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 Post subject: progress report on the Corelli Folia video
PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 3:17 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2006 3:12 pm
Posts: 57
Location: The Netherlands
Dear piano enthousiasts,

Yesterday, i rerecorded the Corelli Folia. The old version that i recorded 6 months ago is already on the site (on my profile page).

During the six months in between, i studied the piano according to a new pianomethod that i designed for myself. I needed some progress because i negelected the instrument for so long. I borrowed concepts from business science to create this method.

I am curious what you think about this recording.

Many greetings from,
-- Peter Schuttevaar


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 Post subject: Re: progress report on the Corelli Folia video
PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 4:52 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2006 5:29 am
Posts: 692
Location: Germany
Peter, I do like your recording, both from aural and visuall impression!

You took much effort to create a video what shows your playing style from different angles. That's why I conclude that you like to get also feedback about the visual impression.
From what I see, your hands and whole body look relaxed to me, what is something what I find very important and necessary to create music what sounds relaxed too, what is also the case here.
To me you sit in a very low sitting position on the piano. Indeed I never have seen someone sitting that low on the piano that the ellbow hangs that extremly down much below the key level, apart from a video about Glenn Gould (who was extreme and maverick in many degrees, not only sitting position). I could imagine that the more normal higher sitting position has the advantage if someone likes to put more expression in the music, to play more dynamically with body support, that's why it is more common for piano players. Also, your hand wrists must be bended more or less all the time, can't imagine that this is of much advantage. Furthermore, your legs are angled towards an acute angle instead right angle. Can't also not imagine that this very comfortable in the long run.
Furthermore, I prefer playing on a piano bench instead armchair because I can move more freely to the right and left side what is required for music what extends the baroque 4 or 5 octave spans, and because it is better for my concentration to not be able to lean.
That's all of course very personal.

That your video shows you from different sides makes it more interesting (because it is especially harmonically wise not the most impressive piano piece I can imagine ...), however it has the drawback that you cutted the piece in small portions from different takes, what is unfortunately also very audible here and there.

pepasch wrote:
During the six months in between, i studied the piano according to a new pianomethod that i designed for myself. I needed some progress because i negelected the instrument for so long. I borrowed concepts from business science to create this method.


Well, I would be interested if you could enlighten us about the new pianomethod you designed for yourself. Has it something to do with an armchair with reduced legs? :?:

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Olaf Schmidt


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 6:37 am 
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Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2006 3:12 pm
Posts: 57
Location: The Netherlands
Hello Olaf,

Thank you for the compliments.

You indicate that my pianoplaying and bodily posture all look very relaxed. And that this makes the music sound relaxed also. And then you continue to explain in detail how it should not be that relaxed, because of the many negative implications of a low sitting position. None of these negative implications have taken effect in my pianoplaying. So what does that tell you about all this theorizing on low sitting positions?

My theory is that bodily posture must bring all involved joints (of fingers, wrist, elbow and shoulder) in an optimal position. Causing all muscles to be at their lowest tonus (and thus at their best starting position to act). To me, that means sitting low. And i believe that many other pianists with a similar bodily condition (to mine) would benefit greatly from sitting low. But one can easily be accused of imitating Glenn Gould and become associated with his many idiosyncracies. And so convention doesn't permit.

But my pianomethod is not about bodily posture per sé. I have written an article (or booklet) about the new pianomethod. I borrowed some concepts from business science and applied them to piano methodology. The booklet is currently under review. As soon as i have processed the first feedback, i will post it to this forum in the appropriate thread. And i hope to see your feedback on it then.

And oh, the the armchair has its original legs. There was no reduction.

Greetings from Peter


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 7:06 am 
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Location: Germany
pepasch wrote:
And then you continue to explain in detail how it should not be that relaxed, because of the many negative implications of a low sitting position. None of these negative implications have taken effect in my pianoplaying. So what does that tell you about all this theorizing on low sitting positions?


No, your conclusion is wrong that sitting in a more common position (sitting higher) necessarily degrades reelaxation. I only tried to point out that if you like to put in more expression, more dynamics, with body use for support of forceful playing it is easier with the more common position where the elbow is not that angled downward and the whole upper body not that deep. I could not recognize negative implications in your playing because there were not those mentioned dynamics. I hope that's clearer now what I tried to point out.

pepasch wrote:
My theory is that bodily posture must bring all involved joints (of fingers, wrist, elbow and shoulder) in an optimal position. Causing all muscles to be at their lowest tonus (and thus at their best starting position to act).


I agree that the lowest tonus for the hand wrist is if the wrist is angled so that it points inward (so not straight wrist, instead angled). If someone suffers a stroke and can't move the arm anymore, the hand wrist will always be in that position, so at first sight it might sound logical to put the wrist to that position as default.

However, I disagree that this angled hand wrist position is the best as default, because the wrist can't rotate that freely, that's simply a fact. Some pieces like Chopin etude 25/1 demand large rotation movements of both wrists. With angled wrist it is more difficult as if coming from a straight (but relaxed!) wrist as "default".

For your Corelli piece of course that large rotation movements are not needed and you choosed no strong dynamics either. There are other pieces however, which demand both. And I would not change sitting positions for different pieces.

I think, the hand wrists should be in that angle that they have most freedom for movement. That is not the case in that lowest tonus position however. That's the main disadvantage I see in your theory.

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Olaf Schmidt


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 4:54 pm 
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Well if that chair is not lower than usual, the piano must surely be higher than normal. Either that or you have a very small posture. I could not otherwise explain why you are so extremely far beneath the keyboard. The high wrist position and very stretched-out fingers seem very unusual. I could understand this better if you were playing from a high position but not here. No doubt this is guided by business principles :P But it must surely be a disadvantage in more demanding repertoire.

Musically and technically nothing wrong here, and it is a more interesting video than your previous ones. The piano sounds better too. Whether this is an improvement on your first performance, I could not say.

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Nothing is always absolutely so -- Sturgeon's law
Chris Breemer


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 5:37 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2006 3:12 pm
Posts: 57
Location: The Netherlands
Hello Olaf and Chris,

Thanks again for the interesting responses.

It is interesting to read the many arguments against a lower sitting position. And also against stretched fingers. Etc.. You both seem to agree for example that body weight can help to create more dynamics. And that a higher posture will create more freedom of movement. In future videos, i will show that this is not the case. I can easily shred the piano (the one in the video) to pieces, without using any bodyweight. ( But you only need to watch Glenn Gould play Profoviev to see that a low posture does not diminish dynamical possibilities or hinder freedom of movement in any way).

So i maintain that there are no valid "general" arguments in favor or against a low posture. The specifics of the physical condition of a specific pianoplayer should be taken into account. General arguments have no other basis but convention.

Again, the pianomethod i was talking about is not about bodily posture. It is about how to learn to play the piano in your own manner. It is about how to put aside all sorts of conventions about piano playing, and learn how to do it your own way. That is not easy, since in the world of the piano, convention is a strong guiding principle. In a few weeks time, i will post my booklet in another thread.

Again thanks for the positive remarks on my video performance.

Greetings from Peter Schuttevaar


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