Learn piano online, grasp the rhythm in a piano song before going into the process of expressing it.
Beautiful rhythm can be loosely likened to beautiful landscapes. The Alps, the Grand Canyon and the waterfalls of Niagara are some of earth’s best looking assets. Nature is their composer.
Rhythm is a musical composition’s asset. Its beauty determined by the brilliance of its composer.
What is rhythm?
A regular repeated pattern of sound; an arrangement of musical sounds, principally according to duration and periodical stress, [reference: Oxford Dictionary of English@Oxford University Press, 2010, 2017].
In a musical composition the ingredients that cook up a rhythm are plenty. There are time signatures, pitch of the notes and their beats and rests. By arranging these ingredients in a certain sequence and combinations rhythm come into existence.
Sun Tzu summed it nicely two thousand years ago when he said “ There are not more than 5 musical notes yet the combination of these 5 give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard. “
Modern music has evolved since then to include more than 5 musical notes. However what the great general said still holds true when it comes to rhythm.
By varying the combinations, arrangements and rearrangements of a set of musical notes infinite patterns of rhythm are born into existence for us to enjoy.
We only come into contact with it for the very first time when a musician with her chosen instrument brings it to life through her performance.
Kenneth did exactly that. Bringing to life rhythm composed by Scarlatti in 5 sonatas and 3 etudes by Rachmainoff much to the delight of the piano enthusiasts who were in attendance.
How was he able to grasp the rhythm in a composition created centuries ago from another continent?
Thanks to written music anyone can. Provided you are willing to spend the time and energy to learn music theory. The ability to grasp, and then utter the rhythm in a composition lies in the ability to read and understand music theory.
The note values of a quaver, crotchet or minim have to be studied. There can be no sound without silence, therefore how long should you stay silent when rests are indicated in the composition have to be understood. The count involved in a musical phrase with 4/4 time signature has to be calculated.
A pianist well educated in music theory shall possess the sense to decode the rhythm residing within a composition.
In-depth understanding of music theory affords the pianist clear idea of the rhythm imbedded within a composition as well as the overall shape of the music – this is the intellectual part of piano playing.
Through practice – the mechanical part; he is able to execute the dynamics, subtle pedalling and tonal effects a composition demands. The effect being breathtaking beauty created in the form of harmonious sounds and rhythm.
Kenneth’s execution of Scarlatti’s Sonata was exquisite. Considering the fact that Scarlatti was not known to have a tendency to leave too much playing instructions in his compositions, the pianist would have had to rely on his own ability to interpret the rhythmic contents of the composition. Here deep understanding of music theory is indispensable.
A sonata by Scarlatti and evidently after hearing him play, etudes by Rachmaninov too have several accelerated flowing tempo. These phrases undoubtedly comprise of strings of semiquavers. He and any aspiring pianist for that matter, shall need to keep the rhythm in these phrases flowing smoothly.
Group of notes, particularly strings of semiquavers inherently carry with them traits that determine the rhythm produced in a musical phrase. Study carefully each string of semiquavers to understand each note’s pitch, the intervals between them, the key signatures and their direction to get a sense of the music’s character.
One of the most awesome things about living in the 21st century is technology. CDs, MP3s and video recordings of compositions are ubiquitous.
Since the only way to get a sense of the rhythm in a composition is to listen to it, before starting to practice anything new capture it by listening to a recording – it is the fastest way. A slower way, but one that inspires shock and awe is to go see and listen to a live performance by a philharmonic orchestra.
Nourish the intellectual part of playing piano by studying music theory to grasp the rhythm in a composition. In return it lubricates the mechanical part; thus smoothening the process of expressing it.
‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore, is not an act but a habit’ – Aristotle