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#2201356 - 12/22/13 11:18 AM finger legato, pedal legato and playdoh legato
Sand Tiger Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1226
Loc: Southern California
I am learning about legato. I watched two videos, one emphasized finger legato. Where a person presses the first note all the way down, holds it and then begins the next note, releasing the first note when the second finger is half way down.

The second video emphasizes pedal legato. Pointing out passages where fingers are repeated or multiple notes are being played.

The playdoh legato comes from a technique used by a teacher with their young students. The teacher rolls out a strip of playdoh (a clay that doesn't harden) and has the child practice the finger legato on the clay. Making one impression at a time, starting the next finger, then releasing the first as the second finger barely touches the clay.

I found an old thread on the pianists forum about finger vs. pedal technique:

Thoughts? Comments? Your experience in learning legato?
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#2201503 - 12/22/13 05:15 PM Re: finger legato, pedal legato and playdoh legato [Re: Sand Tiger]
255 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/12
Posts: 205
For what I've understood from my teacher, legato is more how you play the phrase. You play it so that the notes do not sound like single unconnected notes but as one single phrase. So it also has to do with dynamics (although if it's "p", of course you have to stay in the range of "p" but you can do a kind of p>mf>p.
You shouldn't think too much about when releasing a key.
Not sure how much I'm right about this though.

#2202948 - 12/25/13 11:03 PM Re: finger legato, pedal legato and playdoh legato [Re: 255]
Sand Tiger Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1226
Loc: Southern California
Legato, Legato wherefore art thou?

I know there are a bunch of folks that know a lot more about legato than I wrote in those few paragraphs.

I was hoping for more of a response, more first hand student experiences. Especially because so many beginners may have recently learned legato or were introduced to it. Some may still be climbing the hill. Those that feel like they know it well, perhaps took a long time to learn it.

From my brief readings, the basic technique is relatively simple (the playdoh demonstration). However, getting the notes to sound smooth and musical to experienced ears can take a long time. With so many things piano, there seem to be many more layers of refinement, such as doing legato with multiple notes on the same hand, perhaps repeating the same note with the same finger, plus pedal technique.
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#2202961 - 12/25/13 11:42 PM Re: finger legato, pedal legato and playdoh legato [Re: Sand Tiger]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 13151
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Have you tried singing the phrase?
private piano/voice teacher FT


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