35 votes
Accepted

Notation - when to use staccato vs rests

I endorse Aaron's and Richard's answers, regarding what staccato means conceptually. This answer is mostly to provide some examples and details as to how staccato will typically come out in the case ...
31 votes
Accepted

Why do some pianists occasionally play their hands at different times?

Aha, I've found the answer: Asynchrony! Asynchrony is a general term which is used to describe playing notes in a separated or not-quite-together fashion where they are written as if they should ...
28 votes

As a soloist, should I face the audience or the conductor during long tutti sections?

You could remain directly facing the audience, with the smile gradually dripping from your face to be replaced by something between boredom & abject terror... ...or you may find it a lot easier ...
  • 24k
23 votes

Why do some pianists occasionally play their hands at different times?

A form of rubato. More specifically 'playing behind the beat'. Jazz pianist Errol Gardner did something rather similar when he '...developed a signature style that involved his right hand playing ...
  • 81.3k
20 votes

Very little time to learn pretty complex songs. What should my strategy be?

I got 2 weeks to learn 7 finger-burning songs on bass. Any ideas on what should my strategy be? Tough challenge based on how you're framing it up: Their songs are way more complex than pretty much ...
  • 6,713
20 votes
Accepted

Do they make "karaoke" versions of concertos for solo practice?

These types of recordings are usually called or "play-alongs" or "play-a-longs." A company called Music Minus One has been making classical music play-alongs since the 1950s. The company is now owned ...
  • 6,433
20 votes

Notation - when to use staccato vs rests

The core difference is that eighth notes/rests and quarter notes/rests (etc.) are durations; whereas, staccato marks are articulations. While it's true that staccato affects the duration of the note, ...
  • 62.4k
19 votes
Accepted

As a soloist, should I face the audience or the conductor during long tutti sections?

Some performers prefer the "look busy" approach. I once attended an oboe concerto performance in which the oboist swabbed out his instrument every time he had more than 4 measures' rest. I suppose a ...
17 votes
Accepted

What can I do to stop getting nervous before and during a performance?

How often do you practice in front of others? You could try asking people to join you while you practice, or find a public piano and jump on to practice. The idea is to have more experience playing ...
  • 7,409
17 votes

As a soloist, should I face the audience or the conductor during long tutti sections?

My go-to approach for this is just to let your eyes guide the audience to where you believe their attention should be. If you look at the orchestra after you have been the center of attention for a ...
  • 271
17 votes
Accepted

Very little time to learn pretty complex songs. What should my strategy be?

I'm going to assume the usual way I get given new material to learn, as I don't read... so I get some recordings & have to figure it out from that. Edit This method is definitely intended to ...
  • 24k
15 votes

What does "x" mean in piano fingering?

This is English Fingering. Seldom used now, you find it in older editions of piano music. The thumb is indicated by either a plus sign (+) or a cross (x) then the other fingers are numbered 1 (index ...
  • 4,841
14 votes

What can I do to stop getting nervous before and during a performance?

What I used to do before giving a lecture to a large crowd was the following ritual. (I never had time to do this in a music context.) First, hit the restroom; next, eat one small slice of cantaloupe. ...
  • 23.4k
10 votes

What do I do when I feel lost when practicing a piece?

I have a few suggestions. Drop it and play something else. Some_Guy's advice of playing something else is really sound. However, the worst thing about doing this is feeling like a quitter or that ...
  • 383
10 votes

What can I do to stop getting nervous before and during a performance?

Being nervous beforehand is part of performing. Back when I was practicing law and arguing cases before the Maine State Supreme Court, I noticed that when I wasn't nervous beforehand my argument would ...
10 votes
Accepted

Why are there pairs of wind instruments in a symphonic orchestra?

Both. When they play in unison it’s louder. When they play separate lines it’s a richer sound. There’s also usually two flutes, two trumpets, and four French horns. And I think the word “identical” ...
  • 52.2k
9 votes

What can I do to stop getting nervous before and during a performance?

More performances. Lots more performances. If it's enough to make you nervous, that's a performance. Does just pressing record make you nervous? That counts. Get a friend to randomly come in the ...
9 votes

Why do some pianists occasionally play their hands at different times?

I agree with Laurence "rubato" but I would even go further and say "arpeggio rubato". One typical feature of preludes is - if not a toccato style - the arpeggio triads. We know the ...
9 votes

Why do some pianists occasionally play their hands at different times?

In many genres of music, it is common to have a soloist perform rhythms rather loosely while the backing musicians follow the noted rhythms rather closely. Because the piano is a polyphonic ...
  • 3,901
9 votes
Accepted

Who decides how a historic piece is adjusted (if at all) for modern instruments?

A combination of people. First, unless you're playing from a facsimile of a period edition of the music, the person who prepared the modern edition of the music will have made some decisions in their ...
8 votes
Accepted

Theory vs Practice

As discussed on many other posts here, you don't need any theory in order to be able to play well, however it will really help you in a number of ways: playing from a score is straightforward enough ...
  • 36.4k
8 votes

What can I do to stop getting nervous before and during a performance?

There was a study done where it was attempted to reframe pre-performance anxiety as excitement. The idea was that you could choose to interpret your physical reaction (fast heartbeat, etc.) as fear ...
  • 185
8 votes

Are German lieder usually flexible re male or female singers?

That's not really specific to German: single-voiced vocals are typically "unisex", meaning that they are intended to be sung either by males (one octave lower than the treble clef they are ...
8 votes
Accepted

Do conductors scores ("partitur") ever differ greatly from the full score?

There are often various scores for a piece that conductors can choose from: a full score with a system for each instrument, even it they are not playing. Generally several similar instruments (e.g ...
  • 15.7k
7 votes

What do you work on to get more confident, stay relaxed and play consistently?

Apart from the obvious practice for and by yourself; get out and play with as many different musos as possible - different instruments, different genres, different styles, different experiences (...
  • 178k
7 votes

Are German lieder usually flexible re male or female singers?

Some compositions, at least, were gender-specific. Abstract: My research identifies German Lieder composed specifically for female singers. Female-specific songs were determined through textual ...
  • 62.4k
7 votes

Notation - when to use staccato vs rests

I only have a half answer, but I think there's an important thing to clarify: the literal definition of staccato. It's a past-tense form of the Italian staccare, meaning "to detach." While ...
  • 80.3k

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