I kinda suck at sightreading. I can play, but I can’t really sight read, so I’ve recently made it my goal to (try and) get better at sight reading – but I’ve realised that sight reading resources are kind of hard to find, so I’ve done the work and collected all the sight reading materials I could find.
I’ve sorted them from easy to intermediate to advanced, and I’ve got zip folders with all the easy sheets, intermediate sheets, advanced sheets if you want to download them all at once instead of going individually.Read More »
One of the characteristics of the piano that makes it so wildly different from many other instruments is the fact that it is able to play more than one note at once. And so, when approaching music for the piano, one of the most important things to do, even before beginning to read the piece, is to isolate the melody line.
Think about it like this: at any one time in certain music, like the Chopin waltz below, there might be four or five notes being played at once. And yet, out of these four or five notes, we only remember one – the note that is a part of the melody. If asked to sing, for example, the middle note of a left hand chord, most people would not be able to do it – it gets lost among the accompaniment “canvas”. Read More »
In many ways, it is a bit of an oxymoron. It must be planned, yet seem spontaneous. It must be subtle, yet noticeable. It must be clean, yet blurred. It must be unpredictable, but it must not be erratic.
It’s such a tricky beast to tame, I need 2400 words to tame it. Buckle in for a read.
So what does “tempo rubato” mean?
The dictionary says that rubato is:
the temporary disregarding of strict tempo to allow an expressive quickening or slackening, usually without altering the overall pace.
but that doesn’t really mean anything to me. Let’s go a bit further.
Rubato comes from the Italian word “rubato” (surprise!) which means robbed. This, in turn, comes from the Medieval Latin term “raubare” meaning “to rob” (again, surprise!). Together with “tempo”, we get “tempo rubato”, or robbed time. Read More »
If you read the last post, you’ll probably agree that curved fingers are generally touted as the way to go – but wait! Vladimir Horowitz, one of the greatest pianists of all time, played with flat fingers, and nobody’s telling him off? How did he get away with it?
Well, Horowitz’s technique was developed especially to account for his playing style, and his flat fingered technique was a stylistic choice. Click here to go to the previous post and explore the difference in tone and texture between playing with curved and flat fingers.Read More »
Every piano player (or at least any one with a teacher worth their salt) would have had curved fingers drilled into them from a very young age. I remember all the metaphors – tennis balls, oranges, claw shapes, the whole shebang (I can never look at one of those claw machines anymore without thinking of piano).
But although I learnt to play with curved fingers, I never really understood the reasoning behind it until I swapped teachers and my new teacher actually explained it to me. (It was a pretty life changing moment for me. I was just following blindly up until then!)Read More »