Playing Flat

A quick one for pianists – in particular, pianists who are fortunate enough to play on grands. Though not all grands are made equal…

Okay, let’s admit it, we all read sometimes. Whether detailed arrangements, originals, things we “kinda know” or whatever.

Put the damn flap down and read the chart across it.

If you’re a singer-pianist, the audience needs to see your lovely face. If you’re a humble pianist-pianist, the band at least needs to see your perhaps not quite so lovely face. And you need to see them. (Actually, in some stage setups I’ve idly toyed with the idea of bringing periscopes or wing mirrors…) It’s also rather handy for you be able to see the room properly – Music is played to people, not at them…

Trust me – it might seem awkward at first, but get used to reading flat. It’s not that difficult really and you’ll thank me for it later.

Of course your attention will be mostly on the chart. But if you read it like a Star Wars opening crawl, your middle-distance vision will also be working for giving and receiving all those wonderful little cues and interactions that can really help to make a band (and a gig) tick.

Sure, a lot goes on in the ears, but you want to take every advantage if you really want to awaken the Force…

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Posted in c) Musicianship, e) Rants & Ramblings
2 comments on “Playing Flat
  1. Star Eyes. A long time ago, in an arrangement far far away…

    • Jason says:

      Diddly-dum-dum, diddly-dum-dum, diddly dee…
      I love Williams’ stuff. Chucked a bit of Darth Vader’s theme into a tune just the other night. Totally inappropriate, of course.
      The fourths are strong with this one.

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