Piano songs - Canon in D

The resulting dynamic contrast in piano songs, complemented by consistency in speed allow one to hear the beautiful inner voices and the details in this wonderful composition.


Canon in D was a transformative piece of classical music for me. It was introduced to me by my piano teacher during one of our lessons. I was so moved by it that I went looking for various versions of it performed by any pianist I could find. The song composed by Pacheibel is a thing of beauty.

I was so enamored by it that I must have listened to it 20 times a day for several months. As a consequence, it paved the way for me to make accurate judgment on how fast a phrase should be rendered and how loud should I make a crescendo. As shown in the example in Image 1 below.

Classical piano songs and contemporary ones too for that matter demand a lot of effort to learn, so it is best to learn songs that you have a deep interest for. Otherwise you will quit before completing them.

IMAGE 1

Dynamics in piano songs


Passion is needed to turn the symbols on the pages of a composition into vibrations to create impactful music that pierces the hearts of men. Because I liked Canon in D so much, it made it possible for me to put the instructions in the composition into action to deliver a meaningful performance.

In Image 2 below for example, the passage hints that it is to be played with dynamics. My task was to judge the range within which the dynamics must be executed. A task made surmountable after having already listened to the song 20 times a day for several months. Dynamics are defined as; varying loudness of sound; markings in musical score that indicates the desired level of volume [reference: WordWeb Version 3.71]

IMAGE 2

To make accurate judgment on how fast a phrase should be played, develop the habit of counting the beats. It helps to acquire a sense for the speed eventually becoming flexible in controlling it. Control over the speed is acquired incrementally in small and short sections, one bar at a time or even shorter like a cell at a time.

Gaining speed in playing piano songs


Practice quick, quick, slow or long, short, long in cells of 4 and 8 notes to begin learning how to control speed in short bursts. Then expand the exercise by playing a bar fast and the next bar slow, followed by practicing 2 bars fast and 2 bars slow. Insert the dynamics by playing the first bar slow and loud (forte) followed by the next bar played fast and soft (piano). See Image 2.

Bring attention to the contrasting sound resulting from an effectively executed dynamics by pressing deep into the keys to get a strong sound. Use the energy from upper body, pushing it backwards as though trying to shove the piano forward. The upper body provides the needed power to produce the loud sound, not momentum by landing the hands from height. If landed from a height, control over the chords or octaves will be lost.

When you want to play soft, play the note with the level of sound that you want then make contact with the bottom of the keys. Feel the sensation of the wood under the keys. The reason for emphasizing the need to make contact and feeling the sensation of the wood under the keys when playing soft is to minimize the risk of not sounding at all.

The soft tone in Canon in D is special because of the significant impact it gives to the overall experience of the song despite its subdued almost fragile nature. Pronounced dynamic contrast complemented by consistency in speed allow one to hear the beautiful inner voices and the details in Canon in D’s writing.

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