Thumping the piano

Questions on learning to play the piano, and piano music.

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joseph
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Thumping the piano

Post by joseph » 02 Sep 2009, 18:00

I'm listening to someone play Chopin on Classic FM and it strikes me that this person has an impressive technique, but has missed the point entirely. They are thumping the keys quite a bit.

I have been to many, many concerts, student concerts, professional concerts, heard loads of radio broadcasts and CDs and it is apparent to me that thumping the keys, which creates a really zingy or harsh sound, is endemic in piano playing. Has anyone else noticed this or am I being unfair?

I mean, there are many greats who don't thump : Rachmaninoff, Schnabel, Rosenthal, Richter, Perahia, Pizarro, Subdin, Kissin, Lill. But there are those who just bash, and don't pay any regard to what the composer actually writes.

What do you guys think? When I was in music college, this kind of playing was ENCOURAGED!!!

emmac
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Re: Thumping the piano

Post by emmac » 04 Sep 2009, 16:39

I would have thought Chopin is one composer that you certainly don't need to thump. Beethoven, maybe (didn't he break a few pianos in his time?)

Gill the Piano
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Re: Thumping the piano

Post by Gill the Piano » 04 Sep 2009, 17:59

Beethoven only broke them because he couldn't hear them...a critic said the piano looked like 'a thornbush in a gale' after he'd finished playing...
A lot of the russian younger pianist definitely seem to belt the poor ole pianos; my friend who tunes in big concert halls dreads the young Russians turning up!
Some Chopin is very powerful - the ballades, the Revolutionary...but the pianos they were written for wouldn't have had the might of a modern concert grand.
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

joseph
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Re: Thumping the piano

Post by joseph » 06 Sep 2009, 12:05

People don't realise that these big concert grand pianos will project in a concert hall without thumping them. Also, not everything has to be loud. My friend who is a composer in Birmingham came up, and he said that without fail, every pianist who plays his works just thumps seven bells out of them and he hates it. Piano competitions seem to be stealth competitions. Who has the strongest and most accurate fingers, and who plays the loudest. Nothing about artistry, not anymore. There are a few exceptions of course. :piano;

Moonlight
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Re: Thumping the piano

Post by Moonlight » 06 Sep 2009, 15:04

I came across a bit of a thumper yesterday. I went to a very nice concert locally but found one of the pianists to be quite loud, when they swapped around (it was a duet) and the louder pianist played secondo it was better I thought with her on the bass. I find loud playing especially on the treble hurts my ears! A part from that I really did enjoy it. Next time maybe I won’t sit quite as close to the piano.

I try not to bash the piano myself, so much so that one of my weaknesses is playing with more volume, my ff aren’t loud enough.
Of course there are pieces where bashing the piano is needed, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring for piano is full of bashing, but I do like that piece, its insane! 8) 8)

One of my favorite quotes by Chopin is: ' is that a dog barking!?' and 'Caress the keys, never bash them!'

joseph
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Re: Thumping the piano

Post by joseph » 08 Sep 2009, 22:37

Well I see your point RE the Rite of Spring, but I have to disagree - there are ways of producing a violent sound without actually thumping. That comes into what kind of voicing you will use in your playing. This is the bit where everyone on the forum disagrees with me.. . . . .

Gill the Piano
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Re: Thumping the piano

Post by Gill the Piano » 09 Sep 2009, 16:56

Not me - arm weight, not belting!
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

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