Faster is Not Louder

Piano Lessons / music theory / Faster is Not Louder

Welcome to I’m Robert Estrin. The subject today is about how faster isn’t always louder. It may seem obvious that playing faster does not mean playing louder. But you would be surprised at how much of the time when you see a crescendo, you naturally speed up! This can be detrimental to your playing for so many reasons. Let me give you an example from Clementi’s Sonatina in C major Opus 36 no 1. In the second line of the piece, there’s a crescendo. Many pianists struggle with this passage because they tend to speed up during the crescendo, making it even more challenging to play. So, how can you mitigate this problem?

Always trust the metronome.

Work with a metronome to ensure that you maintain a steady tempo throughout the piece. You may find that as soon as you get to the crescendo, the metronome seems to be dragging. Well, drag along with it! The metronome is king. By following the metronome, you will be able to play with more security. When performing the piece, it’s natural to feel a bit excited, which can cause you to speed up during crescendos. To counteract this, you can intentionally slow down slightly when you find yourself playing faster. However, you must also check your work with a metronome to make sure you’re not overcompensating and slowing down too much.

Sometimes, getting faster during crescendos can be called for.

This is especially true in 19th-century music where rubato is used to create a sense of ebb and flow. Sometimes it can actually work, so long as then the pendulum swings the other way as it gets softer. Rubato can be effective in that respect. However, you must be careful not to lose or gain time on the beat. Practicing with a metronome is essential for ensuring that you stay on track.

Fingering is of vital importance.

Good fingering is fundamental. One of the best ways to discover good fingering is by playing in chords. By playing in chords, your fingers naturally fall on the right keys. You will know what fingering is going to be most effective by working in groups of notes played together in chords whenever possible in your music. It also gives you an opportunity to understand the harmonic underpinnings of your music. You can practice in different rhythms, accents, or in groups of notes. Each of these techniques will help you to assimilate your music. I hope this has been helpful for you! Thanks again for joining me, Robert Estrin here at, Your Online Piano Resource.

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