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Ok this is pretty stupid but whenever I record myself I notice my mouth is moving almost like I'm talking and it's really funny and weird looking but I have no clue I'm doing it unless I record myself and see haha

Has anyone else ever noticed that or know why?

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Perhaps it's a forme fruste of the Gouldian vocalizations. Well, actually Gould hummed.

Perhaps it's just a connection between lyrical singing and the melody line at the keyboard. Either way, it's not unheard of among pianists. If I recall correctly, Emanuel Ax moves his mouth noticeably while playing.


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Martha Argerich moves her mouth when playing too.


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As do Andre Watts and Evgeny Kissin. You're in good company.


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I have seen that a lot with pianists. Always wondered what they are saying. My guess is that they are saying which chords they are playing. I asked a pianist once but he looked at me like I was crazy smile


What are you saying?


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Here is a pianist that does exactly that:

(Starting at 42 seconds -- in 1st video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5ZJVC1XlC4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QUIzv1iJKg

Great playing, nonetheless!

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laugh

My partner saw me playing the piano the other day and made exactly the same comment. I hadn't even realise. I'm glad I am not alone. lol....


Still deciding whether I am playing for fun or playing to improve... leaning towards fun :-)
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Yeah, I was shocked when I saw a video of myself accompanying a flautist couple months back. In my head, I thought that what I was doing had something to do with "singing" lyrical content, or displaying "passion", etc.....But in reality, It seems my mouth movement increased with the difficulty of the passages, and it looked more like I was either grinding my teeth or sucking on a sourball.......But more hideous are the sections in which my mouth hung half open in stretches of relaxed faux-ecstasy. At least I didn't drool........

Aren't there performance coaches just for these problems? If not, I bet that it can be a lucrative business.




Last edited by Gerard12; 06/15/15 08:27 AM.

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Just recently I discovered how to make a video with my 35mm DSLR camera of me playing the piano. Unfortunately, I made a video! Not a pretty sight! You wouldn't want to see it! Arghh!

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You are in good company. Have you ever watched Yuja Wang on YouTube?


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I've collected some quotes on this topic, with this first providing a solution (from the composer Couperin):

Originally Posted by Couperin
With regard to making grimaces, it is possible to break oneself of this habit by placing a mirror on the reading desk of the Spinet or Harpsichord... It is better and more seemly not to beat time with the head, the body, nor with the feet.


This one comes from the lesser Bach (or greater Bach, depending on your perspective):
Originally Posted by CPE Bach
[Through music] the keyboardist can master the feelings of his audience. Those who maintain that all of this can be accomplished without gesture will retract their words when, owing to their own insensibility, they find themselves obliged to sit like a statue before their instrument. Ugly grimaces, of course, are inappropriate and harmful; but fitting expressions help the listener to understand our meaning. Those opposed to this stand are often incapable of doing justice, despite their technique, to their own otherwise worthy compositions.


This one from Hummel, a great piano teacher at the time of Beethoven:
Originally Posted by Hummel
Unbecoming habits should be carefully avoided; as, holding the face too near the book, biting the lips, nodding the head to mark the time, opening or distorting the mouth, etc; as they are prejudicial to the health and contrary to gracefulness of demeanour.




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Near the end of Gyorgy Sandor's book "On Piano Playing" he went through a list of comical names for performers with typical mannerisms while playing. You wouldn't think a book about piano playing would be funny, but this chapter made me laugh out loud. For those in this thread, he named the people "silent munchers".

Unfortunately I don't have the book or I'd mention a few of the other kinds of performers. One of the others was something like a "floor polisher" - those who continually slide their left foot back and forth on the floor.

Does anyone have this book and care to give a few of the other names?


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I do sometimes, but not very much or very often. I feel like I don't have too many mannerisms when I play. I move some, my facial expressions change some, but I don't think it's very much

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Serkin was like a mule munching on briars, bless his heart!



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I am like OSK. I do it sometimes, but not very much or very often. Sometimes I also bite my lip a bit.



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I am guilty here as well...most probably many pianists do this coz they are kinda singing while playing...



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I do that... when eating! grin bouahahaha!

Actually I do NOT do that when playing the piano. At least from what I've seen in the videos. Could it be that making more videos will help reduce the "problem"? I was singing in very very low volume at some point, when my teacher (a loving person otherwise) hit me in the head and that stopped me on the spot.

Not that this is a problem of any sort really... And you ARE in good company.

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Adustyhobo ,if it's a habit iNVOLUNTARY, then you should get rid of it completely. You are mistaken when you think that only the mouth moves - moving the muscles of the whole face, and this is a symptom of involuntary tension during the play, which spread in the different parts of the body. Use the advice of Couperin - play with poker face and lower jaw hangs freely. The same has said also Leopold Godowsky.
Any singing while playing takes place on the basis of possession of muscles of the larynx and face, not its absence.

Last edited by Nahum; 06/16/15 04:00 AM.
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I wouldn't worry about it. You're in good company:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AirAT7gN6A0


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I move my mouth too. Of course I am not aware of it while playing, but I see it in my recorded videos.
Many pianists do it too. So, you should not mind that too much.

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