The Piano Voodoo of Tone Production

The word timbre (also called tone quality or tone color) is an important part of every musician’s vocabulary. Woodwind and brass instrumentalists can affect timbre by such simple things such as embouchure or fingering choices. String instrumentalists have things such as bow speed, angle and pressure to work with. Surprisingly to some, pianists have one and only one way to legitimately manipulate the actual color of each note they play: pedals.

Some may be compelled to cite qualities such as “warm”, “harsh” and “transparent” as auditory examples of how technique and touch can affect tone quality on the piano. We can Continue reading

Expertise Is Not The Result Of Pure Discipline

In my Talent’s Role In Artistry blog entry, I make a case for the idea that talent exists and that it plays a notable role in the development of an artist. Most people probably don’t need to read that blog entry to arrive at such a widely-accepted conclusion. The title of this article, on the other hand, may raise some eyebrows.

Before we dive into a discipline paradox, let’s first define expertise. A couple of years ago, I read an article called “The Expert Mind” by Philip E. Ross from the August 2006 issue of Scientific American. The article states:

“The preponderance of psychological evidence indicates that experts are made, not born.”

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