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Must they be able to perform intricate classical/jazz works?

Must they be able to compose?

Does chord selection and structure play an important role as well musical style and improvisational skills?

I must admit that some of my favorite players are quite easy to replicate with maybe just a few years of playing. But there is something about their form and structure that I find nonetheless very appealing. I don't believe a song or piece needs to be played at lightning speeds or embellished with classy ornaments to carry a certain sentimental or expertise value, mind stimulation can be easily achieved by something just a simple as the key of choice.



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Divine inspiration.


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He taught; but first he folwed it himselve.
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what about artur rubinstein who didn't believe in God?

So Divine inspiration is thrown out the window.


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I would define a great pianist as someone who plays well consistently. Like Solomon Cutner and Richter.


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i would define a great pianist as someone who moves you.

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I like Garrick Ohlsson's comment (I'm paraphrasing) -- With the best pianists, the informed listener has the sense that, even with the most challenging repertoire, he or she has "something in reserve" -- that he/she has the skill to give special attention to the telling details while maintaining the level of virtuosity needed to "keep the engine humming smoothly". For me, that's a slightly expanded version of the performer's imperative to "Build technique, but then hide it" to aspire to the best presentations.

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Originally Posted by Serena03
Must they be able to perform intricate classical/jazz works?

Must they be able to compose?

Does chord selection and structure play an important role as well musical style and improvisational skills?

I must admit that some of my favorite players are quite easy to replicate with maybe just a few years of playing. But there is something about their form and structure that I find nonetheless very appealing. I don't believe a song or piece needs to be played at lightning speeds or embellished with classy ornaments to carry a certain sentimental or expertise value, mind stimulation can be easily achieved by something just a simple as the key of choice.



From your words, I gather you're referring to non-classical pianists, otherwise you wouldn't be able to replicate their playing with 'just a few years of playing', nor have a photo of Elton John (I assume) in your post.

I can only answer for classical pianists - a great one is one that excites and moves you, and has the technical address to do so. So, in my book, they'd have to be world-class virtuosi as well as great musicians. Most can compose and improvise, but few would do so in concert, unlike jazz pianists. Similarly, 'classy ornaments' and 'chord selection' don't come into the picture, nor 'key of choice' as classical pianists basically play what's printed in the score, even if they might add some embellishments to some Baroque and Classical music, where the composer clearly implies so.

Maybe you should try posting your question in the non-classical section.


"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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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by Serena03
Must they be able to perform intricate classical/jazz works?

Must they be able to compose?

Does chord selection and structure play an important role as well musical style and improvisational skills?

I must admit that some of my favorite players are quite easy to replicate with maybe just a few years of playing. But there is something about their form and structure that I find nonetheless very appealing. I don't believe a song or piece needs to be played at lightning speeds or embellished with classy ornaments to carry a certain sentimental or expertise value, mind stimulation can be easily achieved by something just a simple as the key of choice.



From your words, I gather you're referring to non-classical pianists, otherwise you wouldn't be able to replicate their playing with 'just a few years of playing', nor have a photo of Elton John (I assume) in your post.

I can only answer for classical pianists - a great one is one that excites and moves you, and has the technical address to do so. So, in my book, they'd have to be world-class virtuosi as well as great musicians. Most can compose and improvise, but few would do so in concert, unlike jazz pianists. Similarly, 'classy ornaments' and 'chord selection' don't come into the picture, nor 'key of choice' as classical pianists basically play what's printed in the score, even if they might add some embellishments to some Baroque and Classical music, where the composer clearly implies so.

Maybe you should try posting your question in the non-classical section.



My, aren't you a keen observer of detail. No actually I was referring to pianists of all genres where any style can invoke 'movement' and 'excitement,' good structure and technical skills does end with classical.

I suppose I am regarding composers more in terms of 'key of choice' for certain keys such as D tends to generate more emotion, but it's all up to the listener. But features such as trills and ornaments is understandably appealing for they never leave the ear hanging. But none of this is really necessary to me, just a simple melody can be quite vociferous and refining for cleansing of the soul. Composing does have a certain significance with me because anyone can sit up there and play someone else's music, but it takes some real talent to be able to write your own music and be successful at it.

Last edited by Serena03; 02/15/11 05:48 PM.

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Great pianist = intuition and intellect combined and functioning as one.

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I read the goal of a pianist should be:

".....where the performer, composer, and audience are as one."

The author states that the pianist who can often achieve this is a great pianist.

Horowitz said that piano playing consists of intellect, heart, and technique.

Bech


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I like the intellect + heart + technique formula.

Another idea I recently came across was that we also communicate our intentions when we play. Aside from being able to properly pull off the music the performance may also project a nervous desire to please, perhaps a bit of showing off, or a warm invitation to share in the music... All sorts of attitudes can influence the mix, before even playing.

I thought that was a good description of "the X factor" in music.

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One who has a flawless technique, is deeply musical and communicates superbly.

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Someone who has great command over the piano and is able to convey whatever emotion he wants to convey with the piano.

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the height.

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A great pianist has amazing technical control, clarity, but most of all the quality to uplift, inspire, and move audiences with mature artistry and beauty of the music.

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Hi guys,

I'd like to offer, along with the things mentioned, that a great pianist has to have strong opinions and be willing to take risks, either from a technical or an intepretive standpoint (or both). A great pianist should never settle for playing it safe. They should be fully prepared to fail catastrophically rather than give a half-hearted performance. And they should truly love the music they play rather than use it solely for a showcase of themselves.

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greatness like in any other discipline has nothing to do with technical skills etc - that can posses many.
It's all about personality and charm. You have to have something to say.

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Originally Posted by vers la flan
Hi guys,

I'd like to offer, along with the things mentioned, that a great pianist has to have strong opinions and be willing to take risks, either from a technical or an intepretive standpoint (or both). A great pianist should never settle for playing it safe. They should be fully prepared to fail catastrophically rather than give a half-hearted performance. And they should truly love the music they play rather than use it solely for a showcase of themselves.
I'd only agree with your last sentence.

I think very few of the great pianists had to take technical risks because almost all have tremendous technique and make the technical part look easy. From an interpretive point of view, I think only a very small number of "great" pianists(Glenn Gould comes to mind) have made interpretive choices that are so unusual they might feel they would be taking chances. A great, convincing, moving, or profound interpretation doesn't have to be unusual or extreme.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think very few of the great pianists had to take technical risks because almost all have tremendous technique and make the technical part look easy. From an interpretive point of view, I think only a very small number of "great" pianists(Glenn Gould comes to mind) have made interpretive choices that are so unusual they might feel they would be taking chances. A great, convincing, moving, or profound interpretation doesn't have to be unusual or extreme.


I can certainly agree with you there, especially the last part. Perhaps I spoke (typed) a bit hastily. I think that my response stemmed from the fact that so much of the piano canon has been done to death and at this point it really takes something special to catch my attention. In this sense, I was trying to make a distinction between the "very good" or even "excellent" (of which there are countless numbers who fit the description) and the truly "great." Which is, as we all know, subjective as it is. Also, I read a quote by Richter who, after hearing a recording of Kissin playing a Liszt Transcendental Etude, remarked that while he was knowledgeable and played well, he "never throws himself headlong into the sea." I've always been struck by that comment and I guess I've come to think of that as a requisite for a great performer (though, granted, not all pieces are transcendental etudes).

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Yes, wasn't it Horowitz who said "Perfection itself is imperfection"? I love that comment too (about throwing oneself headlong into the sea)-- that really captures something about the willingness to risk all to achieve something great and transcendent...


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