Good phrasing: listen for the decay, and psyche out your piano

The theme of today’s Online lesson beamed from North Carolina was following the decay of a note from the end of a phrase into the next measure with a thread of continuity. To have good conjunction between phrases one has to listen in two directions: from the before to the after, without forgetting the BEFORE. (Most students will pay more attention to the start of a new phrase,–clunking the downbeat–ignoring the influence of crossover harmonic rhythm and resolution, or dynamic relationships between measures.) So listening attentively draws awareness of how harmony affects melodic inflection and shaping, and what “colors” various rhythms offer as clues to phrasing beautifully in an ongoing BEFORE and AFTER strand of measures.

Part TWO:

Psyching out one’s piano has to do with whether a particular instrument is brashly bright, or sounding like cotton balls (It might also be an undesirable combination of the two). Nonetheless, the aforementioned requires that the player figure out a way to outsmart the instrument with its foibles, and create beautiful phrasing by adjusting entry into keys with various physically transferred weights, always realizing the pre-imagined sound. (In short, the pianist must hear notes before they’re played and adjust touch and tone to match the internal sound ideal)

The following lesson excerpt brought home both referenced dimensions of phrasing and auditory awareness:


In this sample the student is working on smoothing out E minor scale transitions that require attentive listening from the conclusion of one form into another. (i.e. focused conjunction of scales without sharp accents on the downbeat initiation of each new one)

About arioso7: Shirley Kirsten

International piano teacher by Skype, recording artist, composer, piano finder, freelance writer, film maker, story teller: Grad of the NYC HS of Performing Arts, Oberlin Conservatory, NYU (Master of Arts) Studies with Lillian Freundlich and Ena Bronstein; Master classes with Murray Perahia and Oxana Yablonskaya. Studios in BERKELEY and EL CERRITO, California; Member, Music Teachers Assoc. of California, MTAC; Distance learning and Skyped instruction with supplementary videos: SKYPE ID, shirleypiano1 Contact me at: OR or at FACEBOOK: Shirley Smith Kirsten, /shirley.kirsten TWITTER: Private fund-raising for non-profits as pianist--Public Speaking re: piano teaching and creative approaches
This entry was posted in adult piano instruction, Chopin, Frederic Chopin, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, piano, piano blog, piano blogging, Shirley Kirsten and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Good phrasing: listen for the decay, and psyche out your piano

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