phrasing, phrasing at the piano, piano blog, piano instrucion, piano teaching, piano technique

Piano Technique: Weight transfer into the keys and voicing

The application of weight that’s channeled into the keys through relaxed arms and supple wrists is an important ingredient of musical playing. It supports a variety of colors in “voicing” myriads of notes, while it increases attentive listening skills. Central to the “voicing” process are decisions made about what lines need drawing out, and how their definition amplifies structure and phrasing.

I always recommend using scales and arpeggios as a model landscape for experimentation with arm “weight” and its “color”-changing, expressive potential.

In my embedded video I use the E Major scale in parallel sixths as my springboard, fleshing out bass over treble; treble over bass in a stream of legato and staccato renderings. The sixths, in this instance, provide more clarity in the variance of “voicing” than unison playing with octave spacing. In a “harmonic” sixths framing, a student can better discern a contrast in “voices.” (Tenths would work just as well)

The alternation of Treble dominance over bass, followed by Bass dominance over treble, in consecutive, though partnered playings, allows for growth of “voicing” awareness and its transfer to repertoire. (Note that equalization of “voices” is an added avenue for this mode of practicing.)

I chose J.S. Bach’s Little Prelude in E Major, BWV 937 as my follow-through selection, putting experimentation to “work.”

Finally, the music, itself, directs the player to alter and refine the physical component of expressive playing. It encompasses a “singing” model universe with a reservoir of nuance, colors, and changing textures.

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