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Questions tagged [piano]

For questions about music written for piano, playing the piano, maintenance of a piano, or other general questions about pianos.

13
votes
3answers
5k views

Why does this note have a stem pointing up and another pointing down?

What does the first note below mean? Does it need to be pressed down while playing the second notes? If not, why are there two stems, one pointing up, and one pointing down?
24
votes
4answers
16k views

Rest above a note in a piano piece

I am playing a piece and wondering, what the heck is the rest making there above the note? The piece is in 3/4 so I see no purpose of the 1/4 rest. I've been googling around but did not find any ...
45
votes
4answers
66k views

What to look for when buying a digital piano for a beginner?

My wife has recently started learning to play the piano and needs something at home on which to practise. I'm inclined towards a digital piano as it is more practical (Mainly space but also no tuning ...
31
votes
4answers
70k views

Using keyboard/MIDI controller to learn piano

I'm an adult just starting to learn music from scratch. The piano I have been using is sometimes not available for me to use, so I would like to buy a keyboard/MIDI controller so I can practice ...
28
votes
3answers
4k views

How do you remember your music and how do I improve in this regard?

Okay, let me start with my own story. I jumped straight into playing classical pieces on the piano without much in the way of formal musical education. By now I know how chords are built (but it takes ...
12
votes
3answers
23k views

What exactly does a 3 mean over a quarter note and an 8th note?

There is an eighth note followed by a quarter note, and above them is a little overarching bracket with a little 3 in it. I know this has something to do with the timing, but I have no idea what. ...
72
votes
19answers
42k views

How to play a song without making mistakes?

I have played keyboard quite a while and now I'm starting to practice some classical music like Fur Elise. When I see a live performance of any musical instrument, there seem to be no errors at all. ...
73
votes
12answers
122k views

How can I significantly improve my hand independence on piano?

I started taking piano lessons about 7 years ago, and stopped about 2 years ago when my teacher (the one and only piano teacher I've had) quit. In all honesty, my piano has been severely neglected ...
40
votes
9answers
5k views

How to start playing by ear/improvising?

Up till now I've been playing music from the sheet, and eventually I've grown frustrated how after 3 years of playing I can't even play Jingle Bells if I'm asked to without figuring it out from a ...
29
votes
8answers
103k views

How to identify the root note of a chord

I struggle with chords on the staff because I'm not sure which note is the root note. Is it the top note with the rest of the notes falling below it? E.g., if the top note is C, and bundled below it ...
25
votes
12answers
23k views

Learn piano one hand at a time or simultaneously?

I've started to teach myself how to play the piano, and one of the difficulties I've found is trying to get both hands to do things at once. I either forget one hand entirely, or have one hand trying ...
24
votes
10answers
3k views

Why is there a key signature if I never play those notes?

I'm just getting back to playing on keyboard. I'm trying to play "Ode to Joy" from the piano sheet but I have a basic question. At the beginning of some staffs, on the right of the treble clef I can ...
22
votes
2answers
34k views

Unknown notation - thick horizontal bars between notes

I haven't the faintest idea of what these bars could mean. They're thick and mostly horizontal with a slight tilt. Some sort of run perhaps? How do you effect the dynamics/notes these bars are ...
23
votes
5answers
8k views

Why do standard modern pianos have 88 keys?

I know that the piano contains 7 octaves plus a 4th. I also know that it accommodates the full circle of fifths (from C and back to C). But since a fifth contains 7 semitones, it only "needs" 7X12 = ...
40
votes
6answers
42k views

Is there a standard width for piano keys?

Is there a standard width for piano keys? If not, how much variation is there? Do other keyboard instruments have significantly different widths of keys?
31
votes
12answers
21k views

What does this note - B# - mean?

I'm confused as to how I should play the second note below, B#. Does it mean it's C? It is possible? In which case, why is it written like this, and not just C?
21
votes
3answers
9k views

What does a straight line connecting notes on different clefs mean?

What is the meaning of the straight lines between notes in opposite staves, as shown in the picture? I keep seeing it, but Google and Wikipedia are not helping me.
10
votes
5answers
40k views

Piano music with two treble clefs, and notes between staves

I do not understand why there are two treble cleff staves and why there are music notes in the middle of the two staves. Which hand should I play those notes with and why are there two treble cleff ...
37
votes
15answers
14k views

Why does the scale have seven (or five) notes? Why not six?

I'm a programmer by trade, and I have always felt that music was arbitrarily difficult. Please forgive my inexperience with musical notation. I had a little thought experiment with my wife today, and ...
62
votes
9answers
45k views

How can a classical pianist learn jazz piano?

I'm a classically trained pianist. Took lessons all through my childhood. I've continued to play and read classical literature all my life. But I never learned anything about jazz piano. I also know a ...
13
votes
5answers
7k views

What exactly do pianists/musicians memorize? [duplicate]

when memorizing music, what is it that they're memorizing? is it the music like all the note/chord names (like E E F G G F E D C C D E E D C)? the piano keys? muscle memory?
44
votes
5answers
28k views

Why are pianos traditionally tuned “out of tune” at the extremes?

My understanding is that the vast majority of western music uses equal temperament, i.e. all semitones have a frequency ratio of the 12th root of 2. However I can hear in my piano that the notes at ...
38
votes
2answers
103k views

What does a small x-like symbol before a note mean?

I've been playing piano by ear for a long time and now I am trying to learn the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata. I am a little confused about the meaning of a little cross placed right before a ...
32
votes
6answers
30k views

Why is a grand piano better than an upright piano?

A Grand piano is considered better than an upright piano. Aesthetically I could understand why, but why does the orientation of the strings matter so much sound-wise?
21
votes
6answers
7k views

Does piano soundproofing require floating walls? Getting conflicting answers from professionals

I have just placed a new hybrid piano in a small 9x13 room in my apartment. I want to use the room for playing and for singing. Costly steps have already been taken, and, much to our dismay, we ...
7
votes
6answers
6k views

What's a good book for learning how to play the piano? [closed]

I'm considering learning to play the piano by reading resources instead of taking up piano lessons. It would allow me to just a buy the piano and learn it by myself. What good books or other resources ...
14
votes
13answers
57k views

Is a digital or acoustic piano a better option for a beginner (sound and feel)?

I just started learning piano, and I want to buy a piano for recreational purposes and practicing. I am torn between digital and acoustic. I love the feel and sound of an acoustic, but I cannot afford ...
5
votes
3answers
11k views

How can I make videos of myself playing my keyboard?

I have a Privia PX 150 keyboard. I want to start recording myself playing so I can show my friends and family videos of my progress. So what I had in mind was film my hands, but record the audio ...
26
votes
4answers
4k views

Piano with two treble clefs and 8va on grand staff

How do you play the notes in the red square? On the upper staff, the lower chord is G but the note in the lower section is also G. Do you just ignore it?
24
votes
4answers
15k views

Learning Piano without a teacher

How can I effectively learn how to play the piano if it is simply impossible for me to get a teacher? I took it upon myself to learn the piano. However, I am not sure where to start, especially with ...
66
votes
17answers
25k views

Quickly flip a page of sheet music while playing

This seems like such a silly question, but! When playing the piano, I sometimes struggle to turn the pages of my music without noticeably sacrificing the sound of the piece or making the book / ...
20
votes
5answers
7k views

Are Hanon exercises mindless unmusical repetiton or a great way to develop finger strength and dexterity?

There are a lot of different opinions about Charles-Louis Hanon's "The Virtuoso Pianist in 60 Exercises". Some say it is unmusical and can even lead to wrist damage, while others think they are the ...
17
votes
2answers
4k views

What can I do about my problems with piano scales which manifest in just one direction?

I've been practicing scales for some time now, and I found them mostly easy and fun to play. The problems begin when I have to play them faster, but oddly enough my problem manifests only when playing ...
20
votes
6answers
10k views

How to relax my wrists?

I began learning the piano recently. When I begin playing, my hands form nice 70-80 degree curves with the wrists relaxed. I can maintain this for trivial pieces with no significant hand motion. But ...
12
votes
5answers
11k views

Do weighted keys on a keyboard lead to more expressive playing?

I use an acoustic piano to learn/play classical music. I use a midi keyboard to record/produce own music. My piano has weighted keys while my midi keyboard has a very light touch. I find that I am ...
14
votes
4answers
11k views

Pinky is raised uncontrollably when doing finger exercise

When I do finger exercises (e.g. Hanon's), my pinky finger is being raised after I play (press and release) a key with my fourth finger, and then is raised even more and is striated after the third ...
9
votes
3answers
18k views

Numbers above notes in piano sheet music?

What do vertical numbers above chords mean in a sheet music for the piano? Never seen this before: What do the numbers mean? How do I play it? Thanks!
7
votes
1answer
13k views

Is there a specific finger for playing a specific key on piano?

I'm new to piano, I can play some stuff following the sheet music, but i'm always wondering if my fingers are on the right position, so, I'd like to know if there's like a map or a way to determine ...
15
votes
10answers
38k views

What to choose? Violin or piano?

First of all. I am 26 years old. I have no musical background or whatsoever. I don't know how to play any instrument. I can't even read musical notes. But I want to learn an instrument. About my time. ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

What does this split stem notation mean?

Here's sheet music for chopin's 2nd ballade. On page 6, in the 2nd measure in the 4th line of music, there's a D# and a D natural, with two lines coming out of them and connecting to the double bar (...
5
votes
6answers
5k views

Same note to be played with both hands?

Why some notes in the piano are written the same for the left and right hand ? What is the purpose of this ? And how do we play them ? Do we just choose one hand to play them or do we play them ...
4
votes
3answers
5k views

Piano: grand staff with two treble clefs. Where to place hands?

I'm very new at playing the piano and would love to play an easy version of Clair de lune. Please see the sheet below. I get stuck right at the very beginning. I think I have figured out that '...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Simple chord progression question

I am learning the piano online. I am trying to learn chord progressions. In this simple example the chord progression is supposed to be C F G C (I, IV, V, I). However, in the third part (G) the ...
1
vote
5answers
4k views

Best way to learn piano for basic skills? [closed]

I'm completely new to playing piano. I've rarely ever touched pianos to actually play anything. However, I have pretty consistent access to a piano now, and I'd like to know the best way to get learn ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Left and right hand playing same note on piano?

Occasionally I run across sheet music that has the left and right hand playing the same note at the same time. Is this on purpose? If so... Why? And how do I play it? For example, see the first ...
100
votes
18answers
104k views

What is good software for learning how to sight-read?

I'd like to learn how to sight-read on my own, but practicing the same song over and over again just causes me to memorize it, and filling out worksheets is boring. Is there any good software for ...
46
votes
16answers
117k views

How to know what notes will go together while improvising?

This is 3 questions in one, so it might take a slightly involved answer, or some good links. Edit--- tl;dr: How can you learn which keys to hit to make the notes you hear in your head? I know what I ...
18
votes
4answers
6k views

What are the most common ways to “decorate” a melody?

Yes, I know, there are way too many possibilities and it depends on the style of the music... I would be happy with an incomplete list for beginners (like me). Here is what I have so far: ...
30
votes
1answer
5k views

Beginning “adult” piano for musicians

My piano skills are the weakest part of my conducting/rehearsal technique, so I'd like to work on them essentially starting from scratch. I don't have the option of a piano teacher, so I'm looking for ...
36
votes
9answers
9k views

How do I use a metronome?

I am currently a beginner at the piano. I know using the metronome is important, but I I'm feeling reluctant to use it often, as it is difficult for me to get the music coordinated with the clicks. ...