Two dynamics at once

Discuss technical aspects of piano playing and recording.

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Two dynamics at once

Postby juufa72 » Thu Jan 18, 2007 5:47 pm

As you know I am trying to play through some of Tchaikovsky's Album for the Youth and various Mozart and Bach minuets. These are all "simple" pieces, however that does not mean that they do not present new techniques to be mastered (thank you Bach :wink: ).

Have you ever had trouble playing two different dynamics at the same time? Example the left hand plays "p" while the right hand plays "mf" and then switches.

How can one train themself to make the dynamics flow?

I see a problem when I try to play one dynamic in the left hand and a different on the right. It starts off fine for the first two or three notes but then my right hand (being right handed) "forces" the left hand to match the volume of the right hand.

I could cheat and just ignore the two dynamics and find a middle ground, but that is not what the composition calls for.

Thank you,
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Postby pianolady » Fri Jan 19, 2007 10:30 am

Try practicing scales alternating the dynamics in each hand - forte in left hand, piano in right hand and then switch. You have to focus very hard on the weight on your arms and hands. I know it's kind of weird, but I think about a brick sitting on my left hand (forte hand) while a string is pulling up on my right hand (soft). It's fun to do this practicing legato in one hand/staccato in the other too. A practical use for your Edirol - record yourself doing these exercises so you can listen back and see if you were, indeed, using different dynamics in both hands.
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Postby MindenBlues » Fri Jan 19, 2007 10:55 am

What I recommend is to slow down but with fully awareness on the dynamic contrasts you like to have. Don't be satisfied if the dynamic differences fade away after some notes and if that is not intended. Play the thing that slow that you can put your attention on the dynamic contrasts between both hands.

There are plenty pieces where you even don't need different dynamics in LH / RH but too, if there are 2 voices in one hand. I think the 2 part inventions from Bach are great pieces to study the voicing and how it sounds to you if you alternate the dynamic contrast.

Normally, the "default" thing is that you play with RH louder as with LH, especially the melody line in the RH. Such pieces like the mentioned Bach are ideal to break through that and give every hand same justice. As I said, try it slowly, very slowly first, and only after you are satisfied with your dynamics, speed up.

Maybe practising scales, what Monica suggested, are useful, I dunno. Never did it (perhaps I should).

However sometimes I play for fun such things for one hand:
RH or LH, all notes soft beside the notes with are bold which are played forte:

C - E - G - C - E - G - C - E - G - C - E - G - C - E - G ... and so on

If you raise the speed you hear beside those soft and fast trioles an additional slower loud triole (4 times slower) what sounds a bit fancy to me. It helps to differentiate between soft and loud playing, one learns to switch fast between both dynamics within one hand. Maybe not easy first because one can get confused from trioles playing to the accents every 4th note. Also not easy to play it evenly in rhythm nevertheless, beside the dynamic contrasts.
If you would try it out I would be really glad about a feedback whether it is worthless or useful.

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Postby pianolady » Fri Jan 19, 2007 12:26 pm

You are right, Olaf. Slow, slow, slow practicing and listening. I like that fancy finger exercise.
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How to do it

Postby ben » Sat May 26, 2007 5:23 pm

Try this with just a bar or two:

Play the right hand 4 times in a row, forte
Then play the Left hand 4 times in a row piano
Then RH 3 times in a row, forte
Then LH 3 times, piano
RH twice
LH twice
RH once
LH once

Keep alternating between RH once, forte and LH once forte until you feel ready to combine them.

If you still don't feel comfortable, just go through some or all of this process again.

You'll be doing it well in no time!


Postby Anonymous » Tue Sep 04, 2007 7:58 am

I agree with practicing with scales to get it right first and then move on to try it in the piece. Practicing with something familiar like scales means dont need to concentrate on the notes and theyre easier to play.

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Postby Terez » Tue Sep 04, 2007 8:40 am

I learned how to bring out melodies when I was a kid, and I haven't really had any problems with it since then, until now. I've never bothered to try to bring out all fugue subject entrances until now. Certain ones are easy to bring out - the most difficult are those where there is a subject entrance in the lower register of the left hand (and the left hand is also playing other voices). hehe...I was complaining about the difficulty of it in my first lesson of the semester last week, and my teacher says, "Yes, this is where you bring in your trusty assistant to play the subject for you!" lol...she's a funny lady.

So, I'm sort of having to teach myself this technique all over again. :lol:
"Z Czernym poznałem się na panie brat—na dwa fortepiana często z nim u niego grywałem. Dobry człowiek, ale nic więcej..." - Fryderyk Chopin

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Postby PJF » Tue Sep 04, 2007 8:14 pm

Sing it!

Sandro Bisotti

Re: Two dynamics at once

Postby Sandro Bisotti » Sun Sep 30, 2007 11:22 am

> Have you ever had trouble playing two different dynamics at the same time?

I work about every day to this aspect of piano technique, IMHO fundamental.
Different dynamics in the 2 hands, ok.
But more difficult, and useful at the same level, is the technique to play simultaneously two keys or chords with one note in (strong or weak) evidence with the same hand.
One must be able to distribute the weight not only with equal quantity to all keys of a chord.
Listen to my Chopin op.48/1 or better Liszt-Schubert Litanei .....:) :)
To practise with this important technique there are dedicated excercises on Dohnanyi and other
books (also in the Brahms 51 excercises), or "by-yourself", play a chord and then repeat it playing
with evidence each note of it ( an arpeggio "internal" to this chord. Useful to repeat the other notes
of the chord holding the note in evidence).

All best,

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