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I'm working on Schumann Fantasie in C and it's obvious I need to enhance my chord voicing skills (right hand playing a triad for example and melody is carried by one of those notes, I need to bring out that melody note and "whisper" the non-melody notes, and legato-connect that melody note to the melody note in the next triad...). This is especially a challenge at speed. Please, any drill recommendations to enhance this skill? I know this will take a very long time to master. Also I am completely Hanoned-out in case someone is tempted to recommend Hanon for developing finger independence. Just some drills especially in the context of Schumann Fantasie in C.

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It's one easy excercise for this. Not easy to make but something that is universal.
Start with 2 notes first and afterwars go for 3 and more.

1. Lift your had a bit over the keyboard and drop it (with finger of course catching the keys, not dead drop lol).
2. When keys are pressed start moving your hand and distribute weight between fingers (I assume you will start with 1-5) still holding the keys down, in order to feel it and get control in steady conditions.
3. Now play this chord with a given note louder (it's easier with the thumb to start). how to play one note louder? Two things: a) you need to put most of the weight in that finger b) work on the finger movement itself.
4. Give yourself few days. At the very beginning the notes in chord will be stroke separately, as by default one one will want to be played faster. You will learn this with time and you will be able to control the chords sound distribution forever and within few days all notes within chords will sound together.

It's actually far harder to do than to describe lol, and needs time to work and for hand to learn it. Give yourself time and do not expect immediate result, but given the fact that you are playing this Fantasy you are already fully trained.

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Graham Fitch has several videos —- the exercise is for ‘ghosting’ (miming notes)



"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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That video is great, but also some of the Chopin etudes are good for this too. Off the top of my head, op 10 no 3 and 9, and op 25 no 1, 5, 7, and the middle of 10 can be useful for this. Liszt etudes are also good practice given the huge amount of chords, no 3 (paysage) is a good example. You wouldn't need to play them at speed, just slowly and focusing on the inner melodies. This is the way I learned chord voicing at least.

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One exercise is to exaggerate. Play the melody legato and forte and all the other notes staccato and piano. At first you can even just place the fingers on the non-melody notes without playing them, then gradually add sound.

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2nd etude may help


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Thank you for bringing Saint Saens to my attention. I love these pieces and I love this composer, and more generally I have always leaned towards the French composers. I'll put these pieces on my plate after I've better digested the pieces I'm currently working on.

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Yes I play several of those Chopin etudes and I am "moderately pleased" with my voicing of those, maybe because I learned them when I was younger. The Schumann Fantasy voicing I'm finding more challenging because of how long some of the melody notes are held until connecting to the next melody note. Or maybe I have a better ear for voicing now than I did when I learned the Chopin etudes which I wanted to play loud and fast, blasting through them; now I have a more critical ear for voicing. Will take time and patience! Thank you!

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Thank you dogperson, that video is super helpful! And I love that classic Mickey Mouse video!

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Drill!? Use your ears.


never taught a child who had poor technique, just poor practice
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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Drill!? Use your ears.


Using your ears only works if you have trained your fingers.


"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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I'm very anti-drill if that's what you mean by 'training fingers'. There are musical ways.


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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
I'm very anti-drill if that's what you mean by 'training fingers'. There are musical ways.

As far as I am concerned, Graham Fitch’s ‘drill’ is really music instruction which can be applied to any musical piece that needs chord voicing.


"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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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Drill!? Use your ears.

I agree with you. It's using hearing --- and any other relevant accumulated musical skills that are applicable. Listening and having a good opinion about what the sound (level/intensity etc) and note combinations we would like ----- is extremely handy. As is which set of notes (or 'chord patterns') can be chosen ----- where finger pattern conditioning is handy.

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Originally Posted by SouthPark
Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Drill!? Use your ears.

I agree with you. It's using hearing --- and any other relevant accumulated musical skills that are applicable. Listening and having a good opinion about what the sound (level/intensity etc) and note combinations we would like ----- is extremely handy. As is which set of notes (or 'chord patterns') can be chosen ----- where finger pattern conditioning is handy.

Not sure what you mean by ‘finger pattern consistency’. What your finger need to bd able to do in classical music is be able to play a series of trials where the melody is the middle note and have the middle note be pronounced. Watch the Graham Fitch video snd ask yourself if you can do that.

It is a skill predominantly used in playing classical music, not pop,


"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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Originally Posted by Loon
Thank you for bringing Saint Saens to my attention. I love these pieces and I love this composer, and more generally I have always leaned towards the French composers. I'll put these pieces on my plate after I've better digested the pieces I'm currently working on.

It is far too hard for me to play so I can't recommend it personally. I'm not sure exactly how this is performed in real life with the middle notes projected so well over a chord ?

I was told in a chord to put more weight on the note I want projected, which means this part of the chord is pressed faster.

I'm not able to play this piece I recommend except the start very very slowly but it's a good exercise of you want to practice this. If you can play Chopin etudes you are at a higher level than me so perhaps you would not have the same problems

I found it very easy to project the top note of a chord but the middle is the hardest with the thumbs normally easier than the middle.

Some pieces like Brahms opus 117 no 1 it's not too hard to project the middle as it's over an octave chord so worth practicing the start.



If you really struggle it may be worth trying a slow piece which is projected without chords like this. I learnt this from D major Rach prelude where you project with the thumb the melody outside of a chord

my teacher it's less common to project with thumbs and 2nd so something like the piece below may me a good exercise. Once I could do this projecting within a chord was easier



Still a problem I'm still working on too so I'm not sure my advice is the best for you but sometimes you have to break a problem down into smaller stages.

Just a warning as my etude suggestion was waaay beyond me still but I suppose this is the point of etudes for pianists to work on a technical exercise problem within a piece

good luck

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Originally Posted by dogperson
Not sure what you mean by ‘finger pattern consistency’. What your finger need to bd able to do in classical music is be able to play a series of trials where the melody is the middle note and have the middle note be pronounced. Watch the Graham Fitch video snd ask yourself if you can do that.

It is a skill predominantly used in playing classical music, not pop,

dogperson ------ let me test you --- again, after having failed my classical piano test in the 'expressive playing' thread, and running away from that particular test.

Go ahead dogperson, and provide for me (and very clearly) your definition of 'chord voicing'. Explain what 'chord voicing' is. Also, make sure you look it up in music theory sources. If you can't, then refrain from attempting to assert dominance/authority over forum member's sensible and logical posts.

For score playing - where notes are fixed (if the criteria is set such that no modification is allowed) ----- the playing of the notes will merely involve 'regular' piano playing (hand/finger control, nuance setting, pedal control, and finger sequencing).

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Originally Posted by SouthPark
Originally Posted by dogperson
Not sure what you mean by ‘finger pattern consistency’. What your finger need to bd able to do in classical music is be able to play a series of trials where the melody is the middle note and have the middle note be pronounced. Watch the Graham Fitch video snd ask yourself if you can do that.

It is a skill predominantly used in playing classical music, not pop,

dogperson ------ let me test you --- again, after having failed my classical piano test in the 'expressive playing' thread, and running away from that particular test.

Go ahead dogperson, and provide for me (and very clearly) your definition of 'chord voicing'. Explain what 'chord voicing' is. Also, make sure you look it up in music theory sources. If you can't, then refrain from attempting to assert dominance/authority over forum member's sensible and logical posts.

For score playing - where notes are fixed (if the criteria is set such that no modification is allowed) ----- the playing of the notes will merely involve 'regular' piano playing (hand/finger control, nuance setting, pedal control, and finger sequencing).


I’m am not running away: I told you once and I’ll repeat
‘I do not want you for a teacher’. Further, I do not want to continue this conversation: if you have the skill addressed in the video, great. If you don’t, that’s fine as well.


"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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I will also add - dogperson - it has been established that classical music does not necessarily involve playing 'classical genre' music by following a score sheet to a tee. Classical music has particular characteristic behaviour - that can be recognised. So if you think that classical music 'strictly' always involves requiring absolutely both the playing 'classical genre' AND 'following score sheet to a tee' simultaneously ------ then you are wrong.

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SouthPark, do you have any idea what this thread is about?

Because I'm pretty sure you don't, despite all the discussions from everyone else about the subject. Your posts bear no relation to what's being discussed.

So, let me test you (and I'm well qualified to do so, because I'm a piano teacher, as well as performer, with a performance diploma): tell us - in as many words as you like - what is 'voicing' in classical piano playing?


"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."
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