Learn to improvise. 2005-2006. Lesson 14: attention for fingers: tempo, volume, dynamics.

Tempo (speed) volume (loudness) and dynamics (difference between loud and quiet) in your piano playing are determined for the effect that you arouse in the listener. We will look in relation to this to several music styles and will give you some tips for your fingers,

1) Meditative music
Tempo: Quiet, not to fast. Preferably a bar tempo that lies lower than the heartbeat, because this is effective to calm people down.
Volume: Soft and tender.
Dynamics: Little and light. The listener may float and does not have to land on earth hardly.
A constant, peaceful, relaxed, cadence, that gets repeated as a mantra, like to become in trance, will do well.
Listen to the example.

2) Muzak (background music)
Tempo: Rather quiet, so that one does not choke in his dinner in the restaurant or in his drink in the pub.
Volume: Not to loud, so that one can have a conversation.
Dynamics: Average, without extreme pieks, so that one does not will be startled.
Muzak has in mind to be an attractive frame with atmosphere that does not spur on to dancing and will not demand the attention extremely.

3) Dance music
Tempo: This may be fast and spicy. The bar tempo may be faster than the average heartbeat, because that is effective to wake people up. A constant tempo is pleasant for the dancers, whom otherwise have to slow down and accelerate.
Volume: This may be relatively loud, because this can spur people on to physical action, but mind: playing louder does never mean: playing more rhythmical and subsequently play better to dance on, because rhythm and with it the physical invitation to dance, you obtain by means of DYNAMICS in your playing and NOT by means of volume!
Dynamics: A lot of dynamics (!) because it is the dynamics that makes music rhythmical and with it inviting to dance on. The people may get startled and wake up now, because this is no music for eater, but for dancers!
An example of a music style that is good for dancing is the boogie-woogie.
A boogie-woogie without dynamics, all fingers play the same volume.
A boogie-woogie where the left hand plays with dynamics, in this case the accent lies on the thumb.

4) Telling a story with your music
Tempo: Strongly changing, depending on what your story is. With a chase you can accelerate your playing, a falling object you might reflect as a loud bang, when something is cute and small, you might play harmonic, soft, tones, etcetera.
Volume: Strongly changing, in order to keep the attention of the listener alive and in order to support the phase of your story with your piano playing.
Dynamics: Big, for this avoids dullness. You keep the attention with the tension that you create.
Sing like indicated in lesson 07 of course year 2005/6 to tell a story.
The number Summertime, played boringly.
The number Summertime, played dynamically.
Song of songs song of memory, played boringly.
Song of songs song of memory, played dynamically.

5) An exercise
a) Play alternated fortissimo (very loud) and pianissimo (very soft) by means of crescendo's (the volume increases) and diminuendo's (the volume decreases)
b) Play softly with right and let left swell.
c) Play softly with left and let right swell.
d) Quicken and slow down your tempo.
e) Move the accent per finger if you play the tones of the chord. This is what a boogie-woogie-player does for example: every time he plays the tones of the chord with his left hand he moves the accent to another finger. In this way he not only creates dynamics in his playing, but also makes it rhythmical and inviting to dance on.
f) Play anything and change tempo, volume and dynamics.
Listen to the example.
Listen to the example.
Listen to the example.

HOMEWORK: Choose a style and play in it according to the above mentioned tips. Lay a different accent on every finger.
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