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#577308 - 09/08/07 08:21 PM Re: The "weight of attack"
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
 Quote:
you would see that half of the tested musicians could tell whether a single note was pressed or struck.
Your paper says musicians can hear the sound of a key being struck. That's all. Not the note.
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#577309 - 09/08/07 08:31 PM Re: The "weight of attack"
Loki Offline
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Registered: 07/09/05
Posts: 1035
Loc: Texas
Hmmm, i think we may have varying definitions of the word "tone". If by tone you mean frequency of the pitch, then yes, we can agree that the frequency is not going to change at all, though the amplitude might. When i say tone, i am talking about the character of the sound or pitch. Take a look at the graphs by 2.2 in that paper showing the difference in amplitude between a struck key and a pressed key. I am saying that the character of the sound (tone) is perceived to be different just because of the sound of the finger hitting the key (the little lines shown before the actual frequency of the pitch is shown on the "RB struck" graph).
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#577310 - 09/08/07 08:36 PM Re: The "weight of attack"
keyboardklutz Offline
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The sound of the finger hitting the key is just that. And, as you say, happens before the tone.
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snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#577311 - 09/08/07 08:39 PM Re: The "weight of attack"
Minaku Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/07
Posts: 1226
Loc: Atlanta
So, Klutz, are you saying that you can't tell the difference between a key being struck with a straight finger pointed down, sunk into, or gripped, just because all that is happening is the hammer is striking the string?
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Pianist and teacher with a 5'8" Baldwin R and Clavi CLP-230 at home.

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#577312 - 09/08/07 08:40 PM Re: The "weight of attack"
Loki Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/05
Posts: 1035
Loc: Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
The sound of the finger hitting the key is just that. And, as you say, happens before the tone. [/b]
Well, i am saying that the sound of the finger hitting the key happens before the pitch is heard, but the sound of the finger hitting the key combined with the sound of the pitch create the character or quality of the pitch, or "tone".

Are you using "pitch" and "tone" interchangeably?
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Houston, Texas

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#577313 - 09/08/07 08:41 PM Re: The "weight of attack"
keyboardklutz Offline
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It can't combine as it's over before the pitch begins.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#577314 - 09/08/07 08:50 PM Re: The "weight of attack"
Loki Offline
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Registered: 07/09/05
Posts: 1035
Loc: Texas
Well, going by the graph, it looks like the sounds overlap.

Musicians are hearing a difference between the two. It's just a matter of whether you choose to call this difference a difference in tone or not.
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Houston, Texas

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#577315 - 09/08/07 08:54 PM Re: The "weight of attack"
keyboardklutz Offline
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You cannot extrapolate what is going on in the musician's brains from this experiment. The facts show the musicians could hear the striking. Why must it be anything more?
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#577316 - 09/08/07 08:56 PM Re: The "weight of attack"
Loki Offline
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Registered: 07/09/05
Posts: 1035
Loc: Texas
I am just saying that if musicians choose to call this striking a "change in tone", then they have every right to do so.
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Houston, Texas

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#577317 - 09/08/07 09:14 PM Re: The "weight of attack"
keyboardklutz Offline
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They can call it what they like. Your study was a very narrow one - can a struck key be differentiated from a pressed one. It is obvious from the study that if you listen for the strike you can tell the difference. The study comes to no other conclusion.
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#577318 - 09/08/07 09:27 PM Re: The "weight of attack"
Loki Offline
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Registered: 07/09/05
Posts: 1035
Loc: Texas
If they call it tone, then this means that differences in tone do exist.

Well, I've said everything that I wanted to say in this thread, so unless someone else wants to bring anything new to the table I'm done with this thread.
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Houston, Texas

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#577319 - 09/08/07 09:31 PM Re: The "weight of attack"
keyboardklutz Offline
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 Quote:
Musicians were asked to identify the type of touch of the recorded samples, in a first block with all attack noises before the tone onsets included, in a second block without them. Half of the listeners could correctly identify significantly more tones than chance in the first block (up to 86% accuracy), but no one in block 2.
The musicians had to 'identify' the type of touch - not describe what it sounded like. Can you not see how you are extrapolating things from this study that just aren't there? I too have had enough tonight.
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snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#577320 - 09/08/07 10:31 PM Re: The "weight of attack"
Fleeting Visions Offline
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Registered: 05/21/06
Posts: 1501
Loc: Champaign, IL
I'm a physicist, and I recommend you drop your rude and absurd behavior immediately.

Cheers.
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Amateur Pianist, Scriabin Enthusiast, and Octave Demon

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#577321 - 09/08/07 11:38 PM Re: The "weight of attack"
Mr_Kitty Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/07
Posts: 667
Loc: Toronto
wow some of you guys are really misinformed about playing the piano. That's okay.
Great pianists control the sound through variations in the speed of their fingertips. The fingertip moving a distance of 10mm can be trained to move much faster and with far more control than the arm dropping from any height short of an aeroplane at 36000 feet.
You guys drop your arms because it's EASIER since you've never been shown the proper way to slowly build up strength. Once the strength is there, words cannot even describe the ease of playing.
Dropping weight will make you sound like a bull in a china shop.

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#577322 - 09/09/07 12:05 AM Re: The "weight of attack"
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7061
Loc: So. California
Hello Mr_Kitty,

I know some great pianists and they knew great pianists or were taught by great pianists. They use arm weight (in addition to everything else). Should I tell those who are not yet dead that they don't know how to play?

I concede its probably not the only way to play piano, but let's not say they are misinformed. If it works for you, that's great. But my personal preference is to use everything from my arms to my fingers.
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#577323 - 09/09/07 01:35 AM Re: The "weight of attack"
PassionatePianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 61
Loc: New Jersey
 Quote:
Originally posted by Mr_Kitty:
wow some of you guys are really misinformed about playing the piano. That's okay.
Great pianists control the sound through variations in the speed of their fingertips. The fingertip moving a distance of 10mm can be trained to move much faster and with far more control than the arm dropping from any height short of an aeroplane at 36000 feet.
You guys drop your arms because it's EASIER since you've never been shown the proper way to slowly build up strength. Once the strength is there, words cannot even describe the ease of playing.
Dropping weight will make you sound like a bull in a china shop. [/b]
thankyou for this post. A lot of misinformed members here! I think neither of you have experienced or were taught how to achieve good tone on the piano. It is something that can not be explained, but only heard and experienced. Using one's arm weight the correct way not only can achieve good sound, it also is much less strenuous on the the body physically. If you feel tension or muscles tightening in your arm or hand, your most likely not doing it right.

By the way, lets clear something up. The words "tone" and "sound" are used in piano playing to describe the quality of what is being heard and not the actual "pitch". Since it is impossible to alter intonation on one note with out messing with the strings, this should be obvious (but apparently it is not).
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#577324 - 09/09/07 01:45 AM Re: The "weight of attack"
Mr_Kitty Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/07
Posts: 667
Loc: Toronto
jazzwee-why not just play with your head, shoulders, knees AND toes?

PassionatePianist-did you say I was never taught how to achieve good tone on the piano? Did I read that correctly?

I too know many great pianists who play using arm weight. They playing will never be as efficient. They will always have to work much harder to create a dynamic pallete which is not as extensive.
Ultimately how you play is up to you. I'm just telling you how Horowitz, Michelangeli, and Rubinstein played.

Cheers!

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#577325 - 09/09/07 03:32 AM Re: The "weight of attack"
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7061
Loc: So. California
Mr_Kitty, yes we use arm weight but your explanation assumes that somehow our fingers are not involved but as passive little props for support. Where does the wrist come in? Is it all in the fingers?

There's also the assumption in the arm weight explanation that somehow we push with all our arm strength and drag our fingers, which isn't what is happening.

All I'm saying is that there's probably more commonality then differences.

Should we go back to the days when we put coins on our fingers?
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#577326 - 09/09/07 03:41 AM Re: The "weight of attack"
Mr_Kitty Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/07
Posts: 667
Loc: Toronto
Have you never tried scales with pennies on your hands?

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#577327 - 09/09/07 04:28 AM Re: The "weight of attack"
tomasino Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 2039
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota
For the most part, differentiation of tone comes down to volumetrics, which is the result of velocity and mass, whether it's controlled in the fingertips, or in the drop of the forearm.

For tone to be understood musically, it must be in a musical context. An individual note does not provide a context. A chord, or a phrase does. It is the relative volume of each note within the chord, the phrase, or both combined, that produces the illusion of different tones.

But I started this post with the phrase "for the most part," because there is one exception, and that is the character of the felt hammer in conjunction with the velocity and mass of the hammer as it hits the string.

The effective character of the hammer changes with velocity as it hits the string. As I understand it, piano manufacturers increase the density and the compacted hardness of the felt towards the center of the hammer. With more and more velocity, the harder center of the hammer comes into play, resulting in a tone not only louder, but with a brightness, an edge, or a ping, or a pang--or some word like that.

Another facet of tone differentiation, or the illusion thereof, that has not been mentioned yet, is how the note is dampened. A slow release of the pedal, or the key, as opposed to an abrupt release, seems to produce a different kind of tone--an illusion to be sure, but a real illusion to be sure, too. I compare it to wine tasting, where the "finish" of the wine seems to alter the taste as the wine first touched the tongue.

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


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#577328 - 09/09/07 04:31 AM Re: The "weight of attack"
tomasino Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 2039
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota
I'm gonna go have a glass right now, just to prove my point.

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


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#577329 - 09/09/07 05:20 AM Re: The "weight of attack"
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7061
Loc: So. California
 Quote:
Originally posted by Mr_Kitty:
Have you never tried scales with pennies on your hands? [/b]
No I haven't. What would happen?
_________________________
Hamburg Steinway O, Nord Electro 4 HP
My Blog

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#577330 - 09/09/07 05:47 AM Re: The "weight of attack"
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
 Quote:
You can achieve a rounder tone using the weight of your arms.
Not according to the laws of physics you can't. [/b]
What are you some kind of reality based pianist?

What on earth do physics have to do with sound waves being generated from resonant wood in contact with metal strings being struck by hammers in a mechanical device from keys being physically depressed by the appendages of an biological organism?

Seriously, I think it is a bit daft to think that anything but physics could be responsible for generating the sound waves. But certainly psychology and the illusions of mind that make us even believe we are conscious are responsible for how we perceive sound and thus quality of tone.

I know, for example, in my case, I am capable of imagining a wide palette of tone quality coming through action of my fingers on the piano keyboard -- whether or not others listening hear it and whether or not the differences actually do exist. Why this morning I imagined playing Mozart like Maria Joao Pires and found the effect most pleasing. \:\) Perhaps if I were to spend less time imagining and more time actually listening closely to what and how I am playing I could close the gap between what I am hearing and what my audience is hearing?

On the other hand, as a listener at concerts of Lang Lang or even Evgeny Kissin I do perceive that the tone produced is different depending on whether or not I can see them and their hands while playing.

Here is an interesting exchange on the subject with no less than Charles Rosen:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/273

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#577331 - 09/09/07 05:48 AM Re: The "weight of attack"
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 tomasino:
...It is the relative volume of each note within the chord, the phrase, or both combined, that produces the illusion of different tones.

... but a real illusion to be sure, too. I compare it to wine tasting, where the "finish" of the wine seems to alter the taste as the wine first touched the tongue.

Tomasino [/b]
Firstly such sense, and then - a real illusion? All sorts of things go on in the brain. What can't happen is the end of a sound PHYSICALLY affecting the beginning. Unless we're changing our notion of time.
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http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#577332 - 09/09/07 05:57 AM Re: The "weight of attack"
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 rintincop:
There seems to be some debate over "the weight of attack." My arm weighs around 15 pounds. I can lift and drop all 15 pounds of arm weight drop freely using gravity or I can hold back and regulate the weight drop anywhere ranging from 40 grams all the way back up to 15 pounds. Of course velocity is the other important factor that works in conjunction with arm dropping.

Discuss. [/b]
For those who have forgotten the topic.

It does not say 'In my mind' or 'I have the illusion' or even I 'feel' or 'experience'. Another thread on the subjective experience would obviously be of great interest - or at least members could state they are referring to some mental phenomenon to clear up any confusion.
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#577333 - 09/09/07 06:27 AM Re: The "weight of attack"
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Well, kbk, although I agree with most of what you typed so far, the original topic quoted above doesn't say anything much really. It doesn't mention sound, for example, let alone tone. It does say discuss, not make statements without listening or trying to understand each other, which is in my opinion not completely successful yet.

My take so far on the discussion is that the pianist can do nothing to very little to alter the sound of individual notes on the piano, despite the displeasure I experience when hearing someone 'bang away'. Or to put it another way, you can make the raw piano sound worse (increase noise), but not better.

Nevertheless, it is how we physically 'dance' at the keyboard in connecting notes, in creating musical lines, in timing, in voicing chords, together with the rest of the a la minute musical decisions we make that influences how listeners subjectively perceive the quality of sound or the so-called piano tone. Being a good pianist is being a good illusionist whether intellectually or intuitively. It means exploiting psychological deficits in perception within the listener's mind to create an experience which in effect only can exist in the listener's mind.

Since piano playing is too complex and vast of a task to carry out completely consciously, pianists need shorthand methods from the conscious mind to direct their unconscious activities. Visualisation, thinking in terms of arm weight, or flopping or rotating wrists, you name it are all ways for the pianist to delude him or herself and the unconscious to integrate movements in a way that makes a better subjective musical experience.

Are you suggesting we limit the discussion only to a discussion of varying degrees of weight and the relative physical merits of so called arm dropping?

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#577334 - 09/09/07 06:39 AM Re: The "weight of attack"
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
 Quote:
My take so far on the discussion is that the pianist can do nothing to very little to alter the sound of individual notes on the piano
I must disagree with the 'to very little' part of your post. The rest nicely written, informative and I agree with it all. The world of music is 99% (or more) subjective. It's just that there have been so many cross wires on this thread, I think, for clarity's sake, we need to know whether posters are describing what is going on in their heads or what is happening 'out there'.
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snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#577335 - 09/09/07 06:42 AM Re: The "weight of attack"
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
 Quote:
Are you suggesting we limit the discussion only to a discussion of varying degrees of weight and the relative physical merits of so called arm dropping?
Yes or - qualify your posts.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#577336 - 09/09/07 01:20 PM Re: The "weight of attack"
hopinmad Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/07
Posts: 1001
Loc: Eryri/Manchester
Butting in sorry . . . .
Some notes seem to have a nicer tone, simply because of a part they play in a melody, and also, if you delay playing a note by a fraction of a second, that note can seem extremely beautiful, but only if not over-used and used in the wrong places.
_________________________
Patience's the best teacher, and time the best critic. - F.F.Chopin

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#577337 - 09/09/07 01:55 PM Re: The "weight of attack"
tomasino Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 2039
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Quoting myself, TOMASINO, above: " . . . Another facet of tone differentiation, or the illusion thereof, that has not been mentioned yet, is how the note is dampened. A slow release of the pedal, or the key, as opposed to an abrupt release, seems to produce a different kind of tone--an illusion to be sure, but a real illusion to be sure, too. I compare it to wine tasting, where the "finish" of the wine seems to alter the taste as the wine first touched the tongue . . . "

Quoting KEYBOARDKLUTZ: " . . . a real illusion? All sorts of things go on in the brain. What can't happen is the end of a sound PHYSICALLY affecting the beginning . . . "

You and I agree on this totally Keyboardklutz. I was writing about an illusion that happens inside the mind, probably involving brain chemistry and synaptic connections only vaguely understood by scientists. It seems proper to call the illusion "real" in that sense. I was not writing about physics in that part of my post.

I should have made the distinction clearer.

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


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