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Topic: Artists Humming?  (Read 5385 times)

Offline benji

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Artists Humming?
on: June 24, 2004, 07:18:13 AM
I was listening to a recording of Vladimir Ashkenazy playing Beethoven's Sonata "Pathetique," and I noticed a subtle background noise in the second movement, so I turned the volume up the to the max and listened closer. I am almost certain he was humming faintly, which makes me wonder: Are there any pianists famous for humming along while they play?

Offline Clare

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Re: Artists Humming?
Reply #1 on: June 24, 2004, 07:32:23 AM
Yo. Glenn Gould.

Sometimes his humming is louder than his playing. I was listening to his recording of Beethoven's sonata op. 10 no. 1 and the singing was so loud I didn't remember what the playing was like at all. I think he tends to hum particularly when he's playing Beethoven, but he hums along to a lot of his own playing.

I've never detected Ashkenazy humming before. I know he screws up his mouth a lot, though. Maybe he's one of those hummers who randomly hum rather than the ones who hum along in tune (or not in tune).

Offline Allan

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Re: Artists Humming?
Reply #2 on: June 24, 2004, 07:37:04 AM
Q:  Why does a hummingbird hum?
A:   Because it does not know the words.    ::)

Offline Sketchee

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Re: Artists Humming?
Reply #3 on: June 24, 2004, 12:11:41 PM
My piano professor pointed out to me that a lot of pianists hum.  He does so himself as well.  Try it sometime! lol
Sketchee
https://www.sketchee.com [Paintings. Music.]

Offline Bernardswatch

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Re: Artists Humming?
Reply #4 on: June 24, 2004, 12:42:25 PM
I hum when I play sometimes, it just come naturally. Humming is positivly fun.

Offline Saturn

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Re: Artists Humming?
Reply #5 on: June 24, 2004, 01:29:03 PM
Quote
My piano professor pointed out to me that a lot of pianists hum.  He does so himself as well.  Try it sometime! lol


I hum all the time.  But when playing the piano?  I can't imagine this being anything other than distracting, both to the performer and to the audience.  How will you listen to your playing if you're humming?

Glenn Gould's humming really bothers me when it's loud (even louder than his playing sometimes, as Clare mentioned).  He's a pianist, not a singer!  I don't understand it.  He said that he can't help it, that he does it subconsciously; but if he has the discipline to become a great pianist, surely he has the discipline to stop himself from humming.

Unlike using your hands when speaking, which can sometimes be beneficial, humming while playing can never be beneficial to the music.

- Saturn

Offline bernhard

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Re: Artists Humming?
Reply #6 on: June 24, 2004, 01:35:13 PM
Quote
I hum when I play sometimes, it just come naturally. Humming is positivly fun.


Yes, but positively fun for whom? Maybe for the pianist.

Speaking as audience, I find humming pianists very annoying.

Yet, you would be surprised at how many of them – besides Glenn Gould -  do (or did) it: Rudolf Serkin, Andre Watts, Grigory Sokolov Maurizio Pollini, Stephen Kovacevitch, Alfred Brendel and Richard Goode (who does not really hum, he sings really loud!) to name just a few.

Check this out:

https://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/fridayreview/story/0,12102,966166,00.html
https://glenngould.org/f_minor/msg08423.html

Apparently humming gets worse with age; Brendel, Pollini and Watts were not known for their humming in their early years.

I agree with Saturn: These guys should just discipline themselves not to do it.

By the way, here is a thought: Is it gender based? I cannot recall right now any woman pianist who hums! Is that the ultimate gender difference between pianists? ;D

However even more infuriating than pianists humming is when the audience starts humming! The other day, I was showing a student what Mozart’s Turkish March (from sonata K331) sounded like, and her aunt - which was listening to the lesson half asleep – wake up with a jolt and started humming (tralalalaing would be more accurate), and clapping! For crying out loud! What is it with these people? >:(

;)

Best wishes,
Bernhard.

The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline Ade1967

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Re: Artists Humming?
Reply #7 on: June 24, 2004, 02:25:02 PM
I went to a series of concerts featuring all the Beethoven Sonatas last year with lots of different pianist. During one of the performances, can't for the life of me remember the pianists name, I kept hearing somebody loudly humming along every now and then. I kept looking around for who it was and thinking how inconsiderate they were being.  >:( (don't you hate it when people make noises at concerts/cinemas - sweets, mobile phones etc, but that's another thread!) Then it slowly dawned on me that it was the pianist!  :o  And I wasn't that close to the stage either.

JK

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Re: Artists Humming?
Reply #8 on: June 24, 2004, 02:40:44 PM
I'm not sure about humming in concerts, but I have to say that I like it when Glenn Gould sings on his recordings, it just seems to make it more human and reminds you that it is an actual person that is playing. Also it shows that the pianist is really involved in the music that they're playing.

I saw this ad on the internet that showed this machine that this guy had developed that you could buy in order to edit out the singing from Glenn Goulds' recordings! Apparently his voice is of a very unusual frequency and conventional equipment doesn't work!!! :D  

Offline pseudopianist

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Re: Artists Humming?
Reply #9 on: June 24, 2004, 02:54:04 PM
Hahaha Glenn Gould. Every recording I have with him I can't listen to because of his humming or him not humming... cause I can only focus on "Is he gonna hum now... maybe he is... I better turn up the volume and check"
Whisky and Messiaen

Offline pianochic

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Re: Artists Humming?
Reply #10 on: June 24, 2004, 03:59:47 PM
What about when pianists breath super loud? hehe...   ;D

JK

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Re: Artists Humming?
Reply #11 on: June 24, 2004, 04:04:11 PM
(hand in the air) I'm guilty of doing that, I had an annoying habit of snorting whilst playing, a habit I have now got rid of I'm glad to say! I did see a pianist recently who stuck his toungue out all the time!!!! :D

Offline Antnee

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Re: Artists Humming?
Reply #12 on: June 24, 2004, 06:14:43 PM
Yeah I find it annoying sometimes how some pianists take they're really deep breaths during the slow lyrical parts. Almost like they're trying to force they're emotion out of them...

-Tony-
"The trouble with music appreciation in general is that people are taught to have too much respect for music they should be taught to love it instead." -  Stravinsky

Offline janice

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Re: Artists Humming?
Reply #13 on: June 24, 2004, 06:30:46 PM
Quote



Unlike using your hands when speaking, which can sometimes be beneficial, humming while playing can never be beneficial to the music.

- Saturn


LOL!  You should see me talk--I use gestures ALL the time!!  I've tried sitting on my hands and trying to talk that way, but I CAN'T!!  I absolutely MUST use my hands when I talk!

I'm sorry, I got off the subject!
Co-president of the Bernhard fan club!

Spatula

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Re: Artists Humming?
Reply #14 on: June 24, 2004, 09:29:41 PM
I hum during practice for a piece that I want to drill in so my mind and fingers can get it together.

Something I might do during performances is to inhale and exhale with the music.  For long passages up the scale or music, I might breath in like I'm preparing for the next "fall" or cadenza where both my exhaling and concentration on the keyboard is optimum.

Sometimes I can even hear it very loud, but not louder than the piano going FFF

Offline Mello

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Re: Artists Humming?
Reply #15 on: June 24, 2004, 10:56:56 PM
I got a CD of the 2 and 3 part inventions by Gould and got really creeped out when I listened to them late at night.

It took me a while to figure out it was Gould making the humming noises; I kept on turning around.

Offline goalevan

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Re: Artists Humming?
Reply #16 on: June 25, 2004, 12:42:25 AM
I've been listening to Gould's Mozart Sonatas and he goes off humming alot of times - I used to find it pretty annoying but I just pass it off now and barely notice.

Offline Saturn

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Re: Artists Humming?
Reply #17 on: June 25, 2004, 01:07:59 AM
Quote
I've been listening to Gould's Mozart Sonatas and he goes off humming alot of times - I used to find it pretty annoying but I just pass it off now and barely notice.


I don't own many Gould recordings.  But I do have the Mozart Sonatas on Sony, because my auntie bought it for me as a gift when I was a kid.

His humming isn't as bad on the Mozart sonatas, except on a few of them.  But either way, I hate the way he plays these pieces!  Interestingly, amazon.com has the Gould Mozart Sonatas marked as an "essential recording".  Essentially bad, maybe.

- Saturn

Offline Antnee

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Re: Artists Humming?
Reply #18 on: June 25, 2004, 01:11:51 AM
It's weird how they hum...

I wonder why... I always try my hardest to put all of my feelings and expression into my fingers... Not my mouth...
All though during fast passages, my mouth can screw up a little...

-Tony-
"The trouble with music appreciation in general is that people are taught to have too much respect for music they should be taught to love it instead." -  Stravinsky

Offline bernhard

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Re: Artists Humming?
Reply #19 on: June 25, 2004, 01:19:25 AM
Quote
I've been listening to Gould's Mozart Sonatas and he goes off humming alot of times - I used to find it pretty annoying but I just pass it off now and barely notice.


The way he plays the Mozart sonatas is probably more annoying than the humming! ;D
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline goalevan

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Re: Artists Humming?
Reply #20 on: June 25, 2004, 01:59:11 AM
lol, well I think they are incredible, it's the only recording I've heard of most of these pieces so of course its Mozart thats so incredible to me. I really don't like the way he plays Allegro from Sonata Facile now that I think of it and that's one of the only ones I had heard before I came across this

What are your favorite Mozart Sonata recording by the way?

Offline bernhard

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Re: Artists Humming?
Reply #21 on: June 25, 2004, 02:18:32 AM
Quote
lol, well I think they are incredible, it's the only recording I've heard of most of these pieces so of course its Mozart thats so incredible to me. I really don't like the way he plays Allegro from Sonata Facile now that I think of it and that's one of the only ones I had heard before I came across this

What are your favorite Mozart Sonata recording by the way?


Take your pick (I like them all):

Maria João Pires
Mitsuko Uchida
Andras Schiff
Chirstoph Eschenbach
Ronald Brautigan
Clara Haskill
Lili Kraus
Malcom Bilson

Best wishes,
Bernhard
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline donjuan

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Re: Artists Humming?
Reply #22 on: June 25, 2004, 03:05:30 AM
I have a recording of Fazil Say playing the Liszt B minor Sonata, and in parts of it, it sounds like he is vomiting.  When I first heard it, I stopped the music and went into the kitchen to see if any of my family members were sick.  I went back to listen and after a while, I realized it was the pianist in the background.
donjuan

Offline janice

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Re: Artists Humming?
Reply #23 on: June 25, 2004, 06:17:17 AM
Quote
I have a recording of Fazil Say playing the Liszt B minor Sonata, and in parts of it, it sounds like he is vomiting.  When I first heard it, I stopped the music and went into the kitchen to see if any of my family members were sick.  I went back to listen and after a while, I realized it was the pianist in the background.
donjuan


ROFL!!!  Please tell me that you are joking!
Co-president of the Bernhard fan club!

Offline Clare

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Re: Artists Humming?
Reply #24 on: June 25, 2004, 08:03:00 AM
This is not exactly piano related, but, oh, well.

My old violin teacher said that one time he had to play in an orchestra sitting next to this guy who spat all over his violin when he played.
Surely that would ruin the lacquer eventually or something.

Maybe there are only grunting/humming male pianists because all the grunting females become tennis pros instead.  ;)

Offline Motrax

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Re: Artists Humming?
Reply #25 on: June 25, 2004, 10:37:25 PM
A good observation, Clare.  :D

Just pretend for a moment that the composer actually wrote all the humming you hear in Gould's recordings. Doing this, I find his voice rather lyrical, enhancing the music in some sections.

I have never hummed during a performance, but I find myself humming a little while I practice. More often though, I'll sing a section alone before I play it. I've grown up believing (and still do) that musical instruments should do their best to imitate a human voice in expression and beauty. At very good concerts, I sometimes have to make a concious effort not to sing along with the music, which is something I do all the time when I'm alone and thus won't bother anyone with my nasty 18-year-old toneless voice.  ;)
"I always make sure that the lid over the keyboard is open before I start to play." --  Artur Schnabel, after being asked for the secret of piano playing.

Offline earl

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Re: Artists Humming?
Reply #26 on: June 25, 2004, 11:58:51 PM
I read somewhere (probably an album liner note) that at least one recording session Gould wore a gas mask while playing to try to diminish the sound of his humming on tape.

Another prominent hummer is jazz pianist Keith Jarrett. I have several of his CDs where he's playing live, and he's humming the majority of the time. This may be a little more excuseable since one of a jazz musician's goals is to "sing" their improvisations through the instrument. Still, it's annoying but I put up with it because I love his playing.

Earl
Earl

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Artists Humming?
Reply #27 on: June 26, 2004, 12:31:48 AM
Humming is fun to do and it's even more fun if you are humming louder than you can play.  If you are primarily humming for yourself, it's fun.  If someone is listening to it, it's not fun for them.  It's even more fun to get off the bench while humming to dance to what you are playing!  Go ahead, if you haven't gotten up to dance, you should.  It's even more fun! ;D

Offline Tash

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Re: Artists Humming?
Reply #28 on: June 26, 2004, 06:23:24 AM
i have never even contemplated humming whilst playing, maybe because i hate singing all together and have no sense of pitch. also i'd probably find it distracting. but i suppose it's sort of like when i'm drawing i'll find myself with the same facial expression i'm drawing and then realise that i look retarded and stop...
'J'aime presque autant les images que la musique' Debussy
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