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Scarlatti - Popular Keyboard Sonatas

What Scarlatti is most prominently remembered for are the 555 short keyboard sonatas originally labelled Essercizi (Exercises). When he died in Madrid, Scarlatti left this treasury of manuscripts, which were largely unplayed beyond Spain and Portugal until pianist Carl Czerny published a selection of the sonatas in 1839. 34 of the most popular sonatas have been added to Piano Street’s sheet music library which now contains 192 of the sonatas by Scarlatti. Read more >>

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Author Topic: Visual cortex and playing notes  (Read 398 times)
skryabyn
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« on: October 27, 2017, 05:29:56 PM »

This is kind of a deep/weird thing, but over the years of piano playing, at different times I've had different ways of visualizing exactly what it is that I'm doing when I play a note. Here are a few of them.

1. The keys are individual opaque blocks, like dominoes, and I'm trying to rest my fingers on them and then move them down a half inch, with as little effort as possible.
2. I don't see the keys at all, like they're made of clear plastic. There's a plane a half inch below the keys that looks like a big long touch screen the length of the keyboard, and I'm trying to touch my fingertips to that touch screen at different spots to play the "notes" down there.
3. Half way down, in the middle of each key but not the bottom (the spot where the hammer hits the string), is a wire that I'm trying to pluck like a harpsichord string.
4. The top of each key is a crime brűlée crust that I'm trying to penetrate with my fingers, either by cracking it cleanly with a quick snap, or by smushing it down more slowly to get a mellower sound.
5. The piano is a big marble slab that I can't move, and I'm spreading my hands outward on it as I play.

Anyone have any interesting, imaginative ways that they visualize what exactly it is that they're doing when they're playing a note? Or just want to put into words how you subconsciously "see" what you're doing?
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mjames
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« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2017, 05:33:54 PM »

someone might be slipping lsd in your drink every morning...
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Composing/improvising

Chopin's 4th ballade and 3rd sonata.
Scriabin Op. 42 no. 1, 2, and 3.
Bach Partita No.4
skryabyn
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« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2017, 05:48:40 PM »

Well I'm definitely exaggerating a bit, but it's been a tool that I've used to intentionally see things differently and play differently as a result. The heart of the question is, how do you "see" the notes when you interact with the keyboard. Where are they? At the top of the keys? The bottom? What physical properties of notes have developed in your mind, and how do you reach them?

Translating musical ideas to physical movements inevitably uses a visual part of your brain. Try to use your imagination to discover how you subconsciously think about it. Then experiment with other possibilities. Or, just be close-minded and negative!
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mjames
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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2017, 06:49:46 PM »

relax it was just a joke.
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Composing/improvising

Chopin's 4th ballade and 3rd sonata.
Scriabin Op. 42 no. 1, 2, and 3.
Bach Partita No.4
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