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How to Play Piano Expressively Part 3
#2909139 11/07/19 10:36 AM
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Thanks all for the feedback in the previous videos - I think I've been able to correct them all.

Here's the next installment of my video series, where I demonstrate the first 6 of 11 expressive techniques (the remaining 5 will be in the next video).

This video is intended to be very practical, pointing out how to play them and where you can apply them in music, and at the end I have a couple of musical excerpts where you can hear them being used in the context of actual pieces.

I hope you find this helpful!



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Re: How to Play Piano Expressively Part 3
Morodiene #2909145 11/07/19 11:07 AM
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Thank you, that was informative.


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Re: How to Play Piano Expressively Part 3
Morodiene #2909146 11/07/19 11:09 AM
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The concepts are clearly presented and to the point. I liked the short, to the point "before and after" demos on the piano.

I had not heard the qualifier words used to describe the various types of portamento. Are these terms commonly used in voice?

My own understanding is that successful use of these techniques would not be something one would expect from beginners, i.e., they are fairly advanced techniques. They require a fair amount of control that a beginner might not have--a beginner who might be struggling to just play evenly, period, according to the score.


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Re: How to Play Piano Expressively Part 3
Morodiene #2909153 11/07/19 11:26 AM
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Thank you Morodiene, very interesting.


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Re: How to Play Piano Expressively Part 3
Stubbie #2909154 11/07/19 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Stubbie
The concepts are clearly presented and to the point. I liked the short, to the point "before and after" demos on the piano.

I had not heard the qualifier words used to describe the various types of portamento. Are these terms commonly used in voice?

My own understanding is that successful use of these techniques would not be something one would expect from beginners, i.e., they are fairly advanced techniques. They require a fair amount of control that a beginner might not have--a beginner who might be struggling to just play evenly, period, according to the score.


Thanks! These terms for the different portamenti were coined by Keith Hill and Marianne Ploger as descriptive words, but I don't believe they are terms that are commonly used for this way of playing. In the Bach quote I provided in the previous videos (I think Part 2), they do talk about how Bach and his sons' playing did not leave out any portamento or cercare. So in this context it does seem like the term "portamento" could have been a catch-all phrase. Cercare is a term used in singing, which is the same as the Harmonic Portamento (or the Recognition Signal), but I think they wanted to use specific names for these so as to not confuse and think you only do that if you're a singer - since clearly Bach and his sons were playing with cercare.

I actually think for beginners, one can apply these by simply knowing their music to a point of fluency, or they'll stumble over the techniques and make other mistakes as it does add a layer of complexity.

Obviously, if they are not yet playing hands together, then they cannot do the Synaethesis portamento (async hands/rolled chords). But certainly one can do the Entasis, Gestural, and Timing with a simple melody. I think the earlier one learns to do this, the more natural it will become and the earlier in the learning process of a piece they'll be able to add it.

But really for anyone starting out, it's best to do them on pieces you know very well.


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Re: How to Play Piano Expressively Part 3
Morodiene #2909216 11/07/19 02:31 PM
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Excellent and informative post!

It is great to have some terms to refer to the various techniques. Previously I've only heard of these concepts collectively as "playing with feeling" or "having a relationship with the piece."

Easy to follow and the examples are straightforward. I'm looking forward to the next video.

Re: How to Play Piano Expressively Part 3
Morodiene #2909239 11/07/19 03:39 PM
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Great, thank-you - although I'll never remember the terms used. Looking forward to the next one.....

One thing, though: the demonstration at the end for me really could have done with a comparison between 'playing straight' and with the various techniques applied to highlight the differences.

Tbh (here we go again - as largely self-taught, not very precise etc.) so far the techniques mentioned are things that I do (consciously but occasionally by accident) to add expression and emphasis when I'm playing - not, I hasten to add, because I have original ideas but because I'm pretty sure that I have 'heard them somewhere before,' so the demonstrations at the end actually seem quite 'natural' to me.


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Pete
Re: How to Play Piano Expressively Part 3
Morodiene #2909248 11/07/19 03:56 PM
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Really enjoyed this and all your videos.



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Re: How to Play Piano Expressively Part 3
petebfrance #2909299 11/07/19 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by petebfrance
......so far the techniques mentioned are things that I do (consciously but occasionally by accident) to add expression and emphasis when I'm playing - not, I hasten to add, because I have original ideas but because I'm pretty sure that I have 'heard them somewhere before,' so the demonstrations at the end actually seem quite 'natural' to me.

I'd just like to explain, because it may come across that I was being a 'know it all,' that the reason I use these 'devices' is, well, habit. My classical training as a child many years ago was very short (up to 2nd movt of Mozart sonata in C), then played folk songs, later pop songs I guess, followed by what would be referred to as 'easy listening' / standards where a lot of very 'unclassical' approaches are often used. Much later I started on classical music in tandem with the others but a lot of playing habits had become ingrained which is why I am a rather undisciplined (or rather bad, I suppose) player of classical music - much though I enjoy it. In fact I often struggle to play things 'straight' - for example a bit of syncopation here and there creeps unbidden into Chopin waltzes, particularly after playing Scott Joplin.


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Pete
Re: How to Play Piano Expressively Part 3
Morodiene #2909305 11/07/19 06:30 PM
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Speaking as one whose time at the instrument is around 90% free improvisation, I probably do all this naturally and unconsciously, although I have never tried to analyse different species of it. My only qualification is that whatever I do after this manner has to sound good to me. That is pretty well essential else music has no point. It might not sound good to anybody else but as I am not professional and never perform that consideration is minor. Do you study these things with a view to working toward some stable, optimal way of playing a given piece, or do you vary them from day to day according to caprice and spontaneous inclination ? In any case, I entirely agree that heterogeneity is far more musically interesting than homogeneity.


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Re: How to Play Piano Expressively Part 3
Morodiene #2909314 11/07/19 07:20 PM
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Thank-you, Morodiene! This video was fascinating to me. I've been waiting to see what these techniques might be ever since you put up the first two teasers. This was even better than I had hoped for, so clear and concrete.


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Re: How to Play Piano Expressively Part 3
petebfrance #2909315 11/07/19 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by petebfrance
Originally Posted by petebfrance
......so far the techniques mentioned are things that I do (consciously but occasionally by accident) to add expression and emphasis when I'm playing - not, I hasten to add, because I have original ideas but because I'm pretty sure that I have 'heard them somewhere before,' so the demonstrations at the end actually seem quite 'natural' to me.

I'd just like to explain, because it may come across that I was being a 'know it all,' that the reason I use these 'devices' is, well, habit. My classical training as a child many years ago was very short (up to 2nd movt of Mozart sonata in C), then played folk songs, later pop songs I guess, followed by what would be referred to as 'easy listening' / standards where a lot of very 'unclassical' approaches are often used. Much later I started on classical music in tandem with the others but a lot of playing habits had become ingrained which is why I am a rather undisciplined (or rather bad, I suppose) player of classical music - much though I enjoy it. In fact I often struggle to play things 'straight' - for example a bit of syncopation here and there creeps unbidden into Chopin waltzes, particularly after playing Scott Joplin.


I understand. I spent many years playing rock and roll/funk/country/folk/rock. I played drums/percussion/guitar. There was always a fair bit of "jamming" with other bandmates---these sort of techniques/devices were very evident---and an intuitive understanding was imperative to success for all.

Intuitive is the key word---there were no descriptive terms so to speak---other than getting in a "groove" or "synching." You either had/have "it" or not.

The (frequently) improvisational nature of the music demanded it. You had to have a sense for when others were shifting dynamically or rhythmically and adapted
accordingly.

I am pretty new to the piano and classical music in general. Very different!

I very much appreciate the series Morodiene has created---It giveas terminology/point of reference to concepts I've long understood---but otherwise would be unable to articulate----particularly to classical musicians ---or perhaps more specifially---formally trained musicians.
.

Re: How to Play Piano Expressively Part 3
Morodiene #2909386 11/08/19 03:16 AM
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Thanks so much Morodiene for these vids, they are much appreciated.

I have been watching your videos with great interest, especially this series. I find them very concise and informative, especially as I am a beginner and struggling a bit to be more expressive in my playing... My teacher asked me to listen to some Bach chorales at one point to understand how to shape my music, but did not give me a breackdown of techniques.

A breakdown like this makes it easier to identify how this is done, and hopefully will give my playing a much needed boost...

Re: How to Play Piano Expressively Part 3
Antihero #2909420 11/08/19 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Antihero
Originally Posted by petebfrance
Originally Posted by petebfrance
......so far the techniques mentioned are things that I do (consciously but occasionally by accident) to add expression and emphasis when I'm playing - not, I hasten to add, because I have original ideas but because I'm pretty sure that I have 'heard them somewhere before,' so the demonstrations at the end actually seem quite 'natural' to me.

I'd just like to explain, because it may come across that I was being a 'know it all,' that the reason I use these 'devices' is, well, habit. My classical training as a child many years ago was very short (up to 2nd movt of Mozart sonata in C), then played folk songs, later pop songs I guess, followed by what would be referred to as 'easy listening' / standards where a lot of very 'unclassical' approaches are often used. Much later I started on classical music in tandem with the others but a lot of playing habits had become ingrained which is why I am a rather undisciplined (or rather bad, I suppose) player of classical music - much though I enjoy it. In fact I often struggle to play things 'straight' - for example a bit of syncopation here and there creeps unbidden into Chopin waltzes, particularly after playing Scott Joplin.


I understand. I spent many years playing rock and roll/funk/country/folk/rock. I played drums/percussion/guitar. There was always a fair bit of "jamming" with other bandmates---these sort of techniques/devices were very evident---and an intuitive understanding was imperative to success for all.

Intuitive is the key word---there were no descriptive terms so to speak---other than getting in a "groove" or "synching." You either had/have "it" or not.

The (frequently) improvisational nature of the music demanded it. You had to have a sense for when others were shifting dynamically or rhythmically and adapted
accordingly.

I am pretty new to the piano and classical music in general. Very different!

I very much appreciate the series Morodiene has created---It giveas terminology/point of reference to concepts I've long understood---but otherwise would be unable to articulate----particularly to classical musicians ---or perhaps more specifially---formally trained musicians.
.



Thanks - you expressed that far better than I did smile


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Pete
Re: How to Play Piano Expressively Part 3
petebfrance #2909505 11/08/19 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Antihero
Excellent and informative post!

It is great to have some terms to refer to the various techniques. Previously I've only heard of these concepts collectively as "playing with feeling" or "having a relationship with the piece."

Easy to follow and the examples are straightforward. I'm looking forward to the next video.

Thanks! Yes, I agree, having something concrete to do is very important. It's one thing to point out that a piece is missing emotion, but quite another to be able to explain how to achieve that sound.

Originally Posted by petebfrance
Great, thank-you - although I'll never remember the terms used. Looking forward to the next one.....

One thing, though: the demonstration at the end for me really could have done with a comparison between 'playing straight' and with the various techniques applied to highlight the differences.

Tbh (here we go again - as largely self-taught, not very precise etc.) so far the techniques mentioned are things that I do (consciously but occasionally by accident) to add expression and emphasis when I'm playing - not, I hasten to add, because I have original ideas but because I'm pretty sure that I have 'heard them somewhere before,' so the demonstrations at the end actually seem quite 'natural' to me.

RE; demonstrating without - I was trying to keep the videos to under 10 minutes, and honestly, if I played them without I'm not sure I'd be able to "represent" that style of playing very well. It's far better if you listen to other recordings of these same pieces on YouTube to compare.

And yes! These techniques are nothing new and they are a natural way of playing. It's only when you aren't encouraged to play that way and you hear everyone playing with hands synchronized that you start to try and achieve that. I also think that there is a common belief that beginners can't play musically and so it isn't addressed at all in lessons - or there simply isn't enough time to get everything in. But it's a huge part of why we play, so I think it needs to be a priority. smile


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Re: How to Play Piano Expressively Part 3
Ted #2909506 11/08/19 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Ted
Speaking as one whose time at the instrument is around 90% free improvisation, I probably do all this naturally and unconsciously, although I have never tried to analyse different species of it. My only qualification is that whatever I do after this manner has to sound good to me. That is pretty well essential else music has no point. It might not sound good to anybody else but as I am not professional and never perform that consideration is minor. Do you study these things with a view to working toward some stable, optimal way of playing a given piece, or do you vary them from day to day according to caprice and spontaneous inclination ? In any case, I entirely agree that heterogeneity is far more musically interesting than homogeneity.

Great question! Of course when you have more options in how to play something, you can vary it every time you play it once you become fluent in using these techniques. This keeps the piece alive. Chopin himself said he never played a piece the same way twice, so why should we?


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Re: How to Play Piano Expressively Part 3
Suni #2909515 11/08/19 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by SoundThumb
Thank-you, Morodiene! This video was fascinating to me. I've been waiting to see what these techniques might be ever since you put up the first two teasers. This was even better than I had hoped for, so clear and concrete.

Thanks, but hopefully the first two weren't teasers but more an introduction to this kind of playing to establish that there is a precedent set by composers themselves in their own playing. smile


Originally Posted by Antihero

I am pretty new to the piano and classical music in general. Very different!

I very much appreciate the series Morodiene has created---It giveas terminology/point of reference to concepts I've long understood---but otherwise would be unable to articulate----particularly to classical musicians ---or perhaps more specifially---formally trained musicians.


I think that's the value of these, is that Keith Hill and Marianne Ploger clearly defined and named them to better help people explain what makes something moving and how to add this to one's own playing.
Originally Posted by Suni


Thanks so much Morodiene for these vids, they are much appreciated.

I have been watching your videos with great interest, especially this series. I find them very concise and informative, especially as I am a beginner and struggling a bit to be more expressive in my playing... My teacher asked me to listen to some Bach chorales at one point to understand how to shape my music, but did not give me a breackdown of techniques.

A breakdown like this makes it easier to identify how this is done, and hopefully will give my playing a much needed boost...


Hopefully this will help! I can imagine you could listen to some great singing (I highly recommend older operatic recordings) while looking at the score and see if you can identify when they apply certain techniques and what's going on musically to understand them better in your own playing.


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