View Full Version : Question and one exercise

03-31-2005, 05:58 PM
Now that this is up...

Piano was my first instrument, I have taken piano lessons for 3 years, haven't played in nearly 3 years, my development got up to some Bartok folk interpretations. I'm interested in using piano to write. This may be a vaccuous loaded question, but what are some of the things taught in the piano for non-pianists course... Like the particulars? What are some of the steps when writing on the piano, I always wanted to try to write a fugue, since well, thats kinda impossible/impractical to do on guitar...

Technique: My teach suggested this and I ended up doing it a lot, especially for my left hand.

Play the first 5 notes of each major scale starting on C... ascending and decending (when decending, start with the 5th), play C, C#, D, D#, etc... (notes = C, D, E, F, G, F, E, -(position change)- D, E....)While doing this, focus on only moving that one finger your using to strike the key with, and keeping the rest of your fingers motionless and relaxed. Later this can be applied to playing intervals in a similar way. Can also do this going through cadences (I call them that and was taught that, even though some people have told me this is wrong - by "cadences", I mean the ole harmonization - maj, min, min, maj, maj, min, dim....), and so on.

03-31-2005, 08:26 PM
start with the 5th), play C, C#, D, D#, etc...

Mateo, great that you went ahead and posted the first exercise. I still donīt get what you said above. Are we playing major scales or chromatic scales, just wondering.

Thanks, and good job,

03-31-2005, 09:27 PM
Sorry, made a typo on the notes on top of not being clear ---

Play the first 5 notes of each Major scale, moving chromatically up the keyboard, then down.

Notes played = c, d, e, f, g, f, e, d, c#, d#, f, f#, g#, f#, f, d#, d, e, f#, g, a, g, f#, e, , d#..... etc...

decending = g, f, e, d, c, d, e, f, f#, e, d#, c#, b, c#, d#, e, f.... etc....

Supposed to build independence of finger movement, shifting hand weight to sound keys, finger speed if done quickly, and helped me memorize my scales... but supposed to be used mainly for the first 2 reasons. Play legato for emphasise on hand weight shifting, staccatto for independence of movement. Speed can be worked on legato and staccato.

I used to do this doing the entire scale as well, when I was having trouble with my tuck-unders on the black keys. I believe theres also a slightly different format with the tuck-unders on the black keys, you want to do that position change so your thumb doesn't have to reach out to hit the black keys. I'm not 100% positive, but I seem to recall being taught this.

P.S. - I played classical, I later took maybe 15-20 jazz lessons, but this was when my piano interest was dying down and guitar taking over... anyway, Jazz guy didn't like this exercise that much... Both my teachers were Post-Docs in music school.

Another P.S. - don't forget to incorporate dynamics into the exercise, creshendo to the fifth, and also as you move up the cycle. decreshendo moving down.

-when playing staccato, try not to incorporate the wrist to sound the keys, all the force ought to be generated by the finger starting at the knuckle. Try to keep the finger straight (a slight bend will happen, but keep the finger straight)
---- this was a point of discrepency, the jazz piano teacher told me that he didn't agree with trying to build finger independence this way since the joints and tendons are all connected going up through the forearm and its contrary to how one would play live. He also recommended to hit the keys perpendicular and keeping the fingers curled. Also advised against trying to isolate the fingers and such apart from wrist motion.

- this particular exercise, for me, had the most benefit working on my legato and generally playing with the dead arm... no real muscle use was employed, all the sound was generated by transfering the weight of the arm from one finger to the next. I never really noticed "independence of finger" motion in my play, I guess it helped that though. If you don't have a piano in front of you, lay your fingers flat on a table, lift one finger at a time while keeping the other fingers flat against the table... this is a non-instrument finger joint seperation exercise. For you guitar players, bet you can lift your left hand ring finger really high, but not your right hand ring finger...

- A lot of this stuff is difficult to execute without the aid of a teacher, he showed me exactly how it should feel and he could tell if my arm was completely limp as I did legato or not by listening/watching and such... I'm not sure If I could do these exercised correctly without this direct aid...So, careful, if you don't have a teacher, these exercises may be worthless.

03-31-2005, 10:00 PM
Cool, thanks for the excercise. I really need to work on my finger independence and I should probably start using some of them black keys :)

I was taking piano lessons(for 2 or 3 months) but i quit because I really am more interested in playing the synth/keyboard and writing music. Also, my vision isn't too great, so while I'm definitely interested in reading music I don't think sight reading is practical in my situation. So anyway, it's really nice to finally have a keyoard section, I definitely have alot to learn.

04-01-2005, 02:35 AM
To write something like a Fugue, I would compose it entirely on paper/computer first. I wouldn't want to play and memorize it, I'd just do it by the construction and analysis. But maybe that's just me. Bach, I have read, was incredible at improvising Fugues. It is said that he would improvise and others would write it down as they listened. As far as exercises, I try to play the 24 scales, 4 octaves up and down, every day. Then the 24 arpeggios. It doesn't take very long and I find it keeps my strength up and the information fresh.