Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Playing the Harpsichord

   We have all had lots of fun playing the harpsichord lately. All of my classical students were already playing Renaissance and Baroque music, but now they get to experience the music as it actually would have been played 'back in the day'. 

   We've discovered that the instrument is really quite limiting. We can't play with dynamic changes, we can't emphasize particular notes. Staccato notes don't sound too much different than regular notes. We can play legato, but lifting at the end of a phrase is a lot less complex. We just take our finger off the key and that is the extent of our phrasing. We don't need to use the larger, more overt romantic-style phrasing and lifting. And of course, there is no sustain pedal.

   Everything we play sounds gentle and soft. This is so much different than the piano! So far, its been a really fun experiment. Soon, my 4th and 5th graders will be getting serious and learning to play harpsichord specific literature as we learn about the Baroque era and it's music in this summer's Baroque Class. 
I can't wait!

1 comment:

  1. What a rare and awesome thing that you get to share the harpsichord with all of your students. I'm still saving up for a nice grand piano, but someday I'd love to have a harpsichord in my studio, too!