Techniques Used in Pop Piano Playing
Pop music is usually not one of the more demanding genres for a
pianist. Many of the parts are fairly straightforward and not too demanding to actually perform.
However, this does not mean that it is necessarily easier than many other styles. The techniques used in
pop piano playing are mostly the more
subtle varieties, which can be more difficult for some pianists.
You do not have a wide range of techniques to worry about, but you do need to play the ones that do appear well.
Due to the often simpler piano parts, even minor mistakes can be much more noticeable in pop piano work than in
other, often more complicated styles of piano playing.
Legato is used fairly regularly in pop piano playing. Legato is used to try to create a smoother tone over a
section of notes. The style of legato used on piano does differ a little bit from some other instruments, so if
piano is your second instrument, the legato technique might seem a bit odd.
When playing legato on a piano, you need to slur the notes together slightly. You should only release the key
you are pressing about halfway before pressing down on the next note. As a result, the two notes are going to
briefly be playing at the same time. The overlap between the notes of the section is what creates the legato
Physical dynamic playing is
another techniques used in pop piano playing. This technique involves playing notes a little louder or softer
than normal. You can play notes louder by pressing down harder on the key when playing a note.
This technique is referred to as “Forte.” Playing notes softer than normal is referred to as “Piano” and is
performed by pressing more softly on the key when playing. The “Piano” technique can be a little difficult to
master because you still need to press down hard enough on the key to create a clear noise while still pressing
down softly enough that the note is audibly quieter.
Pedal techniques are also an important part of a lot of pop playing.
Inside the piano, dampers are pressed into all the strings. The dampers absorb some of the string vibration when a
note is playing, causing the note to decay. The pedals are used to manipulate the dampers. Pressing down on the
sustain pedal lifts the dampers off the string, allowing notes to play much longer than usual.
Pressing down on the mute pedal pushes the dampers harder into the string causing the notes to play a lot
shorter than normal. Pedal techniques give you a great deal of control in how long individual notes ring.
For the most part, the techniques used in pop piano playing are used in almost any style of piano playing. It is
not a genre where virtuoso level piano work occurs very often. However, just because it is not a demanding genre
does not mean you can slack off on the techniques.
A good piano player needs to approach every part with the same level of professionalism, even less demanding
ones like pop music. It also prevents you from becoming overconfident and messing up on what should be basic piano techniques.
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