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Re: Playing horizontally [Re: pianoloverus] #2791628
12/15/18 04:02 PM
12/15/18 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
From gooddog's first post I think her teacher is talking only about the music and not about physical movements. I think her teacher is talking about what is sometimes called playing with "a long line" vs. playing so that the music sounds more broken into short bits or details so that the longer line gets lost.

I am not really clear what the teacher means, but I would tend to agree with pianoloverus's view.

I think it's all about setting the phrase you are playing into context. Which means careful and critical listening to what you are playing is vitally important. I find I can only really do this if my fingers are perfectly comfortable getting round the notes. So play at a speed you can comfortably manage, even if this is very slow - and then listen, listen, listen to what you are playing in the context of what has just been and what is coming next.

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Re: Playing horizontally [Re: gooddog] #2791778
12/15/18 11:57 PM
12/15/18 11:57 PM
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To me how the music flows has a lot to do with the physical movement (including fingering). I have only recently learned that I need to be mindful about fingering to facilitate a smoother transition from one measure to the next. I think I can argue that this is one aspect of playing a piece more 'horizontally'.

Last edited by newport; 12/15/18 11:57 PM.

Weber Invitation to the Dance
Czerny Variation on a theme by Rode
Chopin Bolero
Schumann Piano Concerto

Re: Playing horizontally [Re: gooddog] #2791925
12/16/18 11:33 AM
12/16/18 11:33 AM
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I think that playing horizontally is related to what non-classical musicians call playing "in the pocket". That is, playing with a strong sense of exactly where the beats fall, and how the music relates to them. That can keep a sense of forward propulsion going, i.e., horizontal playing. Unfortunately, we classical musicians are usually not very well-trained in this area - at least that's my impression.

Re: Playing horizontally [Re: wr] #2791968
12/16/18 01:04 PM
12/16/18 01:04 PM
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Seattle area, WA
gooddog Offline OP
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Originally Posted by wr
I think that playing horizontally is related to what non-classical musicians call playing "in the pocket". That is, playing with a strong sense of exactly where the beats fall, and how the music relates to them. That can keep a sense of forward propulsion going, i.e., horizontal playing. Unfortunately, we classical musicians are usually not very well-trained in this area - at least that's my impression.
I don't think we're talking about the same thing. To me, playing horizontally isn't so much about the beat or propulsion as it is about creating cohesive, fluid, sensitive phrasing that is akin to breathing. It's about shaping the larger "sentences" in the music, sometimes demonstrated in the score as long phrase marks. These phrases can encompass as little as 2 measures or as much as several lines but they must have a beginning, middle and end and hold together, making some kind of emotional statement. Vertical playing is where we concentrate on the details such as agogics and fingering and the music sounds disconnected. Horizontal phrasing is concentrating on the entire line.


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: Playing horizontally [Re: gooddog] #2791984
12/16/18 01:27 PM
12/16/18 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by gooddog
[...] To me, playing horizontally isn't so much about the beat or propulsion as it is about creating cohesive, fluid, sensitive phrasing that is akin to breathing. It's about shaping the larger "sentences" in the music, sometimes demonstrated in the score as long phrase marks. These phrases can encompass as little as 2 measures or as much as several lines but they must have a beginning, middle and end and hold together, making some kind of emotional statement. Vertical playing is where we concentrate on the details such as agogics and fingering and the music sounds disconnected. Horizontal phrasing is concentrating on the entire line.


Well stated, Deborah.

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: Playing horizontally [Re: BruceD] #2792060
12/16/18 04:52 PM
12/16/18 04:52 PM
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Seattle area, WA
gooddog Offline OP
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Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by gooddog
[...] To me, playing horizontally isn't so much about the beat or propulsion as it is about creating cohesive, fluid, sensitive phrasing that is akin to breathing. It's about shaping the larger "sentences" in the music, sometimes demonstrated in the score as long phrase marks. These phrases can encompass as little as 2 measures or as much as several lines but they must have a beginning, middle and end and hold together, making some kind of emotional statement. Vertical playing is where we concentrate on the details such as agogics and fingering and the music sounds disconnected. Horizontal phrasing is concentrating on the entire line.


Well stated, Deborah.

Regards,

Thanks Bruce. I know what it is, I just can't figure out how to accomplish it effectively or to the satisfaction of my teacher. confused


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: Playing horizontally [Re: gooddog] #2792184
12/16/18 10:09 PM
12/16/18 10:09 PM
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wr Offline
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Originally Posted by gooddog
Originally Posted by wr
I think that playing horizontally is related to what non-classical musicians call playing "in the pocket". That is, playing with a strong sense of exactly where the beats fall, and how the music relates to them. That can keep a sense of forward propulsion going, i.e., horizontal playing. Unfortunately, we classical musicians are usually not very well-trained in this area - at least that's my impression.
I don't think we're talking about the same thing. To me, playing horizontally isn't so much about the beat or propulsion as it is about creating cohesive, fluid, sensitive phrasing that is akin to breathing. It's about shaping the larger "sentences" in the music, sometimes demonstrated in the score as long phrase marks. These phrases can encompass as little as 2 measures or as much as several lines but they must have a beginning, middle and end and hold together, making some kind of emotional statement. Vertical playing is where we concentrate on the details such as agogics and fingering and the music sounds disconnected. Horizontal phrasing is concentrating on the entire line.


Yes to all of that, of course. But for me, in addition to that (rather than separate from it), the underlying thing that actually animates it all is the sense of beat and rhythm that puts it into continuous motion. Otherwise, the horizontal line gets messed up with starts and stops, various distractions, and odd moments of stasis - the "glue" that makes it all hold together and keep moving is missing. At least that's the way it has seemed to me in my own playing - I'm really terrible at deliberately finding the through-line.

I should add that I am not specifically talking about a steady regular beat, but about where the animating beat of the music is at any given moment. There could be all sorts of rubato-ish stuff happening, but for me, the sense of the beat's location makes all the difference between whether the music keeps flowing in a line, or if it loses its direction with a broken line. I'm reminded of accounts of Chopin's playing where it was said that he could play with all kinds of wildly elastic rubato and wonderful phrasing, but he still always had an absolutely dead-on sense of the music's underlying beat. I think that concept is sort of an ideal for "horizontal playing" to me.

Re: Playing horizontally [Re: wr] #2792221
12/17/18 12:56 AM
12/17/18 12:56 AM
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Posts: 363
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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by gooddog
Originally Posted by wr
I think that playing horizontally is related to what non-classical musicians call playing "in the pocket". That is, playing with a strong sense of exactly where the beats fall, and how the music relates to them. That can keep a sense of forward propulsion going, i.e., horizontal playing. Unfortunately, we classical musicians are usually not very well-trained in this area - at least that's my impression.
I don't think we're talking about the same thing. To me, playing horizontally isn't so much about the beat or propulsion as it is about creating cohesive, fluid, sensitive phrasing that is akin to breathing. It's about shaping the larger "sentences" in the music, sometimes demonstrated in the score as long phrase marks. These phrases can encompass as little as 2 measures or as much as several lines but they must have a beginning, middle and end and hold together, making some kind of emotional statement. Vertical playing is where we concentrate on the details such as agogics and fingering and the music sounds disconnected. Horizontal phrasing is concentrating on the entire line.


Yes to all of that, of course. But for me, in addition to that (rather than separate from it), the underlying thing that actually animates it all is the sense of beat and rhythm that puts it into continuous motion. Otherwise, the horizontal line gets messed up with starts and stops, various distractions, and odd moments of stasis - the "glue" that makes it all hold together and keep moving is missing. At least that's the way it has seemed to me in my own playing - I'm really terrible at deliberately finding the through-line.

I should add that I am not specifically talking about a steady regular beat, but about where the animating beat of the music is at any given moment. There could be all sorts of rubato-ish stuff happening, but for me, the sense of the beat's location makes all the difference between whether the music keeps flowing in a line, or if it loses its direction with a broken line. I'm reminded of accounts of Chopin's playing where it was said that he could play with all kinds of wildly elastic rubato and wonderful phrasing, but he still always had an absolutely dead-on sense of the music's underlying beat. I think that concept is sort of an ideal for "horizontal playing" to me.



I think Whiteside's distinction between the "rhythm of meter" versus the "rhythm of form" might be helpful here.

"The rhythm of note values--meter--is a part of the larger rhythm of form. This rhythm of meter is taken care of in the process of articulating details.

But it is the basic rhythm of form--of the musical idea as a unit--which is the educator, the interpreter, the coordinator, and the creator of beauty in a performance. This rhythm must be installed before any performance can ripen into its fullest beauty. With this basic rhythm in command, fresh impressions of the meaning of the music never cease to appear."

...

"Two rhythms are always in operation in creating a composition: the rhythm of form and the rhythm of meter. Two rhythms must be in operation in creating a performance. The actions which express emotion will throw the balance of importance to one rhythm or the other. Exaggeration will take place either with the actions of articulation, or with actions related to the production of form. If the actions of articulation are made emotionally important the performance will be cluttered with far too many explosions. If the actions which produce the awareness of form are emotionally important the performance can unfold with simplicity and grace. They assure a performance which will deal with musical ideas rather than with exaggerated details."
...

"Though the movements at the center of the body may be very tiny, let the feeling there of suspended energy, the continuity in activity, pick up the emotional response to the music. By taking pains to have the body experience the rhythmic continuity of form, the same kind of unbroken rhythm that a smooth skater enjoys, the pianist most easily gives forth a lilting phrase. Unless we deal with the streamline rhythm of form at the beginning, we allow the first impressions, which are the most lasting, to be those of the struggling movements of hitting right keys. When an unbroken rhythm is the counterpart of the continuous aural imagery, musical ideas most easily flow into tone. Pianists good and bad can almost be lined up in two classes. The good ones find the outlet for emotion through the rhythm of form carried in the body; and the bad ones find the emotional outlet in the rhythm of hitting the keys, carried in the hand.

No matter what the musical gifts may be, the results in presenting musical ideas depend on the body-coordination being right for producing the ultimate in subtlety in rhythmic nuance and gradation in the intensity of tone. These two tools of expression, rhythm and dynamics, cannot be achieved in their infinite variation except when the odds are for, instead of against, a smooth flowing rhythm. A curve produced by one long stroke is graded more minutely than a curve built by small digits. Gradation in intensity is most delicate when tones are produced by a continuous flow of energy and not when tones are produced by separate initiations of power. Listen to the gradation in tone when you are idly humming a tune. The intensity of the tone changes constantly. There is no need to regulate the breath. It varies automatically with the lilt of the tune. The pianist must train to have a continuous flow of tone-producing power that is completely fluid and sensitive, like the breath for song, so that all that is needed is a musical idea to have constant variation in the intensity of tone.

It is here that the special difficulty of the piano lies. It is a musical difficulty. We sit outside of our instrument, and we must produce tone through a vertical action, when the musical idea is the result of the succession of tones running laterally along the keyboard. We should be involved emotionally with the feeling of continuity, and instead, too often, we are involved with the feeling of the separate key-hitting strokes. And here is a real snag: The expertness of the hand as a tool, its enormous capacity for a sensitive movement, coupled with the fact that it contacts tone, makes the movements of the hand an easy outlet for the pianist's emotion; but the hand alone is incapable of playing the modern piano without strain, and there is no way of involving the whole body except through a coordination from the center to the outside. Beginning at the ends does not involve the middle but beginning at the middle does involve the ends. If the rhythm of form is sufficiently alluring to start activity in the torso, and these movements become the outlet for the emotional response to the music, we kill two birds with one stone. We have the chance for the greatest beauty because there is the possibility for an unbroken rhythm, and we have the greatest ease because the whole body, with the power of the large muscles, can be involved in producing successive tones."

...

"The manner of playing a theme and variations may serve as an illustration of the value of this central rhythm as the outlet for the emotional response to music. The theme is the musical idea in its simplest statement. The variations fit into the form of that statement. When they are beautifully played that form is never distorted. Just the reverse happens when they are badly played. That is, the change in the rhythmic pattern of tones is more important emotionally to the player than the continuous, long pattern of the form; and the variations are easily distorted into a series of small, almost unrelated pieces, instead of each variation being an integrated part of the composition as a whole. As listeners, we are bored in one instance and delighted in the other, for we become fatigued instead of thrilled when there is a welter of detail rather than a flowing rhythm, linking all the motives into one graceful line of progression"






Last edited by anamnesis; 12/17/18 01:00 AM.
Re: Playing horizontally [Re: gooddog] #2792232
12/17/18 03:19 AM
12/17/18 03:19 AM
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It should "flow like oil" with "the long line" toward cadences.

Or, maybe, it's more like water streaming out of a squirt gun. laugh


WhoDwaldi
Howard (by Kawai) 5' 10"
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