Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I spent my day off working on getting a usable recording of the Bach. After giving it some thought, I decided that one problem with the way I was playing it was I was not getting enough tone out of the strings because I was not getting the key all the way down to the key bed. So I spent several hours this morning practicing really digging into each note, with almost a bounce. I alternated between playing half tempo and full tempo. And darned if it didn't help. The music seemed to wake up and start to sparkle a little bit.

I'm also getting used to the sound of the piano. I have had the whole thing closed up (lid completely closed, two quilts on top, music stand on top of them) for about nine months -- more about why some other time -- but for recording purposes, this didn't allow the sound to reverberate enough in the room. So I opened the lid after the second tuning last week, and it sounded especially loud from the bench. But I don't think the piano sounds harsh on this recording. (My playing may be another matter.)

Bach: Prelude and Fugue in C sharp major, Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I

And yes, I know there are a few fumbles here and there. Considering I'm not a world-class virtuoso with a recording studio on hand, it's understandable.

Edit to add:

After I read Russell's comment below, I did a little search on the 'net and found this interesting video of the pianist Eduardus Halim talking about piano tone:

Producing good tone on the piano


Bill said...

I think the tone of your piano and the quality of your recording are both first rate - Well Done.

Harriet said...

Thanks, Bill!

Anonymous said...

Cool blog! According to my understanding of how the piano works, nothing you do to the key after the hammer is thrown can affect the tone until you release it, so I'm not sure how pushing the key deeper into the key bed is going to benefit you, unless doing it forces you to strike the key harder in the first place so the hammer is thrown with more velocity.


Harriet said...

Russell --

I think it's all about the speed with which you strike the key. That affects the way the hammer strikes the string. If you get into the habit of depressing the key to the bottom of its range in one smooth stroke, you will get a fuller and richer tone -- which is what you're saying in the second part of your comment.

Not that I'm an expert on this, by any means.