Piano, Organ, and Keyboard/piano

Advertisement


Question
QUESTION: Hi!
When you play piano it is often very important how loud or soft you play certain notes.
Today I tried some rock n' roll piano (like Jerry Lee Lewis). Is it important that you don't play the left hand too loud or should both hands be played with same loudness?
What do you think about such things?
In classical music dynamics is very important. Is it also important in rock music? What do you think?

ANSWER: Dynamics, or loud/soft playing, are very important with the piano. Always observe dynamic markings (like crescendo).  It gives the music character. Dynamics are essential regardless the type of music (even Black Sabbath).  It gives music its feel.  If you sing with the piano, you need to play softer to allow for your voice, and you'll need either a loud voice or some kind of amplification (the piano always drowns me out!).  They say that Nat King Cole was especially good at covering himself at the piano.  As you listen to music, take note of the loudness/softness that you hear.  A good example is "Since I Don't Have You" as performed by the Brian Setzer Orchestra.  Another example of loud/soft is the theme from "Rocky."

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi!
I've been trying to play Great balls of fire. It's not really difficult when it comes to piano technique. But finding out what to play is really difficult. How would you deal with such a problem?
I should add that I've played piano so I should be able to recognize and play that sound on the keyboard. But it's not that easy. How do you view this?

Answer
I'm not sure I understand your question.  Are you looking for versions of "Great Balls of Fire"? Or are you asking how to play it technique-wise?  I've never played it, but I think I have a copy in a book of 50's songs.  Sheet music versions are written versions of the song and are not, in themselves, for performance.  However, there are two main things to look at: (1) usually, there is an intro which will give a few measures of the piano part (or like what is played on the record), and (2) look at the chord symbols.  If you have a recording of the song, you might be able to pick out the intro by ear.  Scott Houston (The Piano Guy), I think, has "Great Balls of Fire" in is "fakebooks."  They have the chord symbols as well as how to play the chords. He has a "Piano Guy" website and his books are on Amazon.  A "fakebook" is s book with words, melody, and chords.  Joel

Piano, Organ, and Keyboard

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Joel Bjorling

Expertise

I can answer general questions about playing the piano, playing technique, and piano literature.

Experience

I have played piano for over forty years. I have taught private piano. I have also played in church. I am especially interested in the piano as a music ministry. I have also written several compositions for piano.

Organizations
I'm a past member of the National Guild of Piano Teachers.

Publications
Making Music Magazine Newsletter of the Illinois Country Music Association

Education/Credentials
BA, Behavioral Science, Oral Roberts University (1975) MA, McCormick Theological Seminary (1980) I have had courses in Music Appreciation, Music Theory, and in Hymnology

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.