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#2172117 - 10/26/13 12:04 AM Portamento
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4762
Loc: USA
I am transcribing one of Chopin's Polish songs for violin. How do I notate all of the portamento?

Also, for the accompaniment (piano), should both hands be notated in the bass clef or separated between the staffs?

Thanks.

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#2172230 - 10/26/13 08:35 AM Re: Portamento [Re: JoelW]
stalefleas Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/16/13
Posts: 249
You write accompaniment the same way as you write all piano. It gets a grand staff. The other instrument gets it's own treble or bass staff (or whatever clef you read for that instrument) probably above the piano line.

As for portamento, I do not know for sure, I think it is usually written with a line connecting two notes, like a slur but if I recall correctly probably on the bottom instead of the top.

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#2172296 - 10/26/13 11:15 AM Re: Portamento [Re: JoelW]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5220
Loc: Europe
portamento applies on the string instruments, not the piano. It's the movement of the hand into a different position, which forced the performer to 'slide' the hand rapidly to the new position (if playing on the same string).

It's NOT a glissando, which is a longer glide on the same (or different, with certain techniques) string...

You do not notate portamento on the piano, other than a slur between the first and the second note... Nothing else can be done.
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#2172371 - 10/26/13 01:27 PM Re: Portamento [Re: Nikolas]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4762
Loc: USA
Nikolas... there's a violin. smile

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#2172372 - 10/26/13 01:29 PM Re: Portamento [Re: stalefleas]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4762
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: stalefleas
You write accompaniment the same way as you write all piano. It gets a grand staff. The other instrument gets it's own treble or bass staff (or whatever clef you read for that instrument) probably above the piano line.


I am aware of this, but when it comes to actually writing the notes, do I write the right hand's work in the treble clef? The right hand WILL be playing all of the chords and the left hand will be playing the bass notes. If there was any melodic work on the piano, then of course the chords would go in the bass clef, like 99% of the time, but that's not the case here. So what do I do?

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#2172419 - 10/26/13 03:15 PM Re: Portamento [Re: JoelW]
Polyphonist Offline
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Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7513
Loc: New York City
Give a sample of the accompaniment figure.
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Polyphonist

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#2172430 - 10/26/13 03:47 PM Re: Portamento [Re: JoelW]
JoelW Offline
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Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4762
Loc: USA
Here: http://s21.postimg.org/aa91gssrb/sdjflsdjfjsldf.png

Do the chords in the bass belong in the treble clef to signify use of right hand, or do I simply leave every single measure of piano treble clef empty? lol

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#2172438 - 10/26/13 04:12 PM Re: Portamento [Re: JoelW]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7513
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Here: http://s21.postimg.org/aa91gssrb/sdjflsdjfjsldf.png

Do the chords in the bass belong in the treble clef to signify use of right hand, or do I simply leave every single measure of piano treble clef empty? lol

What is Chopin's piano part?
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Polyphonist

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#2172446 - 10/26/13 04:27 PM Re: Portamento [Re: Polyphonist]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4762
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Here: http://s21.postimg.org/aa91gssrb/sdjflsdjfjsldf.png

Do the chords in the bass belong in the treble clef to signify use of right hand, or do I simply leave every single measure of piano treble clef empty? lol

What is Chopin's piano part?


The bottom two staffs... smile

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#2172451 - 10/26/13 04:45 PM Re: Portamento [Re: JoelW]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7513
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Here: http://s21.postimg.org/aa91gssrb/sdjflsdjfjsldf.png

Do the chords in the bass belong in the treble clef to signify use of right hand, or do I simply leave every single measure of piano treble clef empty? lol

What is Chopin's piano part?


The bottom two staffs... smile

Can you post an excerpt from it?
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2172464 - 10/26/13 05:23 PM Re: Portamento [Re: Polyphonist]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4762
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Here: http://s21.postimg.org/aa91gssrb/sdjflsdjfjsldf.png

Do the chords in the bass belong in the treble clef to signify use of right hand, or do I simply leave every single measure of piano treble clef empty? lol

What is Chopin's piano part?


The bottom two staffs... smile

Can you post an excerpt from it?


I already did. You mean a sound file? Why?

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#2172482 - 10/26/13 06:14 PM Re: Portamento [Re: JoelW]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7513
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Here: http://s21.postimg.org/aa91gssrb/sdjflsdjfjsldf.png

Do the chords in the bass belong in the treble clef to signify use of right hand, or do I simply leave every single measure of piano treble clef empty? lol

What is Chopin's piano part?


The bottom two staffs... smile

Can you post an excerpt from it?


I already did. You mean a sound file? Why?

Of Chopin's piano part.
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Polyphonist

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#2172486 - 10/26/13 06:27 PM Re: Portamento [Re: JoelW]
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2698
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
Joel,

You're making this more difficult than it needs to be. If the right hand is playing below middle c then you use a bass clef in the top piano staff. Are you trying to arrange a Chopin piece for violin and piano for piano alone, or something else? In your excerpt I see three staves so I presume the top staff is for violin. According to this the right hand doesn't play anything, the left is taking it all. So please clarify what you want from us.

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#2172487 - 10/26/13 06:28 PM Re: Portamento [Re: JoelW]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5220
Loc: Europe
Joel: I didn't understand clearly your first post (obviously), so sorry...

The thing is this. Portamento, as I said occurs when you change hand position in the violin, so it's not something you can exactly force the violinist to do. You can ask him to do it, by placing the word port. and a slur between two notes, but if it's wrongly placed... the violinist and anyone who knows about violin will know.

so it's better to leave that detail to the performer, rather than yourself.

In fact, if I may go on further, perhaps you should leave all the bowings (notated as legato slurs) to a more seasoned composer, or a violinist, or anyhow, someone who knows what they're doing.
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#2172541 - 10/26/13 10:19 PM Re: Portamento [Re: JoelW]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5903
Loc: Down Under
I'm not understanding you either. If you're arranging one of the Polish songs (which are written for voice and piano) for violin and piano, I assume you're using Chopin's piano accompaniment. Two staves, as written by Chopin. If you're altering the accompaniment then you write a piano part how you want.

As for the violin part, if you're not a violinist (or fairly knowledgeable about violin technique) I'd certainly follow Nikolas's advice and leave the bowing etc details to the performer, or else get the assistance of a violinist to help you notate what you want in a way which won't embarrass you. smile
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Du holde Kunst...

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#2172660 - 10/27/13 07:49 AM Re: Portamento [Re: Nikolas]
Michael Sayers Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/13
Posts: 878
Loc: Stockholms lšn, Sverige
Stalefleas is right that there is portamento piano touch and phrasing. This usually is notated as legato slurred staccato notes. A word used in reference to piano playing doesn't need to have the same meaning in terms of sound and technique as when the word is used in reference to playing a bowed string instrument. For instance with the word "vibrato" as it appears in 19th century piano music it is not expected for the pianist to be able to undulate the pitch of the note or notes involved. I think Nikolas in saying that there is no portamento with a piano might be replacing "portato" for "portamento". There is a specific piano touch and phrasing being referred to for whichever of the two words is used.


M.

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#2173609 - 10/29/13 09:00 AM Re: Portamento [Re: JoelW]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13763
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Legato slurred staccato notes = portato.

There is no specific notation for portamento on the piano (since it doesn't really exist.)

And if you're not changing or adapting Chopin's piano part, then I would just notate it exactly the same way he did.
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#2174188 - 10/30/13 07:39 AM Re: Portamento [Re: Kreisler]
Michael Sayers Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/13
Posts: 878
Loc: Stockholms lšn, Sverige
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Legato slurred staccato notes = portato.

There is no specific notation for portamento on the piano (since it doesn't really exist.)

I might agree about the use of "portato" in place of "portamento" if it were not for the history of the use of "portamento" in connection not only with piano playing but keyboard playing in general. As I understand it, in the Italian terminology and literature a clavichord can be played with both portamento and portato, and the physical technique for portamento with a clavichord is very similar to the physical technique for portamento touch and phrasing with a piano. Portato is a different touch on a keyboard instrument from that of portamento and with a clavichord for instance it also is a different change in the tone of the sounding note(s) from that of portamento as the string tension increases with portato rather than decreases as with portamento. There too can be a portato keyboard touch on a piano, distinct from the portamento touch, and it may be that the change involved in the location of stress and tension within the hand through portato is in some measure part of what is being applied with certain perhaps otherwise impossible effects heard in some historical piano recordings as for instance when Busoni in his grammophone recordings does "glissandos" which combine both black and white keys in the Chopin nocturne he recorded in 1922. With the 1905 Welte Mignon piano roll of this nocturne one doesn't really hear the glissando effects or elsewhere in the music Busoni's superb portamento touch for which he was famous - and not only was "portamento" used in the early twentieth century to describe a particular aspect of Busoni's (and other pianists') playing, but pianists and piano pedagogues themselves used that word.

In changing word usage from the past sometimes a connection with particular substantive content through which an implicit contextual meaning is communicated becomes lost.


M.

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#2174246 - 10/30/13 10:07 AM Re: Portamento [Re: Michael Sayers]
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2698
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
Originally Posted By: Michael Sayers
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Legato slurred staccato notes = portato.

There is no specific notation for portamento on the piano (since it doesn't really exist.)

I might agree about the use of "portato" in place of "portamento" if it were not for the history of the use of "portamento" in connection not only with piano playing but keyboard playing in general. As I understand it, in the Italian terminology and literature a clavichord can be played with both portamento and portato, and the physical technique for portamento with a clavichord is very similar to the physical technique for portamento touch and phrasing with a piano. Portato is a different touch on a keyboard instrument from that of portamento and with a clavichord for instance it also is a different change in the tone of the sounding note(s) from that of portamento as the string tension increases with portato rather than decreases as with portamento. There too can be a portato keyboard touch on a piano, distinct from the portamento touch, and it may be that the change involved in the location of stress and tension within the hand through portato is in some measure part of what is being applied with certain perhaps otherwise impossible effects heard in some historical piano recordings as for instance when Busoni in his grammophone recordings does "glissandos" which combine both black and white keys in the Chopin nocturne he recorded in 1922. With the 1905 Welte Mignon piano roll of this nocturne one doesn't really hear the glissando effects or elsewhere in the music Busoni's superb portamento touch for which he was famous - and not only was "portamento" used in the early twentieth century to describe a particular aspect of Busoni's (and other pianists') playing, but pianists and piano pedagogues themselves used that word.

In changing word usage from the past sometimes a connection with particular substantive content through which an implicit contextual meaning is communicated becomes lost.

Okay now I'm confused. How do you slur staccato notes, the sustain pedal?

Michael, please explain more specifically what exactly portato is vs. portamento vs. Busoni's glissando.

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#2174434 - 10/30/13 04:46 PM Re: Portamento [Re: JoelW]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5903
Loc: Down Under
And what do you mean by portamento on a clavichord? Certainly you can bend the pitch of an individual note (upwards), but that doesn't make a portamento does it?
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Du holde Kunst...

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#2174914 - 10/31/13 03:44 PM Re: Portamento [Re: Steve Chandler]
Michael Sayers Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/13
Posts: 878
Loc: Stockholms lšn, Sverige
Originally Posted By: Steve Chandler
Okay now I'm confused. How do you slur staccato notes, the sustain pedal?

Michael, please explain more specifically what exactly portato is vs. portamento vs. Busoni's glissando.

Hi Steve,

With portamento the slur is only a phrasing slur. What is involved is a specific type of piano touch, which as I am sure you know is described as halfway between staccato and legato, but it is a third touch and not an extended staccato or a detached legato. With the clavichord (and also here in reply to currawong) as I understand it, in the Italian clavichord literature portato involves increasing the tension on the string to raise the pitch, and portamento involves reducing the tension to lower the pitch. It seems that to describe all of this - including speculation on those Busoni "glissandos" - would be a very complicated procedure involving piano playing kinesiology and which would need a fair bit of time to work through in the details.

When it was said that there is no portamento on the piano as though that were the end of it I thought that it would make sense to join in the conversation and say that there is a specific touch with the piano to which stalefeas was referring.

This thread was the first time I encountered the use of "portato" for something that every where else I ever read which involved keyboard playing was described as "portamento" - but most of this material which I've read was written more than 60 years ago and the uses of words can change over time.


M.

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#2174961 - 10/31/13 05:06 PM Re: Portamento [Re: Michael Sayers]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5903
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Michael Sayers
With the clavichord (and also here in reply to currawong) as I understand it, in the Italian clavichord literature portato involves increasing the tension on the string to raise the pitch, and portamento involves reducing the tension to lower the pitch.
You can certainly raise the pitch by increasing the pressure of the tangent on a string, but you can't lower it unless it has already been raised by that method. I guess you could taper off a firm initial stroke - I'm just surprised these terms are used. Must look it up. smile
So, interesting stuff, but probably not what Joel is asking. As he's arranging a Chopin song (which has a very simple chordal accompaniment with none of these things) for violin and piano, I can only assume he's talking about violin portamento, and how to notate it (if in fact you do at all). But as he seems to have gone missing, we don't really know. Ah well. smile
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#2175060 - 10/31/13 10:16 PM Re: Portamento [Re: JoelW]
stalefleas Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/16/13
Posts: 249
Yeah actually I have also assumed the portamento applies to the violin part. I have only seen a portamento in a piano work once, but I am not sure what was implied in that specific case. I understand portamento as being a slide from one note to another, usually written like a slur. Staccato marks with slurs I always hear being called portato. It is possible the terms have been interchanged throughout history, as they are very similar, but a true portamento would not be possible on piano, the closest approximation being a chromatic glissando.

The specific instance I have seen on piano was for a jazz étude, and in this case the slur connects a note and a rest. A colleague I consulted claimed that usually this means portamento when written for brass instruments, but that he has not seen this for piano before.

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