A spooky sound

Just in time for Hallowe’en-ish music – or any other music that could be conceived of as spooky – here’s a tip from Elissa Milne’s P Plate Piano beginner books via David McKay.

Depress the bottom few keys without sounding them and hold them down with a smartphone or something else (a CD case and heavy book seem to work). The dampers are lifted and will vibrate wonderfully when the piece is played. Every student I’ve done this with has looked at me in wide-eyed wonder at the sound. Try it.

Incidentally, this is also a good time to remind students who have only a keyboard at home that this will not work on the keyboard. You need a real piano for this.

Related article: Pedaling the Moonlight Sonata

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About LaDona's Music Studio

Musician, pianist, teacher, blogger.
This entry was posted in Performance, Piano pedagogy, Practice Tips and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A spooky sound

  1. Joe Head says:

    Speaking of sympathetic vibrations…Years ago, while on tour with our university choir, I bought my mom a lovely Ruege music box in the old town of St. Gallen, Switzerland. It ended up in the living room, prominently displayed on our family’s little Steinway upright piano. I never tired of winding it up and listening to the two Strauss waltzes that it played [The Blue Danube and Tales From Vienna Woods]. One day I accidentally set it back down on the piano while it was still playing and was totally caught off guard by how much the sound was amplified and enhanced by coming in contact with the piano [a combined effect of sympathetic piano string vibration, and the whole piano itself acting as huge sound box].

    Appreciate the Moonlight Sonata pedal insight. Have been ‘relearning’ the first movement. Will try the ‘weighting down the keys’ device and see how I react to the sound.

    • Joe, there’s a good book you might be interested in – How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony (and why you should care) by Ross W. Duffin. I’ve only read half but keep intending to finish it and write about it.

  2. Pingback: Living pianos | LaDona's Music Studio

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