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#555460 - 11/08/07 08:27 AM how to play loud
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
i'm an accompanist for a 20 to 40 member choir ensemble in a church that seats about 700 with an budget model 6 foot grand.

i've been instructed by the queen of all directors to play much more loudly.

how? the piano should really be miked but we don't want the problems with feedback and interference with other amplification.

i don't want to crunch my knuckles to death

any suggestions.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#555461 - 11/08/07 08:48 AM Re: how to play loud
Stanza Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1458
Loc: Chapel Hill, NC
According to Seymour Bernstein, keep the fingers close to the key and use instantaneous acceleration, sort of like a shock impuse.

Also go full stick and with the right side of the piano facing the audience.

Lots of pedal!?
_________________________
Estonia L190 #7004
Casio PX 310
Yamaha NP 30

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#555462 - 11/08/07 09:22 AM Re: how to play loud
Dan101 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/13/07
Posts: 45
Loc: Canada
Hi there,

It sounds like the kind of "instant" volume increase that your director wants requires a microphone. Feedback and other complications are not too difficult a problem to solve, provided your director has the patience.

Power and strength in your fingers increase gradually with time. Unfortunately, time sounds like an asset that you don't really have in this situation. If your director insists on no microphone, all yo can do is play as loud as you can without losing control. Find a balance.

Good luck.
_________________________
Daniel E. Friedman, co-owner of www.pianolessons101.com
You CAN learn to play the piano in a fun and positive way.

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#555463 - 11/08/07 11:49 AM Re: how to play loud
Minaku Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/07
Posts: 1226
Loc: Atlanta
Open the lid fully. Mic it. That's the only way to do it without getting the ugliest of ugly sounds.
_________________________
Pianist and teacher with a 5'8" Baldwin R and Clavi CLP-230 at home.

New website up: http://www.studioplumpiano.com. Also on Twitter @QQitsMina

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#555464 - 11/08/07 01:02 PM Re: how to play loud
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
my teacher once said that if you want to play loud, 'push the keys' instead of strike them. actually, it means to accelerate over key press with your arm and body weight, which is why some big guy pianists would create louder sound when they want to.

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#555465 - 11/08/07 01:34 PM Re: how to play loud
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
It can't be done. You can't 'play much more loudly' for very long without damage to your body.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#555466 - 11/08/07 03:46 PM Re: how to play loud
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
 Quote:
Originally posted by Stanza:
According to Seymour Bernstein, keep the fingers close to the key and use instantaneous acceleration, sort of like a shock impuse.
[/b]
that makes sense

i want to realize how to absorb shock, but not in my 2nd knuckles.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#555467 - 11/08/07 04:02 PM Re: how to play loud
Max W Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/02
Posts: 2846
Loc: RHUL
This is mildly off-topic and I apologise, but has anyone investigated how loud "loud" is on a piano? As in, made a mechanism to apply a certain force to the keys, measure the decibel levels, etc etc, and compiled it? Maybe even compare the playing of a piece by several different pianists and see exactly how they differ in levels.

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#555468 - 11/08/07 04:24 PM Re: how to play loud
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Yes - Otto Ortmann, 'The Physical Basis of Piano Touch and Tone' (1925)
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#555469 - 11/08/07 04:33 PM Re: how to play loud
Mark Purney Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/22/06
Posts: 373
Loc: Mesa, AZ
I found that an Sennheiser e906 microphone just inside the tail of the piano (pointing toward the pianist's left hand if playing a low bass note) seems to work well in that kind of situation. It's a guitar cabinet mic, but it worked better than 3 piano mics I tried. I actually have one sitting on the plate inside the piano on a shock mount, so it works great regardless if the lid is open or closed.

It puts out a strong signal without feeding back, and does a great job of not picking up surrounding instruments. It's designed to be placed just a few inches away from a guitar speaker.
_________________________
www.Pianogoods.com
RPT @ Mesa Piano Service

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#555470 - 11/08/07 05:10 PM Re: how to play loud
Max W Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/02
Posts: 2846
Loc: RHUL
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
Yes - Otto Ortmann, 'The Physical Basis of Piano Touch and Tone' (1925) [/b]
Great, thanks. I've been meaning to read into this kind of topic for a while now.

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#555471 - 11/08/07 07:50 PM Re: how to play loud
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5929
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
It can't be done. You can't 'play much more loudly' for very long without damage to your body. [/b]
Absolutely. I've been there. If you're already on full stick, with the piano facing out, and you're already using an appropriate technique for loud playing, then it's got to be microphones. Don't pummel your pinkies!
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#555472 - 11/08/07 08:33 PM Re: how to play loud
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
actually, i meant it for some loud chords, not for every single note obviously. mic is always a good idea though.

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#555473 - 11/08/07 11:33 PM Re: how to play loud
Tenuto Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 550
Loc: U.S.A.
I've played on upright pianos with a chorus a lot larger - 200 voices - and I've never had to use a microphone. You don't need strength to play loud. You need to increase the speed of your key depression, and (as Stanza said) strike the keys from an angle in front (not from above), using your arm and torso for strength.

How do you think a piano soloist plays a piano concerto with an ENTIRE orchestra and still can be heard? Maybe the acoustics of your performance venue are dead?

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#555474 - 11/09/07 01:13 AM Re: how to play loud
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5483
Loc: Orange County, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by apple*:
the piano should really be miked but we don't want the problems with feedback and interference with other amplification.

i don't want to crunch my knuckles to death
[/b]
Hmm...you really shouldn't hurt yourself. :p

Try playing with full arm weight and firm (but not stiff) fingers. Playing loudly requires a combination of speed and weight. Unless your choir director wants harsh sounds from the piano, I wouldn't play louder than what's comfortable. Pedal helps.

If you play too powerfully, you can break strings. Then the piano will go out of tune. Not a good idea. I've broken 10 strings in my life, including one on a 9-foot Steinway. I've learned to control my finger speed and arm weight.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#555475 - 11/09/07 01:19 AM Re: how to play loud
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
 Quote:
Originally posted by Tenuto:
... You don't need strength to play loud. You need to increase the speed of your key depression... [/b]
Once again... strength IS speed - ask any sprinter.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#555476 - 11/09/07 01:35 AM Re: how to play loud
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5929
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by Tenuto:
I've played on upright pianos with a chorus a lot larger - 200 voices - and I've never had to use a microphone.
[/b]
Well yes, so have I, but it sounds like it's not working in this case. As you suggest, the acoustics are probably not good, and the piano could be gutless as well. It might also be a perception problem with the conductor - that is, the piano is not loud enough from where she is. Apple's main aim should be to avoid injury, in my opinion.
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#555477 - 11/09/07 09:06 AM Re: how to play loud
tomasino Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 2039
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota
" . . . budget model 6 foot grand . . . "

Pianos, like pianists, have their limits. You don't seem too impressed with the piano.

" . . . i've been instructed by the queen of all directors to play much more loudly . . . "

It doesn't sound like a real positive situation for you. You may have to stand up to her. Tell her what the realistic options are: a microphone, a different piano, a different acoustical arrangement between choir and piano perhaps? Whatever the problem is, tell her.

If that doesn't work, do your best without hurting yourself, and keep your eyes open for a different situation.

Tomasino
_________________________
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do so with all thy might." Ecclesiastes 9:10


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#555478 - 11/09/07 09:07 AM Re: how to play loud
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
i'd really like to try that mike.. thanks for the suggestion.

our budget is essentially zero. We pay for our stuff. i hear accompanists (of course they are six feet) get great volume from the Young Chang.

we haven't put the lid all the way up yet because people have said it blocked their view.. :rolleyes: .. so we'll try that this week..
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#555479 - 11/09/07 09:58 AM Re: how to play loud
Stanza Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1458
Loc: Chapel Hill, NC
Actually, you want to have the lid at full stick, right side facing her magisty.... ;\)
_________________________
Estonia L190 #7004
Casio PX 310
Yamaha NP 30

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#555480 - 11/09/07 02:48 PM Re: how to play loud
Reaper978 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/08/05
Posts: 1326
Take the lid off. Put it in front of the choir, or out in front but not blocking the view of the choir. Perhaps you could play octaves, thicker chords, and use the lower register.

 Quote:
How do you think a piano soloist plays a piano concerto with an ENTIRE orchestra and still can be heard?
Those tend to be 9 foot concert grands and they are out in front of the orchestra.

-Colin

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#555481 - 11/10/07 09:31 AM Re: how to play loud
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
well,

after practicing the last couple days and talking to my good friend, the queen of directors, i've concluded that one of the problems is that we have not figured out, yet, how i can follow her direction yet lead the choir and congregation.

it's going to have to be a more together thing... kind of like co-pilots

your comments have been very helpful.. i can play quite loudly if i am in command.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#555482 - 11/10/07 02:04 PM Re: how to play loud
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
I'd change religions mate.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#555483 - 11/10/07 04:01 PM Re: how to play loud
'fredo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 45
Loc: San Bernardino, California
Lean your arm into it. Don't fump on it. Make the sound go outwards.
_________________________
I know the music ups and down.

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#555484 - 11/10/07 10:16 PM Re: how to play loud
Aviator1010110 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 134
Loc: United States
 Quote:
Originally posted by Minaku:
Open the lid fully. Mic it. That's the only way to do it without getting the ugliest of ugly sounds. [/b]
Yes, many people forget that when you increase volume too much without a mic you also change the timbre. When playing extra loud this change is seldom for the better. Also, you really need to get that piano on full stick. The piano can easily be positioned where everybody can still see with full stick with a little trial and error. That "vision" comment is rubbish!

Quite frankly this is the reason I don't accompany much anymore. Accompanying is often fun, but I really got sick of the whole giving me a spinet or some other rotting piece of wood and metal(usually not tuned in over one year)and expecting me to fill a hall with some elusive beautiful majestic sound that the director has in their head. It just isn't fun sometimes. I guess I've become more picky with who I accompany.

Yep, being part of an ensemble can sometimes be difficult, but you've got to find a way to compliment her style. That's the only way music will be made.

Sorry, rant over.
_________________________
Technical skills should never come before artistry. I think of technical ability as a necessary tool for extracting a truly moving performance from a sensitive interpretation. -Aviator1010110

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