|"We use sounds to make music just as we use words
to make a language." -- Chopin
|"All the theory of the style which Chopin taught
to his pupils rested on the analogy between
music and language, on the necessity for
separating the various phrases, on the
necessity for pointing and for modifying the
power of the voice and its rapidity of
articulation. Here follow some principal rules
for musical punctuation and elocution."
-- Chopin: pianist and teacher as seen by his
(1) STUDY THE COMPOSITION
Music is the expression of our feelings and emotions. A music
composition has its ideas, structures, paragraphs, phrases, words. it has
emphasizes and details; its has rhythm, nuances, dynamics etc. Like a poem, if
you pronounce every word in a poem correctly with the same importance, it is not
a poem. The same thing happens to piano playing: if you play every notes
correctly and in correct time, of the same dynamics, it is not music! You
must know what you are going to play, not whatever you can play.
Analyze the structure of the form,
study the character of work, search for its meanings and the composer's intention before actually playing are
"To read a composition intelligently: to punctuate it and
phrase it properly; to give it its due eloquence; to introduce the proper
nuances and dynamic shadings; to give it its intended design and form; to convey
to the audience the thoughts and emotions which the composer had in mind
- this is the really difficult part of
- Quote from Vladimir Horowitz
(2) LEARNING WITH A RHYTHM:
Here we are talking about the rhythm
of the form, not the rhythm of the meter. (Rhythm of the
form is the phrase-by-phrase progression in the music
itself. Rhythm of the meter means the mechanical
division within beats, note vales in a measure.)
Read the score correctly, read it
away from the piano. Pay attention to the time signature
and the important notes. Sing the melodies or the
outlines by heart. Find the paragraphs, phrases. Act as
a conductor to conduct the whole piece. Only then, you
can free yourself from the technical details, you can
concentrate on the music and catch the rhythm. The less
important notes must be absorbed by the more important
notes and conformed with the rhythm. Only when you have
a correct rhythm in your head then you can play it
musically not note-wisely.
(3) PHRASE IT MUSICALLY AND
"Under his (Chopin) fingers
each musical phrase sounded like song, and with such clarity that each note took
the meaning of a syllable, each bar that of a word, each phrase that of a
thought. It was a declamation without pathos; but both simple and noble."
Quote from " Chopin: pianist and teacher"
Each phrase represent a sentence. it
expresses an idea, a thought of the composer.
(4) DYNAMIC SHADING AND GRADATION IN
(5) STUDY MUSIC THEORY
Here is how the techniques related to music:
--Study the composition carefully, read it away from the
piano, search for its meanings so you can concentrate on catching the composer's ideas, design and form.
--Listen to the authorities' play, if available, have a clear aural image of the composition in you mind.
--Control the whole music presentation with your brain, from the
very beginning to the very end.
--Control the rhythm with your torso and upper arm.
--Control the phrases with your upper arm and the wrist.
--Punctuate the emphasized notes with your upper arm.
--Control the details with your fingers.
--Control the nuances, dynamics with the combined, blended
activities with your body parts.( torso, upper arm, forearm, wrist, hand and
--Always listen to your play, avoid harsh sound.
Make recordings of your playing, it makes
difference when you listen to yourself while you are
playing and while your are not playing.
Many more to be named, you can cultivate your own techniques
too! Of course, you have to practice and practice. And practice consciously,
intelligently, not mechanically! Conscious, intelligent practice can save you a
lot of precious time.
"I only know that in the music
itself I found out what the fingers had to do"
-- Quote from