If you are a beginner or intermediate piano player, we would like to point your attention to a very important aspect of playing any piano piece: balance.
When a professional pianist plays a piece of music, the effect of the right balance between melodies and accompaniment is absolutely obvious. A non-musician listener may not be able to describe what they are hearing when there is an absence of balance, but will be able to hear and feel that something is “off” with the playing.
In short: to achieve balance, the melody should always be played louder than the accompaniment. In the majority of piano works, the melody is at the top of the score, while the accompaniment is below it. There can often be many more notes in the accompaniment than in the melody. In most situations your right hand will be playing the melody-which should sound a little brighter- while the left hand plays the accompaniment- which should sound quieter.
It starts to get tricky when the higher notes of the melody are played with the “weaker” fingers in the right hand (4 and 5), while the quieter notes of the accompaniment fall on “strong” fingers in the left hand (1 and 2). If you let these strong fingers play too loudly you will overpower the notes of the melody. If that happens, the listener’s ear gets confused because we’re accustomed to hearing the melody nice and clear.
Your piano teacher will have to show you exactly how to achieve the right balance. It’s not an easy skill to learn, but as long as you continue to try you should be able to get it. Once you are able to do it, your playing automatically goes to the next level.
Watch our little video where we use the famous “Für Elise” as an example – stop by for some piano lessons in NYC at Riverside Music Studios so our amazing teachers can show you how it’s done.