On Touch, Articulation and Phrasing

This week my third video demonstration on touch went live on Pianist Magazine‘s YouTube channel. When I was given the original commission for three articles for the magazine, I knew I wanted to write firstly on legato and staccato touches, and secondly on those grey area non-legato touches, but I wasn’t sure at that stage how to round off the series. It struck me that there was a lot of confusion about how to articulate the music of Bach, in particular, and I’m constantly frustrated by how pianists can misunderstand the short slurs we find from Mozart onwards, right up to Brahms. So, I thought I would pull this all together and give some suggestions for articulation. Three main points come out of all of this for me:

  • In the absence of any markings from the composer, articulation is decided based not on whimsy or for cosmetic reasons, but rather on the structure of the musical material.
  • There is usually a variety of possible articulations of a given subject, theme or motive.
  • When playing Bach, some pianists have the mistaken sense that the music is to be curated rather than enjoyed and fully lived.

Here is the video:

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I am launching the first two volumes of Practising The Piano ebook series! It is presently in “beta” mode which means that while the publications are fully functional and the content is of a high quality, there are still a few small issues that we are ironing out.  Furthermore, I would also like to obtain further feedback and suggestions during this beta phase in order to refine the final versions.  As a concession I am offering the publications at a reduced price of £2.50 each (or £4.00 for a bundle of both volumes) until the 31st of March 2013 following which each volume will cost £4.99.  If you purchase the beta publications you will automatically be upgraded to the final versions when they are launched.  Please click on the buttons at the bottom of this article to preview or purchase one or both of the publications.  Alternatively you can find out more about the series by clicking here.

I stress that Practising The Piano will remain a free resource, with many posts (old and new) remaining unaffected by the publication. As always, I welcome your comments, ideas and suggestions.

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© Graham Fitch 2013.

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