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#477887 - 06/11/02 02:09 PM descriptive words
nancyww Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/02
Posts: 585
Loc: central oregon
In another thread, April mentioned "sinking" into a chord instead of "landing" on it to avoid sounding plunky. This was very helpful...Thanks, April. \:\)

It's interesting how using a different word can change the way one thinks of playing those notes, resulting in a different sound. For example, I've been told to "fall" on a series of octaves. This is descriptive but not helpful to me since I found myself falling on the wrong notes. Too haphazard a term. April's use of the word "landing" sounds more precise. Maybe I can land on the right octaves rather than falling all over the keyboard. \:D

Some other colorful terms I've heard: "bouncing" off the keys to make a big leap and a favorite - when my teacher told me to "squeeze" the final chord out of a Scriabin prelude.

Any others out there?

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#477888 - 06/11/02 03:10 PM Re: descriptive words
Elaine617 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/02
Posts: 364
Loc: North Carolina
Hi Nancy,

How about 'scooping peanut butter', a phrase my old teacher used to help me learn the drop-roll technique way back when. Although it was many moons ago, I have never forgotten that term. 'Sqeezing the toothpaste tube' (starting from the bottom and rolling the toothpaste/chord out) was another term she used to teach me rolled/broken chords. Funny how we still recall and use those childhood phrases. \:\)


#477889 - 06/11/02 04:36 PM Re: descriptive words
April Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 323
Loc: Great Lakes State
Hi Nancy,

I'm glad a new verb helped you! \:\)

Now, as for squeezing a chord...what technique is that? I can't figure that one out. \:\)

My teacher has also told me to "Nail it" on a big sforzando chord. I hate it when I "nail" the wrong notes! Kinda like "falling" all over the keyboard. ;\)


#477890 - 06/11/02 04:52 PM Re: descriptive words
mkesfahani Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/02
Posts: 836
Loc: Irvine, CA
There are a bunch, but here are the first few that come to mind: On notes that are very staccato, my professor always tell me to "think up" and play "up from the keys." He also tells me to "sneak that first note (chord) in." He has more elaborate ones about technique and posture, but I won't even go into those.


#477891 - 06/11/02 06:01 PM Re: descriptive words
BeeLady Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/02
Posts: 2340
Loc: Massachusetts
My teacher has used the "sinking" term. Another one was "getting inside the sound, like the ripples on a pond" for the left hand of Chopin's E Minor prelude. Also "launching" myself from a chord to gain momentum to get to the next chord.

She teaches the kids "bunk beds" to get them up over the keys when learning stacato

Funny how silly terms can sometimes be the best to recall when doing something. I am learning to remind my 12 year old the terms his baseball coach has taught him, "squash the bug, be a banana, chop!"

Life is like a roll of toilet paper...the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes!

#477892 - 06/11/02 08:21 PM Re: descriptive words
Ted Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 1573
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
I live near Avondale, in Auckland, from where all the large triantelope spiders were exported to America for the film "Arachnophobia". I kept one as a pet in a goldfish bowl next to my piano. I couldn't help noticing how the marvellously co-ordinated scuttling of eight legs resembled perfect double note finger technique. The conscious attention to this seemingly ridiculous image actually did help my playing.

There's a silly one for you !
"It is inadvisable to decline a dinner invitation from a plump woman." - Fred Hollows

#477893 - 06/11/02 09:06 PM Re: descriptive words
mkesfahani Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/02
Posts: 836
Loc: Irvine, CA
Here's another one. Try to imagine the sound of a whole tone scale played from the high treble to the low bass. It was in this Debussy piece I was learning and the way I was playing that one section wasn't correct until my professor said, "Imagine it's a faucet that you just turned on and the water starts to run down." It worked.


#477894 - 06/11/02 11:57 PM Re: descriptive words
Aaron Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/09/01
Posts: 53
Loc: Oklahoma City
My teacher has lots of them that will be hard for me to explain, but I'll try.

One that she's used for me (in Chopin's Ballade number one, the first place that the RH goes 8va) is a swing. To sink into the first few beats and let that propel you into the next stressed beats, then propel you back up again, and back and forth, like a swing.

One that I hear every week: "Make your fingers like little hooks." Basicly, to put all the weight of your hand onto your fingers, but stay relaxed. That one is easier demonstrated that explained.

One that's especially helpful in fast passages where the notes must be crisp and precise is to picture "your fingers as little bug legs." Each finger plays its note securely and firmly, though still quickly. This one is better demonstrated than explained as well. \:\)
Aaron (PianistforJesus@aol.com)


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