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Posted By: Batuhan How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/19/15 11:32 AM
It's impossible for me to make no mistakes during a performance even I work alot with particular piece that i'm going to perform at public i can't overcome my excitement my hands are shaking, memory slips don't leave me alone and sometimes i stop playing for 1 or 2 seconds until remember particular passage is there any technique or method for not making mistakes at public performance? I know practice makes perfect but even i practice the piece one thousand times still making mistakes at sometimes i'm thinking of quit playing piano because of it i'm very despair about mistakes help i can't even play one piece from beginning to end without mistakes crazy
Posted By: johan d Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/19/15 11:38 AM
Maybe they do make tiny mistakes, but maybe they know a way to mask it and put the piece back on track without us hearing it? If they don't make mistakes, well that's the difference between the pro's and the amateurs, no?
Posted By: Hakki Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/19/15 12:30 PM
If you were a conservatory student and making mistakes at exams would cost a lot, you would eventually learn how to make very few or no mistakes through all those years.
Posted By: hreichgott Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/19/15 12:31 PM
Part of it is preparation, and part of it is coping with mistakes when they do happen.

If you are always very secure playing the pieces in practice, but performance makes you go to pieces, you may just need to practice performing more. Play in front of a couple of friends and family, then in front of a small non-judgmental audience, before you go on to play in front of a big audience. The more we play for audiences the less weird and scary it gets.

The best way to cope with a mistake is just to go on to the next note with no pause as if nothing happened. If that's not possible then skip quickly to the next place you can start from.

And remember, even though it might feel like the worst possible thing is to make mistakes... for the audience, the worst possible thing is to be bored! So don't worry about mistakes too much as long as you are prepared. Just do your best to communicate the music beautifully and interestingly. That's what an audience wants.

PS I find that the more experienced I get, the more "logical" my mistakes are. I might play the wrong voicing but the correct melody and harmony, or I might play a cadence from another point in the piece instead of the cadence that belongs there. It's like the errors I make when I speak in my first language, as opposed to the errors I make when I speak in other languages. The better I know the language, the less obviously horrible my errors. Usually.
Posted By: Hakki Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/19/15 01:44 PM
The other way around is, that's why they became concert pianists. Because they never make mistakes.
Posted By: Pover Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/19/15 01:50 PM
I personally find that a lot of it depends on how you learn a piece. Even though it is very difficult to work on a piece as slow as needed, and not to play at tempo before you're ready, it is very fruitful in the end. Of course, it takes a lot of discipline to be able to do that, and I still fail a lot in that aspect, but when I do stick with that, mistakes (especially ones during performance) seem much rarer, because I have programmed my mind to play the notes and nothing else (not ingraining bad habits by making a lot of mistakes, etc).

Again, very difficult to stay disciplined with this approach, but it worked really well the few times that I could do it.
Posted By: Polyphonist Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/19/15 02:38 PM
Concert pianists do not make no mistakes.

Discussion closed?
Posted By: lophiomys Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/19/15 02:43 PM
I think of them as multi-talented and disciplined piano-animals. They just dont have to think about many things, because "it" (the fingers, the musicality) just works more easily for them, than for others.

E.G. Friedrich Gulda was one of those gifted, who used to rave about the 8-hours-a-day-practicing key-hammerers...

or the ultimate example for me is Maurice Murphy with his trumpet:
"Just put it on the face and press till it hurts." [Update: citation corrected]

It is simply cruel.



Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Concert pianists do not make no mistakes.

Discussion closed?


I don't think the discussion should not close. Make no mistake; concert pianists do not make no mistakes.

Also, they're generally the cream of the crop, at least when it comes to technique. As Hakki said, that's a big reason they are concert pianists (not the only reason, but a big reason).
What is considered a mistake?

Big fumbles, stops - they don't make those. At least not when they're well prepared.

But everyone makes a couple note slips, especially if it's a very difficult piece full of large leaps. For example, I have never heard any pianist play the leaps in the coda of Schumann's Fantasie, 100% clean. Same with the cross-keyboard octave leaps in the end of Don Juan paraphrase. It is simply not possible by a human being to play those kinds of passages 100% clean every time, unless they're playing it at a really, really safe tempo... which is much worse than makign a few slips.

So, again, i'm not sure if these minor slips are even considered as "mistakes" - because if they are, then i've never ever heard any pianist not do them, unless they were playing very slow pieces.
Posted By: Hank Drake Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/19/15 03:41 PM
I have never been to a piano concert that was entirely devoid of mistakes. Among the pianists I've heard in concert have been Horszowski, Horowitz, Arrau, Pollini, Schiff, Peter Serkin, Brendel, Ohlsson, and Perahia.

Recordings can be made mistake free, thanks to the tape splice (or its digital equivalent).
Posted By: phantomFive Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/19/15 03:44 PM
Just do it.
Posted By: bennevis Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/19/15 03:48 PM
Originally Posted by Svenno
What is considered a mistake?

Big fumbles, stops - they don't make those. At least not when they're well prepared.

But everyone makes a couple note slips, especially if it's a very difficult piece full of large leaps. For example, I have never heard any pianist play the leaps in the coda of Schumann's Fantasie, 100% clean. Same with the cross-keyboard octave leaps in the end of Don Juan paraphrase.

I've heard well-known concert pianists do all those. The big stops and the perfectly clean Fantasie March coda at high speed, by the same pianist. More than once.

In the end, everybody have off-days. The trick is to be over-prepared. We can all play simple pieces perfectly, ten times in a row. But very few of us here (if any) can play Scarbo perfectly once (not even Hamelin managed it wink ) - because that piece pushes our technique to the limit.
Even if I play the notes in the right order, I will still be annoyed about other details i.e perfectly balanced voicing/ tempo changes/ musicality/ lack of structural insight.

The perfect pianist for me is Glenn Gould. What a perfectionist. Plus he had the technique and ear to bring out more details in a piece than anyone else and with greater frequency too.

So, yeah, I wouldn't consider any pianist 'perfect' unless they were Glenn Gould (playing something he enjoyed i.e Bach, Beethoven, dare I say Mozart and Chopin (it's quite good actually!))

I just double bracketed. Oh my.
Posted By: lophiomys Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/19/15 03:54 PM
+1 on Gelnn Gould
Posted By: WhoDwaldi Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/19/15 03:56 PM
Godowsky brushed off Hofmann's mistakes as "spots on the sun."

My teacher heard Rubinstein leave out a whole page of a Chopin work--it didn't matter at all, so fine was the performance.

My mistakes are more like a black eye on the Mona Lisa.



Posted By: Scriabin67 Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/19/15 05:47 PM
Originally Posted by sirwormsalot
Even if I play the notes in the right order, I will still be annoyed about other details i.e perfectly balanced voicing/ tempo changes/ musicality/ lack of structural insight.

The perfect pianist for me is Glenn Gould. What a perfectionist. Plus he had the technique and ear to bring out more details in a piece than anyone else and with greater frequency too.

So, yeah, I wouldn't consider any pianist 'perfect' unless they were Glenn Gould (playing something he enjoyed i.e Bach, Beethoven, dare I say Mozart and Chopin (it's quite good actually!))

I just double bracketed. Oh my.


Astoundingly, even Gould made small errors occasionally.

So even he wasn't perfect, which is actually a relief!

But still, he's as close as you are going to get, in
terms of not making mistakes.

Lang Lang is another nearly perfect pianist!

They are the gold standard!

Posted By: Plowboy Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/19/15 07:09 PM
Only Michelangeli never made a mistake.
Posted By: jdw Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/19/15 07:47 PM
Perfection is a myth, and a harmful one.

Great musicians make mistakes--they just do it a lot better than other people.
A couple of thoughts here...

Concert pianists definitely do make mistakes, but there are a couple of things to note. The best are absolute animals at concentration, probably better than most of us are capable. This is learned through years and years of hours-long practice. Most of us just don't prepare mentally like that. I've noticed that many mistakes come from moments of lapsed concentration "I haven't made a single mistake yet!...D'oh!"

Also, one has to consider the massive technique the best have at their disposal. Songs that seem impossible to us, with their level of preparation, don't provide massive technical challenges. I have some somewhat simpler pieces that, as long as I maintain my concentration, I can play without any glaring errors.

Also, error-free playing is more than hitting the right notes. Hitting one note a bit too loud along a smooth legato passage is something we might not notice in our playing, but will be a glaring and obvious error to the pianist.

For the rest of us, as others have said, concentrate less on mistake-free playing and more about playing a complete musical performance, and coping with mistakes smoothly.
Posted By: pv88 Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/19/15 08:53 PM
Originally Posted by Plowboy
Only Michelangeli never made a mistake.


+1
Posted By: WhoDwaldi Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/19/15 09:00 PM
The more perfect the pianist, the more cancelled concerts (they won't play in public when things aren't going right). The perfect ones also tend to travel with their own piano/s, technician, entourage, etc.
Yes Gould made a mistake once. He actually grunted in annoyance if I recall.

Lang Lang is awful. Please don't call him a perfect pianist.

Michaelangeli also made mistakes, far more obviously than Gould.

Gould is a golden angel in comparison to Lang Lang. When Lang Lang played Goldberg variations on Gould's old piano he referred to him as "the best". Glad to know Lang Lang pays credit where credit is due.
Posted By: bennevis Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/19/15 09:22 PM
Originally Posted by sirwormsalot
Yes Gould made a mistake once.

How many live concerts of Gould have you attended?

And how many of Michelangeli's? And Lang Lang's, for that matter?
Posted By: lophiomys Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/19/15 10:00 PM
I dont get the gist of this discussion about counting mistakes. Every pianist is allowed to make mistakes, even if he should be considered very good. One should aknowledge that those gifted experperts play in their own league, as do professionals, semi-professionals and dilettantes (in the most positive sense of the word). After all it is about creating good music ... with or without mistakes.


Posted By: Scriabin67 Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/19/15 10:05 PM
Originally Posted by sirwormsalot
Yes Gould made a mistake once. He actually grunted in annoyance if I recall.

Lang Lang is awful. Please don't call him a perfect pianist.

Michaelangeli also made mistakes, far more obviously than Gould.

Gould is a golden angel in comparison to Lang Lang. When Lang Lang played Goldberg variations on Gould's old piano he referred to him as "the best". Glad to know Lang Lang pays credit where credit is due.


Ok, why don't you post a video of Lang Lang
making a mistake?

I ain't holding my breath, because you won't find it!

Lang Lang is as close to perfection as you will get
in a pianist.
Posted By: JoelW Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/19/15 10:17 PM
Originally Posted by Scriabin67
Lang Lang is as close to perfection as you will get in a pianist.

grin
Posted By: pianistric Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/19/15 10:34 PM
Try Turina: Rapsodia Sinfonica, hardly a right note and also anti-musical. LL always makes lots of noise to cover his blunders but, hey, he's got charisma which blinds (and deafens the dupes). A pity as he started off so well then slid downhill FastFast with fame and fartune!
Posted By: pianistric Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/19/15 10:40 PM
Glum Ghould could only play Bach, (in a limited dry inexpressive manner). He massacred everything else he attempted, often with horrendous blunders, (mis-readings, clumsy, heavy, ponderous, dragging tempi....) He should be posthumously prosecuted for his systematic assassination of Hindemith, Scriabin, Grieg, Mozart, Beet......
Posted By: pianistric Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/19/15 10:45 PM
Part of the solution is not to concentrate purely on "notes" but rather what they do: sound quality, dynamic contrasts, dramatic/poetic narrative, phrases, even... silences(!) etc. If you "aim" for notes, you may well miss them, (cos nothing else interesting happens), but if you look behind them, all the interesting things start happening and the mere notes look after themselves!
Posted By: WhoDwaldi Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/19/15 11:55 PM
Originally Posted by lophiomys
I dont get the gist of this discussion about counting mistakes. Every pianist is allowed to make mistakes, even if he should be considered very good.


It's to reassure the original poster.
Only the great Alfred Cortot was note-perfect in every performance.

laugh
Posted By: Damon Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/20/15 12:35 AM
Originally Posted by pv88
Originally Posted by Plowboy
Only Michelangeli never made a mistake.


+1


Bah, check out 5:23 or thereabouts:


Posted By: Ralph Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/20/15 01:36 AM
Love these:



https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=p0R9rQDz5AM
Posted By: grace_note Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/20/15 02:27 AM
A big YEAH for Glenn Gould. I love his Bach Concerto No. 4. What joy! (1st and 3rd movements) and what sorrow (2nd). But best of all: what confidence! I think I have to go listen to it right now.
Posted By: Scriabin67 Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/20/15 03:56 AM
Originally Posted by Damon
Originally Posted by pv88
Originally Posted by Plowboy
Only Michelangeli never made a mistake.


+1


Bah, check out 5:23 or thereabouts:




OPPS!! Blunder city!

But so What?

EVERYONE makes mistakes! We are not machines
or robots!

Posted By: BDB Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/20/15 04:25 AM
Even machines and robots make mistakes. After all, our pianos play the notes we make them play, not necessarily the notes we want them to play.
Posted By: argerichfan Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/20/15 06:28 AM
I have heard Argerich in concert twice (both times in London), and yes, there were a few finger slips, none fatal, and I wonder if they were even noticed by many in the audience.

OTH, her video of the Strauss Burleske (easily found on yt), appears to have no mistakes at all.

It is a notoriously awkward piece to bring off, and reportedly d'Albert was the first pianist to successfully negotiate it. Would love to have heard him play it, or anything else for that matter. His recording of the 1st movement of the Emperor is a rather a jumble, and there is no way it can be representative of d'Albert in his prime.
Here's the thing:

I'm not necessarily counting note mistakes, but interpretation/ musicality/ showing off bravado. Voicing and balance should definitely also be here. Absolutely NOONE gets it right like Glenn Gould. Not Barenboim, Argerich, whomever is flavor of the month.

To me, those are far greater mistakes than an odd note here or there. That's why I don't need to 'attend' live concerts for these pianists. Gould is a higher calibre pianist than Mr. Over the top or Mr. Good, austere, but not that good.

(Lang Lang and Michaelangeli respectively)
Posted By: bennevis Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/20/15 07:53 AM
Originally Posted by sirwormsalot
That's why I don't need to 'attend' live concerts for these pianists. Gould is a higher calibre pianist than Mr. Over the top or Mr. Good, austere, but not that good.

(Lang Lang and Michaelangeli respectively)

Wow!!

So, you're basing all your suppositions on their recordings?
Live recordings? Why of course.

Also, professionalism in the studio is also indicative of preparation in concert.
Posted By: Scriabin67 Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/20/15 11:27 AM
Originally Posted by argerichfan
I have heard Argerich in concert twice (both times in London), and yes, there were a few finger slips, none fatal, and I wonder if they were even noticed by many in the audience.

OTH, her video of the Strauss Burleske (easily found on yt), appears to have no mistakes at all.

It is a notoriously awkward piece to bring off, and reportedly d'Albert was the first pianist to successfully negotiate it. Would love to have heard him play it, or anything else for that matter. His recording of the 1st movement of the Emperor is a rather a jumble, and there is no way it can be representative of d'Albert in his prime.


She plays well indeed:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4q_zSvns0QY

However, be aware that even "live" videos can have
their audio digitally edited, and sometimes studio
tracks are even recorded over the live tracks, to
enhance them, or even to replace them completely.

Not necessarily saying anything was altered in this video, but
you just never know for sure.
Posted By: bennevis Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/20/15 11:27 AM
Originally Posted by sirwormsalot
Live recordings? Why of course.

Also, professionalism in the studio is also indicative of preparation in concert.

Really??

Gould is the only pianist of the three who not only took a great interest in recording techniques, but also actively manipulated the edits (and even individual notes) etc to his heart's content. All his recordings bear evidence to that.

He stopped playing concerts in the 1960s. From then on, he confined himself to his recording studio.

How many live recordings of his have you heard?
The reason he killed himself prematurely I suspect is because he was such a perfectionist that he couldn't bare his technique failing him.

I have heard enough of his recordings to know that his technique, sense of timing and intellectual intensity make him unique. There are plenty of his live full-playthrough recordings on youtube, as well as recording sessions in the studio showing how he spliced parts together to achieve CD perfection.
Posted By: bennevis Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/20/15 11:48 AM
Originally Posted by sirwormsalot
recording sessions in the studio showing how he spliced parts together to achieve CD perfection.

Does CD perfection = pianistic perfection?
A few missed notes a perfect pianist makes.

In other words, I do not judge people by the odd note slip, but by everything else combined.
Posted By: BDB Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/20/15 03:08 PM
concert pianists make mistakes but are focused more on the message and meaning of the music rather than the notes themselves.

Of course, it is vitally important to do everything it says on the score, but that's only the entry fee in a way. Knowing how to interpret that and how to find the music inside it is where the art lies. Often it involves just not letting yourself get in the way of the piece.

Anyway, point is, you can still make a mistake, as it were, and be playing beautifully.
skilled pianists can make mistakes and not lose their place because they have a deeper understanding of the structure of the music.

Compared to someone relying on muscle memory alone, this is where false starts begin to appear.

Also, you don't need to do everything that is on the score. Music is about conveying a message. Music evolved in tandem with our ability to perceive sounds and communicate with one another. To this end, a moment of music could be played beautifully slowly, or at allegretto speed and still maintain the attentions of listeners. Anyone who says the score must be followed to the print clearly hasn't studied the biological evolution of sound.

Gould was a genius for this very reason. He communicated new ways to explore music that had already been beaten to death and do it with conviction.
Posted By: Damon Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/20/15 08:33 PM
Originally Posted by Scriabin67
Originally Posted by Damon
Originally Posted by pv88
Originally Posted by Plowboy
Only Michelangeli never made a mistake.


+1


Bah, check out 5:23 or thereabouts:




OPPS!! Blunder city!

But so What?

EVERYONE makes mistakes! We are not machines
or robots!



I didn't care that he made a mistake, I'm just tired of hearing people say he doesn't (or didn't, I suppose he's dead)
Posted By: boo1234 Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/20/15 10:30 PM
The answer is simple. Touring concert pianists are the best pianists in the world. They're like the top athletes in pro sports. They have natural gifts that most normal people don't. On top of that this is their job and they spend years honing their craft. It's a combination of repetition, hard work, and natural ability that allow them to perform miracles on the piano.
One thing to consider is the overall speed you are performing at. Do you sometimes try hurrying through a passage or piece? This creates all sort of problems. Just slow down and take it easy. Do you play with the music or by memory? Use the music! it isn't the end of the world! You may not even need to look at it anyway, but it is there!
Posted By: wr Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/21/15 02:00 AM
Originally Posted by Batuhan
i can't overcome my excitement


There is your problem. Concert pianists know how to keep their excitement or whatever other internal states from messing up their skill. It's all about self-knowledge and self-control.

Posted By: phantomFive Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/21/15 02:11 AM
Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by Batuhan
i can't overcome my excitement


There is your problem. Concert pianists know how to keep their excitement or whatever other internal states from messing up their skill. It's all about self-knowledge and self-control.


Yeap. Just do it. Don't freak out.
Posted By: argerichfan Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/21/15 03:05 AM
Originally Posted by Scriabin67


Not necessarily saying anything was altered in this video, but
you just never know for sure.

Point taken, but having watched this video many times, I cannot see that anything was altered.

Unlike her video of Rachmaninov 3 (a model of ineptitude, absolutely nauseating, Chailly gets more attention), with the Strauss one can actually see her hands in action. And that tells us a lot about her technique.
Posted By: BDB Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/21/15 03:44 AM
Originally Posted by boo1234
The answer is simple. Touring concert pianists are the best pianists in the world. They're like the top athletes in pro sports. They have natural gifts that most normal people don't. On top of that this is their job and they spend years honing their craft. It's a combination of repetition, hard work, and natural ability that allow them to perform miracles on the piano.


I think that is true of some touring concert pianists, although there are pianists who are as good who do not care to tour, and some who tour but are not known as well as they should be, or only do limited touring. It takes a certain personality to tour, and not every artist is up to it. There are artists with the personality who are not necessarily among the best at their art, and there are artists who are among the best who lack the personality for touring.
Posted By: Scriabin67 Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/21/15 04:01 AM
Originally Posted by argerichfan
Originally Posted by Scriabin67


Not necessarily saying anything was altered in this video, but
you just never know for sure.

Point taken, but having watched this video many times, I cannot see that anything was altered.

Unlike her video of Rachmaninov 3 (a model of ineptitude, absolutely nauseating, Chailly gets more attention), with the Strauss one can actually see her hands in action. And that tells us a lot about her technique.


Yes, but the camera view is not always on her hands,
and even if it was, you could STILL digitally alter
the audio alone, and if done well, the viewer may
still not notice!

I know, because I'm audio engineer as well as a piano player, and it's absolutely astounding what you can do in the digital realm these days.

I don't trust any "live" videos!



Posted By: SiFi Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/21/15 05:51 AM
Originally Posted by Batuhan
It's impossible for me to make no mistakes during a performance

I think it is great that you're so honest, Batuhan. Join the club. I've read through this thread with great interest. I can only recall one performance as an adult when I didn't screw up audibly at least once. I only recently started performing again after lots of years and in my first live solo performance in almost 30 years last Sunday - the Beethoven Op. 126 - I made mistakes where I had never ever made them before. I wasn't nervous and in normal circumstances I could play the music in my sleep, but I still sucked. Then my teacher today said I needed to work on posture and projecting melodic lines and dynamic gradation, and some other stuff; nothing about the mistakes. I am taking a huge risk in posting the link below because it's a crappy recording in a venue with crappy acoustics and it is far from my best work. But it may be somewhat useful to others as a modest example of how one can cope with mistakes and make it seem like everything's fine. I even had people who know this music well come to me afterwards saying it was a great performance! Go figure.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jC01qveADxk

Oh, I meant to say, Batuhan, if you can identify the big mistakes in this performance and grade them on an egregiousness scale of 1 - 10, I should be much obliged. Actually, that applies to anyone who wants to participate. Of course you all have access to the texts but that's ok. Competition open!! IMO there are four.
Posted By: SiFi Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/21/15 05:52 AM
Big ones, I mean.
Posted By: Entheo Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/21/15 12:30 PM
Originally Posted by jdw
Perfection is a myth, and a harmful one.


[Linked Image]
Posted By: hreichgott Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/21/15 12:33 PM
Originally Posted by SiFi
I only recently started performing again after lots of years and in my first live solo performance in almost 30 years last Sunday - the Beethoven Op. 126

welcome back to performing! and a magnificent piece to do it with.

Quote
- I made mistakes where I had never ever made them before. I wasn't nervous and in normal circumstances I could play the music in my sleep, but I still sucked.

Quote
Then my teacher today said I needed to work on posture and projecting melodic lines and dynamic gradation, and some other stuff; nothing about the mistakes.

This pair of comments is so telling. I've been there so many times. (I don't have your level of musical education BTW, I just play in front of people for work a lot, and give a small number of classical performances a year.) The person performing is distracted and annoyed by note mistakes. But listeners, even very knowledgeable ones, do not care about note mistakes as much as they care about musical issues, particularly those issues that make a performance boring or exciting. We just have to believe in this when we walk onstage smile The most important thing is to communicate the music.

Posted By: hreichgott Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/21/15 01:07 PM
Just listened to the performance. Enjoyed it very much. You obviously get what this music is about, and you communicate it, and you also take some quite energetic tempi with great success! Certainly a successful performance, congratulations.

I did hear a very small number of note issues, but they are not egregious at all, they are either perfectly logical insertions of material that sounds right but isn't what Beethoven put there, or else they are occasional blurred notes in rapid passages where Beethoven's note is there along with the neighboring note. Both types of issues happen all the time in concert performances.

I understand what your teacher is talking about regarding melodic projection. There are some problems with balance in that the top voice in the RH is usually louder than everything else and usually by the same amount, no matter what is going on, which both covers up interesting material in the LH, and makes it hard to shape melodies enough even in the top voice. A really clear example is in the middle of no. 3 where the RH just has that trill and we can't hear the melody. But then in the B major section of no. 4, the LH drone was inexplicably loud and drowned out the RH melody.

I'd be inclined to blame the piano for part of the problem though. Is it a Ritmuller? I've played one on a couple of occasions and I felt that the extremes of the piano were too brassy and the middle was too dead. Most of the important LH lines in this piece are in the middle, except for that drone, which is quite low.
Posted By: SiFi Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/21/15 02:59 PM
Originally Posted by hreichgott
. . . perfectly logical insertions of material that sounds right but isn't what Beethoven put there, . . .
So polite - and funny! You are a very kind critic.
Posted By: SiFi Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/21/15 03:09 PM
Originally Posted by hreichgott
I'd be inclined to blame the piano for part of the problem though. Is it a Ritmuller?

It's a 9' Bluthner and yes it does have some voicing and other issues. The space has serious acoustic problems as well. And of course the recording quality adds a whole other layer of imperfection. But your observations and comments are valid in spite of all this. Thank you for the constructive feedback.
If you're not just talking about note errors, then you could argue that every note we play is a mistake. A melody can always be expressed better, contrast between dynamics can always be smoother/more precise, the accompaniment can compliment the melody better, etc.

So if you evaluate a performance like this it becomes clear that the "perfect" performances of Hamelin/Argerich/Richter are in fact anything but. They're just really good attempts at perfection.
Posted By: Fugue14 Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 05/23/15 06:09 AM
I've attended well over 100 recital/concerto concerts--none were note-perfect. Andras Schiff's "Goldberg Variations" probably came the closest, along with a 1980ish recital by Pogorelich, but they were not 100%--maybe 99% clean. smile Oh wait...I recently heard Pierre-Laurent Aimard play an all-Boulez recital...who would know if he missed a note? wink (Some of the other pianists include Gilels, Berman, Gavrilov, Hamelin, Matsuev, Feltsman, Ohlsson, Laredo, and many, many others--they all hit a few clinkers, but in view of their artistry and the difficulty of their programs, they were scarcely noticeable.)
Originally Posted by Batuhan
It's impossible for me to make no mistakes during a performance even... i practice the piece one thousand times .

Here's the thing, you didn't practice it a thousand times. I bet not even a few hundred times.

We are all prone to hyperbole, we're human, I say that to my teacher as well " i did this endlessly! I did this a hundred times! I practiced this for hours and hours!"


but if you actually go back and calculate carefully, you will notice you only did a partial of what you said.
I've heard that we perform to a standard 6 months behind where we are in practice. But frankly, I can't think of too many pieces that I have ever perfected in practice, either - to the point that I could easily and effortlessly play all the way through with no note errors. It just was never a priority for me. I feel that on most instruments, the effort, coordination and precision required to play just one note means that if you are at the top of your game, you don't make mistakes. On the piano, we're doing a lot more actions per minute and also struggling with inherent physiological challenges that trouble every pianist, all the way from the novice to the top of the top.
Posted By: Dave B Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 10/02/15 10:21 PM
"We strive for perfection but settle for excellence."

I remember YoYo Ma saying in an interview that he had memory lapses during performances until he learned to 'breath.'
We are all humans. I don't think concert pianist don't make mistakes at all during the performance. They do make mistakes but they know how to recover without the audience notice it.
Posted By: outo Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 10/03/15 07:25 AM
I rarely notice their mistakes, but when they perform something I have learned myself I do. And I am always amazed how they can survive so well. I recently watched someone play a fast Scarlatti sonata and she made a complete mess of one part, but just went on in the right tempo and returned to the track after a while. I doubt most people in the audience noticed. Also my teacher told me she forgot one part in a concerto and just improvised, but no matter how many times I watch the performance I cannot tell where it happens, because I don't know the piece. Then again, she said the conductor didn't notice either. I guess you learn to fake well if you are a pro...

Also it seems pianists sometimes ease up on the tempo a little when performing live (as opposed to when recording) and take more time between phrases. Unless the audience is equipped with metronomes, not many are likely to notice that either. I think if you don't go to live concerts but listen to a lot of recordings, you get an unrealistic idea of the level of perfection pianists have. That's one reason why I have decided to go to as many live recitals as I possibly can from now on smile
Posted By: wr Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 10/03/15 12:41 PM
Originally Posted by jeffreyjones
I've heard that we perform to a standard 6 months behind where we are in practice.


Along the same lines - some famous pianist once said that you can only produce in a live performance about 70% of what you achieve while practicing.

Another good reason not to perform live, for me!

Posted By: Albunea Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 10/03/15 01:09 PM
In the piano music I am listening to, my favourite pieces (thinking of 2 I love) play what looks to me like some wrong notes. It is ok, they are still my favourite. smile
Originally Posted by Scriabin67


Ok, why don't you post a video of Lang Lang
making a mistake?

I ain't holding my breath, because you won't find it!

Lang Lang is as close to perfection as you will get
in a pianist.


Well, you did ask!! An appalling Rhapsody in Blue.....(go to 1min 55sec)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBqRdINvH0g

Glenn Gould could have improved massively by learning to keep quiet. Nobody denies the talent (I think) but you have to face facts. When the performer is heard above the piano and is not a singer there IS room for improvement.

I won't post a video, I think we all know.

This hero worship is a fatuous waste of time. They all have their strengths and their weaknesses.

There is no such thing as "the greatest pianist of all time" but there are hundreds of, "my favourite"

Posted By: toyboy Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 10/04/15 11:24 AM
I second, third and fourth what Mr Slippery has posted above (and he beat me to the punch in regards to Lang Lang). I'm not immune, like anyone else, to wanting to hear a performance mistake free, but I like to think I go to a performance to hear the music, not as a judge of a horse race. Music isn't simply about "perfection" but I think this notion of perfection is why the list of "great performers" these days is so full of technical wiz kids. Exciting? Yes. Moving? Hm, maybe only when they look to the sky and have you believe it is so.
Posted By: Palmpirate Re: How Concert Pianists Make No Mistake - 10/04/15 11:33 AM
As an amateur, returning pianist to the keyboard, I am inspired and in awe of the professionals. I am unable to critique their accuracy and appreciate that they cope with the mistakes - professionally. One of my sons said to me that it is the professional that plays through to the end....! That was after I played an appalling (to my ears!) Claire de Lune for about 5 family and friends audience.
I had learned it , mistakes and all, as a teenager and had played it back then with all the bravado I had at that age. This time , shall we say 50 years later, having re-leanred it as an mature adult I was able to relax and glide through the weak spot (!) but I suppose the musicality came through because I saw tears in the eyes of those listening. If I had not played it to them, they might never have heard it at all. This realization has emboldened me and I shall try to play more to them though I am very hard on myself and am ever chasing that elusive idea of perfection.
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