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#1103222 - 11/24/08 06:19 PM playing soft with one hand & loud with he other
IngridT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/07/08
Posts: 244
Loc: Netherlands
When playing an actual piece I have the feeling I can do this fairly well, but now I have to study it very specifically with a short etude. First half the melody is in the right hand, and then moving to the left hand. The melody (of couse) should be louder then the other part. To complicate matters it is als shifting from staccato to legato (so left hand has to play eg loud staccato, and right soft legato or loud legato with a soft staccato in the other hand etcetera)

It drives me CRAZY!!

Any tips???

Ingrid

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#1103223 - 11/24/08 06:26 PM Re: playing soft with one hand & loud with he other
Danny Niklas Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/08
Posts: 905
Loc: Switzerland
The best tip I have for this kind of situation is to play your right hand legato (let's say two phrases)

So play the right hand once thorough.
Then as you focus on playing the right and part add one note (with the correct dynamic) in the left hand, without allowing it to disrupt your right hand, which will go on for the whole two measures.

When you can do this fairly well, use the same principle and add a second note in the left hand.
Again, make sure it is the right dynamic and that it doesn't bother your right hand. Keep practicing until the left hand notes don't mess with your right hand smoothness and control.

Then add a third note in the left hand.
As you progress with more notes, you will see that the work gets easier and easier.

You will reach a point were the whole left hand combines with the right hand remaining individual in its flow and dynamic and without disrupting the right hand.

Now that you're reached this point, repeat the same process with the left hand going smoothly and the right hand adding notes (with the correct dynamic) without disrupting the left hand smoothness. Chances are, this phase will be a lot easier and faster than the first time.

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#1103224 - 11/24/08 06:27 PM Re: playing soft with one hand & loud with he other
xxmynameisjohnxx Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/08
Posts: 625
Loc: San Diego
Practice each hands dynamics separately to make sure you have the dynamics in each hand down really well and the practice the piece very slowly focusing on what you need to do with each note to give it the proper feel. This can be a pretty hard technique to get down...it took me awhile in my first piece where I had to play like that.
It shouldn't take long when you practice hands separate, but just make sure you go slow when you practice hands together the first few times.
_________________________
Chopin: Nocturne No. 15 in Fm. Op. 55 no.1.

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#1103225 - 11/24/08 08:12 PM Re: playing soft with one hand & loud with he other
saerra Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 842
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Ooh - I've been having some trouble with this lately, thanks for the tip Danny - I'll have to give it a try!

Much more practical than my teacher's helpful advice of "it's like you have one hand in warm water, and one in cold water" - *huh?* - I'm still not sure exactly how to process that one ;\)

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#1103226 - 11/25/08 01:40 AM Re: playing soft with one hand & loud with he other
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
 Quote:
Originally posted by saerra:
Much more practical than my teacher's helpful advice of "it's like you have one hand in warm water, and one in cold water" - *huh?* - I'm still not sure exactly how to process that one ;\) [/b]
I like it! You should do it with your ears though. Once you hear the tune soaring above the accompaniment you won't go back.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1103227 - 11/26/08 11:19 AM Re: playing soft with one hand & loud with he other
IngridT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/07/08
Posts: 244
Loc: Netherlands
Hmm. I don't know about the warm and cold water, but I'll think of it while trying the other approaches mentioned. I think I'll go with the one-note-at-a-time first and see where it gets me. I confessed to my piano teachter that I threw my etude book in a corner and need another week for this one, so I'll really have to tackle it now! (6 days to go. LOL)

Thanks,

Ingrid

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#1103228 - 11/26/08 11:43 AM Re: playing soft with one hand & loud with he other
DragonPianoPlayer Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/06
Posts: 2368
Loc: Denver, CO
Another tip, try to play one hand so softly that it is not making any noise. Then gradually increase the volume on that hand.

Rich
_________________________

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#1103229 - 11/26/08 03:19 PM Re: playing soft with one hand & loud with he other
carolyn227 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/07
Posts: 107
I usually work on the fingering of the "soft" hand without actually pressing the keys down and play the lead notes with the regular volume and dynamics. Playing both hands at different volumes can be tricky!
_________________________
Pianist and mom to three awesome kids (and budding musicians).

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#1103230 - 11/26/08 04:25 PM Re: playing soft with one hand & loud with he other
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Always, always we get mechanical suggestions and mostly good ones, but it's about hearing the effect. The OP has obviously never heard it. How can you hear something (so that you can play it) when you've never heard it before?
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1103231 - 11/26/08 04:45 PM Re: playing soft with one hand & loud with he other
IngridT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/07/08
Posts: 244
Loc: Netherlands
Keyboardklutz,

I know exactly how it should sound. How I want it to sound. But (at least for me) that doesn't automatically mean that it sounds that way when I play it. That's the frustrating part. So I guess I need some 'technical' trick to help me disconnect both hands volume-wise. But if you know mental trick that might help, I'm all ears. Do you mean something like the warm/cold water approach? (I still need to try...) Or something else?

Ingrid (and what's the OP? Is that me? I'm pretty new on this forum, and a non-native english speaker, so probably missing out on some abbreviatons or other things)

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#1103232 - 11/26/08 04:52 PM Re: playing soft with one hand & loud with he other
Euan Morrison Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/05
Posts: 1588
Loc: Edinburgh
Hi Ingrid,

(OP just means 'Original Poster', the person who started the thread with the first post)

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#1103233 - 11/26/08 05:08 PM Re: playing soft with one hand & loud with he other
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
 Quote:
Originally posted by IngridT:
Keyboardklutz,

I know exactly how it should sound. How I want it to sound. But (at least for me) that doesn't automatically mean that it sounds that way when I play it. [/b]
Sorry to get abstruse here but if you haven't played it you can't know what it sounds like. Is imagining eating pickled herrings on toast eating pickled herrings on toast? My favorite mechanical approach is playing one hand as loud as possible and the other soft as possible. Also realize the physics mean that the loud hand will play a little bit before the soft.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1103234 - 11/26/08 05:21 PM Re: playing soft with one hand & loud with he other
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4750
Loc: South Florida
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
Also realize the physics mean that the loud hand will play a little bit before the soft.
But the result for experienced players, when they split the hands (one coming in sooner) is usually soft first, loud later. They anticipate early with the hand that plays softer.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#1103235 - 11/26/08 05:22 PM Re: playing soft with one hand & loud with he other
IngridT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/07/08
Posts: 244
Loc: Netherlands
Hmm. Keyboardklutz. To taste something you actually need to eat it yourself, but to hear something you don't actually have to play it yourself. In this case my teacher played it for me live during lesson, and I've got it on a home-made CD which she provides her students with as a back up help for study.

I'm still curious what non-mechanical tips and tricks you might have though...

Ingrid

PS...and thanks Eeaun for the OP explanation. If I make any other weird beginners mistakes that I do'n even realize I am making...pls let me know & enlighten me where appropriate!

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#1103236 - 11/26/08 05:31 PM Re: playing soft with one hand & loud with he other
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
I'm afraid not. To hear it you've got to play it. Maybe this'll help? http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/27/2634.html Don't know any other non-mechanical tips.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1103237 - 11/26/08 05:49 PM Re: playing soft with one hand & loud with he other
IngridT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/07/08
Posts: 244
Loc: Netherlands
Ha, Klutz. I'll think about it. But I played it myself as well, and what I hear when *I* play it is not what I want to hear. That's pretty good already, I guess. Step one. Now, step two is how to get it to sound more like what I want to hear (which I also have a pretty good idea of, with my teacher and the CD recording) And that's where I am struggling.

Ingrid

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#1103238 - 11/26/08 05:52 PM Re: playing soft with one hand & loud with he other
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
 Quote:
Originally posted by IngridT:
But I played it myself as well, and what I hear when *I* play it is not what I want to hear. That's pretty good already, I guess. Step one.[/b]
Hate to be obstreperous but that's step 0. No wonder it drives you crazy!
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1103239 - 11/26/08 06:53 PM Re: playing soft with one hand & loud with he other
Danny Niklas Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/08
Posts: 905
Loc: Switzerland
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
 Quote:
Originally posted by IngridT:
Keyboardklutz,

I know exactly how it should sound. How I want it to sound. But (at least for me) that doesn't automatically mean that it sounds that way when I play it. [/b]
Sorry to get abstruse here but if you haven't played it you can't know what it sounds like. Is imagining eating pickled herrings on toast eating pickled herrings on toast? My favorite mechanical approach is playing one hand as loud as possible and the other soft as possible. Also realize the physics mean that the loud hand will play a little bit before the soft. [/b]
You're right, but the two methods chase each other in circles. How can you play one hand as loud as possible and the other as soft as possible, if you just can't yet individualize the dynamics of the two hands. You must start somewhere and you can't do what you can't do.

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#1103240 - 11/26/08 07:14 PM Re: playing soft with one hand & loud with he other
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
This is one area where a digital piano can be beneficial. Split the keyboard, and turn the volume of one hand down to either zero or near zero, and it will help you focus your attention on the other hand.

ps...I am not against Acoustic pianos...I own a beautiful one.
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#1103241 - 11/26/08 07:14 PM Re: playing soft with one hand & loud with he other
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4750
Loc: South Florida
We're talking about a skill here. The skill must be mastered, to some extent, in order to be applied.

One hand (or one note in one hand) against another in the other hand, soft against loud, id not always possible at first. Many people have to play alternating hands first, then try to gradually get the hands together, in steps.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#1103242 - 11/27/08 01:30 AM Re: playing soft with one hand & loud with he other
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
 Quote:
Originally posted by Danny Niklas:
How can you play one hand as loud as possible and the other as soft as possible, if you just can't yet individualize the dynamics of the two hands. You must start somewhere and you can't do what you can't do. [/b]
How can you throw a ball 20 feet with one hand and 2 feet with the other and still bypass the consciousness!
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1103243 - 11/27/08 05:55 AM Re: playing soft with one hand & loud with he other
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11574
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
But the result for experienced players, when they split the hands (one coming in sooner) is usually soft first, loud later. They anticipate early with the hand that plays softer.
Gary, chicken and egg. Do they end up anticipating early because they have found the way to play soft so this goes into their body? Or do they deliberately anticipate early and thus end up playing softly?

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#1103244 - 11/27/08 02:41 PM Re: playing soft with one hand & loud with he other
gooddog Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4784
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Reflecting back to a previous thread where we discussed how to bring out the melody while suppressing other notes within in the same hand, the solution was to slightly curl the fingers carrying the dominant notes. It worked well in that situation so it might work well in this one. Try curling the fingers of the dominant hand a bit.
_________________________
Best regards,

Deborah

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#1103245 - 11/28/08 03:47 AM Re: playing soft with one hand & loud with he other
IngridT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/07/08
Posts: 244
Loc: Netherlands
Well, after ignoring my etude book for the last 2 weeks I started working on the dreaded nr 14 yesterday evening. And to my surprise it seemed a whole lot easier. No idea wether it was the unconscious image of a warm/cold hand, some of keyboardklutz thoughts on the mental part of it or some of the practical tips I read here...but it seems that I passed an invisible treshold, and there's actual room for improvement now.

Thanks!!

Ingrid

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#1103246 - 11/28/08 12:37 PM Re: playing soft with one hand & loud with he other
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
\:\)
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1103247 - 11/28/08 09:01 PM Re: playing soft with one hand & loud with he other
YD Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/06
Posts: 590
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
A small trick that helps me sometimes to finesse the dynamics in different hands: play left hand accompaniment with correct dynamics, and once you are satisfied, start humming the right hand melody. Do this for a while, and then start playing. Really help me at times, as usual YMMV.
_________________________
Yuri
FWIW; YMMV

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