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Which are you?

Scale/Passagework Person
Octave/Chord Person


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Topic: Are you a SCALE person or a CHORD person?  (Read 2386 times)

Offline arensky

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Are you a SCALE person or a CHORD person?
on: September 19, 2005, 03:38:57 AM
There are two types of pianists, pianists who divide pianists into two categories and pianists who don't.  :P ::)

Seriously, I've noticed over the years that some of us have a natural facility at scales and filigree passagework; some of us are more naturally inclined towards chords and octave passages.

Which is easier for you? Why do you think you are that way?

I'm an octave/chord person... :D
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Offline guru_of_time

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Re: Are you a SCALE person or a CHORD person?
Reply #1 on: September 19, 2005, 03:40:02 AM
really loud and big chords are oh so fun to play ;D

Offline arensky

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Re: Are you a SCALE person or a CHORD person?
Reply #2 on: September 19, 2005, 03:41:36 AM
Are they easier for you?
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"One never knows about another one, do one?" Fats Waller

Offline guru_of_time

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Re: Are you a SCALE person or a CHORD person?
Reply #3 on: September 19, 2005, 03:46:59 AM
it's easier to screw up on fast scale passages, but they can both be very hard or very easy...it really depends on the scale or chord...and I have a quite large hand (picture is on the topic of showing your hand size), so large chords are a cinch (or however you spell it lol...sinch...cinch...)

Offline pianistimo

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Re: Are you a SCALE person or a CHORD person?
Reply #4 on: September 19, 2005, 04:07:48 AM
the scales come before the chords.  if you are teaching, i think you have to start with scales and then move to chords (since they are often determined by the key that you are in).  chords and scales are usually not a one or the other choice in repertoire.  though brahms may be more chordal than chopin, there is a beauty to both.  i would pick neither.  if someone tried to categorize me, i would say that even jazz pianists see a line (though they change chords frequently).  i'm not a jazz pianists, but i see that as an ideal for someone playing classical music.  the chords shouldn't be chop chop, but a smooth pedalling from one to another, keeping softer accompaniment.

accompaniment reminds me of percussion, too. wasn't the third movement of the brahms requiem (first time it was played) ruined by a timpanist or something?  i think he played the timpani too loud and it drowned out a really important section - so people booed brahms work and didn't give it the credit that he would have gotten, had it been played correctly.

Offline arensky

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Re: Are you a SCALE person or a CHORD person?
Reply #5 on: September 19, 2005, 06:09:35 AM
the scales come before the chords.  if you are teaching, i think you have to start with scales and then move to chords (since they are often determined by the key that you are in).  chords and scales are usually not a one or the other choice in repertoire.  though brahms may be more chordal than chopin, there is a beauty to both.  i would pick neither.  if someone tried to categorize me, i would say that even jazz pianists see a line (though they change chords frequently).  i'm not a jazz pianists, but i see that as an ideal for someone playing classical music.  the chords shouldn't be chop chop, but a smooth pedalling from one to another, keeping softer accompaniment.


Scales and chords, in musical function(not mechanical, the point of this thread) are the inverson or opposite of one another; chords are VERTICAL and scales are a HORIZONTAL expression of the same thing, which is a given tonality or even an atonality (i.e. D major chord = D major scale).

EVEN Jazz Pianists?  >:(  what? Obviously you've only heard the bad ones, all good Jazz Pianists see AND play a line. Many "Classical" (*** segregation and labels) Pianists have an inferior concept of line to even mediocre Jazz Pianists. If you are required to invent/compose as you perform, you develop a sense of line like a composer, because that's what you're doing; composing, on the spur of the moment.

But the point of this thread is not pedagogical it is physical; which are technically/physically/chops-wise easier for you, scaly stuff or chordy octave type stuff?  :)
=  o        o  =
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"One never knows about another one, do one?" Fats Waller

Offline brewtality

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Re: Are you a SCALE person or a CHORD person?
Reply #6 on: September 19, 2005, 07:10:03 AM
Chords, octaves and jumps; Thats what I'm good at, which puts me in the latter group. My scales are a bit shameful. We always want what we don't have, I envy people who practised their scales when they were young and can play them fast, even and with great clarity.

Offline chromatickler

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Re: Are you a SCALE person or a CHORD person?
Reply #7 on: September 19, 2005, 11:42:04 AM
There are two types of pianists, pianists who divide pianists into two categories and pianists who don't.  :P ::)
hahaha this reminds me

a legend by the name of KMART once declared: "there are two types of pianists, those who can play the 10/2, and those who cant"

Offline pianistimo

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Re: Are you a SCALE person or a CHORD person?
Reply #8 on: September 19, 2005, 06:35:15 PM
sorry arensky.  i completely agree.  i was just making the point about lots of chord changes which happen in jazz.  i did say 'they would be an ideal for classical pianists.'  (meaning ideal example of playing a line)

for many years i just gave up on playing chopin (because of the line idea) yet i played mozart with ease (scale passages and chords).  now, taking lessons, i see that there is even more to 'seeing the line' and more to pedalling technique.  basically, it's what your technique handles, imo, and not if you are a scale or chordal person.  this would limit you as you progress to be an artist (saying you only do one or the other).  what artists around would go advertising this?  they want to be good at all of it.

Offline arensky

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Re: Are you a SCALE person or a CHORD person?
Reply #9 on: September 19, 2005, 06:51:59 PM
...and I have a quite large hand (picture is on the topic of showing your hand size), so large chords are a cinch (or however you spell it lol...sinch...cinch...)

Yes you do!  :D  And your fingertips are not excessively thick, you are very well armed and equipped for piano playing! I posted my slim girly hands on the same post.... :-[
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"One never knows about another one, do one?" Fats Waller

Offline pianistimo

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Re: Are you a SCALE person or a CHORD person?
Reply #10 on: September 19, 2005, 07:00:14 PM
you don't have girly hands.  you have piano hands.  long fingers (which i don't have) and probably can play chords well as well as 'the line.'

i didn't realize that for people like me, with short fingers, we CAN play chopin.  it's just a little more difficult to master.  for instance, we can use the zip technique.  if a reach is too far, you can play the bottom note and then zip up to the top at the angle of fastest approach.  i used a stupid approach before, going high in the air and trying to land on the note.  now, i zip sideways like a fighter plane just barely nipping the mountain tops (of the keys).  i can now play one chopin etude (everyone, clap,  yes. thank you) whereas before i thought it was just technically impossible.

on the other hand, i have an uncanny ability to remember the whole 3rd bach english suite (when practiced) and (though it has a lot of notes and strange modulations) and some people can't do that.  so, i say, hahahh (no not really) i just do what i can do the best and figure that someday (someday) i will play all the chopin ballades and etudes just like i've worked as much mozart and beethoven as possible. 

Offline ted

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Re: Are you a SCALE person or a CHORD person?
Reply #11 on: September 19, 2005, 09:00:23 PM
I am neither or, probably more accurately, both. Which I use depends on what I have to say. I tend not to think in terms of categories of sound types because it restricts the musical impulse. As to the physical issue, I seem to be able to play both equally as well, or badly, depending on your point of view, so I cannot answer the poll.
"Mistakes are the portals of discovery." - James Joyce

Offline dolcejen

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Re: Are you a SCALE person or a CHORD person?
Reply #12 on: September 19, 2005, 10:16:07 PM
Since my hands are bigger and stronger (I am a tall girl)  :) I tend to not have as much trouble with the massive cords, although I've run into composers who certainly had MUCH bigger hands than I have. They must have.  :) I am completely fascinated with chord progressions and am much more impressed with a piece that explores such horizantal workings. I also find scaley (lol) pieces boring. A well placed scale can be nice but when the composition is inundated with them I get sleepy or irritated.
Another reason for my liking for chords and octaves is my primarily gross motor skilled body (for those of you who might be familiar with brain types, you'll know what I'm talking about --- people tend to lean one way or another, some are fine motor skilled others are gross motor skilled). I have a lot of power in my upper arms and that is more suited to grand, chordy peices rather than Bach inventions.  :)

Offline jbmajor

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Re: Are you a SCALE person or a CHORD person?
Reply #13 on: September 20, 2005, 01:16:56 AM
I like combining the two.   ;)

But I'm better at scales when it comes to playing either or with speed and precision. 

Offline Bouter Boogie

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Re: Are you a SCALE person or a CHORD person?
Reply #14 on: September 20, 2005, 05:01:44 AM
Hmm.. Hard to say.. I think I'd go for scales then, but it depends on which piece of course :-\

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Offline BoliverAllmon

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Re: Are you a SCALE person or a CHORD person?
Reply #15 on: September 20, 2005, 01:57:08 PM
I suck at chord passages. I have to practice real slowly at first and work on each chord. I think the reason is that I have never really played a piece with alot of chord passages in them.

Offline gruffalo

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Re: Are you a SCALE person or a CHORD person?
Reply #16 on: September 20, 2005, 08:18:41 PM
I think both categories are just as difficult and can be mastered to the same extent. i am more of a chord person. i have long skinny fingers and large hands and they look freaky as people (non-musicians) have told me and i get embarassed quite a lot. im not talking about being able to bash chords, i mean chords in general.

Offline arensky

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Re: Are you a SCALE person or a CHORD person?
Reply #17 on: September 20, 2005, 11:48:24 PM
sorry arensky.  i completely agree.  i was just making the point about lots of chord changes which happen in jazz.  i did say 'they would be an ideal for classical pianists.'  (meaning ideal example of playing a line)

for many years i just gave up on playing chopin (because of the line idea) yet i played mozart with ease (scale passages and chords).  now, taking lessons, i see that there is even more to 'seeing the line' and more to pedalling technique.  basically, it's what your technique handles, imo, and not if you are a scale or chordal person.  this would limit you as you progress to be an artist (saying you only do one or the other).  what artists around would go advertising this?  they want to be good at all of it.

I did not mean to snap at you, I was feeling grouchy for a couple of days...

Yes, one has to do both to play the classical literature, but most of us find one or the other more conducive to our playing.
=  o        o  =
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"One never knows about another one, do one?" Fats Waller

Offline arensky

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Re: Are you a SCALE person or a CHORD person?
Reply #18 on: September 21, 2005, 12:12:36 AM
you don't have girly hands.  you have piano hands.  long fingers (which i don't have) and probably can play chords well as well as 'the line.'

 the zip technique.  if a reach is too far, you can play the bottom note and then zip up to the top at the angle of fastest approach.  i used a stupid approach before, going high in the air and trying to land on the note.  now, i zip sideways like a fighter plane just barely nipping the mountain tops (of the keys).  i can now play one chopin etude (everyone, clap,  yes. thank you) whereas before i thought it was just technically impossible.


Actually I think I have violin hands, violinists always stare at my hands with this weird expression that combines awe, envy and finally disgust. Too bad I really stink at violin, and have the C- in Class Violin to prove it!

I like this zip technique, the fighter jet is a cool and very apt analogy!  8) But don't give up on the "from above" (a former teacher of mine used to say this incessantly, always complaining that his American students played too close to the keys, and that this constricted their tone).  He was right, but sometimes you have to be close to the keys.. I was taught this "zip technique" by the next teacher I studied with, and it improved my clarity and accuracy a great deal. And yes teacher #1 was right my tone (always my strong point) did start to sound clipped. My next teacher after #2 was ME!!  8) I sat alone at the piano for two years, playing almost nothing but Jazz (sounds pathetic, I did get up to eat and shower!) and put everything I had been taught over about a decade together in a way and order that suited me, not the teacher. My Jazz playing was helpful in this too, because that is MY playing, my suit of clothes, not someone elses. Finally understanding how my clothes fit enabled me to tailor Bach's clothes, Chopin's clothes, Ravel's clothes, Brahms' clothes etc. to fit me! I now feel that I have a well balanced  approach to the piano.

So don't give up on the "from above"; if you look at the key, your hand will probably go to it. If you combine your jet fighters (close in) with bombers (from above), you will have a formidable and well rounded air force I mean approach to the keyboard!!!!  ::)
=  o        o  =
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"One never knows about another one, do one?" Fats Waller

Offline leahcim

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Re: Are you a SCALE person or a CHORD person?
Reply #19 on: September 21, 2005, 12:14:56 AM
I play both with equal incompetence :D but I certainly know the music I like to listen to probably tends towards scale / passage rather than big thunderous chords.

I've wondered before how much of that is because more of the thunderousness is lost in recordings [on my cheap equip, at least] or if you're not physically playing a real acoustic.

Oh yeah - continuing the theme - there are 10 types of pianist, those that understand binary and those that don't.

Offline apion

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Re: Are you a SCALE person or a CHORD person?
Reply #20 on: September 21, 2005, 01:50:28 AM
Octave/Chord type.  I love Brahms and Liszt.  ;D

Offline kriskicksass

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Re: Are you a SCALE person or a CHORD person?
Reply #21 on: October 02, 2005, 03:18:29 AM
I'm mostly the scale type, but I prefer to call it single-note passagework. Not to say that I can't play chordal passages and octaves, I jus happen to be one of those crazy people who actually has fun practicing scales and arpeggios.  :o

Actually, I've been wondering lately if it's just my left hand that's bad at chords. I'm working on Chopin's b-flat minor Scherzo, and I'm running just fine in the right hand, but I'm dying with the chords and octaves in the left hand! >_< Anyone happen to know any studies that are good for chords in the left hand?
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