Monday, September 9, 2013

Vocalism on the Piano

"Sing!"  "Sing!" 

I recall being yelled at in that fashion and I recall my reaction: "Who, me?"  Sometimes, in a clearer state of mind, I might think: "What are you talking about?"

I do not recall it ever being made in any way clear.

So, what was singing back then, in the day?  I think it was Wagnerian blasting through long phrases to get to Vall-Hollywood.  I have done a lot of singing throughout my life and have come to the conclusion that real singing on the piano is akin to what I think is real vocalism: letting the ear sense its way through consecutive pitches so that they cohere as do syllables in a word. 

This works particularly well on the piano where there is vivid differentiation in touch and tone between black and white keys, such that they inflect adjacent tones, much like syllables.

You had better start paying attention to this differentiation because it is in increasing danger of being manufactured out of pianos, those without strings, for sure (like the one described in today's NY Times) and even those with strings.