How do you play repeated notes with a cresc. or decresc?

Posted by: John Citron

How do you play repeated notes with a cresc. or decresc? - 01/13/10 01:11 AM

I've been stuck on this for quite a while. I manage to play too evenly. Blame my early teacher for this, I suppose.

When playing repeated notes, such as the repeated F-sharps in Mozart's Fantasy K. 475, I find that they are all the same volume.

I have tried changing fingers, which helps quite a bit because each finger can be articulated to add a little bit of white space in between, but this isn't quite enough. What I want is to be able to drive the melody in a particular direction by getting louder or softer instead of playing the repeated single notes at all the same volume level.

Any thoughts, or suggestions on this?

I'm sorry if this isn't clearly written. This is hard to explain, and probably easier to show in person and not on YouTube.

John
Posted by: Oz Marcus

Re: How do you play repeated notes with a cresc. or decresc? - 01/13/10 01:55 AM

Hi John,

I have also been struggling with this in the Schubert Impromptu in C minor.
I have been trying to locate a set of exercises which I think are useful. They are in the book "Pianoforte Technique for the Advanced Pianist on one hour a day" by Geoffrey Tankard and Eric Harrison. He has a series of exercises in which you play chords progressively from ppp to fff

I will try and dig it up this weekend. I cant find it at the moment thanks to a recent spate of cleaning and tidying up...

M
Posted by: custard apple

Re: How do you play repeated notes with a cresc. or decresc? - 01/13/10 02:01 AM

I haven’t personally come across a piano passage like this but how about doing the Gould staccato ? He seems to employ it effectively on passages which are prima facie legato.
Posted by: Oz Marcus

Re: How do you play repeated notes with a cresc. or decresc? - 01/13/10 02:08 AM

Originally Posted By: custard apple
I haven’t personally come across a piano passage like this but how about doing the Gould staccato ? He seems to employ it effectively on passages which are prima facie legato.


I am not familiar.... can you elaborate?

M
Posted by: custard apple

Re: How do you play repeated notes with a cresc. or decresc? - 01/13/10 03:05 AM

I will have to think of some good examples from his recordings of the Bach WTC.
Posted by: Phlebas

Re: How do you play repeated notes with a cresc. or decresc? - 01/13/10 05:57 AM

Play a scale with cresc, and decresc. How do you do that? Apply the same to repeated notes.
For example, a group of repeated notes where you play rh 3-2-1-3..., or 4-3-2-1-4...is the same fingering pattern - sort of - as a descending scale. Apply the same change of motions, weight, speed of attack, etc. you would for a scale passage to the repeated notes.

I also find with repeated notes it helps to change the position of the wrist to higher/lower if I want to shape the group.

Edit: above all, though, let your ear be your guide.
Posted by: Elissa Milne

Re: How do you play repeated notes with a cresc. or decresc? - 01/13/10 06:04 AM

Rather than simply thinking of the repeated notes as 1 note times however many repetitions, create a story or emotional journey through the passage (even though the notes are repeated) that explains why that same note needs to be played again (and then again, and then again, again). The first note might be the end of the previous musical thought, the second note might be an agreement to the thought expressed in the first; the third note might be a new thought that needs to be added, while the fourth might be a change of emotion, and the fifth might be a strengthening of resolve. Obviously the repeated passage will go at such a speed, ultimately, that it might seem silly to create a narrative trajectory like this for each note - but by creating a sense of individual purpose for each note you give yourself permission to play a sequence of wildly different notes that simply happen to have the same pitch.
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: How do you play repeated notes with a cresc. or decresc? - 01/13/10 06:12 AM

Wow! Now that is good advice. I think I'm becoming a fan!
Posted by: landorrano

Re: How do you play repeated notes with a cresc. or decresc? - 01/13/10 06:43 AM

I like that.
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: How do you play repeated notes with a cresc. or decresc? - 01/13/10 06:56 AM

And I know why your answer's so good - it's because you think like a composer!
Posted by: Elissa Milne

Re: How do you play repeated notes with a cresc. or decresc? - 01/13/10 07:08 AM

;-)
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: How do you play repeated notes with a cresc. or decresc? - 01/13/10 07:43 AM

It's also because she's a great writer:

http://elissamilne.wordpress.com/
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: How do you play repeated notes with a cresc. or decresc? - 01/13/10 08:26 AM

Yes. Scale of the Day: January 8 I know as Raag Bhairav and, in F, is a great way to start improvising (kinda prescient). I also use it to explain consonance/dissonance. In fact - do it in F (F-C-F drone in LH), make sure the student can hear (point out) the dissonant notes then do it in E pointing out "...but you said the F sounded consonant?, now you say dissonant? It's the same frequency, how can it be both?" That really gets the smarter kids thinking.

Posted by: John Citron

Re: How do you play repeated notes with a cresc. or decresc? - 01/13/10 09:27 AM

Thank you all for your thoughts on this.

Elissa this gives me some ideas. smile

John