Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) Pianoteq
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Topic Options
#1013856 - 11/18/08 06:13 PM 'Binding musical phrases'
Patrick Toomey Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/27/05
Posts: 43
Loc: Charlottesville, Virginia
Howdy all,
Do any of you have any musical tips as to how to better bind the notes of a musical phrase so as to make it sound more legato? My teacher is harping on it and it is getting somewhat better but gosh it is tough. Today's lesson tip was when playing phrase containing more than one note, bind the top note since it is usually the melody and do not worry so much abut the bottom note. Any ohter helpful tips?

Patrick
Charlottesville, Virginia
_________________________
Patrick Toomey
Charlottesville, Virginia USA

Top
(ads P/S)

Sauter Pianos

#1013857 - 11/19/08 02:04 PM Re: 'Binding musical phrases'
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
Your post sets off alarm bells in my mind
because of the use of the word "legato."
This thing about legato has become like
an obsession in the piano community today, and
people can dwell on it almost to the exclusion
of everything else. But anything that
is not staccato is essentially legato,
and so you're playing legato all of the
time; and so there's nothing extraordinary
about it. One forum member was given
special "legato exercises" for years by his
teacher to develop "the smooth legato touch."
There is no such thing as a special legato
exercise. All exercises: scales, arpeggios,
Hanon, Czerny, etc., are played legato.
Some sections in certain pieces are
traditionally played "more legato."
These are typically marked: legato, molto
legato, sempre legato, legatissimo, etc.
But this is all well within the range of
ordinary technique and is nothing to
become obsessed about.

If there's anything to become obsessed
about in playing, it is hitting all the
right notes in the right time at speed,
because if you can't do that, then you
can't even play whatever it is you're trying
to play. As for "legato," your playing
will become "more legato" as you gain
strength and experience, but to become
obsessed with it on a daily basis is
completely invalid, in my view.

Top
#1013858 - 11/19/08 06:01 PM Re: 'Binding musical phrases'
ProdigalPianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 1049
Loc: Phoenix Metro, AZ
By "phrase containing more than one note" are you talking about phrases with chords in them? Because as far as I know, any phrase will be more than a single note ;\)

If I understood you correctly, you are supposed to bring out the melody line in a phrase that has a melody and chords? Are you talking about the melody note and the other notes in the same hand? or melody in one hand and chords in the other?
_________________________
Adult Amateur Pianist

My only domestic quality is that I live in a house.

Top
#1013859 - 11/19/08 06:04 PM Re: 'Binding musical phrases'
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Patrick, are you conflating the terms phrase and slur? The latter implies legato; the former does not.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

Top
#1013860 - 11/19/08 10:38 PM Re: 'Binding musical phrases'
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
 Quote:
Originally posted by Patrick Toomey:
Howdy all,
Do any of you have any musical tips as to how to better bind the notes of a musical phrase so as to make it sound more legato? My teacher is harping on it and it is getting somewhat better but gosh it is tough. Today's lesson tip was when playing phrase containing more than one note, bind the top note since it is usually the melody and do not worry so much abut the bottom note. Any ohter helpful tips?

Patrick
Charlottesville, Virginia [/b]
Unfortunately, I do not understand exactly what you are saying. Are you talking about phrases like in Schumann's Traumerei that contain thirds, fourths, etc.? I'll guess this is what you mean.

I personally use this method of voicing chords described in this very old (1928) magazine article by the young Vladimir Horowitz.

http://web.telia.com/~u85420275/Articles/1928.htm

The method works extremely well once you get the hang of it, and has become mostly second nature now that I've practiced it a lot.

As far as achieving a "legato" touch, remember not to try to hold down preceding notes as you play. It's just not necessary, if that is where your problem lies.
_________________________
Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

Top
#1013861 - 11/20/08 10:56 AM Re: 'Binding musical phrases'
Schubertian Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 937
Loc: Dallas, TX, US
I am also not quite clear on the question so I will break it down into three related questions: legato, phrasing, and voicing.

I agree with Gyro that you do not need to feel obsessive about these things - if you understand what you must do and why then it is just a matter of training and concentration and time and you will master them. I absolutely do not agree that a clear, smooth, singing legato is not important - it is the most important and basic skill you must acquire before you work on anything else - in my humble opinion.

The piano is limited by the immediate decay of sound - we cannot sustain or build a tone once it is produced the say a singer can. To overcome this limitation we have to learn how to create a smooth legato. This is as much a matter of training the ear as training the hand.

I have been working on my legato with my teacher recently using scales. Here are some points:

- keep the fingers on the keys as much as possible, direct your attention to the finger tips and try to be aware of each key depression as it happens

- play 'into the keys', feel the hand reach the keybed, learn to feel the weight of the arm transfer from key to key

- learn to bind two notes together by paying attention to when the first key is released and when the second key is sounded - one type of legato results if you do not let up the first key until after the second key sounds contra Horowitzian up there

- learn to HEAR what you are producing - I thought I WAS playing legato last week when my teacher pointer out that there were all sorts of discontinuities in my runs of a Mozart piece I am working on - I never noticed them. He had me play each run hands separate, slowly and quietly and train myself to listen for discontinuities - this is the hardest part of the whole process - learning to HEAR. I noticed that I frequently lift my thumb too early simply because I am not used to paying attention to what it is doing to the same degree as my other fingers. 1-4 and 4-1 switches seem to be always problematic if you dont work on them

For shaping a phrase listen to a good singer - notice how typically the phrase starts quietly, builds as the singer lets out more volume, and then tapers off at the end. You must learn to imitate these dynamic changes in order to make the piano sound like it is singing. Our brains are wired to respond to the human voice - the more the piano imitate the voice the more expressive it sounds.

Practice this hands separate and slowly.

Voicing means bringing out a hierarchy of voices: a principle voice (usually the soprano), a harmonic fundamental (usually the bass) and then the accompaniment which adds to the harmonic fullness and rhythmic pulse. You have to learn out to play these three at different dynamic levels. That is just a matter of slow practice and training yourself to listen. Surprisingly it is easier than it sounds.

Mozart is the best composer to study and master all these things with. Mozart's intentions are almost always clear in the music, and there is always a great variety of basic technical demands in every piece. Mozart is Piano Technique 101.
_________________________
'Always remember: the higher we fly the smaller we appear to those who cannot fly.""
- Nietzsche

Top
#1013862 - 11/20/08 07:56 PM Re: 'Binding musical phrases'
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
He he, Schubertian, I meant to say to avoid keybedding in the OP's quest for better legato.
Sorry! \:o

Obviously, you have to connect the notes in the manner you state.
_________________________
Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

Top

Moderator:  BB Player, casinitaly 
What's Hot!!
8 Live Ragtime Piano Players on the Cape!
-------------------
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Seiler Pianos
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Forster vs August Forster
by eazydyonizy
10/23/14 03:43 AM
Grigory Sokolov releases album
by wimpiano
10/23/14 03:11 AM
Lindblad Steinway rebuilt pianos
by brahms
10/23/14 02:54 AM
Got the VPC1! Hooked up the Ivory! Played Brahms.
by TwoSnowflakes
10/23/14 02:13 AM
Pianos of Downton Abbey
by Almaviva
10/22/14 11:58 PM
Who's Online
57 registered (Al LaPorte, AZNpiano, AliAlkhiro, arX, angga888, 13 invisible), 1097 Guests and 17 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
76620 Members
42 Forums
158436 Topics
2326680 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
|
Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission