Tuesday, November 4, 2008

#56 It's your fault.

When playing with other people, don't be so quick to lay the blame on others. In most chamber works, the piano is the backbone of the ensemble, and almost every single problem can be caused or made easier to solve by the pianist.

Are your singers out of tune? It might be your fault, maybe you're holding them back and they run out of air, or maybe you aren't bringing out the harmony enough for them. Are the other musicians rushing? Maybe your beat isn't clear enough. Is the melody not enough, are your string players playing with an ugly sound? Maybe you are playing too loud and they are having to force their sound too much.

When a problem arises in one of the other parts, the best question a pianist can ask of himself is: "what could I be doing in my own playing to make his part better?".

Chamber music works best if you are always trying to make everyone else sound better with your own playing. "It's his problem, I don't care." and "You are all so bad!" are the worst attitudes you can take.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed. Giving a soloist the benefit of the doubt can also take the form of following him/her wherever he/she goes. Even if that means repeating a section or accidentally doing a chorus 2x more - or whatever. Until the vocalist or instrumentalist is done -the pianist isn't done. Our job is to be somewhat 'invisible' and yet very necessary. Chamber music may make piano more 'forward' but certainly not in the center as many feel. It's a shared thing, right?! Taking cues from each person. It's like each person gets cards dealt to them (the music) and then interprets those cards in a certain way as to play a 'game.' The game being to let each person have a highpoint in the music at least once. Susan