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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.

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19
votes
3answers
4k views

Unknown Musical Symbol: Straight Dotted Line Between Eighth Note Stems

What does the dotted line mean between the eighth note stems in the LH part? This appears in the Dover edition of Haydn's Piano Sonata No. 1 in C Major. It is present in both movements one and two. ...
18
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9answers
5k views

Does Doodling or Improvising on the Piano Have Any Benefits?

I have a friend who recently spent around seven hours of his day playing on the piano by himself. While around three hours was spent actually practicing, the other four were spent doodling or ...
18
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8answers
4k views

Do piano composers often start out with C major?

I'm wondering if composers write their pieces starting with C major since it's just the white keys, and then later transpose the finished song to the key of their choice? Or will starting with the ...
18
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11answers
6k views

How useful is a metronome for playing the piano?

I've been learning to play the piano for over a year and a half now, and have never used a metronome to date. My rythm and tempo are usually decent, at least after playing the piece properly a few ...
18
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9answers
14k views

Playing one hand loudly and the other quietly

I'm currently learning to play Comptine d'un autre été from Yann Tiersen (Sheet music(pdf) - youtube video) and when I play starting from the 13th bar I barely hear the notes my right hand plays. ...
18
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4answers
7k 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: ...
18
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4answers
6k views

Tips for background piano playing

I am playing background piano music at a dinner tonight. It is the first time I have done this and I wonder if there are guidelines on the order of pieces or if I can just wildly mix fast and slow, ...
18
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1answer
3k views

What do the smaller notes in the Treble Clef indicate?

This is piano sheet music for "I Will Follow You Into The Dark" by Death Cab for Cutie. I've been trying to search for what these notes mean. Do I play them with the left hand? Not play them? Are they ...
18
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3answers
2k views

Is there any classical precursor to boogie woogie?

It is often been said (rather too simplistically in many cases) that jazz is a combination of European and African practices. I am interested particularly in classical piano techniques that have been ...
18
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4answers
5k views

Is it bad for a piano player to work out?

I'm not sure if this is a myth, but is it bad for a pianist to work out (e.g. lift weights)? I've heard that building strength this way will reduce fine muscle control.
18
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1answer
3k views

How should I inspect a used piano prior to purchase?

I am considering finding a used grand (or baby grand) piano to purchase. This will be a standard acoustic piano, not an electronic version that "looks like" a grand piano. I am an experienced ...
17
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4answers
7k views

Tell pianist to play entire piece softly, except one part

I've composed a short melody, however I'm very new to all this piano theory, how would I tell the pianist to play the entire piece softly? (mp, not pp), and how would I write exceptions for specific ...
17
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2answers
5k 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 ...
17
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4answers
877 views

Odd symbol in Béla Bartók's Mikrokosmos Book 1

Today I came across an odd symbol in Béla Bartók's Microkosmos. The symbol occurs in Book 1, Score 21, Measure 8, at the end of a phrasing slur. It looks like a vertical bar that crosses only the ...
17
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2answers
1k views

Piano exercises post-chemotherapy

Not a common question, not a common situation, and I am not using my primary Music.SE for obvious reasons. The question is simple but not so easy, and I hope you might help not only me, but many with ...
17
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4answers
5k views

What do I do when my long fingernails for classical guitar interfere with playing piano?

I'm learning classical/flamenco guitar techniques about 5 months ago, and now just started learning piano: I get some problems when i play on keyboard(noise and nails hurts, especially the thumb).. I ...
17
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6answers
6k views

How can I improve my piano accompaniments?

When I play piano or keyboards, I've noticed that I keep slipping into playing the same chords (and variations thereof, such as very simple bass lines) with my left hand while I use my right hand to ...
16
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7answers
7k views

Why aren't chord names written in classical sheet music?

When I see classical sheet music I don't see the chords named, were chords not used back then? And if they were, do the notes that are under a bass clef generally outline the shapes of chords? I only ...
16
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14answers
5k views

Why is the piano such a commonly used instrument?

Instruments are commonly compared to the piano. What is the reason for this? Does a piano allow a broader set of music to be played than is possible with other instruments? Are there types of music ...
16
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7answers
4k views

Can piano studies be played as a performance piece?

I've learned that Etudes are performance pieces, but what about piano studies like Hanon and Czerny?
16
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7answers
5k views

Is it possible that some people can play one instrument but not another?

I took piano lessons for six-seven years, and became rather advanced despite having poor practice etiquette, even learning some of Bach's two-part inventions, but when I tried to learn guitar, I never ...
16
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5answers
3k views

How to play this trill in Mozart's Piano Sonata 14 (K457)

How does one play this trill in this Mozart Sonata? Does it mean we play 3 notes (Eb, F, Eb) before the last two notes of the second bar? Or how many trills does one have to play?
16
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3answers
2k views

Chopin: marche funèbre bar 15 impossible place

Chopin sonata #2 Opus 35: Look at the left hand: Db from small octave and F from 1-st octave. Neither I, nor anybody of my acquaintances can stretch the hand so far. My idea was to replace F 1-t ...
16
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1answer
2k views

What do these square notes mean (in the left hand)?

What are this notes about? I had to learn this piece in 8-27-1963 in my first year at the music conservatory in Bern. The notes look like square notation, but the music was written in 20th. century....
16
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3answers
6k 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?
16
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2answers
1k views

Glissando that ends on a flat

I have a piece that is in two flats and has a glissando that starts on G and ends on a B quarter note two octaves higher. Am I supposed to glissando on the white keys through A and then hit and hold ...
16
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3answers
1k views

Chord stretched across treble clef and bass clef

I'm a beginner at piano, and struggling to understand what I'm looking at here, and how to play it. I've bought and downloaded some piano sheet music from musicnotes.com. It's in 12/8 time, and part ...
16
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3answers
2k views

What does a straight line followed by a sharp point mean in a piano score when under notes?

I've attached a picture of the music sheet I am learning that has a music notation that I do not know and would like to get some help to understand what it means. The music notation is on the first ...
16
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2answers
671 views

Did baroque composers expect you to “bring out” the voices in their pieces, the way today's critics seem to enjoy in players?

So, I recently had a, sadly, way too short conversation with a pianist on the train. According to the guy, in the 17th and 18th century polyphonic keyboard works were not played in such a way that ...
16
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9answers
49k views

How to memorize seventh chords and inversions on piano?

These past few months I've been teaching myself how to play piano, using my background in guitar and a basic knowledge of music theory I've picked up from that. I am having difficulty "memorizing" ...
16
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2answers
812 views

Important to know which note you are playing?

When I'm learning a new piece of music (for piano), I tend to read the notes each time until I know the movement for my hands by memory. At that point I don't know what note I'm playing anymore only ...
16
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6answers
527 views

How do you avoid mindless practicing

I finally realize the problem, why I play the same piece over and over again to the point I want to bang my head against the wall and still not improve or feel very empty and that you haven't ...
16
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5answers
10k views

Origin of the asymmetrical keyboard layout of a piano

The piano keyboard has white keys based on the C Diatonic scale plus black keys, which add the remaining notes used in western music. The asymmetrical way in which the black and white keys are placed ...
15
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9answers
19k views

Why is the highest frequency on a piano 4186 Hertz?

The human hearing range is between 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz. The lowest frequency on a piano is 27.5 Hz, which is almost at the start of the human hearing range. However, the highest frequency on a piano ...
15
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17answers
45k views

How to learn piano without owning a piano?

I'm getting married in a year and the venue has a piano that we can't move but we can play. I'd like to learn a song for my wedding day but I want to surprise my future wife. We don't already own a ...
15
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10answers
43k 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. ...
15
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4answers
2k views

On a piano, are the effects of holding notes and the sustain pedal the same for a single chord?

Building from this question, I learned that it is possible to notate a tie that is held by the pedal and not the hands. To me that's a bit strange - if the pedal were not held down in that passage, ...
15
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6answers
2k views

Do I have to be a virtuoso pianist to compose faster music?

I was about to compose my third movement of my first sonata, but the other movements are notated Andante and Adagio. I would want my final movement to be notated Allegro or something even faster than ...
15
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4answers
4k views

How do pianists reach extremely loud dynamics?

This question of mine started when I heard the piano score of Mars by Gustav Holst. Here is the piano score: How do the pianists even reach triple f? I myself have ...
15
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12answers
17k views

How can I learn to read bass clef score more naturally?

I hadn't read music for about 20 years, after doing a little classical guitar as a young child, and recently started learning piano. I was pleasantly surprised to find that reading music on the treble ...
15
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5answers
2k views

Should I think of the note's letter designation when I sight-read?

After I know the letters for the note designations and the pitches, when I am reading them, I implement the music this way: I see the note on the staff. I know that is a G. I think "G" when I read ...
15
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5answers
8k views

How long do you hold a fermata?

I am new to piano and just downloaded this book, it seems simple enough for a beginner like me but there is a symbol that I don't really understand, a fermata. Googling I see I am supposed to hold ...
15
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2answers
20k views

C in Treble or Bass Clef

I see a 'C' like sign in the beginning of the staff. What does it mean?
15
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13answers
61k 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 ...
15
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3answers
18k views

Playing Guitar Tabs on Piano?

I was wondering if anyone could possibly explain how I could somehow translate a guitar tab into notes on piano. Is there some sort of algorithm I can apply? ex: e|-------------------------------...
15
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1answer
2k views

What does this wavy downward arrow preceding a piano chord mean?

I started to play this piece today, & I came across this symbol (wavy arrow pointing downwards in treble clef). I have never seen it before in any piece, nor did I read about it in music theory so ...
15
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3answers
11k views

What is this electrical thing in my piano?

What is the bar with the red freehand circle? You can see it has a cord coming out to the right. I'm unable to try plugging it in and seeing what it does because it's an incompatible cord with my ...
15
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2answers
2k views

What is an X symbol appearing in a piano part?

And it's not a double sharp. I saw it in Miley Cyrus Fugue in measure 88 between the 3rd and 4th beat for the right hand. It's being reached at 2:42-2:43 in the video and I don't hear anything ...
15
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10answers
3k views

How can I learn to play the chords by listening to the song (like I do with notes)?

I have started learning to play piano (I am from a poor family and can't afford a teacher). So,I've learned some popular songs and the notes from the internet. From there I started listening to songs ...
15
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2answers
4k views

Well-known composers or piano pieces generally suitable for someone with small hands?

One of my struggles with playing the piano is that I have small hands. I can reach an octave - mostly. I can reach it, I just can't maneuver between octaves quickly. Often times a piece will have a ...