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#984807 - 02/09/09 12:02 PM Playing soft with LH and louder with RH
mom3gram Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/26/08
Posts: 1161
Loc: New Jersey
How do I learn to do this? My hands insist on doing the same thing.


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#984808 - 02/09/09 12:18 PM Re: Playing soft with LH and louder with RH
IngridT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/07/08
Posts: 244
Loc: Netherlands
mom3gram, I started a thread with EXACTLY the same title about 1-2 months ago. Maybe you can find it if you scroll a few pages down??

Ingrid (sharing your struggle, though patient exercise does pay off in the end)

#984809 - 02/09/09 12:33 PM Re: Playing soft with LH and louder with RH
Musictuary Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 169
Loc: Aurora, Illinois, USA

I also struggle with this problem as well. While learning a piece that requires the melody to really sing (as my piano teacher would say), I've found it helpful if I play somewhat slower than I would normally play so as to soften the LH and/or make the RH louder (assuming the melody is in the RH) so that it makes it easier for me to pay attention to the sound coming from each hand and adjust the sound accordingly.

I am also learning to play by ear through pianomagic. Since I am not relying on printed music I find it easier to deal with this problem so that I can focus more easily on the sound each hand is making. Maybe if you play by ear or if you have a song memorized you could practice adjusting the loudness of the sounds each hand makes.

I have made progress with this problem but I always have to work hard to overcome it!



#984810 - 02/09/09 12:49 PM Re: Playing soft with LH and louder with RH
foxyw Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/11/08
Posts: 298
Loc: New Hampshire
I also have had trouble with this and am working on lightening my touch. My teacher described the left hand motion as being like "petting a cat" where you sort of brush the key lightly with a very short stroke toward yourself. Kind of hard to describe but the motion for playing was decribed to me as being more than just playing the key more softly, I had to adjust my technique too. Hope this helps.
"Ah, music. A magic beyond all we do here!" J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, 1997.

#984811 - 02/09/09 12:58 PM Re: Playing soft with LH and louder with RH
mompt1 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/19/08
Posts: 12
Loc: metro Atlanta GA
I find that sometimes it helps to really exaggerate at first - meaning to play the right hand very loudly and while playing the left hand very softly. Or, another approach is to play the right hand, while moving the left hand over the keys but not really depressing them. After you've done this successfully a few times, try to play the two hands with the correct proportion of loudness to softness.

#984812 - 02/09/09 02:29 PM Re: Playing soft with LH and louder with RH
AnotherSchmoe Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/15/06
Posts: 499
Loc: Arkansas
I also had (and still have to some degree) trouble with this. In addition to what the others have said, you might also try playing hands separately, quiet in the left, then bright and loud in the right. I don't know just how effective this would be for you but it's worth a shot, I know how hard it can be to do two different things with both hands at once.

On the flip-side, now I'm trying to learn Chopin's Raindrop Prelude and page 2 is all about playing the left hand loud and the right hand soft, go figure, lol. It's being a challenge after all that trying to play the other way around. :p


#984813 - 02/09/09 02:50 PM Re: Playing soft with LH and louder with RH
mom3gram Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/26/08
Posts: 1161
Loc: New Jersey
Thanks for the suggestions. Ingrid, I do remember when you asked that question now, and I did a search and came up with several threads about it. I can't even make the two hands work differently when I do it really slowly. I'm going to try to just lightly brush the keys as foxyw and mompt1 have suggested.

I still haven't learned how to pat my head and rub my tummy at the same time. :-)


#984814 - 02/09/09 03:10 PM Re: Playing soft with LH and louder with RH
IngridT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/07/08
Posts: 244
Loc: Netherlands

what worked for me in the end was messing around with a specific etude for at least 4 weeks. I played the (extremely simple )right hand reaaaalll loud legato, while at the same time playing the (extremely simple) left hand very softly staccato. Like indeed, just touching the key. In the beginning only one note with the l;eft hand while playing the loud right-hand part.

The other way around (left hand loud, right hand soft) is for some weird reason even more nasty...


#984815 - 02/09/09 04:28 PM Re: Playing soft with LH and louder with RH
Pete the bean Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/04
Posts: 472
Loc: Canada
How you sit can affect the LH/ RH balance. Sit at the front edge of the bench, not too far back, so if you lean forward you feel your weight shift to the feet. If you are too far back the weight just transfers to the bench. You may find you need to move the bench away from the piano.
If you lean forward with your hands on the keys,you should feel your body weight transfer to the hands, instead of down to your feet. It should feel like downward pressure, focused at the wrist. Now focus on the RH melody. Do you feel your body give a a slight shift to the right so more downward pressure is being transfered to the RH?
You have to be sure to play with curved fingers. Flat fingers will not give the desired results. Don't worry too much about making muscles move a certain way to acheive the sound. Focus on hearing the melody. If you are relaxed , your body will make it happen without you trying to control it.

#984816 - 02/09/09 05:18 PM Re: Playing soft with LH and louder with RH
Ted Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 1522
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
While I have always, on principle, cultivated symmetry of strength and dexterity in all playing forms, most piano music is distinctly unsymmetrical, in both technique and sound. Provided I can play most movements with either hand it no longer bothers me that some may never be used. It has never occurred to me to cultivate different techniques from hand to hand; within a particular piece or style perhaps, but not as an overall method.
"It is inadvisable to decline a dinner invitation from a plump woman." - Fred Hollows

#984817 - 02/09/09 07:14 PM Re: Playing soft with LH and louder with RH
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4981
Loc: boston north
Practice with very easy pieces

Or just with the same notes C D E F G in both hands.

Go slow.

LEAN on the RH

FLOAT with the LH.

To start with actually make your body lean as the RH plays louder and the LH softer. It helps to make happen.

Once you 'get it' it is easy to apply what it feels like to accomplish this on other pieces.

Enjoy it...it is part of what makes a pianist more than a typist!
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."


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