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Piano Chord Voicings

Question: Hello Albert,

Often bringing out or emphasizing particular notes within a chord is required, as in e.g. Schubert’s Moment Musical, Op. 94 (D.780), No. 2, where the higher notes of...

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Non-legato Scales

Question: Hello,

Have you any tips on developing a non-legato touch when playing, for example, Mozart’s C major Sonata K. 545? I can only manage a very uneven and rather slow staccato.

I am...

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Is Memorizing Each Piece Necessary?

Question: Is it imperative that you study a piece until you memorize it before moving to another piece?

Example: In my books that I am working from I will study a piece until I can play it well by...

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Improving Piano Technique

Question: I have been playing piano since childhood. I am a mediocre jazz player, strong harmonically, but weak technically. I don’t play classical music. Though the years I have practiced...

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How to Play Piano

Question: Dear Albert,

The seems a pretty dumb question, but it’s one of my major problems playing the piano: How do I play piano, without losing security? When I try to play very soft...

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How to Play Fast

Question: I have problems with fast, scale-like, semi-quaver (16th notes) passages, which are typical in Mozart sonatas for example. I can’t control them at a fast speed. I have issues with...

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Horowitz's Octave Technique

Question: Mr. Frantz,

I’d like to start by mentioning how impressed I am with your website. It is extremely informative and comprehensive.

My question pertains to correct octave technique....

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Hand Span and Technique

Question: Hello. I too am a late beginner – started just before I turned 18. So far I have managed to play Mozart’s Rondo Alla Turca and some other easy pieces. But the thing I really...

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Finger Suppleness

Question: Hello Albert,

Firstly, thanks for the lessons and advice coming in regularly, it certainly is a great help and also scary to realize how much I still need to learn.

As a retired citizen,...

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Finger Staccato

Question: Hi Albert,

My question relates to staccato double notes played softly. Is finger staccato the best technique for this?

– Tony (England)

Albert’s reply: It’s not...

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Finger Speed

Question: I’ve read a few times on your site about how everyone has a limit to how fast they can play. This really bothers me. Like I know it’s about playing everything musically first...

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Developing Fingering Confidence

Question: I am a senior citizen who has dreamed of learning to play the piano since childhood. I have learned a lot on my own, and started taking lessons two years ago. I am very frustrated and...

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Collapsing 5th Finger Joint

Question: As I depress the piano key using the 5th finger, the 2nd knuckle (middle knuckle) collapses and the first knuckle (nail knuckle) over-curls to compensate for it. (See the above picture.)...

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Building an Advanced Piano Technique

Question: My technique goes just so far and then I get stuck. What can you offer in the way of determining fingerings, being able to move about the keyboard freely and easily with precision,...

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Becoming a Confident Performer

Question: Hi, I am a pianist and also a student, and I wonder every day in my life, why don’t I “get there”? I mean, I play the pieces, I play recitals and concerts, but I...

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Which Chords Do You Really Need to Know?

Miscellaneous

Question: Hi Albert,

What are the chords that I really, really need to know as an intermediate piano player? Here’s my guess: Major, minor, diminished, augmented, major and minor 6th, major...

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What Is Music Theory?

Question: I had been formally trained in piano quite a long ago for a short duration of time. I have not been so much in touch with it since then, but I have always been into music.

Recently I...

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Transposing to C Major

Question: How can I transpose a hymn in any key into the key of C? My friend plays the organ by ear and can only play in the key of C, so I need to know how to transpose to the key of C…...

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Transposing Scales

Question: I was wondering how to transpose C major into the key of F major, on scales.

– Alana (Dubai)

Albert’s reply: Scales are the way to transpose! You have to make sure you know...

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Transposing Music

Question: Hello Albert. Thanks a lot for putting together this helpful website.

My question regards transposing music. Would you say it is best to memorize a piece of music in its original key...

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Tonic in Music

Miscellaneous

Question: What’s a tonic?

Albert’s reply: The tonic is the first note of any scale. If the key is C major, then C is the tonic. If you’re in A-flat major, then A-flat is the...

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Sonatas and Sonata Form

Question: I am confused about sonatas. I’ve read that sonata is a single-movement piece, but others say that it has several movements… or was it only a single movement earlier on and...

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Sonata Form

From the Italian sonare meaning simply “to sound,” the sonata has undergone enough changes throughout music history to fill several encyclopedic volumes, as some scholars have indeed...

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Sonata Form and Symphonic Form

Question: Some time ago, I read your interesting article about ‘Sonata Form’ simplified.

What’s the relationship between sonata and symphony, both regarding form and other...

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Playing in Different Keys

Question: Hi, I am wondering how to get better at playing pieces in different keys. Different keys have different chords, which have different fingerings. For example, I am good at playing songs...

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