Re: prout] #2778795
11/06/18 03:33 PM
11/06/18 03:33 PM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 11
Houston, TX
T
tkdoyle Offline OP
Junior Member
tkdoyle  Offline OP
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Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 11
Houston, TX
This is a great list and reason for further study. It really may explain the markings on this edition of the piece as well as things to look for in future pieces. Thanks for this!


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