P4 - B3

Tone quality, sound production and articulation

  • Play with a focused, clear tone:
    • using a dynamic range appropriate to the musical requirements
    • controlling changes in dynamics with confidence
    • shaping and defining phrases with more dynamic subtlety
    • controlling the dynamic levels of each hand with ease
    • controlling the tone quality when negotiating more demanding movements around the keyboard
    • using a range of accent and emphasis appropriate to the style
    • exercising tonal control between the hands in simple (two-part) polyphonic textures and within one hand
    • balancing a chord, highlighting one or two notes as appropriate
  • Play with some variety of non-legato and legato articulation at a variety of tempi
  • Use direct pedalling, pedalling for effect, legato pedalling and the una corda pedal where appropriate
  • Adjust various aspects of playing technique according to the instrument and venue with greater independence

Demonstrate a wide range of physical approaches to accents/tenuto and select repertoire to explore this aspect of playing. Ask learners to experiment with different approaches to given passages and to assess the effects aurally.

Encourage the development of tonal control in two-part polyphony, asking learners to use deliberate contrasts of articulation and dynamic between hands, i.e. one hand playing f with the other playing p, as a preliminary exercise in developing independent control.

Show learners the physical approaches required for playing at p/pp dynamic levels without the use of the una corda pedal. Ask them to describe what they observe.

Explain the mechanics of the una corda pedal. Ask learners to listen to and describe the resulting changes of tone colour.

Learners should understand that on a grand piano the una corda changes the nature of the sound, not just the volume.

Discuss the need for developing a wider tonal range. Ask learners to practise concentrating on control at lower dynamic levels with the una corda pedal.

Ask learners to suggest places where the una corda might be appropriate, bearing in mind that it has the potential to change both the quality and quantity of tone.

Give learners carefully structured exercises in order for them to develop control in legato pedalling.

Explain a variety of approaches to pedal notation and ask learners to insert pedalling indications in appropriate passages.

Play phrases with more, or less, subtle phrasing and ask learners to comment on the effect. Encourage them to consider where the use of more refined nuances will enhance their performances.

When performing on an unfamiliar piano and/or in a new venue, encourage learners to develop their independence in identifying how to adjust their playing according to the instrument and acoustics.

If performing on a grand piano, remind learners that the music stand is further away than on an upright.

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