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Topic: OT: slurs in piano music

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  1. #1

    Question OT: slurs in piano music

    I'm currently scoring a piece for piano and I'm having trouble notating slurs. Looking at other piano music, slurring seems rather arbitrary (as opposed to writing for strings or winds where slurs determine articulation). The piece I'm writing contains lots of repetitive eight note arpeggiated figures in both hands, so there's often not a clear melody or phrase. I noticed that slurs in piano music rarely span more than two bars. I also read that slurring is not always necessary in the left hand.

    So should I just follow my instincts when writing slurs, i.e. write what feels right and not overthink it? Or are there some exact rules I'm not aware of?

    I'd love to hear people's input.

    Roy

  2. #2
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    Re: OT: slurs in piano music

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandarin Man View Post
    Looking at other piano music, slurring seems rather arbitrary (as opposed to writing for strings or winds where slurs determine articulation). Roy
    That's more or less right Roy.

    However, in general for keyboards it's more to do with phrasing. So if you think of your keyboard lines as sentences with invisible commas or full stops, this may indicate where the slur starts and stops.
    If there is no such phrasing - then you probably don't need slurs.

  3. #3

    Re: OT: slurs in piano music

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulR View Post
    That's more or less right Roy.

    However, in general for keyboards it's more to do with phrasing. So if you think of your keyboard lines as sentences with invisible commas or full stops, this may indicate where the slur starts and stops.
    If there is no such phrasing - then you probably don't need slurs.
    I'd agree with this, with the proviso that it does depend what style of music you're writing. In Romantic music composers tended to get a little over-enthusiastic with their phrase-marks. Before that, and after, composers seem to have taken the approach that there's something wrong if a performer can't tell where the phrases are, and use slurs only to indicate anything that's not so obvious - i.e. the 'invisible commas.'

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    Re: OT: slurs in piano music

    there is no way your scoring a piano piece because you are asking about slurs! Ok .....look study piano more(do you play piano) study composition more too.
    so I have a "4 bar measure and in this measure is 2 quarter notes 2 eighth notes and 1 quater note".....now what is slured.....(rolls eyes)
    it's up the composer, the playing style, the composition, the music that is being composed, and the melody, what is accented in that motif, etc.
    All I can Say is...HA!...HA!...HAAAAAAA!!!!!

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    Re: OT: slurs in piano music

    Quote Originally Posted by StrangeCat View Post
    so I have a "4 bar measure and in this measure is 2 quarter notes 2 eighth notes and 1 quater note".....now what is slured.....(rolls eyes)
    Hmmm. So there'd be some rests in there too then Cat?

  6. #6

    Re: OT: slurs in piano music

    Quote Originally Posted by StrangeCat View Post
    there is no way your scoring a piano piece because you are asking about slurs!
    Actually quite a lot of very good pianists refer to then as slurs, even though it's technically impossible to slur two piano notes - so let's not get picky.

  7. #7

    Re: OT: slurs in piano music

    Wow. Slurs are incredibly important in piano music. And yes you can slur two notes on the piano! Geez!

    My advice is to listen to a Beethoven sonata with the music in your hand and notice how the slurs affect the articulations (assuming the performer is phrasing similarly to the notation.

    Or hire a pianist to notate your music.

  8. #8

    Re: OT: slurs in piano music

    Quote Originally Posted by scpax View Post
    Wow. Slurs are incredibly important in piano music. And yes you can slur two notes on the piano! Geez!
    Technically you can't!! A slur is when several written notes become one stream of sound, without attacks on any note but the first. So for a wind player it means not tonguing, and for a string player not changing bow. On a piano it's impossible to remove the attack on each note, so you can't perform an actual slur. Which is why StrangeCat was suggesting that it was inappropriate to even call them slur marks in the context of piano music.

    Most pianists refer to them as phrase marks, since they imply that a legato should be produced, but not a literal slur. I was simply pointing out that many excellent pianists are nevertheless in the habit of calling them slur marks, so it was a little 'snobby' to suggest that Mandarin Man was uneducated for using the term.

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    Re: OT: slurs in piano music

    Quote Originally Posted by Pingu View Post
    so it was a little 'snobby' to suggest that Mandarin Man was uneducated for using the term.
    Yes I agree. I think it's a 'slur' on his good name. I think Cat's opinion is as narrow as his 'tie'.

    Oh gawd!

  10. #10

    Re: OT: slurs in piano music

    Actually legato means "connected" and not with one bow or with one breath. Of course "true legato" as we know it can be performed in strings and winds, but piano is also capable of legato.

    Since legato is indicated with a slur above the notes (or bellow, according to the stems/beams direction), I don't see any reason for confusion.

    Still in much piano music slurs are used to indicate phrasing and some accents rather than legato...

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