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Topic: Phrasing and Expression  (Read 1620 times)

Offline Sketchee

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Phrasing and Expression
on: October 09, 2004, 10:33:04 AM
I did a search and didn't find much information on phrasing.  I thought I'd start a thread on it. Post your tips and general advice for phrasing.

If you want to go into specifics, the pieces that got me thinking about these are Chopin Waltzes Op 69 No 1 "L'adieu" and No 2.  I've been playing around with them since my professor wants them to be more expressive.  I don't just want to emulate his way of doing it though so I've tried various ways.  Thoughts!
Sketchee
https://www.sketchee.com [Paintings. Music.]

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Phrasing and Expression
Reply #1 on: October 09, 2004, 12:26:35 PM
Someone's signature quote said something about great composers don't borrow [musical ideas], they steal it!

So, if you want to learn how to phrase and to play expressively, emulate your teacher!  It will get you started.

One thing to keep in mind: the only way you learn something is through immitation.  If you want to memorive something, repeat it over and over.  This is the same with movements, etc.  Why do you remember something when you were a toddler?  Because you have repeated it in your mind over and over and over (with meaning).  Even if you do not purposely recall a memory, something may remind you of it and that memory is recalled.  Blah blah blah.

In short, ignore your own advice of not wanting to emulate your teacher. ;)
Imitation will get you started.  The creative process is what will allow you to be self-sufficient.

Offline xvimbi

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Re: Phrasing and Expression
Reply #2 on: October 09, 2004, 05:41:51 PM
Compare playing a piece to telling a story:

The notes correspond to the letters.
The phrases correspond to words and sentences.
Phrasing and articulation correspond to the intonation.

Therefore, you must have a story to tell, and the intonation must fit the character of the story.

Begin with figuring out or making up your own mind what the piece is all about. Do certain sections depict happyness, sadness, rage, etc.?

Once you have done that, play around with different ways to achieve the corresponding sound. Try staccato, portato, legato, rubato, all the "atos" you can think of. Play with crescendos, decrescendos, accelerandos, all the "ndos" you can think of. Put accents on the first note, the last note, the second to last not, every other note, etc.

Of course, there are certain "rules" for articulation that depend on the piece, the composer or the period the piece is from. But those rules are only guidelines. Don't get trapped by them.

Listen to different recordings of the same piece. Analyze where they differ. How do they differ? What is the resulting mood or feeling. Do you agree with this rendition, or would you play it differently. If so, how? Sing the piece the way you would like to play it. Then try to reproduce that sound on the piano.

You may not know how to achieve a certain sound or mood through articulation, yet. So, the next time you go to your teacher, tell him/her "I think this section depicts happiness, but it is immediately followed by deep uncertainty and a dialog between two opposing characters. How do I bring all this out". You'd be delighted how much fun this aspect of music is. And you will end up a good storyteller, which is what music is all about.

Offline Sketchee

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Re: Phrasing and Expression
Reply #3 on: October 10, 2004, 12:02:36 AM
Quote
Someone's signature quote said something about great composers don't borrow [musical ideas], they steal it!

So, if you want to learn how to phrase and to play expressively, emulate your teacher!  It will get you started.

One thing to keep in mind: the only way you learn something is through immitation.  If you want to memorive something, repeat it over and over.  This is the same with movements, etc.  Why do you remember something when you were a toddler?  Because you have repeated it in your mind over and over and over (with meaning).  Even if you do not purposely recall a memory, something may remind you of it and that memory is recalled.  Blah blah blah.

In short, ignore your own advice of not wanting to emulate your teacher. ;)
Imitation will get you started.  The creative process is what will allow you to be self-sufficient.


Like I said in the composition thread, there's nothing wrong with borrowing ideas!  But the question is how to move away from his ideas into my own.  I have been emulating his interpretation, but it's the next step that I'm asking about:  the "creative process" as you call it.
Sketchee
https://www.sketchee.com [Paintings. Music.]

Offline CC

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Re: Phrasing and Expression
Reply #4 on: October 10, 2004, 12:22:05 AM
I just want to make one simple point which might seem irrelevant, but I believe is very important. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO IMITATE SOMEONE ELSE.  Therefore, don't even try. Even for the simplest music, it will take you forever to imitate someone else, and then you probably won't succeed. The only thing you can do is to grasp musical concepts and feelings and then to reproduce them YOUR way. Therefore, failure to imitate someone is not a failure at all, but an inevitability. Especially in some cultures, such as the Orient, there is a tendency to try to imitate the great musicians and this can result in horrendous waste of time and psychological disaster because the failure rate is 100%. So what to do if teach says,"do this!"?? Teachers know that no one can reproduce his results exactly, and doesn't expect it. The only requirements are for you to eliminate what is wrong and add whatever you can using his playing as guide. In other words, you need to grasp the generic concept of the teacher's demonstration, not what she is specifically playing. Moreover, if your result is not exactly the same as the teacher's, it is not necessarily wrong.
C.C.Chang; my home page:

 https://www.pianopractice.org/
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