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#463523 - 12/10/07 10:20 PM your tone
ColorKeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/28/07
Posts: 44
Loc: Rockies
I'm curious about how one might acheive a certain tone--perhaps some call it color. I'm currently working on a few Debussy pieces and Schumann's Reverie. I have the pieces down and memorized, but I want a certain warmth and gentle sound. sometimes I acheive it, and other times I don't--always on the same piano. I don't know what I'm doing when it comes out the way I want it to. Difficult to explain--I hope some of you understand what I'm talking about! Any advice would be appreciated.

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#463524 - 12/11/07 12:12 AM Re: your tone
BruceD Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 19053
Loc: Victoria, BC
I wouldn't call this advice, but my "advice" to you would be to get together with a few good pianists around a good piano and discuss this. Trying to discuss the production of tone colour in words alone without an instrument to demonstrate what one means is, I believe, an exercise in frustration.

As someone recently said: "Difficult to explain--".

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#463525 - 12/11/07 03:02 AM Re: your tone
Jan-Erik Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/18/05
Posts: 1302
Loc: Finland
In Debussy's Reverie, which I happen to know, it is the question of

- tempo
- balance between melody and other notes
- dynamic shades
- degree of use of the sustain (very important!)

All factors above affect the colour and the mood - for sure!

The rest is IMO imagination and self suggeration - you hear what you want to hear when you hit the key in a certain way...

I hope this will not start a new discussion about touch and tone!

P.S. According to Debussy, he preferred his music to be played on a Bechstein. Try to find an old Bechstein to recreated the genuin Debussy-sound.

#463526 - 12/11/07 04:24 AM Re: your tone
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
I agree and yes, it probably will start a new discussion (not unlike the old one).
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.

#463527 - 12/11/07 05:15 AM Re: your tone
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Yes. However, lets hope we read more on this thread about active listening, experimentation, visualisation, timing, kinesthetic sense and imaginative, gentle dancing on the keyboard rather than the physics of hammer release!

#463528 - 12/11/07 05:54 AM Re: your tone
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Yes..., Yes...., more on gentle dancing! There's many a pianist who'd get punched in the face if they treated their partner the way they treat the piano. In fact Mozart was well known as a fabulous dancer.
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.

#463529 - 12/11/07 07:25 AM Re: your tone
DameMyra Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/21/04
Posts: 2085
Loc: South Jersey
Tone, color, nuance...all those "Difficult to explain" details that take one's piano playing to another level. It takes a great deal of imagination, super-concentration on what one is doing and, more than anything else, listening, listening, listening to achieve. When you play a certain passage, chord, etc that sounds just the way you want it to, stop. Try to recreate the sound or color. Concentrate on exactly what you are doing. Look at how you are sitting, holding your hand, what fingering you're using and so on. It can take many, many attempts but you will discover the mechanics involved and those "movements" or whatever you want to call them will become ingrained in your playing. The more you do it, the easier it becomes and the easier it is to take what you've learned from one piece and apply it to another.
Private Piano Teacher

#463530 - 12/11/07 09:10 AM Re: your tone
ColorKeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/28/07
Posts: 44
Loc: Rockies
DameMyra---Thanks very much. Clearly, from your very articulate and insightful post there are several things about achieving tone from our wonderful instrument that are not "difficult to explain." I appreciate your expertise, and your hospitality if there can be such a thing on an electronic message board.


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