Skip to main content
39 votes

I have been practicing a song for 3 hours straight but I keep making mistakes. How can I get it right?

Three hours at one session! Unless you're the sort of person who can concentrate really well for that length of time, you've wasted at least some of it. Harsh, but realistic. Most of us cannot give ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 194k
34 votes
Accepted

Piano scales: Why bother with hands together?

There are a few reasons that I found these technical drills helpful as a piano player: They help practice playing the hands together clearly and cleanly. Young piano players often play both hands "...
Richard's user avatar
  • 84.7k
34 votes

Can one be too old to learn an instrument?

Even if one can ever be too old to learn an instrument (I don't think so), then this is definitely not the case already at 22. You may not be able to make as fast progress as if you had learned it at ...
leftaroundabout's user avatar
33 votes
Accepted

Why play a fretted note while you can play it on an open string?

Two big factors affect the decision to play open versus fretted: Sound: Open notes sound brighter and tend to sustain longer. They are great to use for pedal tones for this reason. But that means ...
Todd Wilcox's user avatar
  • 56.9k
32 votes
Accepted

Can one be too old to learn an instrument?

Certainly children learn more quickly than adults, particularly when it comes to languages, and to skills. (That is, "proficiency, facility, or dexterity that is acquired or developed through ...
Forbin's user avatar
  • 436
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 ...
Albrecht Hügli's user avatar
30 votes
Accepted

Is maximum speed a thing?

Almost for sure, the problem is that as you approach upper limits, you exert yourself more. When you're playing fast, your muscles have to relax INSTANTLY (like, already relaxing while you're pushing ...
Bennyboy1973's user avatar
  • 3,943
29 votes

Why do many classical guitarists move the fingers for vibrato like a violin?

The length of the string is truly not changing, but there are other things that affect the frequency of the string vibrations. One is the density of the material (obviously this is not what vibrato ...
Ramillies's user avatar
  • 6,390
28 votes

How to unlearn incorrect muscle memory

You may be interested in checking out some of the pedagogy of Arnold Jacobs, the long-time tuba player of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. I know this seems unrelated to your question, but he discussed ...
Richard's user avatar
  • 84.7k
27 votes

Is this video game piece physically playable?

There's nothing impossible in the notation; sure, it's fast, and there's an unhealthy obsession with semiquavers, but I'm pretty sure that it could be played. Could I play it? No. But that's because ...
endorph's user avatar
  • 9,619
26 votes

Are there pieces that require retuning an instrument mid-performance?

Lots of classical music require retuning of timpani (or purchasing a larger drum set). Von Biber's Rosary Sonatas require retuning a violin between each section.
ttw's user avatar
  • 25.5k
25 votes
Accepted

Do orchestral string instruments need a pause before con sordino?

For what it's worth, here's what Berlioz has to say in his Treatise on Instrumentation: The composer, when indicating the use of mutes in the middle of a piece (by the words con sordini), must not ...
Michael Seifert's user avatar
24 votes
Accepted

What is the best way to play a chord larger than your hand?

Summary The following general principles/techniques for handling large chords are given below: Flatten the hand Shift the hand away from the body, toward the fall board Play multiple notes with one ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 89.4k
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 ...
Laurence's user avatar
  • 93.3k
23 votes

Are there pieces that require retuning an instrument mid-performance?

In "The Rite of Spring" Stravinsky requires the celli to detune their A-strings to G-sharp for the final chord of the piece (and asks them to play a four-note chord "non arpeggiato"...
PiedPiper's user avatar
  • 21.4k
21 votes
Accepted

Does the manner in which you release a tone on the piano affect its sound?

There's a little bit of key noise and the rate of damper drop and any resulting damper noises are affected by release. At the highest levels of performance and tone, these noises are important even if ...
Todd Wilcox's user avatar
  • 56.9k
17 votes
Accepted

What is the definition of Mid-side stereo as compared with X-Y stereo?

Both XY and Mid-Side recording use two mono signals to create a stereo image, but they do this is totally different ways. XY is probably the more common method. It requires two matching microphones. ...
Peter's user avatar
  • 6,506
17 votes

Where should I press white keys - between black keys or below them?

When it comes to fingering questions, the broader the question the more the answer will be: "it depends." That is probably why you find conflicting information online, too many answers that ...
Michael Curtis's user avatar
16 votes

Three notes on the violin?

It's very common to write 3 or 4 note chords for strings, and the implication is to play it as two gestures in quick succession. Here is the first page of the first movement of Beethoven's first ...
MattPutnam's user avatar
  • 22.4k
16 votes
Accepted

Why does this version of Für Elise have d# then e both with treble clefs?

The notation reflects the voicing (if you are having two staves anyway, why write the voicing in a single staff?). But actually executing the voicing with both hands is not the worst idea: it makes ...
user31262's user avatar
  • 176
16 votes
Accepted

What is the technique about how this this violin is held called?

I think this way is called "holding the fiddle at the chest" or against the chest or "low down on the chest" (Chris Haig, The Fiddle Handbook). This hold is sometimes used for genres which usually ...
DrSvanHay's user avatar
  • 977
16 votes

What's the difference between "con brio" and "con fuoco"?

There’s not much (if any) difference in the tempo they imply, but there’s a difference in character. Literally, con brio means with spirit, while con fuoco means with fire. Regarding tempo, both are ...
PLL's user avatar
  • 948
16 votes
Accepted

Is it possible to learn how to sing properly without a teacher?

Theoretically yes. Most probably, no. As with many other things, a teacher is not absolutely fundamental, but a professional guidance ensures that: you follow an appropriate didactic path tailored on ...
musicamante's user avatar
  • 6,851
15 votes

Playing guitar with only three fingers

Of course you are likely not going to be able to play songs written by others exactly the same way they play them. Here are some ideas for adjusting your playing and/or the guitar to help you at least ...
Todd Wilcox's user avatar
  • 56.9k
15 votes

Is it called a double stop if you play the same note on two different strings?

Called a double stop as two (sometimes 3) strings are being held down/played simultaneously. Usually the notes are part of a harmony, but can be the same as each other. In that case, I'd expect them ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 194k
15 votes
Accepted

Are there pieces that require retuning an instrument mid-performance?

In relation to the violin (or other string instrument) the specific technique described — using the tuning peg to detune and retune a pitch — is called peg scordatura (also peg glissando and glissando ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 89.4k
15 votes
Accepted

Why do guitarists move fingers up and down on the same note?

The particular vibrato that Eric is using is fairly specific to electric guitar playing. Its side to side motion changes the pitch of the fretted note and can be miminal, so very subtle, to more than ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 194k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible