An interesting aspect of playing piano as your base instrument is that you can play together with other people. With other instruments and piano, you can either play solo or in a band but with piano you can play duets with a fellow pianist. These duets can belong to any genre whether it is classical, jazz or any other tunes designed for a specific event or occasion. Playing duets over piano is something that would not only be interesting and fun to do but it gives both the pianists an opportunity of learning and on improving their skills and techniques of playing this instrument. This is indeed one of the best things about piano that even if you are a beginner, you can play duets that are easy for both players to play together.
How piano duets are played?
A steady beat will be working in the background and you and your partner would have to play their individual parts. These parts synchronized together will result in a beautiful duet tune over piano. The main task when playing a duet is to listen carefully to your part as well as of your partner so that you don’t end up ruining the tune. You just have to partner with a fellow pianist over piano and prepare your individual parts with some sound richness to give a great end result for your audiences.
Tips and Tricks to play Piano Duets:
As you decide or get to play a duet, here are some aspects that must be taken care of. We are sharing here some tips that would enable you to play and perform better:
Learn your piece and know it well!
In order to have a well-coordinated performance with duets over piano, it is crucial for both of the pianists to know their parts really well. Usually the division of parts between two pianists would be like one would play higher part termed primo and the other one will play the bass part termed as secondo. It is important that each one of you practice your parts individual for some time until you gain complete fluency. Have a sheet music of same edition so that the pieces are printed without any errors and variations. It is good if you can memorize your partner’s part too. This would prove helpful in on-stage piano performance if your partner loose at his part, you can cover up for him if you know his piece too.
Listen to each other’s performance!
Once you are sure about gaining fluency at your part, you should now listen to each other’s part. It is important to listen to each other’s performance so when you will be performing together, you will know where to begin and where to end your parts in a piano duet.
One of the best methods of working together for playing duets is to make notes and label sections over music sheet. This way you will be able to make clear communication and will be able to follow each other instructions and suggestions well. Also if one of you has some queries related to a certain area, labelling sections would ease up the process of addressing to those queries and issues.
Adding versatility and expressions!
After understanding the entire flow of a musical piece, now you have to understand how to play it with versatility. Expressions and other dynamics should only be added after both of you have mastered on your pieces and are able to play all the technicalities well.
Duets over piano can be played with variations. One method is to have one piano with four hands option and both the pianists use this single piano for playing duet. Another option would be to have two different pianos and each of the pianist will perform their piece in a duet over their individual instruments. No matter which method is being used for playing duets, here are some common helpful tips to follow.
- Make sure that the musical piece that is chosen is according to the level of both the pianists.
- Before putting your pieces together, it is important to practice your parts individually.
- One effective methods of maintaining a proper lead timing during performance is counting out loud during practice sessions and when you perform, you can repeat that counting under your breath with your partner to begin right.
- Problem areas or difficult notes must be given special attention during practice sessions.
Duets played using a single piano:
- Discuss responsibilities! As you play a musical piece over one piano, there will be certain responsibilities that one person should take charge of. One such thing is pressing pedals during performance. You should decide who will be responsible of changing pedals during performance in order to avoid confusion at the time of performance.
- Pay close attention to how you are sharing the space over piano with your hands and finger placement.
- Make sure that both of you lift your fingers off keys with similar timings.
- Have your practice sessions judged by a third person with a good sense of music and take his advices for sound balancing, melody, tunes etc. in order to make improvements.
Duets played using two pianos:
- Both the pianos should be placed in a position that pianists playing a duet can see each other. This would enable them to manage their performance through expressions, nodding, counting and other methods.
- All the guidelines that are mentioned above should also be considered when playing duets with two pianos.
You will certainly enjoy playing duets if you follow all these tips and tricks that we have shared here. Playing duets would enable you to improve your versatility and would improve your skills as a pianist. As you play with someone else, you will get to learn a lot of things related to piano playing and teamwork. It is more fun when the duets are played among friends, student/teacher, family member (husband and wife, brother and sister) etc.