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#562878 - 01/10/09 12:42 AM I need to learn how to bow.
alvaroloaiza Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/16/08
Posts: 83
Loc: Kuwait
Could someone post a link or photos of a good example of how to bow after a performance? Thank you.

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#562879 - 01/10/09 01:43 AM Re: I need to learn how to bow.
BruceD Offline
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Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17794
Loc: Victoria, BC
I don't have a photo or video, but it's quite simple, and should be done simply.

1) After you finish the last note of the piece, wait until the music completely dies away before you lift your hands from the keyboard - unless, of course, it's one of those "throw your hands in the air" endings.

2) Put your hands in your lap, take a deep breath.

3) Stand, turn towards the audience and walk to the treble end of the piano.

4) Put your left hand on the piano, your right hand at your side.

5) Bow slowly from the waist. (Don't bow from the neck; that's not a bow, it's bobbing your head, and it looks ridiculous.)

6) As you bow, look down at your shoes - do not[/b] stretch your neck to try to look at the audience while bowing.

7) Looking at your shoes, count to three.

8) Straighten to upright position, not too slowly, not too quickly.

9) Smile at the audience.

10) Turn and walk off the stage as if you have given the best performance of your life.

Regards,
_________________________
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#562880 - 01/10/09 01:52 AM Re: I need to learn how to bow.
BruceD Offline
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Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17794
Loc: Victoria, BC
 Quote:
Originally posted by alvaroloaiza:
Could someone post a link or photos of a good example of how to bow after a performance? Thank you. [/b]
Of course, string players, on the other hand, bow during performances, don't they?

Cheers!
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#562881 - 01/10/09 01:52 AM Re: I need to learn how to bow.
Horowitzian Offline
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Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Great post, Bruce.

I do the same, except at the last recital, I don't think I went to the treble end. \:o

[edit] ^^

\:D \:D
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#562882 - 01/10/09 01:53 AM Re: I need to learn how to bow.
alvaroloaiza Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/16/08
Posts: 83
Loc: Kuwait
Thanks, Bruce. Just one question. Is there a reason why it should be the treble end of the piano?

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#562883 - 01/10/09 01:55 AM Re: I need to learn how to bow.
BruceD Offline
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Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17794
Loc: Victoria, BC
 Quote:
Originally posted by alvaroloaiza:
Thanks, Bruce. Just one question. Is there a reason why it should be the treble end of the piano? [/b]
The idea, I believe, is that you should step towards your audience, to acknowledge their applause, just as you would advance to shake hands with a friend.

Regards,
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#562884 - 01/10/09 01:55 AM Re: I need to learn how to bow.
Horowitzian Offline
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Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Also so the entire audience can see you. If you stay in the middle, the audience on the other side of the room cannot clearly see you bow, due to the piano.
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#562885 - 01/10/09 03:14 AM Re: I need to learn how to bow.
whippen boy Offline
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Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 3886
Loc: San Francisco
BruceD posted a good list, to which I would add (speaking of myself):

Try not to look too surprised when the audience applauds. \:\)
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#562886 - 01/10/09 04:32 AM Re: I need to learn how to bow.
Brahms4 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/05/09
Posts: 13
Loc: Europe
Very interesting post! I never knew the bow was such a structured event! This got me thinking - is a piano always placed on the stage with the treble end nearest the audience? (In my mind, it seems to look funny the other way round) And why?
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#562887 - 01/10/09 04:45 AM Re: I need to learn how to bow.
Supply Offline
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Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
It has to do with the direction that a grand lid opens - it must open toward the audience. So the keyboard is always on the left side of the stage.

In two piano concerts, the grands are usually nestled into each other; the one on the right side of the stage (as seen from the house) has its bass side toward the audience.

The player of that piano should best not move toward its treble side to take a bow...
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#562888 - 01/10/09 12:24 PM Re: I need to learn how to bow.
gooddog Offline
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Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4745
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Thanks for the great instructions BruceD. Is it any different for the ladies? A curtsy seems archaic.
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Deborah

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#562889 - 01/10/09 01:44 PM Re: I need to learn how to bow.
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17794
Loc: Victoria, BC
 Quote:
Originally posted by gooddog:
Thanks for the great instructions BruceD. Is it any different for the ladies? A curtsy seems archaic. [/b]
My understanding of the modern-day procedure of bowing is that it applies equally to women and to men.

Regards,
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#562890 - 01/10/09 03:21 PM Re: I need to learn how to bow.
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
so my curtsey (in a dress) was a faux pas, huh?
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#562891 - 01/10/09 03:29 PM Re: I need to learn how to bow.
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17794
Loc: Victoria, BC
 Quote:
Originally posted by apple*:
so my curtsey (in a dress) was a faux pas, huh? [/b]
I wouldn't say it was a faux pas, just perhaps a little "old style".

Regards,
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#562892 - 01/10/09 04:02 PM Re: I need to learn how to bow.
gooddog Offline
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Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4745
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Just my opinion, but I think a bow in a short dress or long sleek gown would be appropriate while a curtsy would look very nice in a long gown with a wide skirt.
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Deborah

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#562893 - 01/10/09 04:05 PM Re: I need to learn how to bow.
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17794
Loc: Victoria, BC
These days I associate curtseys after musical performances with young girls, but not with adult women. I don't think I can recall seeing, in recent years, a curtsey made other than by a young girl.

Regards,
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#562894 - 01/10/09 04:13 PM Re: I need to learn how to bow.
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5891
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by BruceD:
These days I associate curtseys after musical performances with young girls, but not with adult women. I don't think I can recall seeing, in recent years, a curtsey made other than by a young girl. [/b]
No, I can't either, if we're talking pianists rather than opera singers. I personally have never curtsied, but bow just as you describe \:\) . I have recently seen a female pianist who bowed whilst holding her bosom with one hand to (I suspect) keep her dress from gaping in an interesting way. I don't ever perform in clothes that need an extra hand to hold them on \:\) .
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#562895 - 01/10/09 06:25 PM Re: I need to learn how to bow.
pianoperformer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/13/08
Posts: 164
Loc: Johnstown, PA
I'm also curious how deeply one should bow? I've been doing performances since I was a kid, but didn't know ifI was doing it properly.
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#562896 - 01/10/09 06:32 PM Re: I need to learn how to bow.
whippen boy Offline
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Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 3886
Loc: San Francisco
My observation: the deeper the bow, the greater the risk of coming off as insincere or egotistical.
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#562897 - 01/10/09 08:53 PM Re: I need to learn how to bow.
Auntie Lynn Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/04
Posts: 1105
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Also, put one foot in back of the other and it never hurts to show a little cleavage...

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#562898 - 01/10/09 08:57 PM Re: I need to learn how to bow.
whippen boy Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 3886
Loc: San Francisco
I hope I don't do that! \:D
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#562899 - 01/10/09 11:09 PM Re: I need to learn how to bow.
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7736
 Quote:
Originally posted by BruceD:
These days I associate curtseys after musical performances with young girls, but not with adult women. I don't think I can recall seeing, in recent years, a curtsey made other than by a young girl.

[/b]
I hadn't actually seen one in so long that last year, when a girl of around 14 did a curtsy at a recital I attended, I had to quickly look down at the floor and put my hand over my mouth, because it was such an unexpectedly surreal moment that it totally cracked me up. (By the way, she played very well.)

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#562900 - 01/10/09 11:15 PM Re: I need to learn how to bow.
Bhav Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/08
Posts: 275
Oh noes, I havnt tried bowing since my balance started going bye bye.

Actually, I can hardly even lean forward without my head going really woozy, so erm, halp plz!
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Joplin -

Maple Leaf Rag (finished)
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#562901 - 01/11/09 12:57 AM Re: I need to learn how to bow.
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
I saw Gilels bow from the bass side of his piano on a YT video. Go figure. \:\)
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#562902 - 01/11/09 08:58 AM Re: I need to learn how to bow.
tomasino Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 2039
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Glad to see the question. But I'd like to change it just a little bit to: How do we accept applause? It's a question of stagecraft.

I agree with Bruce’s general approach: have a plan, and in general, he offers a good, fairly formal default plan that may suit many, if not most situations. But I disagree strongly with the implicaion that one size fits all.

Good stagecraft takes into consideration the hall, the size of the hall, whether or not it’s a proscenium stage, the nature of the audience--age, disposition, and so on--the lighting, the time of day, the general formality or informaliy of the event, the nature of the piece being played, and finally, your own personaliy.

First, from where do you accept applause? Remember, those moments of receiving applause are the only times the entire audience gets to see you. To make the most of these few moments may require painstaking thought, practice and deliberation.

The first thing is to determine the areas most suitable for accepting applause. If you have a chance to scope things out before hand, you might note, first, where the best light is, secondly, the background, and thirdly, the viewing angle of all parts of the audience, and plan accordingly. If possible, avoid the piano as the backgound during the applause. It’s a confusing and bulky shape, and your shape against it will be confusing to the audience’s eye. If you’re on a proscenium stage, you can often go downstage five or six feet from the treble end, and present a clearer and closer view. If this corresponds with the best light, all the better. Avoid at all costs bowing from the bass end of the keyboard. I’ve seen experienced pianists do this, and I have no idea why. It’s a shy and recessive move to begin with, and completely hides the pianist from that portion of the audience that could see the performance least well.

And then, the bow itself, a very tradition laden and antique gesture. It is a gesture that can convey a variety of messages that ought to be seriously considered by any person of any art that is active on the stage.

To bow, it seems to me, is at root a courtly gesture—a gesture of submission to one’s lord. It probably stems from medieval times. This makes me a little uneasy with a deep and formal bow, as the meaning doesn’t co-ordinate with modern times, particularly with American egalitarian traditions. I believe it is this contradiction that makes a deep, formal bow so awkward and uncomfortable to watch, even in otherwise formal situations, and why we see it so seldomly. The only times it is used comfortably that I can think of is when bowing to royaly, or at the opera and the ballet. But even then it seems a little off to me.

I don’t necessarily find fault with a low bow. I just think that anyone in a profession where they must bow, ought to understand the meaning the bow conveys. Speaking only for myself, if I were a concert pianist, I would be quite uncomfortable showing any sort of undue deference to my betters, but I would be very comfortable showing respect for my audience. It’s a very fine line, and others may differ as to which side of the line they choose.

The eyes are the determining factor in drawing that very fine line. I would opt for a bow which allows you to maintain eye contact with the audience. As a starting point for this type of bow, place one foot slightly in front of the other, and shift body weight to the opposite leg. As you begin to bow, allow the knee of the weight bearing leg to lock, and the other knee to remain free.The bow I’m suggesting is not so much a hinge from the waist, but a gentle curve that starts in the back of the legs and extends gently up through the neck. Don’t allow the neck to bow, as if hinged at the neck, but maintain it as part of he overall curve. Don’t limply dangle the arms, but find something for them to do, perhaps allowing the hands to come together in front of you, or perhaps spreading the arms in a gesture of accepting applause.

A bow of this nature allows open, face to face contact with the audience. Your facial features can reflect the moment. You can smile, you can frown, you can flirt, or do anything you want, as you spontaneously and easily set up the mood of the piece you are about to play, or have just played, while interacting directly with the audience.

This is an approach that suits me and my personality. It may not be for everybody. I offer it only because I think stagecraft is often done very carelessly and without thought by classical musicians. To me, this is a facet of musical performance that needs to be thought about, cogitated over, and practiced and rehearsed over and over, just as carefully as our fingering.

With practice, it will all become instinctive, and seem very natural.

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


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#562903 - 01/11/09 09:05 AM Re: I need to learn how to bow.
SantaFe_Player Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/31/08
Posts: 607
A curtsey for a woman in a dress is perfectly acceptable and not in any fashion is it "old fashioned" or a faux pas. Especially if you have a bit of decollotage with your gown. Just fine.

couple more notes - in a two-piano performance often the "wrong-way" second piano has the lid completely removed, but because of the other piano you should still move towards the audience, especially since it is a duet bow with your partner.

also, if the piece is one of those quiet, contemplative pieces, it may take several seconds before the audience begins applauding, because sometimes they take a collective "sigh" after a particularly beautiful piece. This long pause is something you should listen for and time your standing up and bowing accordingly. They will begin applauding more rapidly after a flashy, bang-crash-boom type of finale, it's almost like they are following the same internal metronome as the performer. A little experience is the best way to judge how slowly or quickly to stand up and take your bow.
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#562904 - 01/11/09 01:42 PM Re: I need to learn how to bow.
tomasino Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 2039
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Quoting SantaFe_Player
 Quote:
if the piece is one of those quiet, contemplative pieces, it may take several seconds before the audience begins applauding, because sometimes they take a collective "sigh" after a particularly beautiful piece. This long pause is something you should listen for and time your standing up and bowing accordingly
I agree wih SantaFe. The timing of those quiet moments after a piece like Traumerei is critical. Some pianists choose to be very still and milk the silence until someone in the audience takes over and initiates applause, thereby giving some authority to the audience, but at the cost of leaving some in the audience a little uncomfortable and unsure of themselves. Horowitz, in this YouTube clip, retains authority over the silence by cutting the silence short, and actually signaling the audience when the silence is over. He does this by slowly lifting his hands off the keyboard, and then fairly quickly dropping his right arm. I'm not advocating either approach. I'm merely suggesting that pianists ought to be aware that this sort of thing is going on.

Watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2kLfkE1hRo

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


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#562905 - 01/11/09 01:56 PM Re: I need to learn how to bow.
Minaku Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/07
Posts: 1226
Loc: Atlanta
 Quote:
Originally posted by gooddog:
Thanks for the great instructions BruceD. Is it any different for the ladies? A curtsy seems archaic. [/b]
I only accept curtsies from my students if their top is going to show something when they bow.

Thankfully none of my students have acquired their full decolletage yet, so I don't have to worry about it.
_________________________
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New website up: http://www.studioplumpiano.com. Also on Twitter @QQitsMina

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#562906 - 01/11/09 02:33 PM Re: I need to learn how to bow.
alvaroloaiza Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/16/08
Posts: 83
Loc: Kuwait
Thanks, everyone for all your comments. By the way, I'm playing on a digital piano (Casio Privia PX - 200) connected to amplifiers.

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#562907 - 01/11/09 10:10 PM Re: I need to learn how to bow.
Ridicolosamente Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/08/08
Posts: 1456
Loc: Miami, Florida, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by BruceD:
9) Smile at the audience.
[/b]
Not sure if I agree with that one. Smile if you feel like smiling. Don't force a smile if you don't.

Daniel
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