Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. Today’s topic is about how to take your musical phrases further. One of the biggest challenges when playing lyrical music is controlling the ends of phrases to achieve a nice diminuendo, such as in the second movement of Clementi’s Sonatina in C major Opus 36, no. 1.
I like to play simple, effective trills that can be negotiated easily.
You don’t have to be distracted by highly ornamented trills. It’s not necessary to get the beauty of this music. Trills are left up to you. If you want to play more notes, go ahead. But don’t spend an inordinate amount of time on playing fast trills. Instead, concentrate on the beauty of the music and creating a singing line. Of course, the challenge of this movement, like so much other music, is twofold. You want to have melody above accompaniment throughout, and you also want to have the rise and fall of each phrase.
The secret to being able to control phrase endings to make them quiet is to peak later in your music.
Remember to start softly so you can grow in the middle of the phrase. You can keep growing further than the middle of the phrase. If you peak in the middle, instead of later in the phrase, it is very difficult to end the phrase quietly. Not only is it hard to control, but it also loses intensity and support. It sounds like a singer who doesn’t have enough air at the end of a phrase. Once again, it’s all about utilizing arm weight. You can look at some of my previous videos to understand what I’m talking about.
You can give the music more life by supporting the phrase further than the middle.
When you do this, the phrase endings have a nice taper. You won’t struggle to end the phrase without notes dropping out. Peak your phrases later so that the phrase endings can be beautifully controlled. You can make life so much easier for yourself while creating a longer musical line that projects all the way to the end of the phrase. You won’t have to worry about notes dropping out. So that’s the tip for today! I hope this has been helpful for you! Thanks again for joining me, Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Resource.
4 thoughts on “How to Take Your Phrases Further in Music”
Hi Robert. Thanks for another useful tip. Appreciated, as always.
Over the years I’ve watched you play an enormous amount of complex music error free and completely from memory! Were you born with a photographic memory or was that a skill you developed?
My memory of music is due to having learned a system of memorization from my father, Morton Estrin who I began my studies of piano at a very young age. I have taught this system to countless people over many years as has my sister who is also a pianist and teacher. Here is an article and video I made years ago that describes this process for you and why it works so well for so many people who have been fortunate enough to learn it: https://livingpianos.com/how-to-practice-the-piano-part-1-memorizing-music/
Sincere thanks for again taking the time to respond with clear advice on how to really practice and learn. I truly appreciate your generosity in sharing your knowledge.
It is a great pleasure to know of people like yourself who appreciate what I am so fortunate to have grown up with!