Category Archives: Scarlatti

Scarlatti Toccata in D minor with rapid fire repeated notes: Melodic contouring, dusting the keys, and slow motion replay (VIDEOS)

Here’s my anti-anxiety solution to playing those demanding, rapid-fire repeated notes in Scarlatti’s D minor Toccata. First, being a technology nerd, I never dreamed I could master a slow motion replay on iMac’s iMovie, but through trial and error, I … Continue reading

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Domenico Scarlatti with wailing gypsies, flamenco flourishes, and daredevil displays (Sonata in D, K. 492)

This Baroque era composer never ceases to amaze me. A forerunner of the virtuoso school of keyboard playing, Domenico Scarlatti offers a potpourri of what seems like incompatible ingredients in one short Sonata serving. (K. 492, L. 14) He starts … Continue reading

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Jello and other mental images for pianists

Here comes the jello again. I thought I was the only one swimming around in it until I found the good company of Irina Gorin, piano teacher and author, who served what amounted to a jello substitute at her piano … Continue reading

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Piano Technique: Teaching a 9-year old Staccato and weight application–Think bouncing a basketball vs. ping pong ball tapping (Videos)

Ilyana has been studying piano for two years. Currently, she’s working on various weight applications for staccato. I found that imaging a basketball being bounced vs. a ping pong ball being tapped, helped the student with her overall physical approach. … Continue reading

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Piano Technique: Using a spring forward wrist, and arc motions for hand crossovers in Scarlatti Sonata in A, K. 113 (three videos)

Every so often I revisit a composition I’ve previously studied applying a different perspective. In Scarlatti’s A Major Sonata, with its very demanding Allegrissimo tempo marking that makes the crossed hand sections seem impossibly difficult, I decided to parcel out … Continue reading

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Pianists and Injuries

You can’t avoid it. Athletics are part of piano playing so if you abuse your hands, arms, wrists, let alone your fingers, you’ll end up benched, like an overused relief pitcher. Yesterday, I pushed the envelope, practicing rapid fire repeated … Continue reading

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Domenico Scarlatti Toccata in D Minor, K. 141: How to play rapid repeated notes, and make hand cross-overs easier (Videos)

I always return to a composition that never quite ripened into a desired tempo when I first learned it, with the intention of devising new strategies to improve my technique the second time around. In this endeavor I’ll often study … Continue reading

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What can you do with a Performance-Piano Degree?

Face the music! Most new Conservatory grads with fancy Bachelor of Music, Performance-Piano Degrees bound in leather must improvise when catapulted into the competitive job market. With only a tiny space on the world stage reserved for budding soloists, many … Continue reading

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Piano Technique: Big Leaps, Crossed Hands, and shifty eyeballs (with slow motion video replay)

up tempo: Be prepared to exercise your eyeballs minus head movements when tackling large leaps, especially those hand-over-hand acrobatics that are intrinsic to many of Domenico Scarlatti’s sonatas. In the first video I’ve isolated a few of these jumps from … Continue reading

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Domenico Scarlatti Sonata (Toccata) in D minor, K. 141 with reams of repeated notes (VIDEO)

Domenico Scarlatti never fails to come up with a flashy pyrotechnical escapade that can make or break a player in progress. I know, because I’ve walked the plank with this piece until I was able to reverse my fortune and … Continue reading

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