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#2130230 - 08/09/13 07:29 AM getting the pp dynamic right
casinitaly Offline

Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 4678
Loc: Italy
I've got some fast arpeggios in my Grieg piece (Op 12 N3 Watchman Song) which are making me a bit mad.

I've been practicing with the silent feature (digital) and also with the acoustic. Getting the arpeggios using the digital version is a bit easier but only a bit.
Using the acoustic I really can't get an even result.

I can't get a smooth sound (I generally end with at least one empty note ) and I find it very hard to keep it all "pp".

I have no teacher to turn to right now ... any tips from my fellow ABFers?

I really don't know what to do to make this work and the deadline is starting to loom.
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#2130237 - 08/09/13 07:52 AM Re: getting the pp dynamic right [Re: casinitaly]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2342
Loc: Virginia, USA
Struggling with this in my Debussy too.

With that piece I have to bring out one or two notes in every arpeggio so getting pp and some more mp is tricky but slow practice is helping.

And as my teacher pointed out, for this it's really ear training we are doing.

OK, more specific advice: Totally relaxed hand as always but more so wink. Slow, slow, slow practice. Yup, one of those times where we all say, "But I can do it slowly, it's just at speed" but I'm really finding it's starting to help with the Debussy. Arm weight as much as possible because you want finger speed to be slow. And, yup, hardest thing is to get those fingers moving slowly but the speed quick. Which really means starting the finger movements earlier. So, practice, practice, practice.

Oh, and I note that my teacher's pp tends to be more what I would term mp with the key thing being she always has great dynamic range and phrasing.
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#2130241 - 08/09/13 08:15 AM Re: getting the pp dynamic right [Re: casinitaly]
Saranoya Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/13
Posts: 474
Loc: Brussels, Belgium
Hi Cheryl,

This may not be very useful to you, because it's pretty hard to replicate, but I'll tell you anyway because it might give you inspiration for how to tackle this in a similar way on your end, with whatever materials or equipment you might have.

As you'll recall, I practiced the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata for months, mostly during a time when I had no piano at home. By the beginning of January, the piece had been pretty much ingrained into my muscle memory, but the first time I played it for my teacher, she drew three angry circles around the 'sempre pp' (they are still there), and pretty much left it at that.

For the next eight or ten weeks after that, I practiced in a pub where there was not only a pretty old and 'rusty' acoustic piano (as opposed to the lighter-to-the-touch, relatively new digital I had been playing up to that point), but also much background noise at almost all times. Needless to say, playing pp was not easy in that setting, and to make matters worse, it was hard to hear whether or not I was playing evenly, in terms of dynamics, through all that background noise.

Then I discovered a drum set in the corner of the room. I figured out that if I released the tension on the snare drum, the snare would resonate with the piano every time I went over a certain volume level. So I learned to listen for the snare drum. If I managed to keep it quiet through an entire performance of the piece, that meant I was playing pp pretty evenly. It became a game of sorts.

Of course, after a week or so of practicing that way, I discovered that when I played the same way on the grand at my lesson, the bass was now *too* quiet. But I had learned a level of control I hadn't had before, so that now I could consciously choose when to play really quietly, and when to play with more volume. This is something that has helped me develop a lighter touch in all of my other pieces, too, which earned me a comment of 'nicely delicate touch' from one of the jurors at my piano exam in June.

So, uh ... buy yourself a snare drum? wink Or more likely: find something else in your house that makes some kind of noise in sympathetic resonance with your piano, but only when you play it loudly. It just might work!
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#2130245 - 08/09/13 08:21 AM Re: getting the pp dynamic right [Re: casinitaly]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2238
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: casinitaly
I've got some fast arpeggios in my Grieg piece...
Are these the septuplets?

Are you using 1-2-3-5 or 1-2-4-5 and have you tried both? Despite my 3 being more reliable than my 4 I'm hardly using any finger movement here and I get more even using 1-2-4-5.

Are you working your fingers or just holding the chord shape and rolling your hand back and forth (with a little wrist action to keep the shoulder weight over the finger that's currently playing)? Fingers are weak and need a lot of muscular force compared to the shoulder. That makes them difficult to control. The shoulder muscles are stronger so they can be more delicate.

Try to imagine playing these notes from your shoulder by controlling a stick (your arm) with four rigid prongs on the end, shaped for the chord. Then soften the bedding of the key by using the springs in your elbow and wrist.

A picture here (or more precisely a video) would be worth a thousand words!

Any help?
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#2130254 - 08/09/13 08:46 AM Re: getting the pp dynamic right [Re: Andy Platt]
casinitaly Offline

Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 4678
Loc: Italy
Thanks Andy -
I have some questions about what you wrote.

Slow, ok, I get that. Practice practice practice. Ok, got that too.

Arm weight - I suppose let the arm be heavy so that fingers are light?

But --getting the fingers moving slowly but the speed quick? You lost me there. Likewise on starting the movements earlier...
(do you regret trying to help now? )
sorry, but I'm at sea.


Originally Posted By: Andy Platt

Arm weight as much as possible because you want finger speed to be slow. And, yup, hardest thing is to get those fingers moving slowly but the speed quick. Which really means starting the finger movements earlier.


Saranoya - I can see what you are talking about..the only think I can think of doing to simulate that might be with the fall board of my piano. If it isn't positioned "just so" - it vibrates. I don't know if it vibrates because of frequencies or volume - I'll have to check. Not sure that it will help , but I'll check it out.

Richard: I'm using 3 and 5 not 4 and 5. I believe I have formed a pretty clear picture in my mind's eye of what you described. (I am sitting at the computer moving my shoulder -- and think maybe I see a connection between Andy's tip and this...

Well, I'll certainly give these ideas my best shot!

Thanks very much for such quick replies, I appreciate them very much!


Edited by casinitaly (08/09/13 01:57 PM)
Edit Reason: to correct my inverted numbers for the fingering!
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#2130299 - 08/09/13 10:11 AM Re: getting the pp dynamic right [Re: casinitaly]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
casinitaly, I have read your post, here:

I've got some fast arpeggios in my Grieg piece (Op 12 N3 Watchman Song) which are making me a bit mad.

I've been practicing with the silent feature (digital) and also with the acoustic. Getting the arpeggios using the digital version is a bit easier but only a bit.
Using the acoustic I really can't get an even result.

I can't get a smooth sound (I generally end with at least one empty note ) and I find it very hard to keep it all "pp".

I have no teacher to turn to right now ... any tips from my fellow ABFers?

I really don't know what to do to make this work and the deadline is starting to loom.

____________________________________________________

casinitaly says: I've got some fast arpeggios in my Grieg piece (Op 12 N3 Watchman Song) which are making me a bit mad. I've been practicing with the silent feature (digital) and also with the acoustic. Getting the arpeggios using the digital version is a bit easier but only a bit. using the acoustic I really can't get an even result. I can't get a smooth sound (I generally end with at least one empty note ) and I find it very hard to keep it all "pp". I have no teacher to turn to right now ... any tips from my fellow ABFers? I really don't know what to do to make this work and the deadline is starting to loom.

humblebeginnerpianoplayer says: You will, of course, be guided by advanced piano players, but as a beginner, playing the piano you should read though the piece to make sure you know the names of the notes. Next, you crawl through the measures slowly reading, saying and playing the notes without mistakes. It can take many hours, days, weeks of playing slowly without mistakes, and it can take it my hours, days, weeks, of playing slowly without mistakes and playing the piece smoothly. And, of course, it is all about listening to yourself play the notes. I humbly submit that it has nothing to do with a teacher, because playing any music is all about going slowly without mistakes and listening to yourself. It doesn't matter whether you are playing an digital piano of the worst quality or if you are playing an acoustic piano of the worst quality, it is the playing and the listening and doing it all slowly without makes that matter. Cheers, don't quit, just be patient, you will do just fine.



Edited by Michael_99 (08/09/13 10:17 AM)

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#2130329 - 08/09/13 11:13 AM Re: getting the pp dynamic right [Re: casinitaly]
casinitaly Offline

Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 4678
Loc: Italy
Michael, thank you for your encouraging words. Maybe a teacher isn't necessary, but sometimes good advice is.

You're quite right that playing slowly is one of the major keys to making improvements - I'm working on that!
_________________________
Interested in MOYD? Check out the RULES!
XVIII-XXXIII
Performance anxiety: make it part of your daily routine and deal with it...Cope! zrtf90

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#2130360 - 08/09/13 12:09 PM Re: getting the pp dynamic right [Re: casinitaly]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2238
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: casinitaly
...playing slowly is one of the major keys to making improvements...
Yes! And I'm not intending to put the cat among the pigeons but...

These notes are meant to be a single fluid motion, a blur, seven notes in the time of one quaver/eighth note. These are the Spirits of the Night, after Shakespeare's three witches. Even practising this passage at a speed of two to four seconds per quaver, with concentrated mental preparation before playing each note/chord, this figure should spring from one motion, one impulse, one cycle of hand/wrist rotation.
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#2130432 - 08/09/13 02:08 PM Re: getting the pp dynamic right [Re: zrtf90]
casinitaly Offline

Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 4678
Loc: Italy
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Originally Posted By: casinitaly
...playing slowly is one of the major keys to making improvements...
Yes! And I'm not intending to put the cat among the pigeons but...

These notes are meant to be a single fluid motion, a blur, seven notes in the time of one quaver/eighth note. These are the Spirits of the Night, after Shakespeare's three witches. Even practising this passage at a speed of two to four seconds per quaver, with concentrated mental preparation before playing each note/chord, this figure should spring from one motion, one impulse, one cycle of hand/wrist rotation.



Don't worry Richard, the pigeons scattered weeks ago when I listened to some top pianists playing, and heard that they do manage to convey the sense of ghosts flitting about.

I think I do have to practice slowly just to make sure I have my hand positioned properly, in order to achieve the effect - but it won't be a "one note at a t
ime" slowly.

(In fact I was practicing this after reading the posts today - and this, combined with some feedback Morodiene gave me earlier seems to be helping....though I am fighing muscle tension big time!!) ....?
_________________________
Interested in MOYD? Check out the RULES!
XVIII-XXXIII
Performance anxiety: make it part of your daily routine and deal with it...Cope! zrtf90

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#2130437 - 08/09/13 02:17 PM Re: getting the pp dynamic right [Re: Saranoya]
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5292
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Originally Posted By: Saranoya
So, uh ... buy yourself a snare drum? wink


Best advice evah. . .

Cathy
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#2130440 - 08/09/13 02:24 PM Re: getting the pp dynamic right [Re: casinitaly]
keystring Online   content
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Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11205
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Do you have/use the soft pedal on your acoustic? That said, I'm going through soft pedal madness with my digital. I've learned that on grand pianos, everything moves to one side so that the hammers hit less strings. You get a different quality of sound, and not just "quieter". On upright pianos, the hammers are moved closer to the strings, like hammering with a short handled hammer vs. a longer one - less force. It doesn't have the same effect. My DP's soft pedal settings aren't adjustable, and there is hardly any difference. That is, I have a "grand piano 1" and "grand piano 2". If I use 2, then the difference is greater, but it kills loud sounds, and especially loudness in the bass. Part of my music asks for quiet followed by sudden rapid loudness in the bass. 2 also does weird things to the tone. So back to 1, where the soft pedal doesn't do much.

So can you pull in the soft pedal on yours?


Edited by keystring (08/09/13 02:40 PM)

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#2130444 - 08/09/13 02:36 PM Re: getting the pp dynamic right [Re: keystring]
PianoStudent88 Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 2987
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: keystring
On acoustic pianos, the hammers are moved closer to the strings, like hammering with a short handled hammer vs. a longer one - less force.

Upright pianos, not acoustic pianos in general. As I understand it, the effect is like hammering starting the hammer head from a closer distance above the nail vs. far away from the nail, rather than changing the length of the handle. (Although changing the length of the handle would be another way to reduce the force.)
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#2130446 - 08/09/13 02:40 PM Re: getting the pp dynamic right [Re: casinitaly]
keystring Online   content
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I corrected the word I intended to use.

With the action of the grand piano, when two strings are hit vs. one string being hit, there is a different quality of sound because of the interaction of the two strings.

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#2130454 - 08/09/13 02:58 PM Re: getting the pp dynamic right [Re: keystring]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2238
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: keystring
With the action of the grand piano, when two strings are hit vs. one string being hit, there is a different quality of sound because of the interaction of the two strings.
Not quite. It strikes two strings rather than three for the bulk of the keys giving less tonal power but because the action is shifted slightly to the right it uses a softer (less worn) piece of hammer felt. It's the hammer that changes the tone.

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#2130455 - 08/09/13 02:58 PM Re: getting the pp dynamic right [Re: casinitaly]
dire tonic Offline
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Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1054
Loc: uk south
- have you tried playing the first note of the arpeggio with the LH thumb?

- actually, just realised I was cheating a bit with this by not playing the last note of the arpeggio...but the effect is still ok to my ear.



Edited by dire tonic (08/09/13 03:06 PM)

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#2130469 - 08/09/13 03:45 PM Re: getting the pp dynamic right [Re: keystring]
PianoStudent88 Online   content
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Registered: 06/16/11
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Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: keystring
I corrected the word I intended to use.

I figured it was an unintentional typo, and that you were describing both grand and upright actions, and the differences between them. I should have worded my post differently to make that clear.
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#2130471 - 08/09/13 03:48 PM Re: getting the pp dynamic right [Re: casinitaly]
keystring Online   content
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I appreciated that you caught it, PianoStudent88. smile

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#2130480 - 08/09/13 04:34 PM Re: getting the pp dynamic right [Re: zrtf90]
keystring Online   content
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Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Originally Posted By: keystring
With the action of the grand piano, when two strings are hit vs. one string being hit, there is a different quality of sound because of the interaction of the two strings.
Not quite. It strikes two strings rather than three for the bulk of the keys giving less tonal power but because the action is shifted slightly to the right it uses a softer (less worn) piece of hammer felt. It's the hammer that changes the tone.

Richard, I don't doubt that the texture of the hammer may be different which will affect sound - like hitting a pot with a wooden spoon or a metal spoon - but that does not make what I wrote untrue. First, a different number of strings are being hit: 2 instead of 3 where there are 3; 1 instead of 2 where there are 2 strings. That is half as many voices: think of two singers singing at the same volume, and one of them stops.

Then there is the "interaction" I alluded to. Strings are often "imperfect" (diameter fluctuations, twists etc.) so that they have a beat, which gives a texture or quality to the sound. So when you have 2 or 3 strings, you might have several sets of beats going on, which gives another texture. If less strings are vibrating, the texture will be different. Also, strings don’t stay perfectly 100% in tune, and that will also have an effect. All of that will affect the type of sound you get. Less strings will change that quality.

So to summarize, on a grand piano, the shifting mechanism that changes the number of strings being hit causes the following changes:
- the hammer possibly having a softer texture (Richard's contribution)
- a different number of strings being heard (like 2 singers instead of 3, or 1 singer instead of 2) (also in Richard's contribution as "tonal power")
- the interaction of beats of each of the strings when there are beats, or depending on the tuning of each string (less complex)

Altogether this creates a changed quality of sound, and not just a quieter sound.

On an upright piano, the hammers are moved closer, creating less striking force. The same number of strings are struck, but it is quieter through the lessened force (distance X time). The textures or qualities are not changed.


Edited by keystring (08/09/13 05:01 PM)

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#2130487 - 08/09/13 05:07 PM Re: getting the pp dynamic right [Re: casinitaly]
casinitaly Offline

Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 4678
Loc: Italy
ok. um... working my way through the nuances of pedals and their functions..... to answer Keystring's question....I'm not sure.!

I have 3 pedals, the right is the normal one, the centre is to shift and lift the hammers off the strings for when I use the digital mode and the left.... I have no idea! I've never used it.

Just a minute...

Ok... I tried it. Um yes.... I have a soft pedal.
This may be of infinite help in getting through this piece!

Diretonic --- yes, I have indeed tried playing the first note of the arpeggio with my LH thumb - and I may go back to that as I feel a LOT of tension with the other techniques. I will still work on the suggestions for rotation that I've received (and check out that snare drum concept !) - but I think that until I have the support of my teacher to help me with the tension I may be putting myself at risk again - and I don't want to do that. I lost several months of playing due to worked up tension I couldn't get rid of and I am very very cautious now.

Thanks again for all the tips, suggestions and encouragement - and for teaching me something new about my piano!
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#2130510 - 08/09/13 06:33 PM Re: getting the pp dynamic right [Re: keystring]
JimF Offline
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Registered: 10/08/09
Posts: 1610
Loc: south florida
just to add one item to your list keystring... on a grand I think the reduced number of strings hit also produces a somewhat (possibly subtle) different resonance (if that is the right term) from nearby strings. You can use the Una Corda in many pieces, not only for pp, but even if it is just to get that slightly different coloration for additional interest.
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#2130512 - 08/09/13 06:41 PM Re: getting the pp dynamic right [Re: casinitaly]
JimF Offline
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Registered: 10/08/09
Posts: 1610
Loc: south florida
Cheryl,

Originally Posted By: saranoya
....find something else in your house that makes some kind of noise in sympathetic resonance with your piano.....


You could borrow my yellow lab Alfredo....he's very reliable as a resonating accompanyment....and only requires a 50 pound sack of food every few weeks and the odd biscuit or two now and then.
FOB So. Florida. Oh, and he loves opera and Italian food. grin
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#2130592 - 08/10/13 01:49 AM Re: getting the pp dynamic right [Re: casinitaly]
Gary D. Online   content
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Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4650
Loc: South Florida
There are many factors that are important with the soft pedal (una corda)

1) Each string will always be imperfect. Imperfections cause "false beats". The speed of the beats is roughly determined by those imperfections. (There are other things that cause strings to beat alone.) When a single string beats noticeably, sometimes it is called a "wild string".

2) Because any string may have a "false beat", nothing is more annoying to tuners. It is quite possible for all three strings in a unison to have false beats, all at a different speed, so no matter how in tune those three strings are, they will sound out of tune - often horribly so.

3) Anytime a string is stopped from vibrating, the remaining strings (in a unison) will more easily sound in tune. This is especially noticeable in the register that contains only 2 strings. If the string that is "removed from the sound" is out of tune with the remaining string(s), at times a "note" that sounds out of tune without the soft pedal suddenly sounds in tune. Beats are stopped.

4) For all the above reasons depressing the soft pedal tends to make a "purer sound" - because some potential tuning problems are removed.

5) Removing one string from three or two obviously also "thins" the sound.

6) The shift of the hammers does not necessarily make any change in sound, but probably about 99.9% of the time it will because the hammers will be harder where they normally strike the keys.

7) A good technician can do wondrous things to the hammers so that the felt that hits the strings when the pedal is depressed is softer - producing a more mellow sound. How much this is done is up to the technician, which may in turn be at the request of the pianist who is asking for a particular sound.

8) Because the pedal does not have to be fully depressed, any number of infinite gradations exist between fully depressed and fully released.

9) When compared to what a soft pedal does on an upright, the difference is astounding. On an upright normally the only thing that happens is a decrease of striking distance, and since this also involves the introduction of lost motion into the keys, to some extent the feel is lost. Not so on a good grand.
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#2130598 - 08/10/13 02:21 AM Re: getting the pp dynamic right [Re: Gary D.]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
Gary D. , I have read your post, here:


There are many factors that are important with the soft pedal (una corda)

1) Each string will always be imperfect. Imperfections cause "false beats". The speed of the beats is roughly determined by those imperfections. (There are other things that cause strings to beat alone.) When a single string beats noticeably, sometimes it is called a "wild string".

2) Because any string may have a "false beat", nothing is more annoying to tuners. It is quite possible for all three strings in a unison to have false beats, all at a different speed, so no matter how in tune those three strings are, they will sound out of tune - often horribly so.

3) Anytime a string is stopped from vibrating, the remaining strings (in a unison) will more easily sound in tune. This is especially noticeable in the register that contains only 2 strings. If the string that is "removed from the sound" is out of tune with the remaining string(s), at times a "note" that sounds out of tune without the soft pedal suddenly sounds in tune. Beats are stopped.

4) For all the above reasons depressing the soft pedal tends to make a "purer sound" - because some potential tuning problems are removed.

5) Removing one string from three or two obviously also "thins" the sound.

6) The shift of the hammers does not necessarily make any change in sound, but probably about 99.9% of the time it will because the hammers will be harder where they normally strike the keys.

7) A good technician can do wondrous things to the hammers so that the felt that hits the strings when the pedal is depressed is softer - producing a more mellow sound. How much this is done is up to the technician, which may in turn be at the request of the pianist who is asking for a particular sound.

8) Because the pedal does not have to be fully depressed, any number of infinite gradations exist between fully depressed and fully released.

9) When compared to what a soft pedal does on an upright, the difference is astounding. On an upright normally the only thing that happens is a decrease of striking distance, and since this also involves the introduction of lost motion into the keys, to some extent the feel is lost. Not so on a good grand.

_________________________________________________

Just what I never wanted to know. As a beginner of 1 and a half years, I have been introduced to the pedal - just - but I have 3 pedals and I don't know which one is which - I know that bass players - stand-up bass or electric bass - have problems with wild vibrating strings, but I thought that as a piano player I had escaped from issues with strings - thanks for the interesting post. I think I have a very nice 3 legged piano - but the future is unknown - for now - on so many levels.

I could follow your post and understood what you were saying.


Edited by Michael_99 (08/10/13 02:28 AM)

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#2130694 - 08/10/13 09:24 AM Re: getting the pp dynamic right [Re: JimF]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11205
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: JimF
just to add one item to your list keystring... on a grand I think the reduced number of strings hit also produces a somewhat (possibly subtle) different resonance (if that is the right term) from nearby strings.

Would that be when you have depressed both the soft pedal and the sustain which lifts the dampers from the other strings?

The way I found out about this was when I was testing what my DP's soft would do, and somebody listening to the recording said that it sounded like it "only" made it quieter (I forget the exact term), which suggested that other things should be happening too. These "other" things are what I wrote about earlier, belonging to grand pianos.

The thing that gets me is that since the sound of DPs is created artificially and imitating what acoustic pianos do, why would they create a "grand piano" sound, but then create a soft pedal that mimics an upright piano? Why not do the rest?

I had no choice about getting a DP, and also no choice about the "entry level" model because it's all I could afford. I am grateful to have a piano at all. But I have a piece that goes from pp to ff rapidly. Because it's a DP, it won't sound unless the keys are depressed almost all the way and on top of it the soft pedal settings are such that it almost makes no difference. It would have been nice if more thought had been put into the soft pedal.

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#2130732 - 08/10/13 11:02 AM Re: getting the pp dynamic right [Re: keystring]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
keystring, I have read your post, here:

just to add one item to your list keystring... on a grand I think the reduced number of strings hit also produces a somewhat (possibly subtle) different resonance (if that is the right term) from nearby strings.

Would that be when you have depressed both the soft pedal and the sustain which lifts the dampers from the other strings?

The way I found out about this was when I was testing what my DP's soft would do, and somebody listening to the recording said that it sounded like it "only" made it quieter (I forget the exact term), which suggested that other things should be happening too. These "other" things are what I wrote about earlier, belonging to grand pianos.

The thing that gets me is that since the sound of DPs is created artificially and imitating what acoustic pianos do, why would they create a "grand piano" sound, but then create a soft pedal that mimics an upright piano? Why not do the rest?

I had no choice about getting a DP, and also no choice about the "entry level" model because it's all I could afford. I am grateful to have a piano at all. But I have a piece that goes from pp to ff rapidly. Because it's a DP, it won't sound unless the keys are depressed almost all the way and on top of it the soft pedal settings are such that it almost makes no difference. It would have been nice if more thought had been put into the soft pedal.

____________________________________________

I am a beginner. I play a cheap Yam P95 digital and an acoustic. Playing 1 and a half years, I have been introduced to the "pedal", but I NEVER use the pedal on either the digital or the acoustic - maybe some say I will - Using the pedal on any piano to me makes the piano sound muddy. I play pp all the time only using my fingers - and I could play louder only using my fingers - only my postion is that playing louder means being harder on the hands on the digital and harder on the hands on the acoustic - and only harder on the hammers on an acoustic - so I never play louder on any digital or any acoustic unless someone is willing to pay for the trouble it causes.

But with little effort on the fingers I can play pp on the digital and the acoustic, too, - and so, too, I can play louder - but I don't.

But I guess as a beginner - I am not understanding the situation of pp and f.

I should add, that I started on a digital for a year and then I got the 3 legged acoustic. It took me at least 6 month to be able to play pp on the acoustic. It was very, very, difficult to make the switch playing pp but now switching between the 2 is just fine playing pp.



Edited by Michael_99 (08/10/13 11:29 AM)

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#2130942 - 08/10/13 06:03 PM Re: getting the pp dynamic right [Re: casinitaly]
casinitaly Offline

Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 4678
Loc: Italy
Well, I'm certainly being educated on pedals!

Jim -- I'd love to have Alfredo come and stay, I'm sure he would behave nicely and howl at the appropriate times and all that - but I'm not sure that apartment living would be fair to him.
And you know...La Scala is closed in August---no local opera!

What a pity!
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#2130955 - 08/10/13 06:25 PM Re: getting the pp dynamic right [Re: casinitaly]
Bosendorff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/11/12
Posts: 216
Hi casinitaly,

It's indeed much more difficult to achieve a smooth pp or ppp passage on an acoustic than on a digital piano, since the mechanics of an upright or grand offers a wider dynamic range.

Another important thing that could explain why you are having difficulties is the regulation of your piano. Besides the usual aspects of technique and steady piano practice, an acoustic instrument can be very difficult to control at pp or ppp levels if a precise regulation wasn't done yet. Just a thought... Could be part of your problem.

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#2130964 - 08/10/13 06:47 PM Re: getting the pp dynamic right [Re: casinitaly]
casinitaly Offline

Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 4678
Loc: Italy
Bosendorf, thanks for your idea. I can have the tech look at the regulation next time she comes - I've never noticed any problems with it before, but then again, I've never tried this kind of playing before either!
_________________________
Interested in MOYD? Check out the RULES!
XVIII-XXXIII
Performance anxiety: make it part of your daily routine and deal with it...Cope! zrtf90

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#2130983 - 08/10/13 07:52 PM Re: getting the pp dynamic right [Re: casinitaly]
Bosendorff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/11/12
Posts: 216
Hello again casinitaly,

Yes, when you tech comes, ask her to "make the piano as easy as possible to control at pianissimo" and she will now what to do. Adjustments like letoff, drop and aftertouch need good precision - just a few millimeters of difference can make a big difference for precise pp playing, if ever your piano needs it. Until then, happy practice !

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#2130997 - 08/10/13 08:56 PM Re: getting the pp dynamic right [Re: casinitaly]
Sam S Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/07
Posts: 1350
Loc: Georgia, USA
Cheryl, you've gotten some good comments and tips. You are playing them with the right hand, correct? Just checking. If your hand is in an awkward position playing right hand in the bass clef then lean to the left or turn your body or shift on the bench to get the best position so it seems natural.

And pp is relative. What is important is a noticeable difference between the end of the "song" and the beginning of the intermezzo, and then each time it comes back. So don't worry so much about playing it so soft that some notes don't sound, but focus on making a difference that everyone will notice.

Sam
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