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#2167137 - 10/16/13 11:19 AM Writing away from the piano
stalefleas Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/16/13
Posts: 268
This is partly a response to the seemingly overwhelming amount of midi that is uploaded here and sometimes even just the bare score. I for one cannot read so well that I hear unfamiliar music in my head just by looking at a piece of paper. I am assuming most of you own and play piano so I am wondering why I don't see more recordings.

Anyways I am wondering, if you do write away from the piano, how do you go about developing that skill? I can figure out ideas in my head by tinkering on the keyboard and sometimes I even have very informative intuitions about how to translate something from my mind to the piano... But I would do not trust myself to "intuit" how this would look on a score! I would like to develop this skill, however. Any advice? Or have I missed the mark here?

Edited by stalefleas (10/16/13 11:20 AM)

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#2167140 - 10/16/13 11:28 AM Re: Writing away from the piano [Re: stalefleas]
Polyphonist Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 8867
Loc: New York City
Practice it, and you will improve. For example, I can look at almost any tonal piano score and hear it in my head in real time, so it somewhat annoys me when I need to post MIDIs and audio files and whatnot, or when people think it's necessary to send them to me with scores. However, this sans-keyboard reading ability cannot be developed any way other than consistent practice in large quantities. Start with Bach and Mozart minuets, and then graduate to Bach chorales, and then Mozart sonata movements, and then Mendelssohn songs without words, etc, etc, and develop your ear sequentially. After you are sufficiently advanced at this skill, it will begin to show itself in your ability to conceive and write down music away from the piano instantaneously.


#2167657 - 10/17/13 10:55 AM Re: Writing away from the piano [Re: stalefleas]
rada Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/07/06
Posts: 1124
Loc: pagosa springs,co
I prefer to write at the piano. Somehow my hands seem to find combinations that catch my ear. I usually have to notate it quickly or I will miss that moment.


#2167855 - 10/17/13 07:45 PM Re: Writing away from the piano [Re: stalefleas]
ScottM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/05
Posts: 561
I do some of my best piano writing at the piano, but I virtually never use it if I am trying to write something difficult or something for an ensemble. Then I use Finale. I don't hear everything in my head, so use the playback to hear what I've done. I usually get ideas and some harmonies out of my head and notate them, but sometimes once I hear them I adjust them at the computer. Since most of my composing is the combination of lines rather than vertical harmonies (a practice that is usually deadly), it work out pretty well for me.

But for 99.99999% of us it does take a lot of practice. Even some famous composers couldn't do much without a piano handy.


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