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Vexations - Was Igor Levit's Lonely Stroll Too Long?
In a bid to raise awareness of all musicians who have been silenced by the coronavirus pandemic, finding themselves suddenly out of work, pianist Igor Levit performed Erik Satie's piano piece Vexations in a 15-hour long virtual performance on May 30. Read more >>

Topic: Pianists who vocalise whilst playing  (Read 1255 times)


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Pianists who vocalise whilst playing
on: July 18, 2015, 10:44:01 AM
You wouldn't believe it, but Yuja Wang vocalises pretty loud when she plays Brahms. I was sitting 3 rows away from the stage and was caught off-guard by her growling which could be heard beneath the arpeggios and chords of the 1st movement of Brahms 2 and for the entire piece. Yet, it seems that if you were to tell a musician of it, it would enter their subconscious and screw up their performance anyway. What the heck, maybe she read her review a few days prior and was compensating for her lack of effort first time round... Even the cellist was making passionate sounds, yet, timbre-wise, the contrast in sound sounds less than compared to making sounds whilst playing piano.

Offline pytheamateur

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Re: Pianists who vocalise whilst playing
Reply #1 on: July 18, 2015, 11:47:29 AM
Some pianists are trained according to a school of thought, where they should sing the piece when the learn it.  She must have been singing along a lot as she practised.  Richard Goode makes noises as well.  Or perhaps we should call these noises?
Beethoven - Sonata in C sharp minor, Op 27 No 12
Chopin - Fantasie Impromptu, Nocturn in C sharp minor, Op post
Brahms - Op 118, Nos 2 & 3

Offline themeandvariation

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Re: Pianists who vocalise whilst playing
Reply #2 on: July 18, 2015, 02:48:26 PM
I must admit, i have had to redo recordings due to my 'vocalizing'… I try …but even so, it comes in unconsciously , although very 'sotto voce' … It is maddening because when i lose myself in the playing, it tends to come up…  Speaking/breathing with the tune 'locks me in' a very physical way -  Especially when subtle shades of rubato are required.  And, i find it difficult to remove completely as i have come to rely on it - and have been doing it for many years. With students, I am realizing, that i may passing on this affectation, as I am much of the time speak/singing the articulation of a phrase, etc, and have them sing it as well - so they can feel it coming from the inside... There is definitely a degree of vocalizing  that comes with the lessons.
(And yes, I would  have preferred it if Gould would have kept his grumblings off the recordings… I think i shall look into inventing a mouth muffler )

Offline gvans

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Re: Pianists who vocalise whilst playing
Reply #3 on: July 18, 2015, 05:45:39 PM
My piano four hands partner sings along as we play, never in rehearsal or recording, but only in performance. I doubt she even knows she does it. I find it rather charming.

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