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How to accompany someone with the piano? (Read 343 times)

Offline robertk

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How to accompany someone with the piano?
« on: July 08, 2021, 09:04:54 AM »
It is for me a difficult task but not impossible as I want to think.

I understand that first of all I need to study the piece, but then the issues come when we are not synchronizing in playing.

Please tell me which tips I can follow.

Offline j_tour

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Re: How to accompany someone with the piano?
«Reply #1 on: July 08, 2021, 02:58:36 PM »
Well, rehearsing is good:  you collaborate on interpretation, and either explicitly or intuitively come to recognize indications on the part of either the accompanist or the soloist that a significant (one hopes has been prepared) moment is happening.

If it's just a first-time, on stage, like accompanying a singer on a pop tune (the instrument doesn't really matter so much). 

First, get ready to play your material in any strange key the singer/diva wants.  And switch from 5/4 to common time to cut time, and be ready to follow her (or his) signals to lay out, which can be as subtle as staring at you while raising his or her hand and lowering it abruptly, or as refined as doing nothing and then complaining endlessly about it after the tune is over.

The only rule is that you have to follow the soloist, but you also have to maintain some semblance of a solid ground for them to divert from and come back to.

It's really holding two contradictory notions in one's head at the same time, but it's not impossible.  Depends on the personalities, in most cases.

Generally, I think of the soloist as the conductor, and so long as the tempo is solid and he or she doesn't indicate otherwise, I keep going.

No, the comparison to other activities two people might do is not lost on me.

And, if it's improvised music, don't play the melody:  that's the singer's job.  But also, don't play voicings that can clash in their upper voices with the melody:  depends on the idiom.  Be judicious and tasteful in your use of fills.  Be rock steady with time and feel.

The only "job" or task you can take credit for is putting yourself in the position of the audience.  L'homme moyen sensuel.  If it sounds good, it is good:  if it doesn't sound good, then make it sound good, even if you can expect some harsh words afterwards from your partner.

Good tip:  record it!  So, if there's any argument, roll tape and see who's right.  As the pianist, it's your job to be right.  All the time.  On everything.  Including how you control the dog off its leash that is the soloist.

And, for extra credit, know how to arrange on the fly little introductions, ending cadences, and so forth.  Probably don't take a solo unless the singer says so during performance, a la, "let's give the piano some, radiate me some eighty eights, son!"
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 perfect_pitch

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Re: How to accompany someone with the piano?
«Reply #2 on: July 08, 2021, 03:19:39 PM »
DO NOT REPLY TO ORIGINAL POSTER... Lazy *** did a cut and paste from our own forum 5 years earlier:

https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=62798.0

User has been reported.



Offline lelle

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Re: How to accompany someone with the piano?
«Reply #3 on: July 08, 2021, 04:02:57 PM »
That's a shame because it's an interesting topic. Accompanying is both partly a skill and partly an artform.

Offline j_tour

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Re: How to accompany someone with the piano?
«Reply #4 on: July 09, 2021, 05:35:04 AM »
That's a shame because it's an interesting topic. Accompanying is both partly a skill and partly an artform.

Yeah, I agree.

It's an excellent topic.  I'm guessing the same illiterate, moron troll who thinks Stalin put together the Soyuz 7 and disguised it as Gus Grissom's liberty bell 7 or whatever.  And fossils were invented with modern cornoviruses in the year two thousand BCE or whatever garbage.

It's a pretty good ratio, really:  compare to reddit or some other open sewer on the internet.  Here there are no downvotes, but rather one must use words to express contempt. 

Which is effective, I find.

It does seem as though 90% of people here want to talk shop, and only maybe 1% are just the usual "musicians," i.e., illiterate trolls.  Maybe the girlfriend of a bassist or someone whose genitals were mutilated by some assortment of tropical fish.

There's already a gear forum, and there's some place for circle-jerking about somebody's fantasy videos and old men droning on about the way things used to be, while living out their retirement in the loudest, least accomodating and most impolite manner.  This is a place for musicians, so there's going to be that elusive 1% who are as useful as a dug up body.

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.