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#1002366 - 02/04/07 09:52 AM How do you play slurs?
katefields1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/29/06
Posts: 35
Loc: Felts Mills, NY
I love this forum. I am learning so much from it!

So I have another question. How does one slur on a piano? I seem to remember the teacher I used to have telling me that to play a slurred passage on a piano, you just kind of smooth it out and make the attacks less pronounced. Can someone give me a little bit more info than that? Do you actually hold the keys down a little bit longer? What is the purpose of having slurs in piano music?

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#1002367 - 02/04/07 10:12 AM Re: How do you play slurs?
mwf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/11/06
Posts: 419
Loc: Peterborough, England
Hi,

Thats basically it yes, a slur means to phrase a musical passage whether it be 2,3,4 bars etc.. One must play evenly/flowing or legato rather, as apposed to stacatto/attacking. Its like a musical sentance, starting from the beginning of the slur to the end, and all notes in between to be played nice and evenly/smoothly and form a musical sentance, where one can for example add dynamics to the phrase such as getting louder in the middle of the sentanceand dipping down, or one long crescendo.

One can relate sluring/phrasing to a singer, where she/he will pause to take a breath before starting the next phrase/sentance, so where the slur ends a particular set of notes one on the piano can take a quick breath if you like, ready for the next slur to begin straight afterwards. The point between the slurs obvioulsy is the break, fingering on the piano is important when slurring, one must adopt even fingering such as 123123412 etc.. to create a legato effect, whereas a more stacatto passage you dont have to worry as much about accurate even fingering, you could do anything that you felt was comfortable, it would not have to be scale type fingering.

Hope that helps a bit.
MWF
_________________________
www.youtube.com/ukpiano

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#1002368 - 02/04/07 10:14 AM Re: How do you play slurs?
gmm1 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/06
Posts: 1674
Loc: Spokane WA
To slur on a piano, strike the half step just ahead or behind the target key, and quickly slide to the target key. It gives the music a "tilt" or even a "whiny" feel.

So, if you want to slur a note, say d, then either play a D# or a Db, and quickly slide your finger to the D...

EDIT - after reading MWF's response, perhaps I misunderstood what a slur is - take his answer before mine.
_________________________
"There is nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself." Johann Sebastian Bach/Gyro

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#1002369 - 02/04/07 10:21 AM Re: How do you play slurs?
rockpeter Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/05
Posts: 607
Loc: Montreal Canada
Another to keep in mind is your wrist movement.

You should be rolling the hand into the keys at the start and lifting away at the end of a slur.

Hope you understand what I mean.

It doesnt mean to actually hold the note longer, but if legato, you should not let your finger leave one note until the next one is hit, that way you get an even flow...as well, pedalling can help a little where your fingers can't.


Peter
_________________________
Ok..Ok... If you don't want your Steinway give it to me !!!!

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#1002370 - 02/04/07 11:25 AM Re: How do you play slurs?
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
it's about a connection between notes within a slur, and is played usually in legato unless otherwise indicated.

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#1002371 - 02/04/07 11:36 AM Re: How do you play slurs?
MooGoo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/06
Posts: 244
while drunk

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#1002372 - 02/04/07 12:01 PM Re: How do you play slurs?
DanXZ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/06
Posts: 69
Loc: North Yorkshire, UK
I think MWF is refering to phrase lines as oppsoed to an actual slur, which is an specific effect in it's own right.

A slur puts a little extra emphasis on the first note and lifts off a bit on the second while playing smoothly. The idea is to 'blend' the notes as if it's just one note changing it's pitch - a bit like a guitarist bending his strings.

Was easier to do when I played trumpet as the tone control is analogue while a piano has a set interval between one key and the next and nothing in between that you can blur through.

My piano teacher teaches me to use the same technique that rockpeter describes.

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#1002373 - 02/04/07 01:48 PM Re: How do you play slurs?
katefields1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/29/06
Posts: 35
Loc: Felts Mills, NY
Maybe my terminology isn't quite right. I'm talking about when you have a run of notes with a curved line written above them that spans the length of them. You know, a slur. If the curved line is over two notes that are the same, it's called a tie. Is it called something different in piano terminology?

DanXZ, I know exactly what you mean. A slur to a woodwind or brass player is totally different, apparently, than to a piano player, since in order to slur on a wind instrument, you simply don't tongue while changing notes--much like the guitarist who doesn't pluck the string while he changes his position on the frets. But it was boggling my mind how to accomplish the same effect on the piano.

But I think I get it now. When listening to piano recordings, I'm going to try to pick out the slurred passages and see if I can imitate the effect.

Thank you all for your replies!

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#1002374 - 02/04/07 05:44 PM Re: How do you play slurs?
Mountain Ash Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/21/06
Posts: 438
Loc: Canberra, Australia
Katefields, I think you mean a phrase. My teacher tells me to play this by rolling my hand up and off the final note, creating a slight pause before the next note or phrase.

I think a slur refers to two notes of different pitches joined by a curved line. This should be played with a down-up motion. ie. drop your hand into the first note, lift your hand up on completion of the second note. Maybe.

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#1002375 - 02/04/07 05:57 PM Re: How do you play slurs?
Stevester Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/03
Posts: 2851
Loc: New Jersey
I think of a slur as a musical sentence.
_________________________
"The true character of a man can be determined by witnessing what he does when no one is watching".

anon

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#1002376 - 02/04/07 06:03 PM Re: How do you play slurs?
Sarah M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 293
Loc: California
I just play it legato, that's it. But then again I'm not exactly known for my attention to detail.

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#1002377 - 02/04/07 07:47 PM Re: How do you play slurs?
DanXZ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/06
Posts: 69
Loc: North Yorkshire, UK
 Quote:
Originally posted by Mountain Ash:
Katefields, I think you mean a phrase. My teacher tells me to play this by rolling my hand up and off the final note, creating a slight pause before the next note or phrase.

I think a slur refers to two notes of different pitches joined by a curved line. This should be played with a down-up motion. ie. drop your hand into the first note, lift your hand up on completion of the second note. Maybe. [/b]
Yep, thats what I was trying to say! Must learn to express better.

A longer run of notes with a curved line right over the top of them is a phrase (what Stevester calls a musical sentance), this seems to be what most people are talking about here.

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#1002378 - 02/05/07 12:33 PM Re: How do you play slurs?
rockpeter Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/05
Posts: 607
Loc: Montreal Canada
Ya its a phrase, so think of it like breathing, that part with the slur should be seperate from the next section, a sort of take a breadth before continuing sort of thing, smell the roses before ripping it out, eat your supper before dessert.....

Peter
_________________________
Ok..Ok... If you don't want your Steinway give it to me !!!!

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#1002379 - 02/05/07 01:14 PM Re: How do you play slurs?
Naught Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/08/06
Posts: 272
Loc: Ohio

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