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Joined: Feb 2019
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Originally Posted by scirocco
I think hammer acceleration must also come into it. (or rather, deceleration, since the hammer gets disconnected from the key mechanism just before it hits the string, and can only decelerate from there). So the pianist is selecting the tone from any of the possibilities on a 2D graph of velocity vs deceleration. That’s why there’s an enormous range of ways to generate the sound and takes a lot to learn and control.

I dont think do. The deceleration is not something that can be controlled. It is purely a consequence of the mechanism and the velocity of the hammer at the point of let off. In other words once the velocity is set, the deceleration will be a direct function of it.

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Originally Posted by JB_PW
Wow...that looks like a workout. I have never played a jowl-shaking note in my life! Kid gloves...yes. I'm a very "polite" player and I want everything to sound pretty. I guess I've got some work to do, getting comfortable with more sound (and different qualities of sound). . .

Find a good recording of Beethoven's "Hammerklavier" sonata. It's not pretty.

One nice thing about piano -- you _can_ play "rage", which is tough on a clarinet or flute.


. Charles
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Originally Posted by bennevis
...she would never push herself to play stuff that made extra demands on her technique (including in speed and volume) because she hated the feeling that she wasn't always completely in control of each and every note, and didn't like to make ugly sounds.

Wait...are YOU my music therapist? smile That comment is very relevant to me. I'm not uncomfortable trying different techniques and musical styles, but I've never liked doing things that I can't do well and I'm certain I don't push myself like I could. I definitely hate missing notes and making any ugly sounds. I don't really think I should aim to be a "banger," but I realize sometimes experimentation is required & helpful. I need to stop being afraid of doing things that don't sound good while I'm trying to improve.

Thanks very much everyone! I've just had a practice session where I focused more on really getting the dynamics where I want them. It definitely went better than normal, but I still think I need to figure out some different techniques for playing forte properly. I'll start doing some research. I do have a lesson tomorrow, but as I mentioned...the suggestions my teacher has given me in the past haven't really clicked. It wouldn't hurt to discuss it again though.


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JB PW I have often felt the same. I feel it is more the issue of my technique than my piano. Like you I can understand playing p would need more control but I dont see how ff should be so hard.

I've asked my teachers in the past (not with kne at this time) amd I d
Can't say I had any tips that helped. Or maybe I just didn't get it.

Now after awhile of being away from piano I've gone back a few levels to reset and start again. I have vowed to myself to work on dynamics. I find I have more capability to focus on this with the easier pieces (and still struggle!).
It is one of the reasons I want to record myself to see if what I think I'm hearing (any dynamics at all) is what is actually happening.

I watched the video posted by dog person and will try that and see if that helps me.
Dog person you mentioned some other videos. I would be interested in seeing those if you get a chance to post them. Thanks

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Hi Zoe! I watched a bunch of videos last night. I've linked 3 that I liked at the bottom.

I've only been thinking about this for a few days, but I've already realized that I wasn't really *working* on this problem. While working on pieces, I've attempted to follow the dynamic markings of course...but I think I quickly gave up on any focused dynamics work because I guess I had already decided I just wasn't good at it. One of my teacher's suggestions for forte included flaring my elbows out (which is absent from every video I've watched). I tried that once or twice and it felt ridiculous & wrong...so I thought oh well, I guess I'm not going to play loud!

These videos make it clear what I need to do. Hopefully you'll find them helpful too Zoe.

IMO, Graham Fitch is always wonderful:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSdB9eVRsm4

Sometimes visuals help me...I liked the mention of Bruce Lee's 'one-inch punch' in this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8svXFjZZ1Fo

Despite the title, there's a good demonstration of forte in this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_fYDJJxKro


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Maybe I'm little late to the discussion, but I will add my teacher's suggestion. Whenever piece calls for f, ff etc. or p, pp, ppp and I'm struggling, she reminds me to learn it first using "heavy arms" - meaning learn to play it first slower, very calm, using full weight of the arms, not even try for light touch for pp or faster attack for ff. Usually shift to required dynamics happens naturally once I learn how to relax into it.

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Originally Posted by initK
Maybe I'm little late to the discussion, but I will add my teacher's suggestion. Whenever piece calls for f, ff etc. or p, pp, ppp and I'm struggling, she reminds me to learn it first using "heavy arms" - meaning learn to play it first slower, very calm, using full weight of the arms, not even try for light touch for pp or faster attack for ff. Usually shift to required dynamics happens naturally once I learn how to relax into it.

Thank you! I cannot be reminded to relax enough. Especially when I start stressing about how I'm not doing X,Y,Z right...then I tense up and it makes everything harder. I think sometimes I try to do everything right off the bat, before I'm even comfortable with the notes, and that doesn't usually yield much but frustration.


I ❤️ Mendelssohn, Yann Tiersen, Heller
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