Why You Must Peak Later in Your Phrases

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Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. The subject today is about why you must peak later in your phrases. What am I talking about? In most lyrical music, that is, music with melody, you have a line that has a rise and a fall. You may have noticed that oftentimes, when you are trying to make those decrescendos to have beautiful phrase endings, it’s difficult to control.

Find musical solutions to your technical problems.

Taking the crescendo of the phrase almost to the end and then tapering off sounds much more musical than peaking in the middle of the phrase. And it’s technically so much easier to execute! I often talk about musical solutions to technical problems, and that’s exactly what this is. The music and the technical execution are in perfect alignment. This is what you must look for, not only in this aspect, which is fundamental to melodic music, but in all your technical challenges in music.

By having the peak of the phrase later in the phrase, you’ll get a more intense expression.

The idea of round phrasing is fundamental to music, but remember to make the peak of your phrase later. It propels the music forward and makes it easier to control the end of the phrase to have a nice, expressive, delicate phrase ending. It’s much akin to the way a wind player or a singer will use the air, and they don’t run out of breath before the end of the phrase. Have you ever heard a singer or wind player who just doesn’t have enough air support? They get to the end of the phrase, and it’s just lacking. For wind players, the pitch goes flat at the end. This is exactly the same idea as in your piano playing. I want you to go through all your lyrical music and try this for yourself! Let me know how this works for you in all of your lyrical music. Leave your comments here at LivingPianos.com and on YouTube! Thanks again for joining me, Robert Estrin, here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Resource.

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2 thoughts on “Why You Must Peak Later in Your Phrases”


  1. Hi -Interestingly enough, I have witnessed the same phrasing played nearly opposite in the peaking. I was able to see Olga Scheps play the Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto 1 and then about 18 months ago, Andrei Korobeinikov play it. In the third movement, the main repeating phrase, Olga played the second beat as the heart/peak in the measure (and that is probably more common in that piece), whereas Andrei played the peak at the last beat – it made it sound like an exclamation mark and a very different feel. Frankly I really enjoyed both as both played so well and so expressively. Anyway, thanks again for the help.

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