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#1679565 - 05/17/11 06:00 PM Re: Facial Expressions While Playing. [Re: Saul]
polyphasicpianist Offline
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Registered: 02/21/11
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#1679579 - 05/17/11 06:17 PM Re: Facial Expressions While Playing. [Re: Batuhan]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Registered: 05/29/01
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Uchida was probably conducting but LL wasn't.

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#1679589 - 05/17/11 06:31 PM Re: Facial Expressions While Playing. [Re: Batuhan]
cefinow Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/10
Posts: 355
My current favorite "expressionist." Cyprien Katsaris. Scattered throughout this great rendition are also some great looks-- at the beginning, at 1:20, 2:10, 3:25. The one at 1:20 gets its own inset. If anyone can describe what he might be thinking at 3:25 I would appreciate it! Mad scientist? crazy



Edited by cefinow (05/17/11 06:32 PM)
Edit Reason: identify CK

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#1679611 - 05/17/11 07:08 PM Re: Facial Expressions While Playing. [Re: Frozenicicles]
fledgehog Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/09/11
Posts: 273
Loc: West Hartford, CT
Originally Posted By: Frozenicicles
Sometimes your facial/body expressions can translate into sound. I have heard that smiling when you're talking on the phone makes you sound more happy. It might not be that pianists are employing these movements to impress the audience, but that it genuinely helps them put more expression into the music.


vocals are an entirely separate field altogether -- speaking, singing, or anything else. The shape of your mouth has a drastic effect on your annunciation and articulation. That's one of many factors that allow us to hear a person's emotion even when we can't see them. (I'm sure you've noticed even with rock or jazz records that you can tell when the singer has a huge grin on their face or when they're making an intense angry face).
I'm sure there's a SIMILAR relationship with piano playing -- having that look on your face helps put you in the right mindset, but it isn't as direct a connection as the example you gave.

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#1679621 - 05/17/11 07:25 PM Re: Facial Expressions While Playing. [Re: fledgehog]
polyphasicpianist Offline
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Registered: 02/21/11
Posts: 1238
I don't think anyone here is objecting to normal/human facial expressions, its when you enter the realm of the bizarre and ostentatious that people have an objection. In real-life experiences of profound emotion people simply don't act like Lang Lang and company, why should piano-playing be any exception.

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#1679624 - 05/17/11 07:30 PM Re: Facial Expressions While Playing. [Re: polyphasicpianist]
boo1234 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/06/09
Posts: 489
Originally Posted By: polyphasicpianist


Someone needs to tell her to take off the plastic pancho since it's not raining inside the concert hall lol

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#1679629 - 05/17/11 07:43 PM Re: Facial Expressions While Playing. [Re: Batuhan]
boo1234 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/06/09
Posts: 489
Speaking of Uchida, she didn't always make weird faces...



Which leads me to wonder when and why she developed them


Edited by boo1234 (05/17/11 07:43 PM)

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#1679639 - 05/17/11 08:07 PM Re: Facial Expressions While Playing. [Re: pianoloverus]
fledgehog Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/09/11
Posts: 273
Loc: West Hartford, CT
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Uchida was probably conducting but LL wasn't.


ugh another Lang Lang-ism that I can't stand...when one of his hands doesn't have to play for a couple of beats and he does that fake conducting waving crap in front of the fallboard...i don't care how into the piece you are, it doesn't add anything, unless you're conducting an orchestra as well.

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#1679680 - 05/17/11 09:38 PM Re: Facial Expressions While Playing. [Re: Batuhan]
Kuanpiano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2055
Loc: Canada
Just as yourself the question: Is what you're doing at the keyboard improving the quality of the music coming out? If big actions and facial expressions do improve the quality of the sound you're making, go for it. Otherwise, your effort should be allocated elsewhere...
_________________________
Working on:
Beethoven - Piano Sonata op. 109
Brahms - 6 Klavierstucke op. 118
Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto no.3

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#1679685 - 05/17/11 09:48 PM Re: Facial Expressions While Playing. [Re: Kuanpiano]
Saul Offline
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Registered: 06/18/07
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Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
Just as yourself the question: Is what you're doing at the keyboard improving the quality of the music coming out? If big actions and facial expressions do improve the quality of the sound you're making, go for it. Otherwise, your effort should be allocated elsewhere...


Just ask yourself the question : Does chewing a gum improve the quality of the music coming out?

If yes, should we all say Moo at the piano?

Some things are better left out from the piano, and it doesn’t matter if in fact it improves or doesn’t improve the 'quality of music'... 'coming out'... LOL
_________________________
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#1679686 - 05/17/11 09:51 PM Re: Facial Expressions While Playing. [Re: Batuhan]
Kuanpiano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2055
Loc: Canada
If I'm listening to a CD with great music coming out, I could care less what you're doing while the pianist is playing.


Edited by Kuanpiano (05/17/11 09:51 PM)
_________________________
Working on:
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Brahms - 6 Klavierstucke op. 118
Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto no.3

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#1679772 - 05/18/11 12:43 AM Re: Facial Expressions While Playing. [Re: Saul]
pianoman76 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/07/10
Posts: 15
Originally Posted By: Saul
Just ask yourself the question : Does chewing a gum improve the quality of the music coming out?

If yes, should we all say Moo at the piano?

Even if it doesn't make any sense to me, if their play does somehow actually improve when they chew gum, then I would support their chewing habit. You would rather hear lower quality music because you don't think chewing gum is suitable at the piano? When someone starts choosing something so trivial over the quality of the music, then I guess they don't care very much about music.

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#1679830 - 05/18/11 04:03 AM Re: Facial Expressions While Playing. [Re: polyphasicpianist]
wr Offline
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Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7428
Originally Posted By: polyphasicpianist
I don't think anyone here is objecting to normal/human facial expressions, its when you enter the realm of the bizarre and ostentatious that people have an objection. In real-life experiences of profound emotion people simply don't act like Lang Lang and company, why should piano-playing be any exception.


Piano-playing is an art, that's why. People in real life don't move about by standing on their toes and spinning, either, but that doesn't invalidate ballet.

I am not particularly wanting to encourage all sorts of acting out at the keyboard, but on the other hand, I don't think comparing what happens at the keyboard to "normal" life experiences is really all that valid. Playing the piano is actually a rather bizarre activity, after all.

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#1679869 - 05/18/11 06:23 AM Re: Facial Expressions While Playing. [Re: Batuhan]
bennevis Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4400
How true - there's nothing people do in real life that remotely simulates playing a keyboard. Which is why people with no inhibitions and very extrovert personalities (Lang Lang, Keith Jarrett, Mitsuko Uchida etc) have such, er, wide-ranging body and facial movements.

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#1679876 - 05/18/11 06:40 AM Re: Facial Expressions While Playing. [Re: Batuhan]
Recaredo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/04/11
Posts: 1035
Loc: Southeast of Spain
I love this woman. Some people say that her facial expressions are exaggerated, but I feel her expressions are very communicative.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXL5M38yIP4&feature=fvsr

Cheers.


Edited by Recaredo (05/18/11 06:44 AM)
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#1679891 - 05/18/11 07:24 AM Re: Facial Expressions While Playing. [Re: Batuhan]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
I am reserved in public and expressive in private. I don't believe in drawing attention to one's self. Oddly, I encouraged my very reserved piano student to be a bit more expressive in this one recital.. She wasn't, but she did play with a bit of drama.

All that said, I think Mitsuko Uchida and Lang Lang both are very beautiful.. perhaps because of their over the top expressiveness.

_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1679905 - 05/18/11 07:49 AM Re: Facial Expressions While Playing. [Re: boo1234]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6035
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Originally Posted By: boo1234
Speaking of Uchida, she didn't always make weird faces...



Which leads me to wonder when and why she developed them


Off topic, I corrected the pitch. It's still crazy fast. Wanna have fun? Play both videos at the same time! laugh


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#1679964 - 05/18/11 09:30 AM Re: Facial Expressions While Playing. [Re: Frozenicicles]
Amant Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/07
Posts: 310
Loc: Southwest
Originally Posted By: Frozenicicles
Sometimes your facial/body expressions can translate into sound. I have heard that smiling when you're talking on the phone makes you sound more happy.

Quite right. When gestures are spontaneous, unconscious and driven by the heart's feeling, the communication (speaking singing, playing, dancing, etc.) is enhanced.
Originally Posted By: Frozenicicles
It might not be that pianists are employing these movements to impress the audience, but that it genuinely helps them put more expression into the music.

Quite wrong. In this case the contrived gestures are consciously rehearsed, and driven by the head's calculations, and the resulting communication (speaking singing, playing, dancing etc.) is diminished.

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#1679970 - 05/18/11 09:34 AM Re: Facial Expressions While Playing. [Re: polyphasicpianist]
Amant Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/07
Posts: 310
Loc: Southwest
Originally Posted By: polyphasicpianist


From the looks of it I'd assume that she was one of Macbeth's witches. Double, double toil and trouble, ... and all that rot.

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#1679986 - 05/18/11 09:55 AM Re: Facial Expressions While Playing. [Re: wr]
polyphasicpianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/21/11
Posts: 1238
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: polyphasicpianist
I don't think anyone here is objecting to normal/human facial expressions, its when you enter the realm of the bizarre and ostentatious that people have an objection. In real-life experiences of profound emotion people simply don't act like Lang Lang and company, why should piano-playing be any exception.


Piano-playing is an art, that's why. People in real life don't move about by standing on their toes and spinning, either, but that doesn't invalidate ballet.

I am not particularly wanting to encourage all sorts of acting out at the keyboard, but on the other hand, I don't think comparing what happens at the keyboard to "normal" life experiences is really all that valid. Playing the piano is actually a rather bizarre activity, after all.


Yes playing piano is an art, but it is a musical art. You don't play piano with your face, you play it with your hands and arms and feet. Also, Ballet is a bad analogy for two reasons. 1) Ballet movements are actually used to describe the narritive of the ballet, they are not just there to look good. 2) You watch performances of Ballet and, presumably, listen to performances of Piano.
The priority of the musical artist is the music. If the visuals are distracting from the music, then, from a live performance situation anyway, they are not being true to their art.

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#1680006 - 05/18/11 10:36 AM Re: Facial Expressions While Playing. [Re: polyphasicpianist]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19099
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: polyphasicpianist
You watch performances of Ballet and, presumably, listen to performances of Piano.
Most people watch and listen to a live performance. Only a small percentage of the audience closes their eyes. I think whatever the pianist does visually, even if they choose to do "nothing", is an important part of the performance. (This is not the same thing as saying I favor over the top faces or movements or that the visual part is the most important part.)

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#1680010 - 05/18/11 10:49 AM Re: Facial Expressions While Playing. [Re: Batuhan]
Hank Drake Offline
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Registered: 05/31/01
Posts: 1652
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
The pianists I enjoy watching, as well as hearing, are the ones whose expressions are controlled: Hofmann, Horowitz, Horszowski, especially Rubinstein. Same with conductors - the one who I enjoy watching the most is Toscanini: he's conducting the orchestra, not the audience.

What an aristocratic bearing Rubinstein had, particularly in his later years. He seldom looked at the keys, looking upward while he recalled the score in his mind's eye. Horowitz emotions didn't register on his face because they went directly into the playing, the only physical manifestation was a slight tension on the right side of his face - particularly during trills and rapid passagework.

I think Andre Watts is an underrated pianist (Sony's neglect of his discograpy is shameful), but cannot bear to watch him. As for Lang Lang, don't much like what I see or what I hear.

I've only seen Uchida conducting Mozart Concertos from the keyboard. Her back was to the audience, so I didn't see her face.
_________________________
Hank Drake

The composers want performers be imaginative, in the direction of their thinking--not just robots, who execute orders.
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#1680017 - 05/18/11 10:56 AM Re: Facial Expressions While Playing. [Re: Batuhan]
Hank Drake Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/01
Posts: 1652
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
On a related note, I recently saw an old video of myself playing. What stuck me was not any facial expression or lack thereof, but what nice hair I used to have. smirk
_________________________
Hank Drake

The composers want performers be imaginative, in the direction of their thinking--not just robots, who execute orders.
George Szell

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#1680220 - 05/18/11 04:56 PM Re: Facial Expressions While Playing. [Re: polyphasicpianist]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7428
Originally Posted By: polyphasicpianist
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: polyphasicpianist
I don't think anyone here is objecting to normal/human facial expressions, its when you enter the realm of the bizarre and ostentatious that people have an objection. In real-life experiences of profound emotion people simply don't act like Lang Lang and company, why should piano-playing be any exception.


Piano-playing is an art, that's why. People in real life don't move about by standing on their toes and spinning, either, but that doesn't invalidate ballet.

I am not particularly wanting to encourage all sorts of acting out at the keyboard, but on the other hand, I don't think comparing what happens at the keyboard to "normal" life experiences is really all that valid. Playing the piano is actually a rather bizarre activity, after all.


Yes playing piano is an art, but it is a musical art. You don't play piano with your face, you play it with your hands and arms and feet. Also, Ballet is a bad analogy for two reasons. 1) Ballet movements are actually used to describe the narritive of the ballet, they are not just there to look good. 2) You watch performances of Ballet and, presumably, listen to performances of Piano.
The priority of the musical artist is the music. If the visuals are distracting from the music, then, from a live performance situation anyway, they are not being true to their art.


Yes, I realized when posting, that if taken as a direct analogy, the ballet example was not a good one. I expect you got the point anyway, which was that playing the piano isn't really "normal" life, and so perhaps one should not really expect the performers have the same sort of facial expressions and physical movements as most of us do in everyday life.

The interesting thing about the visuals is that what may be distracting to one listener is enhancing or neutral to another, as you can tell from this thread. Or it may be helping the artist's musical expression, regardless of the effects on people in the audience. So I think it's difficult to make judgements about whether an artist is true to their art, based on their physical presentation.

The pianist with the most extremely distracting manner at the keyboard I've ever seen perform live is Olli Mustonen, but it would never occur to me that he wasn't being true to his art. What he does looked to me to be a totally integral part of how he makes music, even if I in the audience couldn't deal with watching it (I imagine others could, though). I simply closed my eyes, and still enjoyed his playing.

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#1680262 - 05/18/11 05:45 PM Re: Facial Expressions While Playing. [Re: Orange Soda King]
BD76 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 185
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Orange Soda King
Wanna have fun? Play both videos at the same time! laugh


Heh... I did. Was fun crazy
_________________________
~The piano is an orchestra with 88... things, you know! ~V. Horowitz

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#1680282 - 05/18/11 06:05 PM Re: Facial Expressions While Playing. [Re: cefinow]
Rostosky Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/30/11
Posts: 3339
Loc: Lost in cyberspace.in the UK.
Originally Posted By: cefinow
If anyone can describe what he might be thinking at 3:25 I would appreciate it! Mad scientist? crazy



3.25 clearly demonstrates the dawning terror of realising his failure to evacuate bowels before sitting down to play with the added hindsight of the lunchtime curry possibly being a mistake.
_________________________


Rise like lions after slumber,in unvanquishable number. Shake your chains to earth like dew
which in sleep has fallen on you. Ye are many,they are few. Shelley

Founder and creator ofRostoskys 13th crystal skull project

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#1680495 - 05/18/11 10:33 PM Re: Facial Expressions While Playing. [Re: Rostosky]
cefinow Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/10
Posts: 355
Originally Posted By: Rostosky
Originally Posted By: cefinow
If anyone can describe what he might be thinking at 3:25 I would appreciate it! Mad scientist? crazy



3.25 clearly demonstrates the dawning terror of realising his failure to evacuate bowels before sitting down to play with the added hindsight of the lunchtime curry possibly being a mistake.


My apologies for not being more of a fan of scatological humor, no matter how wittily phrased!

Actually, I realized that his look is -- suspenseful! It matches the suspenseful, foreboding sound of that passage-- his expression is the same both times he plays it. (Is the look something he "choreographed" to go along with that sound, I wonder.)

Edit: I should say, both times he has "the look," he is playing the same passage, or theme... not that he only plays it twice...

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#1680519 - 05/18/11 10:58 PM Re: Facial Expressions While Playing. [Re: cefinow]
Rostosky Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/30/11
Posts: 3339
Loc: Lost in cyberspace.in the UK.
With retrospect, as it is happening in the same passages of music (and not the other non humourous passages)
and as he shifts himself on the stool ( the piano stool)
the same each time , it is obviously piles*.

*piles are a medical condition ranging in severity from not important to seriously frightening and have no relation to scatalogical humour.
_________________________


Rise like lions after slumber,in unvanquishable number. Shake your chains to earth like dew
which in sleep has fallen on you. Ye are many,they are few. Shelley

Founder and creator ofRostoskys 13th crystal skull project

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#1680565 - 05/19/11 12:38 AM Re: Facial Expressions While Playing. [Re: Rostosky]
cubop Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 28 2012


Registered: 12/17/10
Posts: 368
Loc: Norway
After watching the videos here, and listening, I finally got it. The great "expressionists" do their best to convince themselves and the audience that they can play the piano, which they can not. With the great performers it is clear that everything they do is aimed at one thing: Transforming technique into music. They are a pleasure to listen to and to watch.
But, if you cant make it, fake it.

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#1686204 - 05/28/11 06:06 PM Re: Facial Expressions While Playing. [Re: Batuhan]
TreeHuggerTom Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 16
You guys should check out this guy. He somehow manages to play the Bach Prelude in C# major from WTC book 1 by tapping on a double fretboard of a guitar. To do this must be so difficult that he cannot control his own facial movements!



Edited by TreeHuggerTom (05/29/11 01:35 PM)

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