Domenico Scarlatti and trills!

What would our precious Domenico be without his Baroque era adornments, embedded trills, heart-throbbing melodies in gypsy, folkloric framing! And who can overlook the flamenco guitar, rhythmic castanets and tambourines in full keyboard orchestration under Portuguese and Spanish royal influence. Yet the very first Scarlatti sonata given to me by my beloved NYC mentor, Lillian… Continue reading Domenico Scarlatti and trills!

piano, piano sonata, piano sonatas, piano study, piano teacher

Trills, Trills, Trills and how to practice them!

This week's post is, in part, a response to a Word Press inquiry about how to approach trills in Mozart's Sonata in F, K. 332. (Allegro) The measures under examination are those that lead toward the Development section with a modulation to the Dominant key of C Major. These same configured trills return at the… Continue reading Trills, Trills, Trills and how to practice them!

executing trills, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Kirsten blog

Navigating Tricky Trills

Experimentation is central to piano learning in all its phases, including that which applies to the build-up of trills. Unfortunately, for many students engaged in such a learning process, rapid alternations of notes will often ignite instant panic and fear which tighten muscles, inhibiting a smooth flowing musical line. In some instances, the initial approach… Continue reading Navigating Tricky Trills

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Practicing Challenging Pieces: If we’re over a barrel, we can still learn something valuable

I'm the first to admit that not every learning journey through a particular composition will produce results we might have hoped for. After weeks or even months of methodical practicing in baby steps, we can find ourselves literally over a barrel, wading through ornaments, for example, that are crystal clear in slow tempo, but suffer… Continue reading Practicing Challenging Pieces: If we’re over a barrel, we can still learn something valuable

Chopin, Chopin Nocturnes, Frederic Chopin, piano, piano blog

Don’t Choke through peak sections of a Chopin Nocturne

Many adult students get bent out of shape when a piece of "night music" blooms with "improvised," decorative passagework at peak expressive levels. Add in prolonged trills with lower notes tied (held down) leading to a decisive crescendo through a tricky chromatic scale, and many players will shrink from the challenge. They'll prefer to skip… Continue reading Don’t Choke through peak sections of a Chopin Nocturne

Claudio Arrau, J.S. Bach, Johann Sebastian Bach, piano technique

Piano Technique: Shaking out Bach Ornaments! and the influence of Claudio Arrau

When working on executing ornaments with an adult student as they appear in J.S. Bach's Prelude in F minor, I thought instantly of Claudio Arrau's allusions to "shaking" these out, without having a thread of tension in the arms, wrists, and hands. One of his biographers, Joseph Horowitz, profiled the pianist in an extensive interview… Continue reading Piano Technique: Shaking out Bach Ornaments! and the influence of Claudio Arrau

classical music, how to trill on the piano, Joyce Di Donato, opera, operatic trills, piano blog, piano blogging, piano technique, piano trills, Shirley Kirsten, vocal model for piano playing, W. A. Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Piano Technique: Trills and the vocal model

Joyce Di Donato, "lyric-coloratura mezzo-soprano," is my model for trilling. In an embedded you tube video, the opera singer emphasizes the undulating character of a beautifully executed trill that leans on the upper note. (Too often pianists deliver a robotic stream of alternating notes that's shapeless and out of breath, ignoring an internal flow and… Continue reading Piano Technique: Trills and the vocal model

trills in Mozart arias, wordpress.com

Piano Technique: Practicing Trills

It's amazing how one can fill a whole page rhapsodizing about trills. But for me they are more OPERATIC, as if a splendid soprano were singing a Mozart aria, producing the most artfully beautiful alternation of two notes. These would be undulating, and grouped in such a way, that their lilt would be apparent. In… Continue reading Piano Technique: Practicing Trills

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More trills, but bucolic and serene: Scarlatti’s d minor “pastorale” K. 9 (VIDEO)

Domenico Scarlatti Sonata K. 9 in d minor (the "pastorale") http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Qk88Sn9kHk The trills in K. 9 are far different than those permeating Scarlatti's sonata K. 159 in C Major. The latter has a robust horn call opening with a lavish assortment of ornaments. The bright sounding Major tonality creates a dazzling brilliance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zUmr0vl_-c By contrast… Continue reading More trills, but bucolic and serene: Scarlatti’s d minor “pastorale” K. 9 (VIDEO)