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Topic: Voicing different melodies in Rachmaninov (and all pieces)  (Read 2433 times)

Offline danielo

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I am currently working on some of the more accessible Rach preludes (Op 23 nos 1, 4 and 5) and am having difficulties voicing some of the 'hidden melodies'. If I play too quietly the notes are lost, too loud and it spoils the effect of the piece. Either way, it is a really difficult challenge to play some notes in the same chord more loudly/quietly than others.
In particular, the middle section of No.5, and bars 19-30 in No.4.
Does anyone have any tips, or have played pieces where you have to bring out those melodies and make them sing? I have read posts on here about 'arm weight' and body posture but am not quite sure what this means in practice.
Learning:

Rachmaninov Preludes Op10 1, 4 and 5
Chopin Ballade in G Minor
Chopin Etude Op10 No 2
Schubert Impromptu No 3
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Offline xdjuicebox

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Re: Voicing different melodies in Rachmaninov (and all pieces)
Reply #1 on: December 25, 2017, 11:22:58 AM
Which bar specifically are you talking about? Maybe I might be able to offer some helpful advice...

What I've enjoyed about all of the great piano composers was their ability to workaround the fact that it is very difficult to voice one note in a chord that isn't the thumb or the pinky (Debussy's handcrossing shenanigans comes to mind). In general though, there are a few ways that work for me (though I'm sure others on here have better suggestions)

You could try:
-Positioning the forearm directly over the finger you're trying to voice (provided that it doesn't make the rest of the chord too awkward)
-Strike the chord normally, but have the note you're trying to voice exhibit extra finger motion just a little after you begin the chord striking motion. The risk is that the note may come out harsher than expected.
-Develop magic powers

Hope this helps!
I am trying to become Franz Liszt. Trying. And failing.

Offline rachmaninoff_forever

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Re: Voicing different melodies in Rachmaninov (and all pieces)
Reply #2 on: December 25, 2017, 01:50:18 PM
1.  There's a lot of really pretty harmonies and melodies and stuff in Rachmaninoff music.  BUT...  if you try to give everything beauty then everything just becomes ugly so be careful.

2.  Talking about singing a melody and arm weight and stuff is kinda hard.  So what I tell people is to pretend the key is deeper than it really is.  So if you find a spot with a really cool hidden melody just play the target area deeper than everything else.
Live large, die large.  Leave a giant coffin.

Offline dogperson

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Re: Voicing different melodies in Rachmaninov (and all pieces)
Reply #3 on: December 25, 2017, 03:16:36 PM
You might find this Graham Fitch tutorial useful

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=eNGWFxnA_SQ

Offline brogers70

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Re: Voicing different melodies in Rachmaninov (and all pieces)
Reply #4 on: December 25, 2017, 05:40:35 PM
It may not be very helpful as a description, but I find that if I just focus my attention on hearing the particular voice that I want to bring out the hands seem to figure out a way to make it happen.

Offline danielo

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Re: Voicing different melodies in Rachmaninov (and all pieces)
Reply #5 on: December 26, 2017, 12:05:34 AM
brogers i have tried listening to that melody as I play it....that's good advice. It does seem to make a difference but maybe that is only to me!
I will have a look at that Graham Fitch tutorial, I have used videos by him in the past.
I will let you know how I get on.....it's a real skill to be able to do this I think and I would be very happy if I could achieve it!
Learning:

Rachmaninov Preludes Op10 1, 4 and 5
Chopin Ballade in G Minor
Chopin Etude Op10 No 2
Schubert Impromptu No 3
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