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#1450352 - 06/04/10 06:43 PM How to Produce a Warm Tone
survivordan Offline
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Registered: 01/01/09
Posts: 844
Loc: Ohio
I ma wondering what can be done to prduce a warm, soft tone for a quiet, melodic piece. I am not sure if it has to do with weight, playing with more of the soft, sensitive part of the finger, or what?

Thanks in advance for the help!
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#1450375 - 06/04/10 07:12 PM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: survivordan]
dolce sfogato Offline
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Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2641
Loc: Netherlands
first of all: use your ears, and if you don't like what you hear, try something else, wait,arms,hands, but listen first!
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Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure, but not anymore!

Mussorgski tableaux d'une exposition/Rachmaninoff etudes tableaux op.39

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#1450386 - 06/04/10 07:24 PM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: dolce sfogato]
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
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Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5484
Loc: Orange County, CA
Play on a good piano! The instrument's quality makes a huge difference.
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#1450392 - 06/04/10 07:29 PM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: AZNpiano]
gooddog Offline
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Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4794
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Above is good advice. It also helps to think differently when you play the notes. Pretend the keys are made of velvet. Let your hand weight touch the key gently and lift off with a slightly lingering touch. Think warm, sweet and melodic. It will come through.
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#1450394 - 06/04/10 07:30 PM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: AZNpiano]
Pogorelich. Offline
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Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4528
Loc: in the past
No you should be able to produce a good sound on any piano.

Transfer weight from your whole body into the keyboard. Very strong fingers and arch, your fingers shouldn't be breaking at the top joint, and forearm should be free. And also transfering weight from finger to finger.

That's one analogy.

It's also like thinking how people play tennis or golf, strong grip but arms are free and transferring weight from the body or the ball won't go far.
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'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

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#1450399 - 06/04/10 07:41 PM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: dolce sfogato]
Mostly Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/10
Posts: 271
Well, apart from the quality of the piano, what would I do to produce a warmer tone...
Use the pedal, accentuate some notes, highlight the harmonies.
Regarding touch, I think that by playing further in the keys it naturally slows your attack speed, resulting in a softer sound ; on the contrary, playing close to the edge can make for a virtuoso and somewhat brittle sound. That's what I do at least...
The last, and the hardest, is probably how you articulate the notes (holding them longer, playing them legatissimo, that will result in a warmer tone), not only around each other, but around the beat. It is particularily obvious when you hear Horowitz, he has that way of holding some notes while still giving the impression that he stays in time. More agressive players, and I think jazz players do that, will attack the notes just before the beat as to give it more strenght.

That's all I can think of, except perhaps some good old fashioned keyboard magic.


Oh, and I definitely disagree with you Angelina ! A piano you know well is often a much better instrument than another you've never tried ! Well, at least for people like me who don't really have much experience playing on concert grands...
A little personal anecdote : after high school, I practiced like there was no tomorrow, and entered an audition for the conservatory. I started by playing Chopin 10/4, and the action on the piano I was given was so stiff I missed half the note in the opening bars, then I proceeded to not sound some more. By the end, I could see the faces of the jury, and was truly ashamed. I somehow managed to play the other pieces, but not only was I not only confident, I also couldn't produce the sound I wanted. Sure, I was really inexperienced, but still - my point is, had I played on my home piano, it wouldn't have been so horrible.
(and joke aside, some pianos really have a crappy, shallow, metallic tone, and I doubt even the best players could muster anything really beautiful out of those...)


Edited by Mostly (06/04/10 07:48 PM)

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#1450406 - 06/04/10 07:52 PM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: Mostly]
Pogorelich. Offline
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Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4528
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Yes but I was merely talking about practicing not performng and only about sound in particular.
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#1450436 - 06/04/10 08:27 PM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: Mostly]
stores Offline
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Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6646
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: Mostly



A piano you know well is often a much better instrument than another you've never tried !


Hmm, really?
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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#1450442 - 06/04/10 08:32 PM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: stores]
dolce sfogato Offline
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Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2641
Loc: Netherlands
just play between the tropic of cancer and the tropic of, well, the other one
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Mussorgski tableaux d'une exposition/Rachmaninoff etudes tableaux op.39

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#1450449 - 06/04/10 08:38 PM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: dolce sfogato]
Damon Offline
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Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6145
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
just play between the tropic of cancer and the tropic of, well, the other one


..Capricorn? Yes, this is probably the best way. Otherwise, call a technician and explain to him what you want.
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#1450452 - 06/04/10 08:39 PM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: stores]
Mostly Offline
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Registered: 05/14/10
Posts: 271
Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: Mostly



A piano you know well is often a much better instrument than another you've never tried !


Hmm, really?

That's what I tell my poor self when I see beautiful concert grands I have about no chance of ever owning...

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#1450453 - 06/04/10 08:41 PM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: Damon]
dolce sfogato Offline
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Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2641
Loc: Netherlands
Originally Posted By: Damon
Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
just play between the tropic of cancer and the tropic of, well, the other one


..Capricorn? Yes, this is probably the best way. Otherwise, call a technician and explain to him what you want.
that's the one!
_________________________
Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure, but not anymore!

Mussorgski tableaux d'une exposition/Rachmaninoff etudes tableaux op.39

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#1450457 - 06/04/10 08:44 PM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: dolce sfogato]
Mostly Offline
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Registered: 05/14/10
Posts: 271
I used to live in the South Pacific, near the tropic of the Capricorn, and if there's one thing I can tell you, it's that the only thing getting warm and moist and sticky will be your fingers. And maybe the keyboard flooded with shed skin. Your piano, on the other sticky hand, will die an horrible and painful death.

Or so the story of the poor upright I had at the time goes.


Edited by Mostly (06/04/10 08:45 PM)

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#1450461 - 06/04/10 08:47 PM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: Mostly]
dolce sfogato Offline
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Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2641
Loc: Netherlands
I played a concert once on a Carribean island, and little white bugs came creaping out of the whole instrument, very disconcerting, haha
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Mussorgski tableaux d'une exposition/Rachmaninoff etudes tableaux op.39

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#1450462 - 06/04/10 08:50 PM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: dolce sfogato]
Mostly Offline
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Registered: 05/14/10
Posts: 271
At least you made the music come alive, I guess ? Is it what they call "mushy" playing ?

Is it not Plato that said little white bugs were the souls of the dead or something like that ? Or was it black butterflies ? Anyways you definitly conjured something there. Or maybe you just inspire that kind of audience...


Edited by Mostly (06/04/10 08:50 PM)

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#1450466 - 06/04/10 08:57 PM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: Mostly]
dolce sfogato Offline
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Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2641
Loc: Netherlands
bfff, and another instance was in this new concerthall, opening recital, a spider came down from this really high ceiling, on it's little invisible thread, dangling above the keyboard, me playing something really difficult, I had to laugh so hard internally, and hope the spider would't land on the keys, whitch it didn't luckily, that I don't remember how
I played, got a nice applause, so it worked out well...
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Mussorgski tableaux d'une exposition/Rachmaninoff etudes tableaux op.39

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#1450473 - 06/04/10 09:13 PM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: dolce sfogato]
Mostly Offline
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Registered: 05/14/10
Posts: 271
During my exams this year, I had a fly constantly landing on the keys while I was playing. So irritating. It was a huge fly too, I could almost hear it "bzzzt" around ; not only did it make me lose concentration (my spirit is so weak...), I also somewhat lost my "mental balance", like where the keys are relative to me, and almost made a handful of wrong notes ; luckily it was the andante from the appassionata, so I managed to hold the pedal for a while and chase it away with a swift yet elegant slap.

I've heard that in distant lands they torture pianists that are found to be spies by forcing them to play with flies and water dripping in the background. Most end up insane.

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#1450589 - 06/05/10 01:50 AM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: Mostly]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Warm playing is about gripping not poking the keys. I had mice living in a piano once - the nest was right under the keys!
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#1450635 - 06/05/10 06:28 AM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: keyboardklutz]
stores Offline
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Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6646
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Warm playing is about gripping not poking the keys. I had mice living in a piano once - the nest was right under the keys!


Their body heat warmed the keys thus enhancing your ability to produce a warm tone, yes?
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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#1450643 - 06/05/10 06:49 AM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: Mostly]
casinitaly Offline

Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 5022
Loc: Italy
Originally Posted By: Mostly

I've heard that in distant lands they torture pianists that are found to be spies by forcing them to play with flies and water dripping in the background. Most end up insane.


I think I could cope with the water, but dripping flies ?? ewwwww. (sorry, I couldn't resist! smile )
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Everything's too hard until you make it easy. Follow your teacher's instructions and practice wisely/much, and you'll soon wonder how you ever found it hard ;)-BobPickle
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#1450939 - 06/05/10 04:50 PM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: Mostly]
MaryBee Offline
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Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 1212
Loc: Cleveland, OH
Originally Posted By: Mostly
I've heard that in distant lands they torture pianists that are found to be spies by forcing them to play with flies and water dripping in the background. Most end up insane.
laugh
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Current mantra: Play outside the box.
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#1451007 - 06/05/10 07:58 PM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: Pogorelich.]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13789
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich
No you should be able to produce a good sound on any piano.


If that were true, universities and concert halls would buy Samick and Young Chang grands. They're cheaper!
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"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#1451020 - 06/05/10 08:28 PM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: Mostly]
Arghhh Offline
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Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 1089
Originally Posted By: Mostly
I've heard that in distant lands they torture pianists that are found to be spies by forcing them to play with flies and water dripping in the background. Most end up insane.


Isn't that what happened to Chopin on Majorca?

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#1451029 - 06/05/10 08:55 PM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: Kreisler]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6646
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich
No you should be able to produce a good sound on any piano.


If that were true, universities and concert halls would buy Samick and Young Chang grands. They're cheaper!


Not so, because she's not talking about the voice of the piano itself, but the sound you produce. A great pianist can make a piece of sh*t piano sound good...have heard it done many, many times.
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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#1451041 - 06/05/10 09:33 PM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: stores]
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5484
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: stores
Not so, because she's not talking about the voice of the piano itself, but the sound you produce. A great pianist can make a piece of sh*t piano sound good...have heard it done many, many times.


Well, then you haven't played those pianos in the practice rooms recently, have you??? I don't care if Liszt or Chopin came back to life, NO ONE can sound good on a piece of junk piano. The pianists you're talking about can make a "decent" piano sound "superior." Maybe that's about it.
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#1451056 - 06/05/10 09:48 PM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: stores]
al-mahed Offline
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Registered: 12/09/09
Posts: 769
Loc: Rio de Janeiro
Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich
No you should be able to produce a good sound on any piano.


If that were true, universities and concert halls would buy Samick and Young Chang grands. They're cheaper!


Not so, because she's not talking about the voice of the piano itself, but the sound you produce. A great pianist can make a piece of sh*t piano sound good...have heard it done many, many times.


In fact, my teacher agrees with Angelina and Stores. I think there are two different things: one thing is the responsability of the artist to deliver a great rendition no matter how crapy the instrument is. On the other hand, of course one cannot deliver this great rendition with its full capabilities without a good instrument.

That is: don't use as an excuse the condition of the instrument. I don't know if I agree completely with stores/angelina/my teacher point-of-view, since I play at crapy pianos every week and I know what is a piano full of keys with "personality".
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#1451060 - 06/05/10 09:51 PM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: al-mahed]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13789
Loc: Iowa City, IA
The piano is a limiting factor, though. Given two players and one piano, the better player will obviously produce the better tone.

But given two pianos and one great players, the better piano will sound better.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#1451081 - 06/05/10 10:23 PM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: Kreisler]
BDB Offline
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For a pianist of my moderate caliber, the piano makes a substantial difference. A bad action throws my timing off, and I have to compensate for that before I can begin to work on the tone.
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#1451131 - 06/05/10 11:36 PM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: BDB]
Arghhh Offline
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Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 1089
Back to the warm tone issue, either Dalton Baldwin or Gerald Moore (I forget which of these famed collaborative artists it was) supposedly had very fleshy fingertips and claimed that this is what helped him get a warm sound. If you play more torwards the tip of your finger (by the nail), you should get a harder sound as there is less cushioning.

On the other hand, I'm sure there are people out there who say this can't change the tone of the piano.

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#1451143 - 06/05/10 11:56 PM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: AZNpiano]
stores Offline
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Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6646
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: stores
Not so, because she's not talking about the voice of the piano itself, but the sound you produce. A great pianist can make a piece of sh*t piano sound good...have heard it done many, many times.


Well, then you haven't played those pianos in the practice rooms recently, have you??? I don't care if Liszt or Chopin came back to life, NO ONE can sound good on a piece of junk piano. The pianists you're talking about can make a "decent" piano sound "superior." Maybe that's about it.


Sure they can. I've heard many excellent pianists who have floored the room by playing pianos that no one else wants anything to do with.
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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#1451156 - 06/06/10 12:24 AM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: Kreisler]
Opus_Maximus Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/04
Posts: 1489
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich
No you should be able to produce a good sound on any piano.


If that were true, universities and concert halls would buy Samick and Young Chang grands. They're cheaper!


I'm with Angelina on this one; if one really knows what they are doing, it is possible to get a beautiful sound on any piano (unless it is JUST GOD AWFUL..like the worse .00001% of pianos on the planet). Besides, you can control dynamics on any piano, and since sound quality is basically a heightened manipulation of dynamics, timing, and pedaling, it should be possible. Of course it will not be AS GOOD as the sound of a Steinway grand, but you should still be able to achieve your sound ideal.

I think the answer to the original question is that different sound qualities on the piano are the result of different amounts of pressure being applied to the key by the arm. Before you strike a key with your finger, you should be able to already know by the feeling in your arm and the amount of controlled tension how it will sound. Try to experiment with different types of attacks and arm pressures until you hit the jackpot. The key to all of this is having a free arm but firm fingers, and, most importantly, a discerning ear.

Another thing I would recommend (I know a lot of people are against this), is to listen to a lot of recordings of pianists who have a warm tone. Gilels, Cherkassky, Horowitz, Nyierhyazi, etc. Don't try to imitate them, rather just listen and listen.
I remember watching the way Gilels played a single note in the video of appasionata that changed my playing forever..
Since 90% of piano playing is in the ear and mind, the clearer our mental image of what we want our sound to be is, the greater our body will find it's most natural way to express the sound you want.


Edited by Opus_Maximus (06/06/10 12:26 AM)

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#1451161 - 06/06/10 12:31 AM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: Opus_Maximus]
Nikolas Online   content
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Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5261
Loc: Europe
Good <> amazing/great.

You can get a good sound from almost any piano. But good is always in conjuction with the piano you're using.

I mean, if this general comment was true 100% then we should also be able to get a great sound from digital pianos as well! LOL!
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#1451164 - 06/06/10 12:48 AM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: stores]
BDB Offline
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Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: stores
Not so, because she's not talking about the voice of the piano itself, but the sound you produce. A great pianist can make a piece of sh*t piano sound good...have heard it done many, many times.


Well, then you haven't played those pianos in the practice rooms recently, have you??? I don't care if Liszt or Chopin came back to life, NO ONE can sound good on a piece of junk piano. The pianists you're talking about can make a "decent" piano sound "superior." Maybe that's about it.


Sure they can. I've heard many excellent pianists who have floored the room by playing pianos that no one else wants anything to do with.


I have heard many excellent pianists complain about pianos that are far better than anything most of you would ever play.
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#1451645 - 06/06/10 10:56 PM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: BDB]
Axtremus Offline
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Registered: 08/29/03
Posts: 6180
Originally Posted By: BDB

I have heard many excellent pianists complain about pianos that are far better than anything most of you would ever play.
May be that's because they're just missing their old college practice room pianos? grin

To the original question ... no one has mention this one yet:

Try using the una corda pedal. Don't step it all the way down; just step it down a little bit, just enough to shift the hammer grooves off the strings by a little, but still hitting all strings.

It's just one more thing you can combine with all the other things that have been suggested. Good luck exploring.
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#1451668 - 06/07/10 12:09 AM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: Axtremus]
PianistOne111 Offline
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Registered: 08/19/06
Posts: 292
Loc: Utah
"Warm" has been used to describe many things, but I see it refer to one thing the most: loud fundamentals relative to overtones. For a pianist, that means slower strike velocities (i.e. softer playing) and using the una corda pedal so that softer felt strikes the strings. For technicians, it means softening the hammers.
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#1451676 - 06/07/10 12:25 AM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: Kreisler]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4528
Loc: in the past
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich
No you should be able to produce a good sound on any piano.


If that were true, universities and concert halls would buy Samick and Young Chang grands. They're cheaper!


I'm talking ONLY about sound and its quality. If you are capable of playing a nice, round loud sound on one piano, you should be able to produce the same type of non-ugly, non-harsh sound on another piano. Doesn't mean it'll be easier to play or that you'll sound the same on a crappy piano.

I know perfectly well that some pianos should simply be lit on fire =) It would be better for all of us......... Especially steinways with no upper register mad
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#1451679 - 06/07/10 12:34 AM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: AZNpiano]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4528
Loc: in the past
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: stores
Not so, because she's not talking about the voice of the piano itself, but the sound you produce. A great pianist can make a piece of sh*t piano sound good...have heard it done many, many times.


Well, then you haven't played those pianos in the practice rooms recently, have you??? I don't care if Liszt or Chopin came back to life, NO ONE can sound good on a piece of junk piano. The pianists you're talking about can make a "decent" piano sound "superior." Maybe that's about it.


I play on such pieces of work every day

In fact last year I heard a young, very very talented pianist give an entire recital on a crappy little upright in a church, and he sounded like a god. With stuff like Appassionata, Ravel Miroirs and some Rach.

Also isn't it funny how Richter didn't care what he played on? And he always sounded amazng =)
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

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#1451782 - 06/07/10 08:40 AM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: Pogorelich.]
timbo77 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 268
Loc: Singapore
Is someone able to upload two recordings (or videos) of the same piece on the same piano, one played with a "warm" tone, one without, to demonstrate ways of achieving this?

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#1451888 - 06/07/10 12:39 PM Re: How to Produce a "Warm" Tone [Re: timbo77]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Like recording is soo accurate.
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