Learn piano online, tips on how to balance accompaniment and melody.
Her sharp piercing gaze at the piano as she coaxed the melody out of the grand instrument was only a subtle hint of how enjoyable Chopin’s ‘Barcarolle’ was going to be.
Sylvia was invited by a little known piano maker, Yamaha to give a performance on its new model, C3XPE grand piano to showcase its piano making excellence.
She did not disappoint. Melodies of ‘Carnival Scenes From Vienna’ by Schumann and ‘Variations in B Minor’ by Szymanowski’ were perfectly balanced with the accompaniments - leaving no doubt that at the hands of a well trained pianist the Yamaha instrument is capable of producing music at its best.
What does it take be become a pianist capable of balancing melody and accompaniment well?
On numerous occasions I have been reminded by my teacher that technique is gained when practicing one hand at a time separately. It is even truer so when attempting to balance melody and accompaniment.
The melody is played with a normal touch, in contrast the accompaniment has to be played with a lighter touch. You shall realize how difficult it is to play with both hands when one hand demands a lighter touch than the other - hence the need to master balance.
Having said that however, what I would do usually is to test the waters first. I would practice the whole song hands separately at first, with the RH on melody and LH on accompaniment with normal touch. The purpose is to get acquainted with the song and digest all its difficulties.
Only then, would I begin to differentiate between the two touches and practice the melody using RH with normal touch and LH on the accompaniment with light touch.
Touch is merely a matter of how strong and how fast you strike the keys. It is the result of momentum from the movement of your hands and fingers. Control the speed of your hands and the strength of your fingers as they land on the keys to govern touch.
Distinguishing the touches in the melody and accompaniment is a demonstration of a pianist who serves the music - one who remains a loyal student of music who has strengthened her connection with the instrument over many years of practice. Watching Sylvia perform reminded me of that fact.
The harmony and rhythm brought forth by the well balanced yet contrasting touches of the melodies and accompaniments was breathtaking to listen to. At this point as she continued with her technical witchcraft spellbinding the audience in amazement, Julia was hardly even looking at the keyboard. She had her eyes closed, her heart fully immersed in the music.
It is a clue on how a pianist should practice to be able to acquire the technique in balancing the light touch of the accompaniment with the normal touch of the melody – practice with your eyes closed.
Taking away the sense of sight by practicing with the eyes closed, sharpens your sense of distance from one note to another on the piano. Do not be anxious about landing on the wrong keys for that is expected in the beginning.
With tenacity and persistence, your feeling of the space between the notes will heighten and soon your fingers shall reach the keys with precision.
Train yourself to be able to balance melody and accompaniment well by differentiating the touches. Normal touch for melody and light touch for accompaniment. Practice each hands separately at first until you are confident to enough to practice with both hands. It is good training to practice with your eyes closed to heighten your sense of distance between the notes on the piano.