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#2165064 - 10/11/13 10:52 PM what would put you off a pianist?
adultpianist Offline
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Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
What partcular manerisms would put you off?

I went to see and hear Helene Grimaud play Brahms and although she is an excellent pianist, she sways aroud on her piano stool which seeing her do in person I found kind of off putting a bit. It was also mentioned by the critics afterwards who did a write up of the concert last night. I kept thinking why cant she sit still. She started swaying on the orchestras introduction to the concerto. To be honest, it looked a little odd.

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#2165105 - 10/12/13 12:45 AM Re: what would put you off a pianist? [Re: adultpianist]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11810
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: adultpianist
What partcular manerisms would put you off?

None. I'm interested in hearing a pianist.

How did she sound?

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#2165118 - 10/12/13 01:35 AM Re: what would put you off a pianist? [Re: adultpianist]
keystring Online   content
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Loc: Canada
Here's a video of the pianist in question.

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#2165122 - 10/12/13 02:07 AM Re: what would put you off a pianist? [Re: keystring]
peterws Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3808
Loc: Northern England.
A lovely sound; an even lovelier sight! I think she likes Beeth!
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes � but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

""

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#2165148 - 10/12/13 04:07 AM Re: what would put you off a pianist? [Re: adultpianist]
sinophilia Offline

Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014


Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 1009
Loc: Italy
Well I don't like to see Martha Argerich smoking... but I still adore her! grin

And I love to see her swaying, smiling and singing while she plays, but then she is never over the top.
_________________________
Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
Martha Argerich... is an incarnation of the artistic metaphor of the "eternal feminine" that draws us upward. (Sergio Sablich)

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#2165176 - 10/12/13 06:15 AM Re: what would put you off a pianist? [Re: adultpianist]
-Frycek Offline
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Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
Ostentatious virtuosity for its own sake regardless of the character and demands of the piece played. I recently heard a performer rip the Butterfly Étude to shreds through excessive speed just because he could but the essential character of the piece was lost. To roughly quote Liszt regarding one of his pupils attempts at ( I believe) The Heroic Polonaise, "I don't want to hear how fast you can play, I want to hear the Polish cavalry!"
_________________________
Slow down and do it right.

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#2165177 - 10/12/13 06:16 AM Re: what would put you off a pianist? [Re: adultpianist]
The Wind Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/28/13
Posts: 468
If that little motion disturbs you I'll bet you can't watch this clip of Keith Jarrett without going nuts.


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#2165179 - 10/12/13 06:22 AM Re: what would put you off a pianist? [Re: adultpianist]
The Wind Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/28/13
Posts: 468
Between the grunting, stomping, gyrations, shoulder shrugs and flailing you might start convulsing yourself!

but hey if you can play like that man I don't care what you do.

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#2165186 - 10/12/13 07:36 AM Re: what would put you off a pianist? [Re: adultpianist]
Morodiene Offline
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I think a lot of these things are on purpose, choreographed and completely unnecessary to playing difficult pieces. It's distracting, IMO.
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#2165187 - 10/12/13 07:36 AM Re: what would put you off a pianist? [Re: adultpianist]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 2107
Loc: Rocky Mountains
I like Helene Grimauld. All the movements included. She's very real to me. She gets into what she's doing. I see her doing what she's doing and expect the piano to be smoking at the end.

Our worldly society tries to train us to be actors. Hide what's real inside. I love people who are being real from the inside.
_________________________
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Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon

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#2165190 - 10/12/13 07:47 AM Re: what would put you off a pianist? [Re: adultpianist]
The Wind Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/28/13
Posts: 468
What I don't like is the exaggerated hand and arm gestures by alot of classical pianists. like they are waving a magic wand like some wizard. and the head bobbing in rhythm to some of the loud passages.

watch this playing by Lang Lang and you'll know what I mean:

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#2165194 - 10/12/13 08:10 AM Re: what would put you off a pianist? [Re: The Wind]
peterws Offline
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Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3808
Loc: Northern England.
There could be a reason for that, insofar as, well, it`s keeping your arm moving so when you next hit the keyboard, all you have to do is continue the motion (in a different direction!) rather than stop and restart the arm, hand. And it flows better. (Looks a bit gay, though . . . .!)
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes � but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

""

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#2165200 - 10/12/13 08:22 AM Re: what would put you off a pianist? [Re: adultpianist]
Mken Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/09/13
Posts: 96
Arrogance and not accepting that others have to start somewhere or start later in life and thus dismissing them as losers as they can't play to a certain standard.
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#2165204 - 10/12/13 08:47 AM Re: what would put you off a pianist? [Re: Mken]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
Would someone who performed like this put you off?

Take away all the flamboyancy and the clothes etc and Liberace is actually an extremely wonderful and talented pianist who can play anthing of any kind be it blues, classical, boogie woogie, you name it. My piano teacher cannot even play jazz.

I think with some pianists, you have to look deeper and really listen to their playing ability and forget about the wild hand movements etc. But with this pianist, it was all an act of showmanship and I thinnk thats what the type of audience who could put up with all of that liked.

http://youtu.be/R2BdoPTGc64

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#2165211 - 10/12/13 09:44 AM Re: what would put you off a pianist? [Re: adultpianist]
The Wind Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/28/13
Posts: 468
well yeah some pianists do it deliberately as part of their entertainment. but in jazz most guys are moving rhythmically with the music if they do it

There's a difference when it's an act vs when it's natural. Excess body movement isn't needed technique wise, as you can see here, with Oscar Peterson playing some blistering solo:



Notice he's smiling and barely moving his head or body, yet those fingers are fast. I really don't care what kind of movement someone does, as long as the music is good. and besides I listen to audio rather than video more, unless it's a live show.


Edited by The Wind (10/12/13 09:46 AM)

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#2165214 - 10/12/13 09:53 AM Re: what would put you off a pianist? [Re: keystring]
Psychonaut Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/21/13
Posts: 234
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: adultpianist
What partcular manerisms would put you off?

None. I'm interested in hearing a pianist.

How did she sound?


This. Whatever makes a performing artist comfortable in their zone is what they should do. That turf belongs to the artist, and while critics may criticize on that level, their criticism is entirely irrelevant.
_________________________
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#2165266 - 10/12/13 12:58 PM Re: what would put you off a pianist? [Re: adultpianist]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

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

subject: what would put you off a pianist?

I went to see and hear Helene Grimaud play Brahms and although she is an excellent pianist, she sways aroud on her piano stool which seeing her do in person I found kind of off putting a bit. It was also mentioned by the critics afterwards who did a write up of the concert last night. I kept thinking why cant she sit still. She started swaying on the orchestras introduction to the concerto. To be honest, it looked a little odd.

__________

What a wonderful post. I will address the specifics of your post, but first I want to tell you a few little stories.

When somebody phoned me about a ski weekend and asked me about the beds. That told me that they would not like the beds or anything that happened that weekend because they had high standards or they were (politely spoken) a complainer. I instantly said that the beds were terrible and that they would end up with a sore back and the springs would dig into their rib cage during the night while they slept. I also suggested they would not enjoy the weekend. You see, if you know anything about skiing - it is about being in the outdoors in the snow - and be you 18 or 80 - your body would ache not because of the bad beds, but because you skied all day playing your heart out and you were beyond tired at noon - but you skied until it got dark and then headed down the hill for dinner. When you hit the bed to sleep you didn't feel how bad the beds were because you fell asleep within a second and woke up the next morning with all your muscles aching but it was not the bed - it was because you used all your muscles all day and they needed time to recuperate. So the beds do not ever matter!

When you open the door in the morning, you have to remind yourself that you live in an imperfect world so that when you see imperfections, you can put them in perspective. Some of the reasons that people drink alcohol is because they can't stand the imperfections of other people.

Of course, I don't know how old you are. If you are a young person - under the age of 40 or 50 as opposed to 50 and 100 - being old - then when you are looking for a friend, a lover, a partner in business, a partner in marriage, etc. you look very closely at the person for all the things that are good in the person - and that is what is expected - but if you are an old person, you only worry about the things that are bad about the person - and there is a reason for that. As an old person - you have lived a long, long, long, time and during that long - long time you realized that every person you ever knew had imperfections - lots of imperfections - the closer you looked at them - but here is the secret - when you only look at the imperfections - you do so to decide what imperfections you can live with - because if you can live with their imperfections then you will like or love working or being with them because they are as close as you are going to get to perfection in a person. cheers, for that part.

now, about the woman swaying on the piano stool (toofunny) You see, I understand that some people with a classical inclination are fussy. You see, when I used to go to jazz and pop concerts the performers - men and women - young and old - were performing with body parts being exposed in the extreme gyrated all over the stage and not remotely confined to a piano stool - and the house (concert) was packed to the rafters and then some - everybody was enjoying themselves and nobody was complaining about anything.

I rest my case,

cheers, for a better day.

people who see or hear people who are better usually try to learn what that person has to offer - no matter how small - and people who see or hear people who are "less-better" usually sit politely and say nothing but appreciate their struggle and remember the day or the time - when they were "less-better", too. (politely spoken)

3B12PSW



Edited by Michael_99 (10/12/13 01:04 PM)

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#2165279 - 10/12/13 01:37 PM Re: what would put you off a pianist? [Re: Michael_99]
peterws Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3808
Loc: Northern England.
"and people who see or hear people who are "less-better" usually sit politely and say nothing but appreciate their struggle and remember the day or the time - when they were "less-better", too. (politely spoken)"

Great article you wrote there, Michael. But that last part isn`t usually true. Musicians are typically "dog eat dog" and are totally contemptious of those of lesser caliber than they see themselves to be. Which of course, isn`t what they always are. . . .but if they`re quick witted and clever, people accept them for that and forgive their other failings. To their face, that is!

Of course, nobody here is like that . . . . grin are they?
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes � but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

""

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#2165300 - 10/12/13 02:18 PM Re: what would put you off a pianist? [Re: adultpianist]
anrpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/05/04
Posts: 174
Loc: Chicago
I find the star gazing or rather rafter watching and other theatrics very distracting. I have a very simple solution which allows me to enjoy the wonderful music, I shut my eyes. Simple as that, problem solved. If you enjoy watching, then open your eyes. Otherwise, just leave the musician alone.
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Andrew Remillard
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#2165306 - 10/12/13 02:46 PM Re: what would put you off a pianist? [Re: anrpiano]
upbeat Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/01/13
Posts: 15
Loc: Melmac
Originally Posted By: anrpiano
I find the star gazing or rather rafter watching and other theatrics very distracting. I have a very simple solution which allows me to enjoy the wonderful music, I shut my eyes. Simple as that, problem solved. If you enjoy watching, then open your eyes. Otherwise, just leave the musician alone.


I agree with that part. You should do whatever helps you perform to the best of your abilities, period, and it's the audience's problem to deal with it.

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#2165361 - 10/12/13 05:19 PM Re: what would put you off a pianist? [Re: anrpiano]
warb Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/19/13
Posts: 5
Loc: NWE
Hello PW. I think anrpiano nailed it.


But, a great pianist who can keep relatively still is all the more impressive to me.

Also it's not easy to subsequently control movement if you're not aware of it throughout the process. I'll catch myself taking deep breaths at the same passages each time, or more worryingly failing to breath. Must be more aware of that in future.

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#2165408 - 10/12/13 07:52 PM Re: what would put you off a pianist? [Re: adultpianist]
tangleweeds Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012


Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 1269
Loc: Portlandia
I am a spatial/kinesthetic learner, and back when I was in college, I often felt like never fully understood a piece of music unless I'd danced to it (and my friends and i danced to some pretty out-there music). I'll dance when I listen at home, not as much as I did when i was younger, but still it's not uncommon.

So I kind of see why some people might need to move around to connect with their deepest experience of the music. I often catch making odd and inquisitive faces while I play, when I had no idea I was doing anything of the sort, so I'm pretty sure there are people whose movements while playing began the same way.

People do tend to criticise this kind of movment though. I sometimes wonder what it must be like be a public performer who naturally understands their music via feeling it kinesthetically. You'd have to decide whether to worry about all the criticism this will forever garner you, versus remaining true to your natural mode of learning and understanding.

Could this is why Keith Jarrett and Glenn Gould are a couple of my favorite musicians? I've never thought of it from quite this angle.


Edited by tangleweeds (10/12/13 07:53 PM)
Edit Reason: word-o
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#2165469 - 10/12/13 10:59 PM Re: what would put you off a pianist? [Re: peterws]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

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

subject: what would put you off a pianist? [Re: Michael_99]

"and people who see or hear people who are "less-better" usually sit politely and say nothing but appreciate their struggle and remember the day or the time - when they were "less-better", too. (politely spoken)"

Great article you wrote there, Michael. But that last part isn`t usually true. Musicians are typically "dog eat dog" and are totally contemptious of those of lesser caliber than they see themselves to be. Which of course, isn`t what they always are. . . .but if they`re quick witted and clever, people accept them for that and forgive their other failings. To their face, that is!

Of course, nobody here is like that . . . . grin are they?

_____________________________________

peterws, thanks for the comments.

as always - I always travel slowly through the measures at 30 MM and at the level of pp.

Additionally, I often - politely - write between the lines - (politely spoken) ! ! ! ! !

cheers,

3B12RWS

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#2165487 - 10/13/13 12:08 AM Re: what would put you off a pianist? [Re: keystring]
RUSS SHETTLE Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/14/11
Posts: 301
Loc: Brandywine, Maryland
Originally Posted By: keystring
Here's a video of the pianist in question.


It's in the Key of B and modulates to the Key of D.

Nice peace and nice playing.
_________________________
Russ
Yamaha CP5
Casio PX130
Yamaha AP Upright

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#2165497 - 10/13/13 01:52 AM Re: what would put you off a pianist? [Re: RUSS SHETTLE]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
On reflection, these extremely good and talented pianists do not stop being good simply because they have manerisms that are a bit out of the orinary. They still get bookings and still have a following. I guess at the end of the day we are going to listen to music. If we heard the same musician on the radio or on cd, we would simply enjoy the music and whatever way they play would not be relevant. When we go to hear a live performance, we see them and they play as beautifully as they do on radio or cd so you have to look beyond the manerisms and appreciate the music.

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#2165541 - 10/13/13 05:48 AM Re: what would put you off a pianist? [Re: adultpianist]
peterws Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3808
Loc: Northern England.
Well, I once saw a conductress in a local theatre. She was of course, conducting the smallish theatre orchestra, all amateurs/semipro.

She moved. Boy did she move!! Words fail me . . . can`t remember what I was supposed to be looking at. It happens. blush
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes � but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

""

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#2165562 - 10/13/13 08:16 AM Re: what would put you off a pianist? [Re: adultpianist]
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
All this nitpicking regarding mannerisms. - - it makes me think if those who would fault a woman for less than decorous behavior during childbirth. If you haven't been there you don't understand. And if the result is the successful delivery, of a child or a beautiful piece of music, who cares?
_________________________
Slow down and do it right.

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#2165565 - 10/13/13 08:25 AM Re: what would put you off a pianist? [Re: -Frycek]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12153
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: -Frycek
All this nitpicking regarding mannerisms. - - it makes me think if those who would fault a woman for less than decorous behavior during childbirth. If you haven't been there you don't understand. And if the result is the successful delivery, of a child or a beautiful piece of music, who cares?


Well, hopefully playing piano isn't as traumatic on the body as childbirth!

All of these great piano works can be played without all the swaying and still be expressive. I have two concerns with them:

1) That their technique relies upon these extraneous movements which can mean added tension. Anything that you need to do while playing which is not a part of the actually process of pressing the key is superfluous.

2) If it is superfluous, then is is choreography to help the listener feel expression? One should be able to hear the expression, not be distracted by seeing someone flailing at the keys.

None of this is to say that these people aren't talented, expressive pianists. But if it is done by choice, I personally prefer them not to do it (and I do want to watch them play, so closing my eyes doesn't help).
_________________________
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#2165608 - 10/13/13 10:29 AM Re: what would put you off a pianist? [Re: Morodiene]
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
Originally Posted By: Morodiene


None of this is to say that these people aren't talented, expressive pianists. But if it is done by choice, I personally prefer them not to do it (and I do want to watch them play, so closing my eyes doesn't help).


I wasn't referring to affected movement made by choice but to inherent mannerisms which come naturally to some performers when they are really into the music.
_________________________
Slow down and do it right.

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#2165648 - 10/13/13 12:42 PM Re: what would put you off a pianist? [Re: -Frycek]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12153
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: -Frycek
Originally Posted By: Morodiene


None of this is to say that these people aren't talented, expressive pianists. But if it is done by choice, I personally prefer them not to do it (and I do want to watch them play, so closing my eyes doesn't help).


I wasn't referring to affected movement made by choice but to inherent mannerisms which come naturally to some performers when they are really into the music.
The latter usually doesn't bother me, and it seems natural to them. wink
_________________________
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MTNA member
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