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#477419 - 06/25/01 11:08 AM Emotions while playing.
Mike Pappadakis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 207
Loc: Doylestown, PA
Here's somthing that's been on my mind for quite some time. I'm just a beginner, but I've been playing some pieces that I feel rather emotional about. I've noticed that when I play these pieces the emotions certainly come through in the playing (at least I hope so), but so much so that I tend to make mistakes - i.e. I tend to get too emotionally involved in the piece. This is not necessarily limited to classical music either. I was wondering if this happens to others, or is it just because I'm a beginner. It seems this could be the down side of playing a piece that evoke strong emotions in the player, and that advanced players learn to control these emotions so that it does not interfer with the playing. Any thoughts/opinions on this?


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#477420 - 06/25/01 12:10 PM Re: Emotions while playing.
BruceD Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 19520
Loc: Victoria, BC
Hi, Mike.
Good question.
I think your question is of asked of the singer and frequently of the actor: How do you portray the emotions you feel and want to communicate without letting the emotions spoil the interpretation? My answer to the hypothetical question would be: "Control the emotions, don't let them control you." Sounds somewhat trite, I am sure, but you have to reach the line where you are 'emoting' as much as you want to. There's the key; if it becomes more than you want to, then you lose control, and there goes the interpretation.
The ability to recognize the 'line' and not go beyond it is just one of the elements that contributes to making a fine artist - something many of us will never be, but oh what fun trying!

P.S. What word on the goldfish dinner?
- - - - -
Estonia 190

#477421 - 06/25/01 12:46 PM Re: Emotions while playing.
Mike Pappadakis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 207
Loc: Doylestown, PA
There's the key; if it becomes more than you want to, then you lose control, and there goes the interpretation[/b]

Hi Bruce,

This is what I definitely need to practice.
My teacher says that when you are performing you absolutely have to keep your emotions in check. He says that when he performs he maintains a stoic (for lack of a better term) outward appearance, because he wants to convey his feelings for the piece through his playing, and not influence the audience by any outward emotional indicator. (Am I making sense here???). Hence, he is able to maintain a degree of control over his own emotions as well.

As for the goldfish dinner, I haven't heard anything from Rich yet. I thing he's too busy selling Estonias. He's already put Teri's name on one of them.


#477422 - 06/25/01 02:21 PM Re: Emotions while playing.
The D's Pianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/01
Posts: 624
Loc: Southwestern Oregon
Hi Mike!

Well, I can certainly say that I become extremely emotional when I play the piano and sing music... I think that emotion is basically what music is all about, isn't it? I see music as a haven, a lover, a mother, a goddess, a muse, and most everything I am, and if emotion wasn't a MAJOR factor of it, then I'd be a robot... and I think (maybe not so much with the classical; I can see where emotion can get overwhelming and take over your mind to the point where your fingers just don't comprehend much else) that emotion is what music loves, because when I nourish my music with emotion, it is the most comfortable place in the world (for me; some people get rather unnerved by my music, becuase of the things I confront). But, nonetheless, this is simply my opinion, and I can't see music going without emotion, or even being complete with just a little showing; emotion is simply what it's all about for me.
Benjamin Francis
(I just changed my sig., so no grief, yeah?)
Sofia Gilmson regarding Bach:
"Bach didn't write the subject; he wrote the fugue."

#477423 - 06/25/01 02:52 PM Re: Emotions while playing.
ryan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
I can easily get carried away with emotion while playing, but if I get too carried away I get out of control and usually crash. Even if I don't crash, I still find that I didn't play the music the way I wanted to.

A couple of thoughts. Sometimes the emotion just isn't there, for whatever reason. As the pianist, you still need to be able to play in a manner that is compelling to the audience, that allows them to feel the emotion of the music.

When the emotion is there, it can add an additional spark. At the same time, it can ruin a performance if it prevents you from expressing the music in an intelligible manner. We have all heard people that when they become more difficult to understand the more excited they get. The same thing can happen when making music.

There is a happy medium.


#477424 - 06/26/01 06:33 AM Re: Emotions while playing.
magnezium Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 722
Loc: Singapore
i guess this is where playing for yourself and performing for an audience is different. when i play for myself i usually play with all the emotion i want to play with and really get into the music. but in order not to blow up in the middle you have to make sure you have practiced the piece to a level when you can play it without thinking of the technical work. you have to be concentrating on the music itself.

but if you're performing it's different. you should always be on top of your emotions in this case.

#477425 - 06/26/01 12:59 PM Re: Emotions while playing.
MacDuff Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 560
Loc: Southeast, U.S.A.
In loud, chordal playing, you have to be careful about too much emotional force translated into force on the keys. The 4th finger and thumb (especially) can be easily injured by certain stretchy chords.

I think slow practice should always be musical/emotional, not mechanical. It can be hard to put emotions into slow motion, however!

#477426 - 06/26/01 01:21 PM Re: Emotions while playing.
Teri Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/12/01
Posts: 23
Loc: Utah

So Mike----sometimes the passion gushes a little too much, huh! \:D

My suggestion is make sure you are listening very carefully as you play. I feel that if you focus very literally on the piece technically and artistically---you may be able to maintain the emotion a bit! In other words---keep the brain driving with the heart in a close second! Just my
.02 cents worth of opinion \:\) This is coming from a very EMOTIONAL woman!!!!!

By the way, tell me about this Estonia that Rich has my name on! ;\) It had better be an at least 6'3", french provincial style, mahogany in color, with a satin finish! Pretty close to the one he sent me a picture of months ago! And it had better sound like that Bosey I fell in love with! (At least a close 2nd!) Hope it doesn't have to sit there on that floor too long!!!!

Have a great day! Teri

[ June 26, 2001: Message edited by: Teri ]

#477427 - 06/26/01 01:26 PM Re: Emotions while playing.
Brendan Online   content

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5523
Loc: McAllen, TX
I agree with most of what's been said. IN my own performances I try not to do overemotional things like grotesque facial expressions, moan, and use huge, flamboyant arm gestures, mainly because most of these things don't change the sound you get out of the instrument. They also seem a bit on the histrionic side...

Emotion in slow practice is a hard issue...rather than pouring every emotion of your being into a slow execution of a technical passage, why not just try to give some weight to the harmonic tension also, or whatever else makes the passage special? This is where a lot of people get criticized for being too technical or lacking communicative skills at the piano - in their slow practice they ignored this issue.


#477428 - 06/26/01 01:45 PM Re: Emotions while playing.
Mike Pappadakis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 207
Loc: Doylestown, PA
sometimes the passion gushes a little too much, [/b]

Hi Teri. Yeah! That's when I crash and burn. Gotta learn to keep those emotions in check a little more.

By the way, tell me about this Estonia that Rich has my name on! [/b]

Uh! Uh! Gotta come see it for yourself (our guest room is ready). Wellll. OK. It's a 6'3", with your name engraved on the lower left corner of the fall board --- but that's all I'm gonna tell you. Heh! Heh!

Mike ;\)

[ June 26, 2001: Message edited by: Mike Pappadakis ]

#477429 - 06/26/01 04:11 PM Re: Emotions while playing.
Teri Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/12/01
Posts: 23
Loc: Utah

I want pictures! A close up of the engraving please!

Regards! Teri \:D

#477430 - 06/27/01 08:23 AM Re: Emotions while playing.
Mike Pappadakis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 207
Loc: Doylestown, PA

I'm working on it. \:D (Darn. Where's Rich when you need him...

Mike ;\)

[ June 27, 2001: Message edited by: Mike Pappadakis ]


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