How do you get a good sound when you’re playing the piano loudly? This really is much tougher than you might think. If you have ever been around someone who is banging on the keys of a piano you know the sound can be incredibly harsh. Even the most glorious of instruments can sound horrible when played incorrectly. So what’s the secret?
The first thing is learning what not to do. You must be aware the piano is incredibly sensitive to how you approach the keys. If you merely slap the keys, you’re going to get a harsh sound. A piano is not like most instruments. Most instruments have a direct access to the production of sound – especially when it comes to woodwind or brass instruments as well as string instruments. The tone you get out of a piano relies on how you approach the keys.
The proper method is to caress the keys; like a masseuse (with deep energy) it will create a beautiful and warm sound. How do you achieve this? The secret to getting a good tone is to always strike from the surface of the keys. If you strike from above, you will get a harsh sound.
A lot of times you will see pianist throwing their hands up and down and it looks like they are banging on the keys; it’s all an illusion. This is purely for show. If you look at a great pianist, like Arthur Rubinstein playing the Ritual Fire Dance, he would throw his hands up and down as part of the performance but when it came to actually playing the piano, he would strike from the surface of the keys.
The best method is to simply place your hands on the keys and then drop all the arm weight and pressure directly to the bottom of the keyboard all at once. Try this at home. Put your hands over the keys, don’t press them down at all, and then drop all the pressure and weight at the same time – you will produce a clear and beautiful sound no matter how much energy you exert on the piano.
The exception to this is rapid staccato chords or octaves in which the wrists are called into play for a combination of speed and power.
I hope this technique is helpful for creating rich, fortissimo piano playing for you!
Thanks for joining me, Robert Estrin. Please feel free to contact me about any piano questions at all:
Robert@LivingPianos.com (949) 244-3729