Piano Society
Free Classical Keyboard Recordings
It is currently Mon Nov 24, 2014 8:03 am

All times are UTC - 1 hour




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 18 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Facial gestures/moving around
PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 4:34 am 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:38 pm
Posts: 8529
I stumbled upon this video the other day and it made me think about a discussion a few us were having in a different thread about moving around or making facial gestures while playing piano. Here is the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3utXAWf5 ... grec_index

It's Earl Wild giving a master class, and I found it very interesting what he says first about keeping the left foot on the left pedal ALL the time (I don't do that, but I know I should and I'm trying to get better with that). And then what he talks about at 1:42 and then at 2:00 is exactly what I wish ALL players would pay attention to :!:

Feel free to add comments or add any other links to videos that get into things like this.

_________________
"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Facial gestures/moving around
PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 2:16 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Feb 06, 2007 7:59 pm
Posts: 322
Location: toronto
Hahah! that's kind of funny. Yeah I have heard people say this type thing before, at least with the gestures.

The thing I heard was the excessive gestures, lead to excessive out of taste sounds during playing. I heard this from jazz musicians in the context of overplaying during improvisations.

I think sometimes slight gestures can actually help you keep a steady beat (just my opinion though.) I am probably the worst at keeping a steady/even beat though :)

Interesting thing about the soft pedal. I didn't know that. I really dislike using the soft pedal unless I am playing some specific type of repertoire the requires it. Funny since I know many of my favorite pianists use the soft pedal extensively. Probably something I still need to learn...


pianolady wrote:
I stumbled upon this video the other day and it made me think about a discussion a few us were having in a different thread about moving around or making facial gestures while playing piano. Here is the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3utXAWf5 ... grec_index

It's Earl Wild giving a master class, and I found it very interesting what he says first about keeping the left foot on the left pedal ALL the time (I don't do that, but I know I should and I'm trying to get better with that). And then what he talks about at 1:42 and then at 2:00 is exactly what I wish ALL players would pay attention to :!:

Feel free to add comments or add any other links to videos that get into things like this.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Facial gestures/moving around
PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 4:34 pm 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:38 pm
Posts: 8529
s_winitsky wrote:

The thing I heard was the excessive gestures, lead to excessive out of taste sounds during playing. I heard this from jazz musicians in the context of overplaying during improvisations.


I didn't hear that part - I'll watch the video again. But that is interesting - so are you saying that sometimes jazz musicians who make wild, silly gestures are the ones who overplay during improvisations? That makes sense to me, because most times I do not like listening to improvisations that are just so crazy, wild, long-winded, and all that, so I'm sure I would not like to 'see' the player either. Yuck - I'd have to numb myself with a few cocktails first...


Quote:
Interesting thing about the soft pedal. I didn't know that. I really dislike using the soft pedal unless I am playing some specific type of repertoire the requires it. Funny since I know many of my favorite pianists use the soft pedal extensively. Probably something I still need to learn...
I've been going to a lot of concerts and have noticed how the pros do use the soft pedal A LOT, so that's why I'm trying to incorporate it more in my playing. It really puts another aspect into playing - like there is so much more to think about regarding how much tone/color you want to change and things like that. Then of course the damper pedal too - sheesh, trying to get ten fingers to go to the right keys, and both feet doing totally things on the pedals...no wonder playing piano (well) is so hard!

_________________
"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Facial gestures/moving around
PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 4:52 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Feb 06, 2007 7:59 pm
Posts: 322
Location: toronto
Yes usually when I hear people say you need to minimize your gestures, it usually goes hand in hand with minimizing the emotional output. I don't know if thats what Earl Wild was saying. Maybee thats what he meant to say in the nicest way possible :)

Funny though since many of my favourite pianists do really strange gestures when playing :) Though I find as a rule its best not to imitate them as they also can do things no one else can.

pianolady wrote:

I didn't hear that part - I'll watch the video again. But that is interesting - so are you saying that sometimes jazz musicians who make wild, silly gestures are the ones who overplay during improvisations? That makes sense to me, because most times I do not like listening to improvisations that are just so crazy, wild, long-winded, and all that, so I'm sure I would not like to 'see' the player either. Yuck - I'd have to numb myself with a few cocktails first...



Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Facial gestures/moving around
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 1:46 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 9:48 pm
Posts: 2003
Location: U.S.A.
Hi Monica,

I've listened to several master classes on YouTube but had never noticed this one. Apart from eschewing superfluous and wasted motions (I myself always play with economy of motion) and always keeping the left foot positioned on the left pedal (which I don't, but should), Wild touched on a couple of other great points. That is, first, playing close to the keys. Over the past few years I've incorporated that approach into my playing and have found it to be very helpful in terms of accuracy, evenness and tone. It's really more of a pressing motion than a striking motion. The other thing was his reminder to keep the shoulders down. When I was a kid playing piano at lessons, sometimes tension would build and my shoulders would become too high. They have a way of stealthily creeping up imperceptibly and unnoticed by the pianist. Two or three times, my first teacher would place her hands on my shoulders and gently depress them back to normal position which brought instant release of the tension. To play with relaxation of the playing mechanism, relaxed shoulders are absolutely essential. As time went on, I would subconsciously be aware of my shoulders, and if they started to tense up, I'd remind myself to relax them. It worked! As a result of that self-monitoring and self-feedback, a bad habit was gradually replaced by a beneficial one. The only time I encounter that now is when I'm doing my first couple of readings of a new piece, and as I struggle, my shoulders will tense--but self-feedback kicks right in to rectify it. Earl Wild passed away this year. In addition to his many recordings and videos, it's good that we have this master class video as well. It's a good find! By the way, Wild was a Baldwin Artist nearly his whole life.

David

_________________
"Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities." David April


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Facial gestures/moving around
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 5:52 am 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:38 pm
Posts: 8529
Hi David,
I know what you mean about the shoulder thing. My last teacher often touched my shoulder to remind me when I was tense and it sure did help. Currently, I find that I can remind myself about this, but I also have to remind myself to breath when I'm playing something difficult. It's easier to play when there is oxygen flowing through your veins than when there is not.... :lol:

I didn't know that Wild was a Baldwin artist. Interesting - you two are (were) kindred spirits!

_________________
"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Facial gestures/moving around
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 4:45 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 9:48 pm
Posts: 2003
Location: U.S.A.
Hi Monica,

Amen to your comment on breathing. It actually is especially useful in several situations: 1) The first, as you mention, to make the brain keener when figuring our or executing complexities in the music; and 2) when playing cantilena, breathing needs to emulate that of a singer, which helps in the phrasing; 3) when a piece seems too tight and confined, proper breathing allows the piece to open up a bit and "breathe" as well.

Yes, Earl Wild always played the Baldwin SD10 concert grand. The exceptions occurred if he played in a hall that only had a Steinway or was in a city with no Baldwin concert grand program, then again he'd go with Steinway. During his last year (he was in his 90s), he suddenly took an interest in the Shigeru Kawai SK-EX concert grand and seemed to be trying it out for awhile. Had he lived longer, I don't know what would have come of it. My guess is that he would have probably stayed with Baldwin. Other Baldwin Artists that come quickly to mind were Walter Gieseking, Ruth Laredo (oh, and we shouldn't forget Liberace! :lol:). Ivan Davis and Ruth Slenczynska also play Baldwin. Years ago I recall being at the Tanglewood Music Festival where the Boston Symphony Orchestra plays its summer programs. Gary Graffman was to play a Rachmaninoff concerto. Just before he came on stage, the stage hands appeared, rolled the Steinway off into a wing, and brought in the Baldwin. Graffman had always played Steinway, so I was baffled then as I remain to this day, as to what that was all about. Yet for some reason that evening he wanted to play the Baldwin instead. I could probably write and ask him :lol: , but he's probably long forgotten it.

David

_________________
"Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities." David April


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Facial gestures/moving around
PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 7:56 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2007 6:35 am
Posts: 1418
Location: Gulfport, MS, USA
I also don't use the soft pedal much, though I figure I probably should. My legs are fat so it's beyond annoying to have to keep both feet on the pedals at all times. I have always wondered exactly what Chopin meant when he criticized Sigismund Thalberg for achieving p with the pedal, rather than with the hands. I think he meant that in normal circumstances you shouldn't need the soft pedal for dynamics, and you should only use it when you really want a different sound.

_________________
"Z Czernym poznałem się na panie brat—na dwa fortepiana często z nim u niego grywałem. Dobry człowiek, ale nic więcej..." - Fryderyk Chopin


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Facial gestures/moving around
PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:26 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:28 am
Posts: 1250
Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
Terez wrote:
I also don't use the soft pedal much, though I figure I probably should. My legs are fat so it's beyond annoying to have to keep both feet on the pedals at all times. I have always wondered exactly what Chopin meant when he criticized Sigismund Thalberg for achieving p with the pedal, rather than with the hands. I think he meant that in normal circumstances you shouldn't need the soft pedal for dynamics, and you should only use it when you really want a different sound.

If Chopin tried to get his pianos and pianissimos out of the robust modern grands, he'd be all over the shift pedal to try and get it softer,IMO. Even so, on a modern grand shifting the action is better for changing the quality of the sound rather than the volume, unless your action shifts far enough to not strike the left string of the triple-strung notes, but then there is still the double-strung and single-strung notes that will change in quality because of the strike on different part of the hammer, etc.

_________________
Eddy M. del Rio, MD
"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Facial gestures/moving around
PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 5:30 am 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:38 pm
Posts: 8529
I wish I had three legs. I'm working on a piece now in which I'm using all three pedals and there are a few times I'd like to use the sostenuto pedal and the una corda pedal at the same time but I'm not skilled enough to do that. A third leg, or least a third foot would be very helpful. Or maybe somebody could sit next to me and I'll just borrow their foot when I need it - like tell them when to press their foot down...? :idea:

_________________
"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Facial gestures/moving around
PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 9:02 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:11 am
Posts: 243
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Yes, I've heard people say that they can do the left and middle pedal simultanously using the left foot for both. I've tried it, but it just seems to risky--it's easy to slip off--not something I'd dare do in a concert.

Just out of interest, which piece are you playing that makes such demands?

_________________
Alexander Hanysz, http://hanysz.net


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Facial gestures/moving around
PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 2:11 pm 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:38 pm
Posts: 8529
hanysz wrote:
Yes, I've heard people say that they can do the left and middle pedal simultanously using the left foot for both. I've tried it, but it just seems to risky--it's easy to slip off--not something I'd dare do in a concert.

Just out of interest, which piece are you playing that makes such demands?


It's an Albeniz piece. There are three places that are only about four-measures long each, and it's possible that the average listener would not even realize if I'm using the sostenuto pedal or not. But I'm doing it anyway. The problem is that I can't then also use the una corda pedal in those spots. I just got an idea though: I'll invent a 'piano shoe'. :idea: It's a shoe just for the left foot that has a sort of lever, rod, bar, something sticking out sideways from the right-side of the toe area. When you push down on the soft pedal, then you can use that lever sticking out to the side and sort of tilt your ankle down so you can push the sos. pedal as well. Maybe.... :?: :lol:

_________________
"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Facial gestures/moving around
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 12:13 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:11 am
Posts: 243
Location: Adelaide, Australia
pianolady wrote:
It's an Albeniz piece. There are three places that are only about four-measures long each, and it's possible that the average listener would not even realize if I'm using the sostenuto pedal or not. But I'm doing it anyway.


You know, I don't think I've played a single Albeniz piece for piano solo! (I did do the famous tango in a violin and piano arrangement.) So I can't advise you about this particular piece. But in general, if you're wanting to use the middle pedal in a soft passage, it may be possible to "fake" the effect with some half pedalling.

I like your "piano shoe" idea! Organists wear special shoes to play, so why not pianists? Let us know how this works out. If you come up with something good, then we want to see photographs ;-)

_________________
Alexander Hanysz, http://hanysz.net


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Facial gestures/moving around
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 3:49 pm 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:38 pm
Posts: 8529
hanysz wrote:
You know, I don't think I've played a single Albeniz piece for piano solo! (I did do the famous tango in a violin and piano arrangement.) So I can't advise you about this particular piece. But in general, if you're wanting to use the middle pedal in a soft passage, it may be possible to "fake" the effect with some half pedalling.


Thanks for idea about half-pedaling. I'll try that. I've only played four or five of Albeniz' easier pieces. The piece I'm working up is "El Puerto", which is my first venture into Iberia (and mostly likely the only one I can play). I have all the notes down and also memorized, but I still make too many mistakes so I'm still practicing it. Getting close though....

hanysz wrote:
I like your "piano shoe" idea! Organists wear special shoes to play, so why not pianists? Let us know how this works out. If you come up with something good, then we want to see photographs ;-)

Ohhh, it doesn't take much to encourage me to try something wacky. I'll promise some photos too. :lol:

_________________
"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Facial gestures/moving around
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 10:29 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:11 am
Posts: 243
Location: Adelaide, Australia
pianolady wrote:
Thanks for idea about half-pedaling. I'll try that. I've only played four or five of Albeniz' easier pieces. The piece I'm working up is "El Puerto", which is my first venture into Iberia (and mostly likely the only one I can play). I have all the notes down and also memorized, but I still make too many mistakes so I'm still practicing it. Getting close though....


OK, I think I've found the passage you mean. Referring to the score IMSLP 01256 downloadable from http://imslp.org/wiki/Iberia_(Alb%C3%A9niz,_Isaac) , I guess you mean the bottom of page 10, where you have the Db bass for four bars, then a little later the F# pedal. So you'd like to be able to sustain the bass note yet change the pedal so that the tenor voice is clear.

I agree that the middle pedal would be useful there--if you can get that special shoe working, then you'll have complete control of what you're doing. (But be careful that you don't make it too clear--it still needs to be misty and atmospheric!) But I'm sure that it's possible to get a reasonable result without. Probably you can experiment and find a good solution on your own, but let us know if it's something worth discussing in detail, it could make for an interesting conversation.

_________________
Alexander Hanysz, http://hanysz.net


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Facial gestures/moving around
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:28 pm 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:38 pm
Posts: 8529
Yes, those are exactly the places where I use the sos. pedal. I had planned on making a recording (video) of this piece today, but now it is not going to happen. Not a good piano day, maybe because I'm having a bad hair day! haha
I'll try again tomorrow. Guess I should hurry up with that shoe....

Seriously, thanks for the input. :) I will be sure to tell if I make any sort of solution for those 'all three pedals' places.

_________________
"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Facial gestures/moving around
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:41 pm 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 11:45 am
Posts: 9598
Location: Netherlands
hanysz wrote:
Organists wear special shoes to play,

I'm not sure that they do. Though obviously there's certain shoes you can't wear when playing the pedals, like shoes with rubber or heavily profiled soles. I have one or two pairs that are a bit narrower than the others which I always use. From what I've seen most organists wear normal shoes. Allegedly Marie-Claire Alain liked performing in stilettos :lol: And if you watch Cameron Carpenter on YouTube he wears Cuban high-heels, which I guess come in handy playing the repertoire he does.

_________________
Nothing is always absolutely so -- Sturgeon's law
Chris Breemer


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Facial gestures/moving around
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:37 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:11 am
Posts: 243
Location: Adelaide, Australia
techneut wrote:
hanysz wrote:
Organists wear special shoes to play...

I'm not sure that they do.


OK, I met one organist who has a pair of shoes that he calls his "organ shoes" and uses for playing the organ and nothing else. He told me that his teacher said organists need special shoes. But I haven't met a lot of organists so, as you correctly point out, I should resist the temptation to generalise ;-)

_________________
Alexander Hanysz, http://hanysz.net


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 18 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 1 hour


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group