Secrets of Piano Voicing

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This is Robert Estrin at with a really interesting topic for you today: Secrets of Piano Voicing. Did you know that the voicing on the piano is intrinsically different depending upon what volume you are playing? The balance between the notes in your hands is different when playing loud compared to playing softly.

Here’s how it works. When you’re putting a lot of energy into playing loud on the piano, you can play everything strong and the melody will come right through for you. When you play softly though, you have to delineate the melody notes or they get lost. In the featured video, I demonstrate with the Chopin 20th prelude, which has fortissimo as well as pianissimo sections. When playing loudly, you can play with equal volume. Yet, you will easily be able to discern the top melody notes. On the accompanying video, I play everything equal volume of all the notes in the chords of both hands.

The next section is quiet. I play softly, but equal volume of all the notes as I did playing forte in the previous phrase. But at the softer volume, the melody gets lost.

While there is more than one way to bring out melodies in piano playing, typically they are found on the top line of music. If you reach with the top fingers, you can delineate the melody. For the sake of this presentation, I am bringing out the melody of the top line while playing quietly.

It creates a beautiful sound! On the next section which is even softer, you will hear the performance first playing all the notes with equal volume. Unlike when playing loud, the melody is lost when playing the notes equal volume at softer volumes. When playing softly and bringing out the top notes the balance is very pleasing.

Now, what’s great about this lesson is that you can try this with all your music and discover the more quietly you play, the more exaggerated the difference between melody and harmony must be because of the natural acoustics of the piano. When you play loud, you can hear everything clearly playing all notes at equal volume.

But the quieter you play, the more focus you must bring to the melody.

I hope this has been helpful to you. This is Robert Estrin at, Your Online Piano Store. Thanks so much for joining me.