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#2255908 - 04/02/14 01:08 PM What does "breathe more"....
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19227
Loc: New York City
or take a breadth here mean in performing piano music?
Does it simply refer to taking a slight pause between phrases?

I saw a master class at Mannes yesterday with the great pianist Vladimir Ovchinnikov(perhaps not so well known in the U.S. but he won Leeds and 2nd place in the Tchaikovsky piano competitions),
http://www.schmidtart.com/artists/vladimir_ovchinnikov

and he was constantly telling the student to breathe more or take a breadth.


Edited by pianoloverus (04/02/14 07:41 PM)

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#2255913 - 04/02/14 01:23 PM Re: What does "breathe more".... [Re: pianoloverus]
beet31425 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3713
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus

Does it simply refer to taking a slight pause between phrases?

I think this is the main idea.

Although, like everything here, there's nothing simple about it. How to end the phrase just before the slight pause (trail off in tempo a touch? in dynamic?), how to start the next phrase post-pause, how to do all this naturally and in keeping with the spirit of the music... none of this is straight-forward.

-J
_________________________
Beethoven: op.109, 110, 111

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#2255915 - 04/02/14 01:24 PM Re: What does "breathe more".... [Re: pianoloverus]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5285
Loc: Philadelphia
I think you hit it exactly -- to put space between notes/phrases, so the music doesn't sound rushed. Sometimes, taking an actual breath can help, but I've found that really only helps people who have played a wind instrument (I suppose the concept is more adaptable to one who is used to a physical breath literally creating space in the music).

But I think there are room for other similar concepts in the phrase "breathe more". When we breathe, especially a deep breath, we naturally slow down and relax. Tension leaves us, and we simply "are" (instead of trying to force ourselves to be something else). We exist in the moment, neither thinking forwards or backwards. There are a lot of ideas related to breathing that can be translated to music.. whether we're releasing tension in our playing, allowing the music to come out instead of forcing it out, etc.

So, typically, I'm used to hearing the phrase in the context you used, but often it means more than "what" to do, but also "how" to do it (if the student is the kind of person that can step into a more abstract mindset).
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Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2255928 - 04/02/14 01:38 PM Re: What does "breathe more".... [Re: pianoloverus]
hreichgott Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/13
Posts: 890
Loc: western MA, USA
Might be easier to hear than explain.

Here is a student playing Chopin's nocturne Op. 32 no. 1. It's very good student playing but what's missing is the breath. You can imagine trying to sing along -- you'd have no good place to breathe and you'd feel a little stressed or pushed ahead by the pacing.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXnmsmkbM0I

Listen to the first 30 sec of that, and then the first 30 sec of Claudio Arrau on the same piece
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GF7UTLjubJA
Now we can sing, relax and breathe.
In some places he does it by taking a lot of extra time.
In other places it's more about tapering the phrases nicely, especially the ends of phrases.


(edit: that student did in fact learn how to breathe, she's got some great more recent performances on a different channel smile )


Edited by hreichgott (04/02/14 01:43 PM)
_________________________
Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com
Sounding the depths of small pieces: Beethoven Op. 33
Daily attempts at 16th notes: Chopin Op. 10 no. 4, Pischna
Totally loving Fauré/Barcarolles and Ravel/Tombeau de Couperin
I love Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and new music

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#2255940 - 04/02/14 02:00 PM Re: What does "breathe more".... [Re: pianoloverus]
sandalholme Offline
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Registered: 12/31/09
Posts: 760
Loc: Dorset, UK
I think, as in good public speaking, a good performance contains silent spaces that provide shape, dramatic (or contemplative) pauses, an absence of hurry and rush. I also believe that contrary to what might be feared, "breathing" adds to the rhythmic coherence, rather than disturbing it. As with dynamics, we (alright, I!) tend to err on the side of too little rather than too much, fearing exaggeration. When we analyse how a good orator achieves impact, it's amazing how many pauses (spaces) there are. And how long some of them are.

My wife is a good speaker and at weddings, funerals etc she can quickly reduce me to tears, mainly through a rhythmic pulse punctuated by judicious spaces.

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#2255994 - 04/02/14 03:24 PM Re: What does "breathe more".... [Re: hreichgott]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19227
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: hreichgott
Might be easier to hear than explain.

Here is a student playing Chopin's nocturne Op. 32 no. 1. It's very good student playing but what's missing is the breath. You can imagine trying to sing along -- you'd have no good place to breathe and you'd feel a little stressed or pushed ahead by the pacing.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXnmsmkbM0I

Listen to the first 30 sec of that, and then the first 30 sec of Claudio Arrau on the same piece
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GF7UTLjubJA
Now we can sing, relax and breathe.
In some places he does it by taking a lot of extra time.
In other places it's more about tapering the phrases nicely, especially the ends of phrases.


(edit: that student did in fact learn how to breathe, she's got some great more recent performances on a different channel smile )
I will listen a few more times, but for me the the main differences were more that Arrau took a much slower overall tempo and used more rubato.


Edited by pianoloverus (04/02/14 03:28 PM)

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#2255997 - 04/02/14 03:26 PM Re: What does "breathe more".... [Re: pianoloverus]
Polyphonist Online   content
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Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7512
Loc: New York City
And didn't rush.
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Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2256017 - 04/02/14 03:52 PM Re: What does "breathe more".... [Re: pianoloverus]
BDB Online   content
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Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21285
Loc: Oakland
Melodic lines are usually based on voice inflections, with their pauses for breath. If you do not play a melody as it might be sung, it sounds unnatural.
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#2256110 - 04/02/14 07:11 PM Re: What does "breathe more".... [Re: pianoloverus]
Kuanpiano Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2116
Loc: Canada
Playing spaciously, letting the details of the music come out.

I find that "breathing" helps to bring out details and musical climaxes. Without doing it, the music just moves to the end of the piece, without putting emphasis on all of the moments in between.
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Rachmaninoff - Piano Sonata no.1

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#2256115 - 04/02/14 07:19 PM Re: What does "breathe more".... [Re: pianoloverus]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6211
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
and he was constantly telling the student to breath more or take a breadth.

Hate to be picky, but I believe you mean "breathe more or take a breath." smile


Edited by carey (04/02/14 07:25 PM)
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YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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#2256126 - 04/02/14 08:13 PM Re: What does "breathe more".... [Re: pianoloverus]
DanS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/28/12
Posts: 550
Trying singing the phrase, then trying singing the phrase and taking a breath in said spot...
_________________________
"Most pianists are poor musicians, they dissect music into bits-and-pieces, like a roast chicken" -Debussy

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#2256977 - 04/05/14 12:01 AM Re: What does "breathe more".... [Re: pianoloverus]
Dave B Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1901
Loc: Philadelphia area
Sound takes time to both form and decay. Especially when the sound is musical.

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