Claude Debussy, Debussy, piano blog

Reviewing Debussy’s Arabesque 1 with its Impressionist palette

It's been years since I learned Claude Debussy's coloristic Arabesque No. 1, so my recent revisit was a reminder of how a solid learning foundation can deepen a musical reconnection. Reviewing an "old" piece brings a renewed opportunity to delve into its character, form, structure, harmonic flow, phrasing, etc. while keeping an open mind about… Continue reading Reviewing Debussy’s Arabesque 1 with its Impressionist palette

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Piano Technique: Playing beyond the fingers to sculpt beautiful phrases (Debussy Arabesque no. 1)

Many piano students who practice Debussy's Arabesque no. 1 tend to grab and articulate notes, rather than let them flow from energy streaming down relaxed arms into supple wrists. Reliance on fingers-down playing becomes the panacea for accuracy, while it sacrifices poetic musical expression. In the video below, I demonstrate how phrases can be sculpted… Continue reading Piano Technique: Playing beyond the fingers to sculpt beautiful phrases (Debussy Arabesque no. 1)

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Nikolai Lugansky, pianist, plays chess and loves poetry

The nearly 7-minute You Tube interview was telling. Luganksy waxed poetic about poetry, and recited one of his favorites by Boris Pasternak. It was in Russian, but it's lyrical lines stole the show. No translation needed. He was seated beside a conductor named Petrenko, and both were being queried by the first bassist of the… Continue reading Nikolai Lugansky, pianist, plays chess and loves poetry

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The Cult of Haddy Haddorff, her dual personality, and lovesick owners

"Haddy" Serious, but exalted in Bach.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkH5p4E2lTE Affording a dreamscape of beauty in Debussy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xv1WpPXSQx8 These are her remarkable polarities. Depending on the weather, and internal environment, she can either raise you up, or let you down. But even with her intermittent note-lazy landscape, she will always sing heart songs. I happen to be in… Continue reading The Cult of Haddy Haddorff, her dual personality, and lovesick owners

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Debussy Arabesque No. 1 and the back story (Video)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xv1WpPXSQx8 Speaking of pianos, and decisions about which to use, I decided to give Haddy Haddorff another opportunity to sing like a nightingale. This was a late-into-the-night sound exploration following an earlier trip to the Mac Store at Fresno's Fashion Fair Mall. The Yeti mic was not registering--no sound--no explanation, though it was properly connected.… Continue reading Debussy Arabesque No. 1 and the back story (Video)

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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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A Piano Lesson in progress: Debussy Arabesque No. 1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xv1WpPXSQx8 Students find it helpful to revisit parts of their lessons on video. They can pinpoint ways of practicing in baby steps by separating hands, parceling out voices, and shaping phrases. Yesterday, an adult student and I worked on the first section of the Debussy "Arabesque," No. 1, and focused most of our attention on… Continue reading A Piano Lesson in progress: Debussy Arabesque No. 1