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The Perfect Evenness!!

Discussion in 'Technique' started by Hjalmar, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. Hjalmar

    Hjalmar New Member

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    Hi everybody!
    I'm just wondering how one is to achieve perfect evenness when playing scales.
    Let's say that I play C major scale with the fingering 123, 1234 etc. Then it's like I can always hear when I change the fingers from 123 to 1234. It always sounds like dadada, dadadada, but I want all the notes to sound even. I don't know how to make it sound right so does anyone know how to make all the notes come out even??
    I want evenness:)

    Thanks!!
     
  2. mgasilva

    mgasilva New Member

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    There is no shortcut. Just lots of practice. Practice hands separate, hands together, slow, then fast, then legato, then staccatto, crescendo, diminuendo, accellerando, ritardando, until you can think of no other way to practice scales, then practice some more. And if evenness is your achilles heel, always strive for it. Try exaggerating the correction to the problem; for example, if you notice the notes played by the thumb are always sounding louder, make them sound softer than the other ones on purpose. Then, after overcompensating the problem for some time, you will notice it will be easier to play them more evenly.

    This is how I practice scales:

    .../\
    ../..\
    ./....\
    /......\
    ./\../\
    /..\/..\

    Right hand goes up and down for octaves; left hand goes up two octaves, down two octaves, then up again and down again. That way, when I play any scales I always practice direct and inverse motions. Arpeggios likewise.

    Chuan C. Chang's book "Fundamentals of Piano Practice" whyle apocryphal for most traditonal teachers, does contain some interesting ideas on practicing scales. He strongly discourages you from doing repetitive exercises like Hanon, but does encourage you to play scales, and conveys some interesting points about evennes and how to practice. I do not agree 100% with everything he says, but I think his book did help me a bit with scales and arpeggios. You can download it for free on the web, just do a search.
     
  3. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    There are two possible causes (or a combination of the two).

    One is that the thumb, being a heavier finger, may be playing the key with a slight bit more force than your 3rd finger causing a dynamic accent. Does this happen when you play the F major scale in your R.H. ascending or B major in your L.H. descending (since these two do not place the thumb at the same point as C major)?

    The other is that there is a slight detachment between the 3rd an 4th of the scale, causing an agogic accent. Can you keep the sounds even when you play the scale staccato or basic non-legato (slight detachment between notes)?

    To help solve the first problem, aim for the 5th of the scale (C D E F G) with an accent on C and G. Also you can play the first 4 notes with a diminunendo from C to F then slight accent on G and another diminuendo.

    In addition, make sure that the thumb attacks the key from no higher than the 3rd finger and possibly a little closer.

    To get yourself used to the differences required on each finger to make the same sound, trying playing some repeated patterns with each finger on the same key. Pattern 1.) 4 eight notes and two quarters ("Mississippi Hot Dog")- first with thumb (on each syllable), then 2, then 3, etc. Make sure that each sound is the same for each note (i.e. each note with the thumb is exactly the same, none louder or softer, then each note on the 2nd finger. Then play a note (say "C") with thumb, then have your 2nd finger match the sound of the thumb. Then Thumb again and have 3rd finger match thumb, etc. You can also use the 3rd finger as your model and have the thumb match it , then 2nd match it, etc. This will help your body get used to the minute adjustments necessary to make different fingers match in sound.

    Other patterns that are good for this are Eight and two sixteenths (twice) "Red Apple, Green Apple", and eigth quarter eigth ("Ice Cream Cone"). (Yes, these are the rhythm patterns used in the Suzuki "Twinkle Variations" and I have found them quite helpful in fixing problems here and there.)

    If the legato connection is part of the problem, you can try working from staccato to just detatched to legato. The "Ice Cream Cone" pattern can help you on the way here and you can also repeat each note (C C D D E E F F ...) making sure to connect the second of one to the first of the next.

    The important thing is that you first of all determine the cause of the problem and then you can find solutions.
     
  4. mgasilva

    mgasilva New Member

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    :)

    When I wrote my answer to this I was thinking more of a dynamic accent, but now that I read your post, the way Hjalmar exposes the problem does suggest an agogic accent (dadada,dadadada,). A dynamic accent maybe would maybe be written (DAdadaDAdadadaDAdadaDAdadada...). You should help us here, Hjalmar, which one is it?

    :)

    Marcelo
     
  5. Lukecash

    Lukecash New Member

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    Hmmm... Didn't I give you a perfectly fine answer on another site? Did you have troubles with what I said? If so, I'd be glad to go over it again.
     
  6. mgasilva

    mgasilva New Member

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    Well, I'd certainly like to read it! If it's not asking too much, please post the answer here as well.

    :)

    Marcelo
     

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