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What pianists should I listen to for improving musicality? (Read 1319 times)

Offline slurred_beat

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What pianists should I listen to for improving musicality?
« on: April 28, 2021, 10:38:31 AM »
Hi all. I have posted many thread about improving my technique. I want to play difficult stuff  :D But I also want to be good at music. I want to play very beautifuly and touch the emotions of the listeners. What pianists should I listen to for improving this? I know different pianists have different skill in musicality even if they are good technicaly. I want to know which ones are the best in musicality to listen to?

Offline brogers70

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Re: What pianists should I listen to for improving musicality?
«Reply #1 on: April 28, 2021, 11:02:36 AM »
I don't think anyone can answer that for you. You have to listen to a bunch of them and decide which ones you think play beautifully and which ones touch your emotions. Pick a few pieces that you find beautiful and moving and then listen to a lot of different pianists perform them. You'll find out what you like.

Offline ivorycherry

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Re: What pianists should I listen to for improving musicality?
«Reply #2 on: April 28, 2021, 02:07:06 PM »
I agree, I can’t answer that question but I think you mean interpretation instead of musicality. Like for example I’m playing a piece and I have like 4 different pianists’ interpretations for different parts. IMO it’s good to listen to a lot of different pianists playing the piece you’re playing because you’ll most likely(I think) subconsciously imitate the interpretation that you like. I listen to pianists play things way out of my level too and I can suggest some to you. Murray Perahia, Valentina Lisitsa, Sviatoslav Richter, and Martha Argerich.

Hope this helps,
Alex

Offline getsiegs

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Re: What pianists should I listen to for improving musicality?
«Reply #3 on: April 28, 2021, 07:14:06 PM »
best in musicality

I definitely see what you mean here, but I find "best in musicality" to be a bit of an oxymoron since it's borderline impossible to rank something so subjective. ;D There are certainly pianists who play with more nuance in certain aspects of interpretation than others, for example I've always found Zimerman to be extremely meticulous in his recordings and performances. However, maybe that's not what you like in general or not what you want for a specific piece. Take Martha Argerich, by contrast - she's a bit of a speed demon, but her playing is always so exciting and her articulation is so sharp. I'd take Argerich-style Prokofiev any day, versus more Zimerman-style for Chopin.

If you want a more close-up view on how to improve your interpretive capabilities, I'd recommend watching Tiffany Poon's practice vlogs. She is another meticulous/detail-oriented pianist IMO, and it's doubly helpful to watch her practice and pick out the specific details she's working on rather than just hearing a polished recording.

I’m playing a piece and I have like 4 different pianists’ interpretations for different parts. IMO it’s good to listen to a lot of different pianists playing the piece you’re playing because you’ll most likely(I think) subconsciously imitate the interpretation that you like.

I really agree with this. I'm learning Scriabin's 2nd sonata and I can't decide on which interpretation is my favorite because I like so many different versions in different spots for different reasons. You don't have to pick a few specific pianists to only listen to - maybe pick one specific piece, and then compare and contrast any interpretation you can find. This will hopefully train your ear to pick up musical nuances and show you a wide range of interpretations, from which you can take little ideas to incorporate into your own playing.

Offline lelle

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Re: What pianists should I listen to for improving musicality?
«Reply #4 on: April 29, 2021, 10:13:22 PM »
Well, I'll just take this as an opportunity to push my particular musical values  ;D

I recommend Cortot:


Annie Fischer is also amazing:


You can go no wrong with Rubinstein:


I really agree with this. I'm learning Scriabin's 2nd sonata and I can't decide on which interpretation is my favorite because I like so many different versions in different spots for different reasons. You don't have to pick a few specific pianists to only listen to - maybe pick one specific piece, and then compare and contrast any interpretation you can find. This will hopefully train your ear to pick up musical nuances and show you a wide range of interpretations, from which you can take little ideas to incorporate into your own playing.

I absolutely love this one by Richter. It's probably my definite recording of the piece:



Second movement is amazing:

Offline ranjit

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Re: What pianists should I listen to for improving musicality?
«Reply #5 on: April 29, 2021, 10:19:17 PM »
Another idea, by the way, is to listen to orchestral performances, choirs, string quartets, etc. Often, you're attempting to imitate the feeling of these kinds of arrangements for the piano. I think a considerable fraction of piano repertoire could be conceptualized in this fashion.

Offline ranjit

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Re: What pianists should I listen to for improving musicality?
«Reply #6 on: April 29, 2021, 10:27:31 PM »
I'm not sure if this is universal, but for me, musicality always flowed from within, outward, so to speak. It was always about listening intently to performances and judging them based on an internal sense of how the music should go. So, I listen to a lot of performances and "critique" them or pick them apart in my head, figuring out specific ideas which produce certain effects in the listener.

Although I kind of do see that there is the stage where you just listen to a bunch of performances to try and understand a style, I'm not sure if you should approach it from a direction where you're just trying to feed your brain with good music. It feels like that would be more in line with imitation than understanding.

Offline j_tour

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Re: What pianists should I listen to for improving musicality?
«Reply #7 on: April 30, 2021, 12:04:21 AM »
Often, you're attempting to imitate the feeling of these kinds of arrangements for the piano. I think a considerable fraction of piano repertoire could be conceptualized in this fashion.

I like this suggestion:  I mean, if one is going to try to play "Der Hölle Rache" (from Mozart's Magic Flute), I'd say lots of luck with just one piano.

But that doesn't mean it's not worth striving for a way to transcend the merely pianistic.  As a form of practice.

And one should be thankful that one needn't use a bank of synthesizers to play back sampled or modeled "real" instruments:  just the iron harp with strings and hammers in it is good enough.  Plus, the benefit of being legally allowed or encouraged in most jurisdictions to beat the crap out of anyone who insults the piano.  And if one practices, one has strong shoulders, wrists, and a deadly right foot.
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline ranjit

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Re: What pianists should I listen to for improving musicality?
«Reply #8 on: April 30, 2021, 12:19:49 AM »
and a deadly right foot.
I hadn't thought of that before. Snap!

Offline brogers70

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Re: What pianists should I listen to for improving musicality?
«Reply #9 on: April 30, 2021, 12:29:24 PM »
Another idea, by the way, is to listen to orchestral performances, choirs, string quartets, etc. Often, you're attempting to imitate the feeling of these kinds of arrangements for the piano. I think a considerable fraction of piano repertoire could be conceptualized in this fashion.

Very good idea. And for a great example of a pianist who imitates other instruments beautifully, have a listen to Cyprien Katsaris playing the Liszt transcriptions of the Beethoven Symphonies. They are all great, Here's a link to #7.


Offline anacrusis

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Re: What pianists should I listen to for improving musicality?
«Reply #10 on: April 30, 2021, 11:10:43 PM »
Curious question. I don't think listening to pianists, in itself, is going to improve your musicality. It might teach you some things subconsciously but it mostly depends on how and why you listen. If you find a pianist you like, try to analyze what they are doing and WHY you like it.

Offline slurred_beat

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Re: What pianists should I listen to for improving musicality?
«Reply #11 on: May 03, 2021, 08:39:56 PM »
Thank you all for the replies. I think maybe my question is hard to understand. I will try to explain. For example. Some pianists people say "oh they play so musicaly!" but other pianists people say "they play mechanicaly" or "they play unmusicaly". Maybe everyone will not agree but I think a lot of people still will agree that somebody is mechanical for example.

Thank you all who posted suggestion of pianist. It seems to be many old pianists (from black and white age). Is old pianists often good in musicality?

Offline latrobe

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Re: What pianists should I listen to for improving musicality?
«Reply #12 on: May 12, 2021, 09:16:06 PM »
Of all masters, Adolfo Barabino is the most musical of perfomers, and teachers that I've met in 40 years of putting on concerts. He doesn't teach piano to his masterclass students - he teaches musicality.

In just a couple of lessons with the right pupils he can bring forward someone who's good to being someone of scholarship worthiness.

If you recognise anything different about

from others, then perhaps you'll find something there.

Here's one of his pupils
and I had the privilege to be able to sit in on the lesson and here

another.

Here are some examples of his playing when I wasn't quite as on the ball with tuning as I've become now






Perhaps you might find difference in performance with


He once demonstrated the Waldstein sonata to me and said "listen to the violins coming in" and the piano sounded like violins, and "here listen to the flutes" and it sounded as though flutes were coming in.

Here's a recording of the Beethoven Tempest

and you'll be able to find on YouTube a recording of this by Paul Badura Skoda who was one of his teachers. (At 9:08 . . . kettle drum rolls)

Best wishes

David P


David Pinnegar BSc ARCS
Promoting keyboard heritage http://www.organmatters.co.uk and performers in Unequal Temperament http://www.hammerwood.mistral.co.uk/concerts.htm

Offline lelle

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Re: What pianists should I listen to for improving musicality?
«Reply #13 on: May 14, 2021, 08:46:20 AM »
Thank you all for the replies. I think maybe my question is hard to understand. I will try to explain. For example. Some pianists people say "oh they play so musicaly!" but other pianists people say "they play mechanicaly" or "they play unmusicaly". Maybe everyone will not agree but I think a lot of people still will agree that somebody is mechanical for example.

Thank you all who posted suggestion of pianist. It seems to be many old pianists (from black and white age). Is old pianists often good in musicality?

Well, personally the majority of the pianists I like the most are long dead so in my opinion , yes :D But I think part of that is that the pianists that are remembered today are the ones that were really great, the others are forgotten.

Offline ranjit

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Re: What pianists should I listen to for improving musicality?
«Reply #14 on: May 14, 2021, 05:17:18 PM »
Well, personally the majority of the pianists I like the most are long dead so in my opinion , yes :D But I think part of that is that the pianists that are remembered today are the ones that were really great, the others are forgotten.
I think there is definitely some truth to the statement that the golden age of piano is behind us. I would say that it lasted until maybe the 60s or 70s. A few of those pianists are still alive today. I think competitions are partly to blame -- regardless of the reason, everything shifted towards more puritanical playing, and I think that's for the worse. The pianists we see nowadays are definitely comparable technically -- however, there seems to be a kind of aimlessness and lack of emphasis when it comes to musicality.

Offline j_tour

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Re: What pianists should I listen to for improving musicality?
«Reply #15 on: May 14, 2021, 06:25:16 PM »
I think there is definitely some truth to the statement that the golden age of piano is behind us. I would say that it lasted until maybe the 60s or 70s.

That may be a very sage statement.

I don't wish to pollute the thread with references to the Devil's Music, but when I first noticed this thread, however many weeks ago, I immediately thought of jazz players. 

There's the old canard that improvising musicians just "play what they feel," but I don't think that's true. 

But if one listens to people like McCoy, Elmo Hope, Herbie to some extent, it's a different perspective, a bit.  A lot of those fellows and gals had serious legit training, but when there's an option to emote at the keyboard, many of them will take a very musical high road.

/*IOW, they're not "emoting" like, say, a cocktail bar pianist might, but they have in many cases, a tight connection between their mechanical abilities and what they envision for a given piece.  A number of other factors that relate to the "business" of music, which I won't get into, but expression in the sense of "coming across" to the audience which comprises many musicians themselves, sort of ups their game.  This might be in contrast to a "classical" audience who...maybe they had some lessons as a kid or whatever, but aren't truly listening from the perspective of a player.*/

Guitarists, horn players, Hammond organists:  it is the first start to answer the question, "What does it mean to be a musician, an artist?" 

My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline ranjit

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Re: What pianists should I listen to for improving musicality?
«Reply #16 on: May 14, 2021, 10:57:02 PM »
There's the old canard that improvising musicians just "play what they feel," but I don't think that's true. 
Absolutely, I agree with this. I think that improvising musicians usually "feel that they play what they feel", but it's an instinctive vocabulary. Just as we are expressing what we feel in language, but they most certainly aren't ex nihilo insights.

I tried to actively develop my feeling while I was improvising -- I think that people don't like feeling that there is a dry technical aspect behind it, so they go on about artistic miracles lol, but those are usually just high points in an ocean of developing musicality. It's often more of a feeling than reality, which you will know if you've actually improvised or composed something. Yes, there is usually a spark, but it is built out of materials that you are aware of and have learned to the point where they're subconscious.

Offline lelle

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Re: What pianists should I listen to for improving musicality?
«Reply #17 on: May 18, 2021, 10:10:17 PM »
Absolutely, I agree with this. I think that improvising musicians usually "feel that they play what they feel", but it's an instinctive vocabulary. Just as we are expressing what we feel in language, but they most certainly aren't ex nihilo insights.

I tried to actively develop my feeling while I was improvising -- I think that people don't like feeling that there is a dry technical aspect behind it, so they go on about artistic miracles lol, but those are usually just high points in an ocean of developing musicality. It's often more of a feeling than reality, which you will know if you've actually improvised or composed something. Yes, there is usually a spark, but it is built out of materials that you are aware of and have learned to the point where they're subconscious.

Good point. I think it's similar also with normal classical performances. People who listen think it's a miracle but in reality it's just a sh!t-ton of work alone in a room for many years. Plus some talent.  ;D

Offline johnlewisgrant

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Re: What pianists should I listen to for improving musicality?
«Reply #18 on: May 19, 2021, 04:38:18 AM »
Ditto: learning to play more “beautifully” I personally take to mean something highly subjective and ineffable. On the other hand, for some people beautiful strongly implies certain technical prerequisites: ergo for part-playing in Bach some pianists might recommend Gould. But if the architecture and coherence of a Schubert sonata is the concern, then you might benefit from listening to Richter. You get the idea. The term “musical” is, like the term “beautiful” pretty vague and ambiguous in the lexicon of classical music, but if you look more specifically at technical aspects, you can often find agreement on a range of pianists to pay attention to!