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About "melody voicing" #2910329
11/10/19 09:27 AM
11/10/19 09:27 AM
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paxel Offline OP
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Hello, is there an "official" english term for the voicing tecnique (most used in arrangements) when you play (for example with the right hand) harmony notes LIGHTLY with the fingers 1-2 and melody notes STRONGER with fingers 4-5 ?

Usually "voicing" refers to chord theory, so it's not easy to make an internet search about the matter.

Do you know studies, theory, books etc. about it?
It seems to me that this subject is a bit neglected in studies, (maybe because it's most used in arrangements?)

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Re: About "melody voicing" [Re: paxel] #2910338
11/10/19 09:47 AM
11/10/19 09:47 AM
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bennevis Offline
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Voicing (chords etc) in classical music refers to playing certain notes (usually the melody and/or its counterpoint) louder than others.

It is an important skill for all classical pianists to master, because without it, you cannot play huge swathes of the Romantic and post-Romantic rep properly, because melodies and counter-melodies and inner lines etc are embedded within complex chords and passagework. And I'm talking original piano music, not arrangements. For instance, here Horowitz is playing with his RH both melody (with 4 & 5) and accompaniment (with other fingers) from the start onwards, but he brings out (and phrases) the melody strongly, such that you'd never guess from listening that the same hand is doing both:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcfkyW_uVBQ

(Jazzers stole that term ('voicing') to use it as meaning the arrangement of the notes (inversions etc) within chords.)

Here's a classical teacher talking about it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNGWFxnA_SQ


"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: About "melody voicing" [Re: paxel] #2910343
11/10/19 10:09 AM
11/10/19 10:09 AM
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bennevis Offline
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The preceding videos to the one I posted above may be more relevant:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhlbTTKtFhk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hh23Ox_L7gA


"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: About "melody voicing" [Re: bennevis] #2910347
11/10/19 10:24 AM
11/10/19 10:24 AM
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Tyrone Slothrop Online content
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Originally Posted by bennevis
(Jazzers stole that term ('voicing') to use it as meaning the arrangement of the notes (inversions etc) within chords.)

There is a third meaning too.


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: About "melody voicing" [Re: paxel] #2910354
11/10/19 10:56 AM
11/10/19 10:56 AM
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wszxbcl Online content
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I believe you are referring to polyphonic playing? It's not neglected at all. My teacher started me on it in my first year. You need to have this notion, but the training to do it well doesn't happen as quickly.

Re: About "melody voicing" [Re: wszxbcl] #2910355
11/10/19 11:00 AM
11/10/19 11:00 AM
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pianoloverus Online content
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Originally Posted by wszxbcl
I believe you are referring to polyphonic playing? It's not neglected at all. My teacher started me on it in my first year. You need to have this notion, but the training to do it well doesn't happen as quickly.
The OP specifically said playing of chords which is not polyphonic playing.

Re: About "melody voicing" [Re: paxel] #2910356
11/10/19 11:02 AM
11/10/19 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by paxel
Hello, is there an "official" english term for the voicing tecnique (most used in arrangements) when you play (for example with the right hand) harmony notes LIGHTLY with the fingers 1-2 and melody notes STRONGER with fingers 4-5 ?
There is no special term. If you google something like "voicing a melody on the piano" you will see many articles about what you asked:
https://www.google.com/search?as_q=...e=images&as_filetype=&as_rights=


Last edited by pianoloverus; 11/10/19 11:03 AM.
Re: About "melody voicing" [Re: paxel] #2910399
11/10/19 01:33 PM
11/10/19 01:33 PM
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BruceD Offline
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Originally Posted by paxel
Hello, is there an "official" english term for the voicing tecnique (most used in arrangements) when you play (for example with the right hand) harmony notes LIGHTLY with the fingers 1-2 and melody notes STRONGER with fingers 4-5 ?

[...]


Voicing of a melody in original classical music - classical with a small "c" - is a very important technique to master. Not only must one voice the melody (usually the upper note) to sound above the accompaniment, but that melody must be voiced so that the entire phrase of which it is a part connects smoothly from the beginning to the end of the phrase. One therefore not only has to listen and adjust for the volume of each melody note above its accompaniment, one has to adjust the following melody note so that it does not stand out in an obtrusive way (either too soft or too loud).

This is an advanced skill that is enhanced by learning to listen critically to the sounds that we produce, not to what we think we are producing.

When the melody note is the top note of a chord or harmonic structure, it is (relatively speaking) easy to voice the melody, as the higher notes tend to carry better and dominate in the listeners mind. When the melody is embedded between an upper accompaniment and a lower one, then the challenge becomes even more difficult. This is a skill that is, to many of us, a never-ending challenge, but a satisfying one when mastered.

Regards,


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Re: About "melody voicing" [Re: paxel] #2910407
11/10/19 01:53 PM
11/10/19 01:53 PM
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This is an example from a "relatively easy" piece, (Brahms Intermezzo, Op. 117, No. 1) where the melody weaves not only from the top note of the right hand, but from the right hand to the top notes in the left, as indicated by the red lines I have drawn. All the accompaniment must be subservient to the melody, and the challenge, as I indicated in the previous post is to ensure that the melody moves in appropriate volume from note to note (in the shape of appropriate phrasing) and is never overshadowed by the accompaniment:

[Linked Image]

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: About "melody voicing" [Re: BruceD] #2910471
11/10/19 04:16 PM
11/10/19 04:16 PM
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Tyrone Slothrop Online content
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Originally Posted by BruceD
This is an example from a "relatively easy" piece, (Brahms Intermezzo, Op. 117, No. 1) where the melody weaves not only from the top note of the right hand, but from the right hand to the top notes in the left, as indicated by the red lines I have drawn. All the accompaniment must be subservient to the melody, and the challenge, as I indicated in the previous post is to ensure that the melody moves in appropriate volume from note to note (in the shape of appropriate phrasing) and is never overshadowed by the accompaniment:

[Linked Image]

Regards,

I have a few pieces that require voicing and I have really struggled to voice in one hand, especially in the RH. I really wish there were exercises which I can practice and get better at this. My struggle with voicing even causes unnatural tension in my hand, which in turn might have triggered my recent bout of tennis elbow.

I've gotten different advice, suggestions, and instructions, including from my teacher, and while it all is likely good, it just remains a big weakness and is a bit discouraging. Does anyone know of any simple exercises I can repeat a few hundred times that will allow me to develop the control needed to voice properly? My weakness in voicing makes me scared any time I look at a pieces that has a SATB-ish quality...


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: About "melody voicing" [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2910479
11/10/19 04:25 PM
11/10/19 04:25 PM
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 4,657
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outo Offline
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by BruceD
This is an example from a "relatively easy" piece, (Brahms Intermezzo, Op. 117, No. 1) where the melody weaves not only from the top note of the right hand, but from the right hand to the top notes in the left, as indicated by the red lines I have drawn. All the accompaniment must be subservient to the melody, and the challenge, as I indicated in the previous post is to ensure that the melody moves in appropriate volume from note to note (in the shape of appropriate phrasing) and is never overshadowed by the accompaniment:

[Linked Image]

Regards,

I have a few pieces that require voicing and I have really struggled to voice in one hand, especially in the RH. I really wish there were exercises which I can practice and get better at this. My struggle with voicing even causes unnatural tension in my hand, which in turn might have triggered my recent bout of tennis elbow.

I've gotten different advice, suggestions, and instructions, including from my teacher, and while it all is likely good, it just remains a big weakness and is a bit discouraging. Does anyone know of any simple exercises I can repeat a few hundred times that will allow me to develop the control needed to voice properly? My weakness in voicing makes me scared any time I look at a pieces that has a SATB-ish quality...


I can only speak for myself, but for me it all depends on my ears. There's no way I could consciously manage the fine motorics required. And I too become tense if I try to analyze and control the movements of my fingers by some logic. So I let my ears guide me. I practice until I get the sound right and then after that I just remember the sound and let my hands do what is needed. Of course good fingering is essential too, but it's probably less of a problem if your hands are not on the small side.

Of course I have also practiced a lot, since unlike you I love to play music with several voices and find it easier to read too. I assume you have practiced with slow pieces first?

Re: About "melody voicing" [Re: paxel] #2910494
11/10/19 05:06 PM
11/10/19 05:06 PM
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bennevis Offline
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To be able to bring out melodic notes with the right pinky (where it's most common), it's often a matter of thinking you're going to exert "pressure" with that finger and therefore 'press harder' with it. In reality, of course, you're just playing mind games - you're moving that finger faster downwards. But often thinking about the right word can trigger off the right 'movement'.

It's much more tricky to bring out inner notes. First, you need to have achieved full finger independence. Play a five-finger chord (say, a diminished 7th) with one hand and see if you can bring out each note in the chord at will while the other notes stay evenly subdued (and all sounding together), while playing the chord repeatedly. Not easy.......


"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: About "melody voicing" [Re: paxel] #2910717
11/11/19 09:41 AM
11/11/19 09:41 AM
Joined: Jun 2019
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stem_pianist Offline
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Interesting comments.

For me, playing it works ok, but understanding the physics is another.

To be louder, the key acceleration must be higher (right?). So, for a simultaneous sound the moving of melody note key has to start later.... or, maybe I start playing all chord notes at the same time, but at the last moment give the melody an extra kick of acceleration? Maybe different people have different physical motions to achieve?

I sometimes look at a finger and say - 'what are you doing to get that effect'? Never answers. Would be interesting to high-speed video it.

Re: About "melody voicing" [Re: stem_pianist] #2910744
11/11/19 10:42 AM
11/11/19 10:42 AM
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Tyrone Slothrop Online content
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Originally Posted by stem_pianist
To be louder, the key acceleration must be higher (right?)

Velocity, not acceleration. (Although, of course, velocity is just acceleration over time.)


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14

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