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Domenico Scarlatti’s music that’s within reach of the Intermediate level student

Margery Halford via Alfred publications has compiled a nice assortment of Domenico Scarlatti's Menuettos and Sonatas (essercizi) that's a satisfying "Introduction" to the Baroque era composer's music. (Scarlatti, An Introduction to his Keyboard Works) In fact, I snatched at least five of these binary form sonatas for my two-part disc in 2007, combined with the… Continue reading Domenico Scarlatti’s music that’s within reach of the Intermediate level student

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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 managed a half-speed rendering of the opener. Naturally, I deleted my sadly depressing droning voice… Continue reading Scarlatti Toccata in D minor with rapid fire repeated notes: Melodic contouring, dusting the keys, and slow motion replay (VIDEOS)

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knhMGbpg8Fk 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 with a sprightly staccato opening in the MAJOR mode in parallel thirds then continues… Continue reading Domenico Scarlatti with wailing gypsies, flamenco flourishes, and daredevil displays (Sonata in D, K. 492)

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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 lessons. She had packed away a small tub of colorful putty that she dispensed to… Continue reading Jello and other mental images for pianists

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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. The short video below illustrates. We ended up playing 8th notes, not being overly ambitious… Continue reading Piano Technique: Teaching a 9-year old Staccato and weight application–Think bouncing a basketball vs. ping pong ball tapping (Videos)

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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 pertinent measures in practice tempo. The goal was to inch up to a faster rendering… Continue reading Piano Technique: Using a spring forward wrist, and arc motions for hand crossovers in Scarlatti Sonata in A, K. 113 (three videos)

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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 notes in Domenico Scarlatti's Toccata in D minor, well into the night. Ample streams of… Continue reading Pianists and Injuries