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#1049124 09/08/06 09:31 PM
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People on PW are always talking about playing with emotion. I'm curious about what exactly you mean.

I don't tap into some emotion reservoir when I play. I listen as I play and adjust my playing to how I want the piece to sound. It sounds as if I'm playing with emotion, I guess, but all I'm doing is playing the piece. The same piece will certainly sound different if I'm happy vs. scared or angry, but it's not as if I try to insert emotion into the playing.

I don't feel any particular emotions when I play. Do you? Do most people? Is that what should be happening? What does "playing with emotion" really mean?

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#1049125 09/08/06 10:02 PM
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Uh, this is the whole point of music.


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#1049126 09/08/06 10:35 PM
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i think the phrase like that is meaningless. what does it exactly mean? does it mean that if one's angry, one just pounds over piano as loud or furious as possible, or when one's in love, one just plays everything softly no matter what? also, what if your own emotion while playing is in conflict with emotion of the music you're playing, then which emotion you're talking about, music's or your's, and which one should be expressed, music's or your's? it just makes everything sound ridiculus.

what the actual phrase should be used here is 'playing to express emotion'. yes, you express emotion through playing, through music and let music speak for you, not physically showing the world that you're in despair or happy or crazy or something. you don't have to make big gestures over keyboard to let people know that you're trying to express something. no, you let music speak...

#1049127 09/08/06 10:51 PM
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I can communicate the piece and therefore the emotion in it, but I don't feel the emotion. I concentrate on how the piece sounds to me and how I want it to sound. I don't think about my emotions while I play at all. Is that normal?

And, Sid, I think the point of music is different for different people. Some play in order to glorify God, others to relax, and still others play as an outlet for their emotions, as well as for hundreds of other reasons. It's not a one size fits all kind of deal.

#1049128 09/08/06 11:39 PM
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You may be doing it already. I can't really tell but for me the music tells me what it should sound like and emotion or feeling is a big part of it. That is not to say I am wracked with waves of emotion as I play although it has happened. Follow your instincts and to heck with what people are saying.


Better to light one small candle than to curse the %&#$@#! darkness. :t:
#1049129 09/09/06 12:09 AM
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I think perhaps you may not be playing the right piece if you feel no emotional connection with it.


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#1049130 09/09/06 12:27 AM
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#1049131 09/09/06 02:35 AM
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This might be an example of playing with emotion in the context that might come to mind when using the phrase.....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvxS_bJ0yOU&mode=related&search=

This might be an example of playing with passion. The last romantic indeed!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhnRIuGZ_dc

#1049132 09/09/06 02:58 AM
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The word emotion is probably slightly incorrect for some people's view point. How about 'feeling' as a term. Do you like that better.(just noticed this is mentioned by Sotto Voce!)

Perhaps we are all different in expressing our emotions,or none at all.

I however, am deeply into feeling and such-like in all I play. Indeed this is what attracts me to the piano, It is the vibrations that result in great emotional effects to the soul, to say the least. That's what music is to me.

On the point about gestures and physical flourishs. They are,I thought,to give the player a time factor and play the music as composed, or at least the player's interpretation of it!

I never play classical so cannot really comment. But I watch a lot of classical and find it a very good and enjoyable pleasure. I cannot play classical (generally/properly) as I play by ear only. Jazz is my music.

Jazz players (not avant-garde generally) are into things like a solid LH, timing beat and make full use of all techniques to give solo performances minus any additional accompliament. No need (or time)to have hand and arm flourishes.

Yes, so I'm with the negative opinions but with the slight reservation that it's extremely difficult to know what other human beings think or what is an 'emotion' to them.

I know one regular member of these forums who will probably see this and have their view ....no cues on identity but lets see! I will let you know if and when.

I don't know if any of you have seen the group of girl violin players on TV that dance around and make a rather silly exhibition of playing, that leaves me cold. Indeed I have a strong feeling that the whole show is a fake. Anyone seen or can comment on such programs as these?

Alan

#1049133 09/09/06 03:16 AM
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Just a quick response to the clips from' Vintagefingers' Thanks for these, we cannot surely fault those hand gestures any more than those of a conductor in a concert.

All concert pianists have emotional characteristics, indeed the camera filming people usually and to my horror, spend far too much time on the players face and fail to give us a decent view of the hands. I could cheerully shoot them!

Alan

#1049134 09/09/06 09:01 AM
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IMHO, you don't play the music with whatever emotion you are feeling at the moment, but rather the music stirrs certain feelings inside you which you can recognize and add to.

I liken it to imbuing your speech with certain inflections and breathing which we all recognize instinctively as sadness, joy, passion, excitement, etc. It has to do both with pitch intensity and with the breathing patterns. It has NOTHING to do with how much you physically move around at the piano and "show" your "emotion". (Although, being a very kinesthetic and physically responsive person I find myself sometimes reacting physically to the emotions I feel while playing, though I try to keep it to a minimum because it does distract not just from the music but also detracts from your physical capabilities at the instrument).

Elena
www.duoscarbo.com


Schnabel's advie to Horowitz: "When a piece gets difficult, make faces."
#1049135 09/09/06 10:27 AM
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Hi, Elena!

Nice to "see" you over here. What brings you here? Just killing time, waiting for something....? wink

#1049136 09/09/06 10:40 AM
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Instead of "playing with emotion", the phrase I understand is "feeling the music". It's easy to see what that means, just watch any teenager walking along with their ears stuffed with iPod earbuds enjoying their favorite playlist, maybe playing a little air guitar.

It often does involve physical movement as well as mental involvement, but this is different for different folks. And I think it's easy for an audience to tell whether the gestures are truly unself-conscious reflections of the artist's emotional involvement in the music, or just a calculated bit of showmanship.


Paul Buchanan
Estonia L168 #1718
#1049137 09/09/06 11:56 AM
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Hey Nina. Yep, you nailed it! laugh

(for those who don't know me, I'm nine days overdue in my first pregnancy)

Dum-dee-dum....

Elena
www.duoscarbo.com


Schnabel's advie to Horowitz: "When a piece gets difficult, make faces."
#1049138 09/09/06 12:46 PM
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Instead of "playing with emotion", the phrase I understand is "feeling the music".
Yes, Paul, that's exactly what I mean! I'm glad you can say it so much clearer than I.

Good luck, Elena! That's so exciting. Please let us know everything!

#1049139 09/09/06 12:51 PM
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I think it may be hard to "feel" the music without the technical skills to play it emotionally. I have a couple of pieces that I think I can play with enough skill to do this but for most, I'm still learning the technical skills.


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#1049140 09/09/06 06:45 PM
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To me, it just means put your heart and soul into your music. That's all the composer asks for.


"Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable." -Leonard Bernstein
#1049141 09/09/06 08:00 PM
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Sotto Voce, I think that "swishy s-shaped lifting" that you describe is what my teacher refers to as "the lift". I've never been able to do it properly as she she has demonstrated it to me, probably because like you I feel it looks contrived. However, she declares that it does make a difference in the sound of the piece. Some of the pieces in my lesson book even include the word "lift" over the notes where this is supposed to take place. When she plays it I think I can actually hear the difference, but I can't seem to pull it off, probably because I'm too inhibited to do it right.

#1049142 09/09/06 10:53 PM
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For me "playing with emotion" means to be able to convey the feelings you have for the music inside of your body and into the music. I don't mean rolling about, swishing the arms all over the place either. To me this is a lot of show, and does nothing for the music, but make the performer look like s/he's doing a lot of work for nothing. What I am getting at is to be able to play the piece of music the same way I hear it in my mind.

Long before I've struck a single note in a piece, I've been playing it (singing) in my mind. I can hear how it should go by thinking about the dynamics, tempo, and how each note sounds. While this process is happening, I can picture and feel how I want each phrase to come out, and which notes to bring out or play less firmly when it comes to chord groupings, held notes, etc.

The difficult part is taking this built-in melody and projecting it outside and into the piano. By controlling the tone of each note carefully, I am then able to play many of the pieces the way I hear them in my mind. This process takes a lot of advanced fingering, good finger independence, arm weight techniques, and total relaxation to work properly.

This is really hard to explain in writing, and comes off like I'm totally unwrapped. (I'm close; just not all the way there yet) wink .

John


Current works in progress:

Beethoven Sonata Op. 10 No. 2 in F, Haydn Sonata Hoboken XVI:41, Bach French Suite No. 5 in G BWV 816

Current instruments: Schimmel-Vogel 177T grand, Roland LX-17 digital, and John Lyon unfretted Saxon clavichord.
#1049143 09/09/06 11:15 PM
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No, John, that makes sense to me. smile

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