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Centering the beat for cohesion in scale playing

“…No matter what the mood to be conveyed, or how sensitive the playing, it is the rhythm that binds the expression.” Mildred Portney Chase, Just Being at the Piano

Most students, including myself, sometimes find ourselves running away from our initially centered, fundamental beat through scales, which causes an uncomfortable disruption of the phrase. And yet a micro metric change in the “singing” pulse can alter our sense of being rooted in the here and now.

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 8.31.56 AM

The challenge, then, is to re-center ourselves when we veer off our rhythmic course, absorbing the organic sense of the beat without sounding robotic or metronomic.

In the video attached, one of my pupils was kind enough to participate in an exploration of internal rhythmic consciousness.

Playing Eb minor scales in legato 16ths, he transitioned to staccato.

Breathing and contouring are big ingredients of preserving a rhythmic thread, and while our focus was to identify rhythmic instability and re-establish a fundamental consistency in the singing pulse, our work continues on multiple, co-existing levels that have had generous exposure in many of our collectively created videos.

For example:

More Rhythmic cohesion scale practice:

Laura aces it!

Leveraging weight through F# minor in crescendo, using finger staccato within a steady rhythmic framing. (Descend in diminuendo)

3 thoughts on “Centering the beat for cohesion in scale playing”

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