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37

For some reason, practice isn't always enough for prepare us for a performance. That's not unusual. Some things that have helped me and others I've talked to include: "Practice" performing in situations that are less high pressure. Singing karaoke at a small bar or taking an improv class are examples. Meditation and/or visualization on a regular basis can ...


23

Professionals are generally old enough and wise enough not to overplay a piano. Any given instrument has a ceiling of available sound, and the player adapts the dynamic range of the music accordingly. For example, if the music includes fff, then ff would generally be scaled back. On the other hand, in music with no higher than ff marked, those passages might ...


20

Dealing with pressure Get a sound recorder or use your phone and record your performances. The extra pressure of recording yourself will cause similar pressure to an actual performance. Also practise occasionally with a metronome - once again, the pressure of having to keep a strict tempo will distract you. You may be surprised that your tempo is off, ...


19

This is a technique common in jazz, blues, and pop styles. It is essentially mimicking the way vocal, string, and wind players scoop or slide into a note. Since a true portamento is not possible on piano, it is simulated by quickly hitting a note above or below the target note slightly before the target note. Though today it is more common popular music, it ...


17

It's an approach note from below, and if it's a half-step below, it's a chromatic approach note. Why it sounds good: (1) It makes the melody more varied and interesting, if not all notes start exactly the same. In your ear the short approach note and the target note after it blend together, so it can be seen as a different attack, different articulation. (...


16

A good practice exercise I've found to help with this is to play along to a metronome and not play every other bar. For example, play bar 1, then sit in silence for bar 2 whilst imagining the sound in your head, then play bar 3, silence bar 4, play bar 5, etc. Once you have done this a few times the next exercise would be to silence bar 1, play bar 2, ...


13

The star in the middle of the staff actually points us to a footnote given at the end of this first book. In my edition (Boosey & Hawkes), the footnote states: The rhythmic feeling of the suspensions should be emphasized by some energetic movement such as tapping with the foot in the places marked by rhythmic signatures between the staves. From a ...


9

This is common notation in keyboard music, although we don't call them "double stops"; it's just harmony. When notating something like this, you write the music out as different voices, with the caveat that up-stem and down-stem notes help clarify which voice is which. Consider the following example: the up-stem pitches are one voice and the down-stem half ...


8

Mistakes are inevitable. Learning to play through mistakes is its own skill, one that has to be learned. The technique for learning to play through mistakes is different than the technique for learning to play a piece. I've learned two ways to practice a piece: Practicing for perfection, and practicing to perform. They compliment each other, but are done ...


7

I've seen a pianist play a piece by Olga Neuwirth that I can only assume was marked "as loud as humanly possible", because he was playing so violently that with each chord his body would jump up from his seat. It actually looked as if he was trying to damage the piano or hurt his hands; I was expecting the key mechanisms to break at any moment. It was not ...


6

This piece of music has two voices. The note has two stems because the voices are playing the same note. It looks like the lower voice holds the note (hence the tie) while the upper voice changes in the next measure.


6

This is almost certainly an error, one borne out of the completely understandable mistake of equating the sixteenth notes of the right hand with the sixteenth-note quintuplets of the left hand. The only definitive proof would be sketch material from Scriabin himself, which I unfortunately can't locate. As such, we just have to look at other evidence. The ...


5

There is a difference between practicing for performing and practicing for practicing. When you practice, do you experience that the first play-through is worse than the second or third? When you practice, do you keep playing the same piece or part of the piece over and over again? If that is the case, you are practicing to improve practicing. You don't ...


5

Given what you've said about that piece being a favorite, and one you've played many times over many years, I think it's fairly clear the issue is not one of not spending enough time on rote memorization. In the past, while performing or speaking publicly, I struggled with a tendency to completely lose the flow of something that I supposedly had memorized ...


4

Your question actually hints at what the "theory" in music theory is about. Following various combinations of notes, some continuations will sound smooth, some jarring, some relaxed, some tense, etc. Many people, yourself included, have an innate sense of what kind of continuation would best fit the nature of the music that precedes it, and much of the ...


4

There is one problem we could overcome when memorzing music if we consider how the form of a music piece would look like if there wouldn't be the layout of 3 bars per line as most sheet music is designed. I hope that my advice can help you for the next performance but you should regard it from the beginning of practicing a new piece: If we compare a piece ...


4

Most pianists seldom play on these larger instruments and can be disoriented by them, especially when playing leaps. Although experienced players can leap unsighted with good accuracy, vision of the keyboard adds security. In leaping to the deep bass, the lowest key is a reference point. If this reference point moves, wrong notes result. Therefore the ...


4

Dynamics are not absolute. But you can hit a (real) piano pretty hard! It's not like a MIDI keyboard where velocity is limited to 127.


4

You seem to be confusing the ADSR envelopes with the amplitude of the sound. It's true that the piano has a well-defined envelope which you can't do much to change barring the point of release, but the relative amplitude of the peak of the Attack is all completely within the player's control. As such, if a pianist want to change dynamics, they just play ...


4

A drop voicing is constructed from top to bottom. You start by building the chord in closed position, filling out some number of voices (usually four), and then "drop" the nth voice from the top down by an octave. (The root, we assume, is played by another instrument, or in the case of piano you can stick it arbitrarily below the rest of the voicing.) But ...


4

In the classical world, this is one form of acciaccatura, sometimes called the short appoggiatura. More generally, these are kinds of ornaments. As noted in another answer, this kind of ornament is also common in other styles of music. The precise meaning of acciaccatura has changed over time. One definition holds that it should be struck at the same ...


4

The first mistake here is that most notes on the piano do not consist of a single string. It would be impossible to tune the two or three strings to identical frequencies, and in fact they are intentionally tunes slightly differently, because if the tuning accuracy is too "tight" the instrument sounds "dead". The second mistake is that because of the ...


3

A common technique I use is memorizing discrete chunks of a piece (one or two lines to a page long), and mixing them up. For example, I will play from memory the entire piece backwards (chunk 20 to chunk 1), and then I’ll have my teacher call out numbers and I’ll play that. It’s very challenging, but after you master that you are much better prepared for the ...


3

So how close did you get? Good! Carry on... Note that in the jazz world, we generally take a melody and its chord sequence then 'never play it the same way once'! In 'classical' we're also interested in reproducing the composer's details of voicing and texture. (And, of course, there IS a place for transcribing a jazz recording literally for an '...


3

The French company Pleyel made a small number of double pianos, called the "Duo-Clave", from 1890 until 1939. In the 1920's they introduced a larger "concert" version. Seven of these apparently still exist (and one is near you in Bettendorf, Iowa, according to this video). (image from the Pleyel website) Stravinsky had Pleyel make him one while working ...


3

I'm in complete agreement with @gidds answer. For a deep dive into the why and how of our ability to predict the next notes, check out Sweet Anticipation by David Huron. Drawing on both neuroscience and musicology, he makes a compelling case that our pleasure in music derives both from the psychological reward of getting it right and the the thrill of ...


3

Satisfying music (like other art forms) dances on the border between order and chaos. Music that's totally predictable and repetitive is boring to most of us; but so is music that's totally unpredictable and random.  The most enjoyable music tends to be that which combines the two: that has enough repetition and predictability to bring familiarity and ...


3

Compulsory Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder link coming up... Ebony & Ivory These days, of course, mainly plastic - as both elephants & ebony are protected species. Wikipedia - Piano [construction] Ok, it was funny. Ignore this: I can't remove the DV without editing.


3

This answers the question for most acoustic pianos: White piano keys are mostly wood with plastic tops and fronts to make them look and feel similar to ivory, which used to be used for the tops and fronts of the white keys. Black piano keys are usually made from a dark hard wood that has been stained to make it black so it looks and feels like ebony, which ...


3

Not covered in any of the other correct answers (although alluded to in the comments), this can also be a compensation at a subconscious level for the artificiality of the tempering process. The natural scale is formed by mathematical relationships between the frequencies of pitches. But all natural scales are formed in relationship to a single root note,...


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