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#579058 - 04/09/07 06:36 PM Accompanying other instruments
Strife Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/09/07
Posts: 4
I am currently working on learning the piano reduction of the orchestra part for the first movement of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in e minor. However, I have trouble playing quiet enough, especially in the parts with the eight note chords (such as near the beginning of the piece, after the piano receives the melody). I was wondering if anyone had any tips or advice on playing quieter...besides using una corde...

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#579059 - 04/09/07 07:04 PM Re: Accompanying other instruments
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12547
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Well, my first question is, why do you feel you need ot play quieter? Have you rehearsed with the violin to know that the balance is off here? If not, I wouldn't worry about it until then, or you may put yourself through a lot of work over a non-issue. If you have rehearsed and know for a fact that the piano with that violinist will overpower at this point, you do have a few options. The una corda would be my first choice, as it would allow you to play full out without worrying. But if you don't like the sound it gives, you may want to reduce the number of notes you play. Eliminate any doubled notes to give it a thinner texture. Accompanying, expecially an orechestral reduction, is very different from performing a piece intended for the instrument. In reductions, they take all the notes the orchestra plays and crams them into two staves. Some are better than others, but it will never quite sit well in the hands unless the composer himself was a pianist and composed on the piano. This is where you are given artistic lisence to drop notes that are either unplayable or create too much muddiness or volume that might otherwise work wonderfully with an orchestra.

Another option is to half pedal, or flutter pedal your way through it, which allows you to lose volume quicker than with full pedaling.
private piano/voice teacher FT

#579060 - 04/09/07 08:13 PM Re: Accompanying other instruments
Kreisler Offline

Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13825
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Check your pedaling. 90% of the time when people say "quieter" to an accompanist, what they really mean is "less pedal."
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)


#579061 - 04/11/07 01:06 AM Re: Accompanying other instruments
Strife Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/09/07
Posts: 4
Thanks for the advice! and yes, I have run through this piece with the soloist

Sorry I didn't notice I had so many grammar/spelling errors in my original post...

[url= http://"http://imslp.org/wiki/Violin_Concerto_in_E_minor%2C_Op.64_%28Mendelssohn%2C_Felix%29"]link[/url]

If you go to the Violin and piano reduction one...I generally play the eighth notes too loud at rehearsal number 3 and 11. I tried reducing the number of notes, but then I lose the tone (I don't know if that's the right word) of that section.

#579062 - 04/11/07 08:30 AM Re: Accompanying other instruments
JohnEB Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/20/06
Posts: 754
Loc: Belgium
Piano reductions of orchestral parts are almost always awful and may take some interpretation to play them. As has been suggested, listen to the balance between the parts in this section, to see how loud you can really play, and experiment with different ways of playing it until you achieve the right effect without drowning out the violin. This may mean asking the violinist to play louder... The piano is always treated as 2nd fiddle (ha ha) but in reality you're as much a part of the performance as the other instrumentalist so it should be a joint decision on how you interpret difficutl sections like this.

#579063 - 04/11/07 11:41 AM Re: Accompanying other instruments
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18617
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally posted by JohnEB:
Piano reductions of orchestral parts are almost always awful and may take some interpretation to play them. [/b]

I enjoy accompanying and have just begun to play my first chamber work (Piano, viola and clarinet). However, when it comes to accompanying - and since I do it only for the sheer enjoyment of doing this kind of collaboration - I will often refuse to play any orchestra score that has been reduced to a piano accompaniment. They are too often not only unkind to the pianist, making him/her do "unpianistic things," they are sometimes almost impossible to play as written, as if the transcriber has no piano playing experience.

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