Articulation and Touch – Part 2

1. Leggeiro

This is the direct opposite of legatissimo.  Instead of the ‘heavy hand’ the hand is particularly light. The note appears to sound slightly ‘detached’.

  • Raise the hand in a fixed shape, lift the wrist about 1 centimeter than its usual position
  • Fingertips are to remain on the surface of the key without dropping onto the key
  • We now play like we would in legato touch with the same strength, pressure and movement except that the distance between the finger and the key has a larger distance.
  • For extra crispness in the touch, more articulation or ‘active fingers’ are required.

2. Slurs

Slurs are a symbol to indicate that more than two notes or a group of notes need to be played in a legato touch. It is a symbol that indicates phrasing.

The end of the slur may seem like an ‘interruption ‘of the legato touch and releases the dynamic intensity at the end of the subphrases.

3. Dot/Wedge

  • The dot over or under the note head indicates shortening of a note indefinitely. Up until 19th century, the two symbols show no differences.
  • These two signs are now used to indicate a distinguished nuance of pianistic touch.
  • The dots refer to a shortening of the note without influencing the dynamic outline; it is equivalent to playing like staccato ‘out of the key’ upward thrust of the wrist motion.

4. Wedge

  • A sudden interruption accompanied by the accent; It is technically equivalent to playing ‘ into the keyboard’ with the downward thrust of either the wrist or the whole arm.
  • A note or a chord with a dot or wedge may not sound dry and crisps if we cautiously employed the use of pedal.

5. Slurs with dots

This is the type of articulation with dots underneath the slurs. Depending on the composer and the heritage, composers who are orientated towards the classical heritage like Schubert, Brahms and Mendelsohn tend to use this articulation like ‘portato’. They carried out the melodic line with the vertical interruption of the wrist.

The French School’s approach to this articulations give rises to two nuances: leggeiro (elevated wrist and slightly brushing the keys) and con forza.

6. Con Forza

Use the whole forearms and the weight of the wrist by transporting from the upper arms. Each note is executed like a ‘separate drop’ with force.

The intensity is the tone is affected by the force and weight of the upper arms.

It is essential to add pedal to enhance the intensity providing the duration of harmonic  and melodic rhythms allow

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