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Your brain on piano
#2877893 08/09/19 01:10 AM
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I liked this one, even though they did not describe the brain activity needed for doing all of this simultaneously in a coordinated way - which I think is the biggest challenge of playing the piano. Of course, it is a gross simplification (for instance, proprioception activates many more areas than just the cerebellum), and before we all get too happy: even a simple thing as pouring yourself a cup of coffee activates many brain areas. Still, it's a nice picture.

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Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
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... feeling like the pianist on the Titanic ...
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Re: Your brain on piano
Animisha #2877931 08/09/19 05:09 AM
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Interesting picture, Animisha! It does sometimes feel like you are juggling all the planets in the solar system, while riding a unicycle cry

Re: Your brain on piano
Animisha #2877951 08/09/19 06:36 AM
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It's hard to say, since there are always other factors in life, but i think i actually do feel sharper, and have improved memory since i started to play piano alot.



Umm, there was something else i wanted to add.. but i forgot.

Re: Your brain on piano
Animisha #2877953 08/09/19 06:37 AM
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Proprioception. That seems to be the part I have to work on the most. Interesting picture.

Re: Your brain on piano
Animisha #2877956 08/09/19 06:44 AM
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Playing one o' Tchaikovsky's sonatas totally did my head in. I am no longer the man I was . . . I started emitting strange smells, wild eyes, mood swings; and just looking at the music created terror.
But, too late! I was hooked.


"I am not a man. I am a free number"

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Re: Your brain on piano
Animisha #2877958 08/09/19 06:49 AM
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Great picture. Brings many concepts to life.



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Re: Your brain on piano
Animisha #2877967 08/09/19 07:12 AM
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That's awesome. I just tell people it's diabolically difficult!


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Re: Your brain on piano
Animisha #2877975 08/09/19 07:33 AM
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Compared to other instrumentalists, only a pianist has perfectly developed motor skills in all limbs as well as perfect posture: no crooked neck & shoulders like a violinist/violist or splayed legs like a cellist - and perfect symmetry (perfectly developed shoulders, arms, hands & fingers, R=L), no puffy cheeks (like brass players) or lips (like woodwind players), no hunched posture (like bassists) or deafness (like percussionists).

In fact, a pianist is perfection personified. thumb

That's assuming, of course, that you don't play like Glenn Gould....... wink


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Your brain on piano
Animisha #2878010 08/09/19 09:49 AM
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Very nice diagram, cool concepts!


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Re: Your brain on piano
Animisha #2878013 08/09/19 10:21 AM
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It is a wonder, isn't it!

The only other instrument that might surpass it in complexity is the organ, when there are foot pedals to be played as well as four or more keyboards and stops to maneuver.


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Re: Your brain on piano
Animisha #2878015 08/09/19 10:28 AM
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And the diagram doesn’t include playing from memory. Recalling exactly what to do at precisely the right time...

Sam

Re: Your brain on piano
Animisha #2878042 08/09/19 11:46 AM
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I worked up a sweat this morning practising arpeggios, playing both hands over four octaves trying to gradually up the tempo. Perhaps it doesn't really help fitness but does highlight how unfit I am.

I'd be a much better player if Spatial was true.

Last edited by KevinM; 08/09/19 11:47 AM.
Re: Your brain on piano
Stubbie #2878066 08/09/19 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Stubbie
It is a wonder, isn't it!

The only other instrument that might surpass it in complexity is the organ, when there are foot pedals to be played as well as four or more keyboards and stops to maneuver.

Stubbie, as far as I know, organs usually don't have weighted keys, and that subtracts a bit from its complexity. However, even without weighted keys, I think you are right.


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Re: Your brain on piano
Animisha #2878074 08/09/19 01:36 PM
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I prefer kinesthetic awareness to proprioception but whatever, to-may-to / to-mah-to.

It's a great chart and I'd like to know where to get a wall size version.

Last edited by Fidel; 08/09/19 01:37 PM.

With new students Chopin was chiefly anxious to do away with any stiffness in, or cramped, or convulsive movement of the hand, thereby obtaining the first requisite of fine technique "souplesse" (suppleness). -- Carl Mikuli on Chopin the teacher.
Re: Your brain on piano
Animisha #2878075 08/09/19 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by Stubbie
It is a wonder, isn't it!

The only other instrument that might surpass it in complexity is the organ, when there are foot pedals to be played as well as four or more keyboards and stops to maneuver.

Stubbie, as far as I know, organs usually don't have weighted keys, and that subtracts a bit from its complexity. However, even without weighted keys, I think you are right.


Organ keys, IMO, add complexity: the sound disappears as soon as your finger leaves the key. Want to play legato, you need to substitute fingers so that you replicate a sustain sound by crawling from one key to the next. . Want to play soft, you can’t do it with your fingers, but rather your foot. I was never a great organist as a kid—- just ‘good enough’ to play for church but I found the organ to more complex in terms of getting the sound the way I wanted. Feet? OMG, a really great organist moves their feet all over the pedals at a million miles an hour. I just did simple pedaling.

Maybe someone with more equal experience between the organ and piano will have a different opinion.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Re: Your brain on piano
dogperson #2878083 08/09/19 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by Stubbie
It is a wonder, isn't it!

The only other instrument that might surpass it in complexity is the organ, when there are foot pedals to be played as well as four or more keyboards and stops to maneuver.

Stubbie, as far as I know, organs usually don't have weighted keys, and that subtracts a bit from its complexity. However, even without weighted keys, I think you are right.


Organ keys, IMO, add complexity: the sound disappears as soon as your finger leaves the key. Want to play legato, you need to substitute fingers so that you replicate a sustain sound by crawling from one key to the next. . Want to play soft, you can’t do it with your fingers, but rather your foot. I was never a great organist as a kid—- just ‘good enough’ to play for church but I found the organ to more complex in terms of getting the sound the way I wanted. Feet? OMG, a really great organist moves their feet all over the pedals at a million miles an hour. I just did simple pedaling.

Maybe someone with more equal experience between the organ and piano will have a different opinion.

Yes, moving the feet does add a bit to the complexity and the fingering messes you up when it comes to playing the piano! On the other hand you cannot create the dynamics in the same way as you can on a piano.

Last edited by Colin Miles; 08/09/19 02:08 PM. Reason: additional comment

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Re: Your brain on piano
Animisha #2878096 08/09/19 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Animisha
even a simple thing as pouring yourself a cup of coffee activates many brain areas


No, no. You have it wrong. The brain areas are only activated AFTER you have had your coffee.


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Re: Your brain on piano
Animisha #2878101 08/09/19 03:17 PM
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IMO, the piano is far more complex to play and difficult to play well than the organ (or harpsichord).

The weighting & balance of notes in chords & textures, the precise colouring & nuances (achieved purely by aforementioned weighting and articulation and use of all the pedals - singly or together, including half pedal and flutter pedalling) and the advanced effects achievable on it (different kinds of staccato, ghost notes by depressing keys silently while playing others, even stroking the strings while depressing some keys etc, etc) are all impossible on an organ. On a piano, you need to have perfect control of each individual finger in order to get the sound quality you want. On an organ, you just need good finger independence.

That's why pianists transition easily to organ but not vice versa. In fact, most organists were once pianists, but rapidly lose their pianistic skills if they don't return to the piano regularly.

I played the organ at school occasionally during services or choir practice (- never having had any lessons on it), when the organ scholar was indisposed. He never really played the piano, and whenever he tried to play it, it sounded really rough - uneven voicing, ghost notes, other notes sticking out. Yet on the organ, he sounded like a professional, and his foot technique was of course better than mine. We once had fun challenging each other to play Bach's Toccata & Fugue in D minor (BWV 565) on both instruments......my rendition (with a few necessary transpositions) on the piano was much, much better than his on piano, whereas our respective organ renditions were more closely matched. (We both agreed on the results wink ).

A lot of an organist's work is done beforehand - deciding on the stops and the keyboard to use, and (especially if an unfamiliar organ) knowing exactly where the stops are.

BTW, someone mentioned finger switching on organs - advanced pianists use it all the time on the piano too. Sloppy pedalling or using the pedal when finger switching to achieve desired legato should have been used is rampant amongst lazy amateurs (or those who haven't mastered that art)......


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Your brain on piano
Animisha #2878109 08/09/19 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Animisha
and before we all get too happy: even a simple thing as pouring yourself a cup of coffee activates many brain areas. Still, it's a nice picture.


I'm curious: what is it about this picture that makes you happy?

Re: Your brain on piano
bennevis #2878128 08/09/19 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
I played the organ at school occasionally during services or choir practice (- never having had any lessons on it), when the organ scholar was indisposed. He never really played the piano, and whenever he tried to play it, it sounded really rough - uneven voicing, ghost notes, other notes sticking out. Yet on the organ, he sounded like a professional, and his foot technique was of course better than mine. We once had fun challenging each other to play Bach's Toccata & Fugue in D minor (BWV 565) on both instruments......my rendition (with a few necessary transpositions) on the piano was much, much better than his on piano, whereas our respective organ renditions were more closely matched. (We both agreed on the results wink )

OT, but I was most surprised to read that Dudley Moore was the Organ Scholar at Magdalen College, Oxford, when he was student at Oxford. The idea of an Organ Scholar seems antiquated to me. (Sorry, you organ lovers out there! laugh )


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