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how do you sit and play
#602204 02/14/08 04:07 PM
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to get the most volume out of full chords..
lots of them.


accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
Re: how do you sit and play
#602205 02/14/08 04:25 PM
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A bit sloppy, but the end here is how I do big chords (though it is possible to go down as well).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5OEJBIo38o

Re: how do you sit and play
#602206 02/14/08 05:53 PM
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You have to remember not to press harder on the keys to get more volume. You just end up hurting yourself. The key is speed, and I find it much easier to make staccato chords loud, and you can see this in kbk's video as well. It's not necessary fro them to be staccato, but it might help you out at first to practice that way, then when you know the point at which they key hits the keybed, then you must back off while holding down the key.


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Re: how do you sit and play
#602207 02/14/08 06:06 PM
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Nothing personal (really I would say the same if it was my sister or teacherplaying) but I would not suggest apple to follow klutz posture at the piano. I don't know where he is sitting to be so low compared to the keyboard but this is clearly causing strain somewhere since he has to keep his wrists raised since otherwise they would be too low but doing that causes the hand to collapse most of the time (expecially the left) I'm absolutely sure that if klutz tried to sit higher he would feel immediately different and better.

Re: how do you sit and play
#602208 02/14/08 06:30 PM
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Danny,

Nothing personal, but I really am curious about you and would like a little more information about you as your profile caught my attention.

It says that last December 25, 2007, you turned 18 years old, and you are a student and live in Switzerland.

Where are you currently in music literature and what are your plans musically for the future?

I think it's amazing that you've written 255 postings already in the one month that you have been in the forums. I have read a number of them recently. Are you also a writer?

Betty

Re: how do you sit and play
#602209 02/14/08 06:54 PM
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I do what my teacher calls "free fall", i.e. I use the gravity and my arm weight to create a big sound.

A good example of that technique can be found in this video of Gilels playing Rachmaninoff Prelude op. 23 no. 5 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXU7I_Yyi2Y

Anyway, why are you asking this ?


As for keyboardklutz, you should definitely sit higher... unless you're Glen Gould.

Re: how do you sit and play
#602210 02/14/08 06:56 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Betty Patnude:
Danny,

Nothing personal, but I really am curious about you and would like a little more information about you as your profile caught my attention.

It says that last December 25, 2007, you turned 18 years old, and you are a student and live in Switzerland.

Where are you currently in music literature and what are your plans musically for the future?


I study in what I call old-school conservatories.
They're school like old gymnasium where you follow a whole path from beginner to graduated performer. The number of students is very limited and there's a rather tough audition which in the case of beginners has to do with musicality and musical predisposition. I entered the conservatory after private teaching. What I have to prepare for my next exam is two scarlatti sonata, two studies extracted randomly by the commission the day of the exam from the gradus ad parnassum, two preludes and fugues from the WTC extracted randomly by the commission, three moscheles studies, thalberg study in F#, a Beethoven sonata among 3, 4, 7, 8, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 21, 26; a Sgambati study, Chopin impromptu n.3, Chopin Scherzo in C#, Berceuse op. 5, Mendellsohn Variations Sérieuse, Gluck-Saint-Saens Caprice, Brahms Intermezzi op 177.

I already have teaching experience in my community where I volunteer in the library to teach a number of young beginners. I want my future to be music but lately I'm trying to escape from the limit of classic music and expand my horizons with pop music, electronic, composition, harmonization, accompanying. So I'm not sure I know what I'd like to do but I do know I want it to entail music.

Quote
I think it's amazing that you've written 255 postings already in the one month that you have been in the forums. I have read a number of them recently. Are you also a writer?

Betty
I'm extremely quick at the keyboard and the same kind of coordinative work I have done at the piano (I have studied Alexander, Orthobionomy and Feldenkrais) I have applied to computer keyboard, that's because the keyboard and the mouse are risky for pianists and used in the wrong way might trigger CTS and tendonitis. I'm not officially a writer but I done some writing on my native language mostly poems and short stories. Definitely most of my writing is in the web as I'm involved in many other forums and groups and activities.

Thanks for asking Betty smile

Re: how do you sit and play
#602211 02/14/08 07:01 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Danny Niklas:
QUOTE]I'm extremely quick at the keyboard and the same kind of coordinative work I have done at the piano (I have studied Alexander, Orthobionomy and Feldenkrais) I have applied to computer keyboard, that's because the keyboard and the mouse are risky for pianists and used in the wrong way might trigger CTS and tendonitis. smile
that must be why it was so easy for me to rack up 10 thousand postings.


accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
Re: how do you sit and play
#602212 02/14/08 07:03 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Damz:


Anyway, why are you asking this ?

i have some strong rhythmic pieces to play on a small piano in a big church. today i assumed a more 'russian' stance and that actually worked quite well. i like how the arms and wrists bounce.


accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
Re: how do you sit and play
#602213 02/14/08 07:36 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by apple*:
Quote
Originally posted by Danny Niklas:
[b] QUOTE]I'm extremely quick at the keyboard and the same kind of coordinative work I have done at the piano (I have studied Alexander, Orthobionomy and Feldenkrais) I have applied to computer keyboard, that's because the keyboard and the mouse are risky for pianists and used in the wrong way might trigger CTS and tendonitis. smile
that must be why it was so easy for me to rack up 10 thousand postings. [/b]
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Re: how do you sit and play
#602214 02/14/08 08:06 PM
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Hi apple,

Your original question was "How do you sit to get the most volume out of full chords...." To start, let me answer the first part. I, for one, sit on only on the front half of the artist bench with knees about 2" under the piano case. Arms are relaxed with forearms parallel to the floor (not angled either downward or upward) with flexible wrists and hands extended neutrally. Compared to most pianists, I believe I sit low. Sitting too high causes a dry, "gray" sound, and can cause tenseness and fatigue in the hands too. The only drawback to sitting low is that when playing velocity, you have to fight more against gravity.

As to the second part of the question, to play chords I rely on relaxed--but controlled--arm weight. My objective is rarely to sound an entire chord evenly throughout. Rather, it is to voice the note in the chord that is most important. Depending on the specific situation, that could mean, for instance, voicing the "top" notes of sequential chords, if those uppermost notes in fact constitute a horizontal melodic line. This is a common situation in piano compositions. Or, if the composer shows accents on the bottoms of the chords, or if I notice one or more chords in the LH performing critical harmonic functions, then I emphasize those notes within the chords as appropriate.

At other times, the most important component of a series of chords might be an "inner line" or a scalar figure that needs to be etched for the listener, as often occurs in the music of Rachmaninoff, for example. The remaining notes of a chord, considered harmonic, are sounded sufficiently to maintain richness of coloration, but not to the extent of competing with the voiced note(s). The voiced notes will then soar over the coloration.

I've noticed, and I'm sure you have too, apple, that many intermediate level students view sequential chords as vertical skyscrapers forming a cityscape on the score, and tend to play each chord as an isolated standing entity--much like an undifferentiated tone cluster. Once they are shown that such chords, more often than not, have a melodic component, they suddenly see magic and start viewing chords horizontally instead, work on the voicing technique, and soon a whole new world of interpretation and performing opens up to them.

Another point I would make about playing chords with rich volume is the constant need to distinguish foreground from background. Chords in the LH providing accompaniment (by their nature of far less interest to the listener) must always be kept in the background (i.e., played at a lower dynamic) than the foreground melody. Similarly, many off-beat chords providing "filler" in a measure can be deemphasized as well. Playing them at full indicated dynamic only creates a distraction in the flow of the music. Usually, this can be achieved by proper balancing of the hands. What then remains as intended emphasis, will automatically sound more prominent and richer. But there is also the case where a composer includes accompaniment not only in the LH, but also in the RH. In that case the pianist has to ensure that the RH accompaniment, as compared to the melodic element also within the RH, is strictly kept in the background. For intermediate pianists, this also is an acquired skill.

A last thing to bear in mind: Volume depends on acceleration of the key. Accelerating the key faster to attain f or ff, does not require outlandish arm/hand motions or peculiar mannerisms. It can be done with a drop of the forearm, a firm pressing motion, etc. The best artists I have ever observed sit quite calmly at the piano, play with a "quiet hand" technique, and do not fly way off the keys for rests and phrase endings, or create extraneous motions for drama and show. And, they have no difficulty at all in playing fff when required by using economical motions to produce acceleration of the keys resulting in rich and beautiful tones.

I guess more could be said about playing chords, but these, I believe, are some important points.

Re: how do you sit and play
#602215 02/14/08 08:21 PM
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This may seem an idiotic question. Do you play a chord with the hand or the fingers? I.e. do you assume a "chord shape" and press the hand down, or do the three fingers go down similar to the way one finger would go down, except that there are three of them?

Re: how do you sit and play
#602216 02/14/08 08:33 PM
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It would be better to not form a "chord shape" and just move it as a block to play chords. This applies to octaves too.

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#602217 02/14/08 08:48 PM
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If I move it as a block, then that's my chord-shape in my clumsy use of words. Say I'm playing a chord CEG, using 135. I can make those three fingers play the notes in the same way that one finger plays a note: the finger presses down (and yes, other parts of the hand and arm are involved). Or I can stiffen the three fingers and push the hand down, which also makes the chord sound. I think I do the latter, but wondered if the fingers might not be more active and alive than that, as they are individually. Like - I make a difference as though playing chords wre a diferent thing from playing a single note, as a throwback to when I just threw myself at the piano as a child without being taught.

Re: how do you sit and play
#602218 02/14/08 09:19 PM
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Especially for large chords I think it's correct to take advantage of an hand pushing down and forward motion, providing that the reaction of the hand is absorbed by the shoulders. That being said the fingers should be more "alive" because the pressure from each finger should be individual. That is: certain notes of a chord might need to be louder and others softer. So it's important to always direct weight, pressure, motion whatever individually to each finger. Another thing is that while it's okay in my opinion to play chords with more hand motion it's always a good idea not to lock the hand in a chord-shape and just move from one chord to another. The chord-position should be spontaneous and form an instant before the note is played, but the hand should be relaxed not locked in a certain shape.

Re: how do you sit and play
#602219 02/14/08 09:24 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Damz:

A good example of that technique can be found in this video of Gilels playing Rachmaninoff Prelude op. 23 no. 5 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXU7I_Yyi2Y
Another great example comes from a pianist which possessed in my opinion the best technique (and control and posture) ever:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cHDyLKvDPk

Re: how do you sit and play
#602220 02/14/08 09:35 PM
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That being said the fingers should be more "alive" because the pressure from each finger should be individual. That is: certain notes of a chord might need to be louder and others softer. So it's important to always direct weight, pressure, motion whatever individually to each finger
Thank you, Danny - that's what I was looking for and the rest I think I'll abosorb over time. This thing of starting again from scratch is an interesting experience.

Re: how do you sit and play
#602221 02/15/08 02:00 AM
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Thanks, Danny Niklas, for the youtubes of Gilels and Rubenstein, two of my favorites. A real inspiration!

Re: how do you sit and play
#602222 02/15/08 01:50 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by RachFan:

A last thing to bear in mind: Volume depends on acceleration of the key. Accelerating the key faster to attain f or ff, does not require outlandish arm/hand motions or peculiar mannerisms. It can be done with a drop of the forearm, a firm pressing motion, etc.
Do you mean velocity of the key?

Re: how do you sit and play
#602223 02/15/08 01:54 PM
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Originally posted by keystring:
Quote
That being said the fingers should be more "alive" because the pressure from each finger should be individual. That is: certain notes of a chord might need to be louder and others softer. So it's important to always direct weight, pressure, motion whatever individually to each finger
Thank you, Danny - that's what I was looking for and the rest I think I'll abosorb over time. This thing of starting again from scratch is an interesting experience.
Would anybody like to explain the mechanics of this?

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