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#2105019 - 06/19/13 07:30 PM Detached notes
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
One of my exam pieces requires me to play left hand in detached notes. I am finding it hard as although the notes should be detached, they are not staccato. I keep playing them as staccato and I should try to play them slightly less detached than I would be if they were staccato.

Anyone else have difficulty with playing detacched?

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#2105024 - 06/19/13 07:40 PM Re: Detached notes [Re: adultpianist]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
http://youtu.be/9njdf2kE_J0

Found this tutorial clip. It shows how detached should be played which is not the same as staccato.

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#2105126 - 06/19/13 10:54 PM Re: Detached notes [Re: adultpianist]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11439
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Staccato literally translates to "detached," so I'm a little confused as to what difference you are trying to make. Some things that will help us answer your question:

-What music are you playing? Measure number helps, and even better if you can provide a sample of your score in question
-If you are doing exams, I assume you have a teacher. What does he/she say?
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#2105179 - 06/20/13 02:16 AM Re: Detached notes [Re: Morodiene]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1177
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Staccato literally translates to "detached," so I'm a little confused as to what difference you are trying to make. Some things that will help us answer your question:

-What music are you playing? Measure number helps, and even better if you can provide a sample of your score in question
-If you are doing exams, I assume you have a teacher. What does he/she say?


But if a French composer writes "detache", he doesn't mean "staccato".

One extreme is staccato -- the "on-time" (or key-down time) is very short compared to the note's written duration. The other extreme is legato -- the key of note 1 is released just as the key of note 2 is depressed (or even after note 2 starts).

But there's infinite possibilities in between.

It would, maybe, be worth practicing a gradual transition between pure staccato and pure legato -- either on one repeated note, or on a simple repeated major scale. Just so the ear could hear, and the fingers could feel, the slow change.

. charles

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#2105206 - 06/20/13 04:52 AM Re: Detached notes [Re: adultpianist]
Sundew Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/04/07
Posts: 281
Loc: England
I have an easy piece "Canary" by van den Hove where the publisher specifies LH as non-legato which I took to read as longer than staccato and therefore only slightly detached. Pretty much how I played the notes when I was an outright beginner before Legato was introduced. It took me a while to achieve it combined with the Legato RH but once I managed, it was fine. I found playing really slowly helpful.

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#2105211 - 06/20/13 05:21 AM Re: Detached notes [Re: adultpianist]
UK Paul UK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 396
Loc: Berkshire, England
Best idea for me is to breath between the notes.... as in the gap between two phrase groups. If a staccato is an exclamation mark, then playing a detatched note or notes would be small commas... tiny breaks that give the notes an indevidual identity without being punchy.
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#2105212 - 06/20/13 05:24 AM Re: Detached notes [Re: adultpianist]
UK Paul UK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 396
Loc: Berkshire, England
In my current project i termezza cavalleria rusticana... good practice of groupings and playing notes not joined with phrase marks as slightly detatched... and a slow beautiful piece... good one to work on this with.
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#2105446 - 06/20/13 05:32 PM Re: Detached notes [Re: Morodiene]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Staccato literally translates to "detached," so I'm a little confused as to what difference you are trying to make. Some things that will help us answer your question:

-What music are you playing? Measure number helps, and even better if you can provide a sample of your score in question
-If you are doing exams, I assume you have a teacher. What does he/she say?


Yes I have a teacher and she says when you play staccato, you hit the notes more sharply and when you play the notes detached, you play them less sharply. This is the piece for the exam. The pianist in this clip is doing detached left hand notes.

http://youtu.be/p0wx9ZxkBAA

The next clip is staccato which is played quite differently

http://youtu.be/rqumDNU5dZo

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#2105451 - 06/20/13 05:54 PM Re: Detached notes [Re: adultpianist]
yester Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/04/13
Posts: 76
here's a short but very interesting video about Glenn Gould and his way to play detached notes:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkI-aKqQ1kI
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I made my first piano-step on June 2010.

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#2105478 - 06/20/13 07:56 PM Re: Detached notes [Re: adultpianist]
Derulux Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5286
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: adultpianist
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Staccato literally translates to "detached," so I'm a little confused as to what difference you are trying to make. Some things that will help us answer your question:

-What music are you playing? Measure number helps, and even better if you can provide a sample of your score in question
-If you are doing exams, I assume you have a teacher. What does he/she say?


Yes I have a teacher and she says when you play staccato, you hit the notes more sharply and when you play the notes detached, you play them less sharply. This is the piece for the exam. The pianist in this clip is doing detached left hand notes.

http://youtu.be/p0wx9ZxkBAA

The next clip is staccato which is played quite differently

http://youtu.be/rqumDNU5dZo



Sorry, but I agree with Morodiene on this one. (Morodiene -- we're back on track! haha laugh )

I think your teacher may have confused you by their explanation. Staccato is detached. Accented is "played more sharply". There's a huge difference; that's why we use different words to explain them. wink

I'm going to debunk the "finger staccato" myth by using the very video meant to explain it. Watch from 0:54-0:56 when John Gough demonstrates his own technique. He advocates a "brushing" motion (which I completely disagree with because it makes it very difficult to hit the key evenly every time, particularly at speed), and he advocates performing this "brushing" motion without using the wrist. Yet, in those two seconds that he demonstrates the technique, you'll see his wrist move even more than the student who demonstrates "wrist" staccato at the beginning.

That's because the hand/arm is a playing mechanism. The whole thing works together. You don't ever want to isolate part of the mechanism, because then it has to work overtime to compensate for the fact that you're not using the entire mechanism.

"Brushing" the keys also leads to another problem: in order to play the next note, you have to uncurl your finger, and then recurl it. That is a very slow motion compared to pressing the key. It also causes a lot of fatigue because you're trying to compensate for not using the rest of your playing mechanism.

Let me show you how much weaker those muscles are: go find a ledge you can put your fingertips on. Put just your fingertips on that ledge (up to your first knuckle). Lift yourself off the ground and hold for as long as you can. You might get anywhere up to 60 seconds, but most people won't get anything more than that. Now, go into a pushup position (put your feet up on a chair for extra weight). Instead of standing on your palms, stand on your finger pads (without bending your knuckles backwards, which could hurt). Hold as long as you can. Chances are you will be able to hold this position until your shoulders/arms/core tire from holding the position. Why? It uses a larger muscle group to perform a small operation, which means it will fatigue slower.

At 1:49, Gough goes into this ridiculous wrist-bouncing acrobatic exercise. I'm not even going to comment on how much extra work he's doing to produce a sound, how unnecessary it is, or how I've never seen anyone ever use it in a performance (from Evgeny Kissin all the way down to a first-year student). At 2:15, he advocates isolating. No. Wrong. Don't isolate. Ever. I can prove it. At 3:11, Gough again demonstrates what he means. Watch his arm move (most noticeable at the elbow), even though he's "holding his wrist in place". When he switches to the left hand, it's even more pronounced.

If you want to get into the specifics of what you're doing, or what piece you're working on, please post as Morodiene described. It's much easier to analyze. But please don't confuse what you're seeing/hearing in the videos and the idea of staccato vs accented. smile
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#2105492 - 06/20/13 09:53 PM Re: Detached notes [Re: adultpianist]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11439
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
+1 Derelux...I don't think Gould was a great example. He was very eccentric and so tremendously talented that he could get away with doing crazy/extraneous things technique-wise (not to mention musically and in his personality).
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#2105564 - 06/21/13 03:52 AM Re: Detached notes [Re: Morodiene]
yester Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/04/13
Posts: 76
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
+1 Derelux...I don't think Gould was a great example. He was very eccentric and so tremendously talented that he could get away with doing crazy/extraneous things technique-wise (not to mention musically and in his personality).


Gould doesn't use the technique John Gough (and derelux) is talking about -
take a look to both videos and you will see the difference.


Edited by yester (06/21/13 03:53 AM)
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I made my first piano-step on June 2010.

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#2105566 - 06/21/13 04:00 AM Re: Detached notes [Re: Morodiene]
outo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 529
Loc: Finland
Is this maybe a language thing? For me staccato means a dotted note and detached would mean non legato. Something you play a lot in Baroque. I think people use portato as the same as detached. Maybe it's just psychological, but I do feel there's a difference playing notes marked portato and playing simply detached notes...

The way I have been taught is that the difference between articulations comes more from the way you come out of the note, not the way you push the key. Going into the key faster just produces accents as mentioned above.

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#2105592 - 06/21/13 07:11 AM Re: Detached notes [Re: outo]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2375
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: outo
Is this maybe a language thing? For me staccato means a dotted note and detached would mean non legato. Something you play a lot in Baroque. I think people use portato as the same as detached. Maybe it's just psychological, but I do feel there's a difference playing notes marked portato and playing simply detached notes...

The way I have been taught is that the difference between articulations comes more from the way you come out of the note, not the way you push the key. Going into the key faster just produces accents as mentioned above.


I think there has been some (well intentioned) simplification of detached to staccato when we all know there are a huge number of different lengths, accents, touches and so on involved, all changing through the music. I like the "brush" that has been much maligned in this thread at the end of a phrase. Now that's not the way it was being discussed used and I doubt folks would have a problem with it. But that's what we get trying to delve into a broad subject like this!
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#2105620 - 06/21/13 08:22 AM Re: Detached notes [Re: Derulux]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: adultpianist
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Staccato literally translates to "detached," so I'm a little confused as to what difference you are trying to make. Some things that will help us answer your question:

-What music are you playing? Measure number helps, and even better if you can provide a sample of your score in question
-If you are doing exams, I assume you have a teacher. What does he/she say?


Yes I have a teacher and she says when you play staccato, you hit the notes more sharply and when you play the notes detached, you play them less sharply. This is the piece for the exam. The pianist in this clip is doing detached left hand notes.

http://youtu.be/p0wx9ZxkBAA

The next clip is staccato which is played quite differently

http://youtu.be/rqumDNU5dZo



Sorry, but I agree with Morodiene on this one. (Morodiene -- we're back on track! haha laugh )

I think your teacher may have confused you by their explanation. Staccato is detached. Accented is "played more sharply". There's a huge difference; that's why we use different words to explain them. wink

I'm going to debunk the "finger staccato" myth by using the very video meant to explain it. Watch from 0:54-0:56 when John Gough demonstrates his own technique. He advocates a "brushing" motion (which I completely disagree with because it makes it very difficult to hit the key evenly every time, particularly at speed), and he advocates performing this "brushing" motion without using the wrist. Yet, in those two seconds that he demonstrates the technique, you'll see his wrist move even more than the student who demonstrates "wrist" staccato at the beginning.

That's because the hand/arm is a playing mechanism. The whole thing works together. You don't ever want to isolate part of the mechanism, because then it has to work overtime to compensate for the fact that you're not using the entire mechanism.

"Brushing" the keys also leads to another problem: in order to play the next note, you have to uncurl your finger, and then recurl it. That is a very slow motion compared to pressing the key. It also causes a lot of fatigue because you're trying to compensate for not using the rest of your playing mechanism.

Let me show you how much weaker those muscles are: go find a ledge you can put your fingertips on. Put just your fingertips on that ledge (up to your first knuckle). Lift yourself off the ground and hold for as long as you can. You might get anywhere up to 60 seconds, but most people won't get anything more than that. Now, go into a pushup position (put your feet up on a chair for extra weight). Instead of standing on your palms, stand on your finger pads (without bending your knuckles backwards, which could hurt). Hold as long as you can. Chances are you will be able to hold this position until your shoulders/arms/core tire from holding the position. Why? It uses a larger muscle group to perform a small operation, which means it will fatigue slower.

At 1:49, Gough goes into this ridiculous wrist-bouncing acrobatic exercise. I'm not even going to comment on how much extra work he's doing to produce a sound, how unnecessary it is, or how I've never seen anyone ever use it in a performance (from Evgeny Kissin all the way down to a first-year student). At 2:15, he advocates isolating. No. Wrong. Don't isolate. Ever. I can prove it. At 3:11, Gough again demonstrates what he means. Watch his arm move (most noticeable at the elbow), even though he's "holding his wrist in place". When he switches to the left hand, it's even more pronounced.

If you want to get into the specifics of what you're doing, or what piece you're working on, please post as Morodiene described. It's much easier to analyze. But please don't confuse what you're seeing/hearing in the videos and the idea of staccato vs accented. smile


My teacher did not confuse me. The phrase more sharply was my phrase not hers. Anyway I tried the piece again last night, playing detached and I think I can now do it. Now I have to convince my teacher at the next lesson.

Thanks again for replies

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#2105642 - 06/21/13 09:10 AM Re: Detached notes [Re: yester]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11439
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: yester
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
+1 Derelux...I don't think Gould was a great example. He was very eccentric and so tremendously talented that he could get away with doing crazy/extraneous things technique-wise (not to mention musically and in his personality).


Gould doesn't use the technique John Gough (and derelux) is talking about -
take a look to both videos and you will see the difference.
Sorry I wasn't clear. I was +1 Derulux's post and commenting on Gould as two separate things. I know they are not the same.
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