Piano Forum

Remembering the great Maurizio Pollini
Legendary pianist Maurizio Pollini defined modern piano playing through a combination of virtuosity of the highest degree, a complete sense of musical purpose and commitment that works in complete control of the virtuosity. His passing was announced by Milan’s La Scala opera house on March 23. Read more >>

Topic: Musicality  (Read 1572 times)

Offline aki

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 81
on: October 09, 2004, 08:44:29 AM
Is there any way to improve on somebody's musicality, like one's ability to play something musically

Offline faulty_damper

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3929
Re: Musicality
Reply #1 on: October 09, 2004, 12:14:58 PM
Listen to music.  Understand music.  Play music.
Musicality is also known by another term, interpretation.

A great parallel to answering your question is reading aloud from a novel.

If you have ever heard someone read from a novel on a radio show, like Selected Shorts on NPR, then you know that the way they read isn't like the way most people read.  The way they read it makes you fully absorbed into what they are saying and you forget they are reading form a novel.

The content of the text on the page is fully expressed aloud in a meaningful manner.  If there is tension in the story, there is tension in the readers' voice.  If the mood is light, then the voice will match.  How they speak adds to the mood of the piece.

However, when the reader reads the words, there are no expressive markings on the page to read loud or soft or with excitement or strain.  These are left completely to the reader to interpret.

So this is what being able to interpret a musical piece is all about except in music, there are expressive markings, not just notes.  This may actually hinder a musicians ability to learn how to interpret a piece because all they have to do is follow the directions.  Playing forte, piano, dolce, agitato, stringendo, etc. are usually all writen out.

Here's an easy way to test your ability to interpret a piece properly, meaning that if the text in the novel says "the little boy became estatic that he finally got the present he always wanted" then the voice will also be excited to show his excitement.  Pick up an easy  piece you have never heard before - some of Schubert, Dvorak, Movart, Beethoven will do the job - and remove all expressive and dynamic markings.  Then play the piece.  Once learned, it should be readily apparent whether or not you are playing it properly and the music should be rather straight forward.

Offline Piazzo22

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 145
Re: Musicality
Reply #2 on: October 09, 2004, 08:31:56 PM
Is there any way to improve on somebody's musicality, like one's ability to play something musically

You could play to the bottom, legattissimo!
August Förster (Löbau) owner.

Offline CC

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 185
Re: Musicality
Reply #3 on: October 10, 2004, 12:04:05 AM
I learn musicality from the great composers.  Each one teaches us something different, but it may help to learn them in a certain order. Perhaps the simplest to start with, is Beethoven because he uses the most basic logic. He tells us to connect each note and each bar. He teaches us rhythm, and the intricate conversations between the hands (2nd mvment of Waldstein). Every little thing he puts in his music has a purpose; that's why you can't add pedal where he doesn't indicate it -- you will find that your technique will improve markedly if you play his stuff pedalling as marked, and not any more. Then you might go to Mozart: the requirement of incredible accuracy and creation of the deepest and widest variety of feelings with a minimum of notes. Then on to Bach, where he takes the simplest motifs and weaves some of the most complex structures ever written, at the same time teaching you the fundamentals of technique and theory. Then to Chopin, who shows you a whole new genre of music which at times seems to be out of this world -- no matter what you do, there is something more that you can add. The special Chopin legato, staccato, and rubatos. Taking full advantage of pedal, but has to be in the correct way. With Chopin, you HAVE to learn how to pedal. With Debussy, you need to assemble a large number of notes to produce a scenery or atmosphere that the individual notes cannot do.  Etc., etc.
C.C.Chang; my home page:

For more information about this topic, click search below!

Logo light pianostreet.com - the website for classical pianists, piano teachers, students and piano music enthusiasts.

Subscribe for unlimited access

Sign up

Follow us

Piano Street Digicert