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#247105 - 05/06/07 11:37 PM are 3/4 and 6/8 the same?
Alejandro Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/26/07
Posts: 10
Loc: Peru
can I say that it is the same 3/4 and 6/8 ?

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#247106 - 05/06/07 11:41 PM Re: are 3/4 and 6/8 the same?
Derick II Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/13/05
Posts: 1426
Loc: New York
Sure can.

2x3 = 6
2x4 = 8

3/4 - 3 beats to a measure, quarter note gets 1 beat
6/8 - 6 beats to a measure, eighth note gets 1 beat
_________________________
"People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid."[/b] - Soren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813-1855)


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#247107 - 05/06/07 11:46 PM Re: are 3/4 and 6/8 the same?
KawaiDon Offline
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Registered: 02/05/02
Posts: 1225
Loc: Orange County, CA
Wow, Derick II . . . .

3/4 is 3 beats a measure, called simple triple time.

6/8 is 2 beats a measure. Each beat is divided into three 8th notes, kind of like playing triplets. It is referred to as compund duple time.

They both have the same number of eighth notes, but otherwise they are very different.
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#247108 - 05/06/07 11:48 PM Re: are 3/4 and 6/8 the same?
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21522
Loc: Oakland
No, they are not the same. 3/4 has three beats per measure, one per quarter note, with one major accent on the first beat. 6/8 has six beats per measure, one per eighth note, and a major accent on the first beat and a minor accent on the fourth. 3/4 is a triple meter, 6/8 is a compound meter.

This should have been posted in the Pianist Corner.
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#247109 - 05/07/07 12:02 AM Re: are 3/4 and 6/8 the same?
DragonPianoPlayer Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/06
Posts: 2368
Loc: Denver, CO
6/8 is often played with accents on the first and fourth counts. Then it is played as having two beats to the measure, with each beat being a dotted quarter note.
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#247110 - 05/07/07 09:33 AM Re: are 3/4 and 6/8 the same?
I. Bruton Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/20/04
Posts: 861
Loc: Raleigh
BDB, you are correct.

If one is playing in 6/8 and treating it like 3/4 (meaning you are placing equal emphasis on beats 1 and 4), then he/she is missing the point of duple and triple meter.

In 6/8, the accent on beat one is stronger than the accent on beat 4.

EXAMPLE in 6/8:
STRONGEST, weak, weak, STRONG, weak, weak.

in 3/4: STRONG, weak, weak

6/8 is a duple meter and is often conducted in a two-pattern wile 3/4 is triple meter and most often conducted in a three-pattern or in some cases a one-pattern.
_________________________
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B.A. Music Composition
M.M. Music Education
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Pianos owned: Yamaha C3
Pianos at work: Yamaha P22, Kawai K3, Steinway B

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#247111 - 05/07/07 10:04 AM Re: are 3/4 and 6/8 the same?
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by DragonPianoPlayer:
6/8 is often played with accents on the first and fourth counts. Then it is played as having two beats to the measure, with each beat being a dotted quarter note. [/b]
This question sure confused me as a young kid, since, according to the math, they were equivalent. I wondered what, then, would dictate the choice of one versus the other.

Fortunately, I soon grasped that 6/8 was like 2/4 but with triplets, and I've continued to think of it that way.
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#247112 - 05/07/07 10:11 AM Re: are 3/4 and 6/8 the same?
Derick II Offline
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Registered: 10/13/05
Posts: 1426
Loc: New York
You guys are obviously classical pianists and jazz/play by ear kind of pianists like me. I don't play with strict interpretations as the kind of music I play does not call for it. For all intents and purposes, the timing is exactly as I said. The accents maybe different, but that is another story.

Derick
_________________________
"People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid."[/b] - Soren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813-1855)


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#247113 - 05/07/07 10:12 AM Re: are 3/4 and 6/8 the same?
PoStTeNeBrAsLuX Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 2618
Loc: Geneva, Switzerland
"I like to be in America!
O.K. by me in America!
Ev'rything free in America
For a small fee in America!"


Hope that helps \:\)

-Michael B.
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#247114 - 05/07/07 10:19 AM Re: are 3/4 and 6/8 the same?
paukenspieler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/18/07
Posts: 28
Loc: Silverdale, WA
Here's an illustration. In the well-known song from West Side Story, "America," the refrain the feel of alternating measures of 6/8 and 3/4:

I[/b] like to be[/b] in A - me[/b] - ri[/b] - ca![/b]
O.[/b] K. by me[/b] in A - me[/b] - ri[/b] - ca![/b]
Ev'[/b] rything free[/b] in A - me[/b] - ri[/b] - ca![/b]
For[/b] a small fee[/b] in A - me[/b] - ri[/b] - ca![/b]

The 6/8 measures are first in each line, two groups of three syllables. The 3/4 measures are three groups of two: the last three syllables of "America" with the spaces between.

If I remember right, Bernstein didn't bother to change time signatures in the music, but simply grouped the notes differently.

paukenspieler

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#247115 - 05/07/07 10:25 AM Re: are 3/4 and 6/8 the same?
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Derick II:
The accents maybe different, but that is another story.[/b]
I disagree. I think it's the whole story, because it's the very thing that distinguishes the two time signatures from one another. They are not interchangeable.

I don't have the score for West Side Story, but I'd wager that Bernstein alternates between the two in the sample that PoStTeNeBrAsLuX provides to make explicit the change in rhythm.
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#247116 - 05/07/07 10:43 AM Re: are 3/4 and 6/8 the same?
PoStTeNeBrAsLuX Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 2618
Loc: Geneva, Switzerland
If memory serves, another reasonably illustrative example would be 'Mercury' from Holst's The Planets...

EDIT: Looks like I beat the timpani-player to the famous Bernstein example by just a few minutes ;\) .

-Michael B.
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There are two rules to success in life: Rule #1. Don't tell people everything you know.

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#247117 - 05/07/07 10:58 AM Re: are 3/4 and 6/8 the same?
JohnEB Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/20/06
Posts: 754
Loc: Belgium
6/8 and 3/4 are definitely not the same, as most people have pointed out. Yes they have the same duration in each measure/bar, but one is compound time, the other is not. One is *usually* played with 2 beats in a measure/bar, the other with 3. 9/8 is more equivalent to 3/4, from a musical point of view.

20th century composers sometimes write 3/4 / 6/8 as the time signature when they want to show that the impulse varies between 3 and 2 beats in a bar, with the same duration of each bar (that doesn't look great - should be 3/4 time signature, vertical slash, 6/8 time signature).

Listen to the last movement of Ginastera's suite from the ballet Estancia for another great example, or the last (I think) movement of his piano concerto - also available in a Keith Emerson version on ELP's Brain Salad Surgery, if you like that kind of thing.
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#247118 - 05/07/07 11:17 AM Re: are 3/4 and 6/8 the same?
gaffster Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/18/06
Posts: 244
Loc: east central florida
This forum is such a great resource because each person has their own understanding and way of explaining things. When summed up it is probably all you ever want or need to know about a subject !
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#247119 - 05/07/07 11:28 AM Re: are 3/4 and 6/8 the same?
paukenspieler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/18/07
Posts: 28
Loc: Silverdale, WA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Sotto Voce:
[QUOTE]I don't have the score for West Side Story, but I'd wager that Bernstein alternates between the two in the sample that PoStTeNeBrAsLuX provides to make explicit the change in rhythm. [/b]
I'll have to take a look. It has been many years since I conducted the "Highlights From" medley, but that is my recollection. I believe 6/8 was indicated most of the time, but the notes were beamed in twos or threes as appropriate. The issue sticks in my mind because I was surprised to see it written that way, and had to make a decision about how I would conduct it.

I later saw that Bernstein himself conducted alternating measures of 6/8 and 3/4. It might be written that way in the original orchestration; I've never seen it.

By the way, Aaron Copland used the same metric structure in El Salon Mexico, but changed meter every bar...I do remember that!

paukenspieler

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#247120 - 05/07/07 12:15 PM Re: are 3/4 and 6/8 the same?
Harmosis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 308
Loc: California
I read an exerpt from From Musikalisches Lexikon, by the 18th century musicologist, Heinrich Christoph Koch, which states:

"Six-eight meter. This term describes two species of meters which differ fundamentally from each other, namely: 1) the simple mixed meter which is created out of the two-four meter with a dot added to each quarter note and 2) the meter composed of two three-eight meters"

So the 6/8 meter that most of us think of - two beats of triplets - is a derivative of 2/4 (and accordingly, we only count two beats).

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#247121 - 05/07/07 12:22 PM Re: are 3/4 and 6/8 the same?
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21522
Loc: Oakland
America is marked 6/8 (3/4), which is a traditional way of marking alternating time signatures. The accents are written out in the 3/4 measures.
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#247122 - 05/07/07 12:58 PM Re: are 3/4 and 6/8 the same?
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4977
Loc: boston north
Alejandro

Glad to have you with us.

There are several sections of Piano World. The one we are on at the moment, mostly discusses the differences in pianos.

There is another for Adult Beginners, where beginners and those coming back to piano playing participate. Another is called the Pianist Corner where a lot of piano players discuss mostly classical music; and still another for those Non Classical players.

You might want to look into those forums and use the search function above to give you HOURS of reading and learning.

As per your question. Certainly, time signatures do make interpretation of the composers thoughts helpful. I think of 3/4 as WALTZES. And 6/8 suggesting faster pieces. Mentioned above, the 6/8 is compound time. Meaning that it is written out to be easily read as 6 eighth notes, yet played with the feeling of faster triplets giving the MAIN beat as 1 - - 2 - - . 1, 2 counted fairly fast.

You may also note that in 3/4 that the eighth notes are grouped in twos; and in 6/8, the eighth notes are grouped in threes. Each showing their group beats. 6/8 really feels like 2 BEATS. Accent the first of the group of three 8th notes to achieve that affect.

As well as 6/8, other compound times are 9/8 and 12/8 (3 groups of 8th notes and 4 groups of 8th notes).

I hope this helps.

And try checking out the other pianists forums.

Happy playing, LL
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#247123 - 05/07/07 02:27 PM Re: are 3/4 and 6/8 the same?
Derick II Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/13/05
Posts: 1426
Loc: New York
 Quote:
Originally posted by Sotto Voce:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Derick II:
The accents maybe different, but that is another story.[/b]
I disagree. I think it's the whole story, because it's the very thing that distinguishes the two time signatures from one another. They are not interchangeable.

I don't have the score for West Side Story, but I'd wager that Bernstein alternates between the two in the sample that PoStTeNeBrAsLuX provides to make explicit the change in rhythm. [/b]
I just looked at the orignal West Side Story score for In America - it does not change time, it's all 6/8ths.

Derick
_________________________
"People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid."[/b] - Soren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813-1855)


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#247124 - 05/07/07 02:51 PM Re: are 3/4 and 6/8 the same?
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21522
Loc: Oakland
I looked at it too. It is in 6/8 (3/4), as I said.
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#247125 - 05/07/07 05:30 PM Re: are 3/4 and 6/8 the same?
whippen boy Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 3886
Loc: San Francisco
Nobody has mentioned what is really going on here: the situation occuring in Bernstein's "America" is a hemiola. The accent groupings are either in pairs of 3 or three sets of 2, depending on the natural stresses of the sung text.

One finds many examples of hemiola in baroque music; Brahms was very fond of it.

A hemiola is not explicitly marked in the score. Usually the musician must sense it.

I hope Alejandro isn't sorry he asked! \:D
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#247126 - 05/08/07 11:53 AM Re: are 3/4 and 6/8 the same?
Palindrome Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3914
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by whippen boy:
Nobody has mentioned what is really going on here: the situation occuring in Bernstein's "America" is a hemiola. The accent groupings are either in pairs of 3 or three sets of 2, depending on the natural stresses of the sung text.

One finds many examples of hemiola in baroque music; Brahms was very fond of it.

A hemiola is not explicitly marked in the score. Usually the musician must sense it.

I hope Alejandro isn't sorry he asked! \:D [/b]
Many years ago (1963) I was singing in the chorus for the Vivaldi Gloria. The conductor explained that the change in accent over a two measure part represented a hemiola. A chorus member responded, "That sounds like a disease." The conductor snapped back, "You sing it like one." \:D
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#247127 - 05/08/07 01:20 PM Re: are 3/4 and 6/8 the same?
PoStTeNeBrAsLuX Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 2618
Loc: Geneva, Switzerland
whippen-b:
Nobody has mentioned what is really going on here: the situation occuring in Bernstein's "America" is a hemiola.[/b]

Aha, I was wondering who might mention that word first.... because, with respect, Bernstein's America is not really a hemiola, merely a recurring change of metre from duple to triple time; it's not even a polyrhythm as there is no coincident instance of the two metres.

Hemiola is defined as where two measures of simple triple time are played as three measures of simple duple time, as happens all over the place in Baroque music, as well as Brahms... lots of examples in Schumann piano music too.

It leads to a perception "three bars in the time of two" (hence the 1.5:1 ratio, hemiola meaning "one and half".) There is no element of "one-and-a -half-ness" in the Bernstein example, as both the 6/8 bars and 3/4 are of the same duration. So there's no hemiola, at least not for my money... YGreekMV obviously ;\) .

Best regards,

-Michael B.
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#247128 - 05/08/07 01:44 PM Re: are 3/4 and 6/8 the same?
Harmosis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 308
Loc: California
 Quote:
as both the 6/8 bars and 3/4 are of the same duration
That's what makes it hemiola. That sense of 6/8 (2 beats per measure) never stops during the so-called 3/4 sections. The 6/8 sections are 2 beats of triplets, then we get 3 evenly spaced notes over the same duration - it sounds like quarter-note triplets over 2/4. I think Bernstein wrote the meter as 3/4 for the sake of simplicity. For this reason (the hemiola), I don't think this song is the best example to show the difference between 6/8 and 3/4.

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#247129 - 05/08/07 03:27 PM Re: are 3/4 and 6/8 the same?
PoStTeNeBrAsLuX Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 2618
Loc: Geneva, Switzerland
Harmosis:
That's what makes it hemiola.

Not at all... let's look at it as basically as possible:

"Two[/b] measures of simple triple time are played as three[/b] measures of simple duple time" is the usual definition of hemiola. The ratio between the two[/b] measures and the three[/b] measures is 1:1½, hence the word hemiola.

In the Bernstein example, the ratio is 1:1 as there is "one[/b] measure of compound duple time is played as one[/b] measure of simple triple time," which, in my opinion, is where the distinction lies. At least for a nit-picking person like me, it does \:\) .

EDIT: I recognise that it is perhaps not a particularly reliable source, but even the author of the wikipedia article seems to agree:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemiola


-Michael B.
_________________________
There are two rules to success in life: Rule #1. Don't tell people everything you know.

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#247130 - 05/08/07 04:15 PM Re: are 3/4 and 6/8 the same?
Harmosis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 308
Loc: California
You're not nit-picking enough, amigo. Hemiola means 2 in the time of 3, or 3 in the time of 2. The hemiola either occurs in the 3/4 measure as I've described above,

or,

If you count 3 beats, then the hemiola is in the 6/8 bar - 2 dotted quarter notes (subdivided into triplet figures) in the time of 3 quarter notes. All you have to do is listen to the piece; it's quite obvious.

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#247131 - 05/08/07 05:16 PM Re: are 3/4 and 6/8 the same?
McLaughlin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/24/07
Posts: 271
Loc: Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by Alejandro:
can I say that it is the same 3/4 and 6/8 ? [/b]
only for measuring lengths!


 Quote:
Originally posted by lilylady:

As per your question. Certainly, time signatures do make interpretation of the composers thoughts helpful. I think of 3/4 as WALTZES. And 6/8 suggesting faster pieces. [/b]
Really? A waltz in 3/4 and a shuffle blues in 6/8 might have the same sense of speed, just a different feel

1[/b] 2 3, 1[/b] 2 3

or

1[/b] 2 3, 4[/b] 5 6, 1[/b] 2 3, 4[/b] 5 6


ya???
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#247132 - 05/08/07 06:19 PM Re: are 3/4 and 6/8 the same?
PoStTeNeBrAsLuX Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 2618
Loc: Geneva, Switzerland
Harmosis:
Hemiola means 2 in the time of 3, or 3 in the time of 2.[/b]

Not in my opinion. According to the standard definition, it means only the latter part of your statement, i.e. 3 measures of simple duple metre in the time of 2 measures of simple triple metre; two measures of triple metre in the time of three measures of duple time (as the first part of your statement would imply) is not the same thing, neither is it an example of hemiola.

All you have to do is listen to the piece; it's quite obvious.[/b]

I've listened to it (and indeed played it, either in piano reduction or as an orchestral woodwind player in arrangements), and it is indeed obvious that it is a mixed metre work, alternating between measures of compound duple time (6/8) and simple triple time (3/4). However, this doesn't make it an example of hemiola, for the reasons already stated. Of course, if one takes a woolier, looser and extended definition of the term, pieces such as the second of Chopin's Trois Nouvelles Etudes[1] would then be considered to display instances of hemiola pretty much throughout, rather than just being examples of constant 3 against 2 polyrhythm[2].

As an aside, hemiola is often referred to in German and French[3] as being "a big three" because it is in fact a device of metrical augmentation, i.e. the simple triple time becomes 'elongated' so as to cover two measures instead of its usual one, hence it's most common use on the approach to cadences. This is most commonly reinforced by the underlying harmonic rhythm, as is well illustrated by the Mozart example in the wikipedia article. Initially, as is common in simple triple time, the harmony changes once per measure, i.e. every three beats; however, during the two bars where the hemiola occurs, the harmony then changes every 2/3 of a measure (i.e. every two beats, and where it crosses the bar line, this leads to the obvious syncopation.) The fact that the harmony changes once each measure (be it compound duple or simple triple) in the Bernstein piece, is yet more indication of why it isn't an example of hemiola, merely one of insistent mixed metre.

EDIT: I didn't necessarily want to get into such extreme hair-splitting mode, but somehow your comments stimulated me to do so... amigo ;\)

-Michael B.
[1] http://sheetmusicarchive.net/compositions_b/troiset2.pdf
[2] I get the feeling that many people rather like the sound of what is not a very everyday-sounding word, and perhaps unconsciously seek to attribute it to as many vaguely similar musical examples as possible. Thus it becomes a synonym for any mixed metre instance, or indeed 3 against 2 (or 2 against 3) polyrhythm, and risks losing its quite specific and exact original meaning; which is a bit of a shame, really ;\) .
[3] My current teacher is a native German/Romansch speaker, however the common language we use is French, with odd bits of German here and there.
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#247133 - 05/08/07 06:34 PM Re: are 3/4 and 6/8 the same?
wave the chicken Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/14/04
Posts: 91
Loc: Home
originally by Derick
 Quote:
You guys are obviously classical pianists and jazz/play by ear kind of pianists like me. I don't play with strict interpretations as the kind of music I play does not call for it. For all intents and purposes, the timing is exactly as I said. The accents maybe different, but that is another story.

Derick

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#247134 - 05/08/07 07:11 PM Re: are 3/4 and 6/8 the same?
Derick II Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/13/05
Posts: 1426
Loc: New York
Wow what?

Classical pianos talk accents/feel. Jazz pianist are not like little robots that need to have their every "accent" dictated to them. They don't need to be told what "feel" to give a piece.

Derick
_________________________
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