Piano songs - Canon in D

Improve tone production in piano songs by improving technique in the fingers through fundamental exercises that develop strength, agility and flexibility


The phrase shown in Image 1 below is from Canon in D. Have been struggling with it for several weeks. The tone I was producing kept sounding inadequate vastly different from sounding like the hook that it was which had me hooked on this composition. I wondered where were my mistakes, was it is in tempo, rhythm or touch?

IMAGE 1

The elusive tone of piano songs


The problem with tone is; it is heard but not seen. Even then it is heard only when you played something. So how do I go on to acquire the desired tone that hooks? It would be nice if somehow I was already in possession of good tone and with the press of the keys on the piano it just sings beautifully exactly the way I wanted it to.

KEYPOINTS:

  • What? - Trouble with tone
  • Why? - Heard but not seen
  • How? - Improve touch by practising exercises meant to improve agility, flexibility and strength in the fingers

Unfortunately that is not how it works. Fortunately working on technique consequently results in good tone production. For instance I have kept a regular routine of practising a set of exercises to improve technique in the fingers.

I would position the fingers of my right on any five keys of the piano, for simplicity’s sake allow me to use CDEFG as an example. Pressing down on F with the 4th finger and holding it down, I practised playing the other notes around it, one key at a time.

Did it ten times. Then pressed down on D with the 2nd finger, held it and played the other notes around it, one key at a time. Did it ten times. Later I played a combination by pressing D and F simultaneously each using the 2nd and 4th finger and played the rest of the notes which were CEG around them, one key at a time.

Using the left hand I placed my 5th finger on the C one octave lower from middle C without playing it yet, let the fingers hover just above the keys. With the 4th finger of the left hand pressing down on D and holding it down, I played the other notes around it, one key at a time. Did it ten times. Then pressed down on F with the 2nd finger, held it and played the other notes around it, one key at a time. Did it ten times. Next I tried to practise a combination of fingers such as pressing down on D and F each with the 4th and 2nd finger of the left hand and played the rest of the notes around them, one key at a time.

Work on technique improves
tone production in piano songs


Once I sensed that the right hand and the left hand were able to execute the exercise well enough when practised single hands, meaning the keys are being pressed firmly. I practised with both hands simultaneously. Furthermore, the combination of fingers used to press multiple keys could be varied such as the lower pair of the thumb and 3rd finger of the right hand the pressing on CE, while the other fingers played DFG around them, one key at a time. It could be practised together with the left hand’s upper pair of the 5th and 3rd fingers pressing on CE, while the other fingers played DFG around them, one key at a time.

Another combination available is the upper of the right hand, the 3rd and 5th fingers pressing on EG, while the other fingers play CDF around them, one key at a time. It could be practised together with the left hand’s lower pair of the 3rd and 5th fingers pressing on EG, while the other fingers played DFG around them, one key at a time.

These are very fundamental exercises that develop flexibility, agility and strength in the fingers. Eventually they do wonders for your tone production when playing piano songs because they result in improved control over touch as you set out to press the keys of the piano.

Continue reading next page>>>

Return to beginning of 'Piano songs - Canon in D' series