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The Legato technique, what’s the point?

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Chopin - Notturno“Questo non è legato, è attaccato! ” (This is not tied, it’s attached!) The famous phrase of Michele Marvulli during the fourth edition of “Campus AFAM” held in Santa Severina, in the province of Crotone. This is the “techcnical drama” that afflicts every good pianist who is about to discover the defects of an instrument that does not allow to exploited to the full like other instruments does.

The Russian pianists, even today, are determined to not understand that the piano does not have the arches as the violins, and although the use of touch and expressive phrasing is laudable and naturally flows in the veins of the Soviet music, the real “legato”*  will never become full. He would have been upset in front of these statements, the dear Ludwig van Beethoven, who was a wholehearted lover of the “legato”. Beethoven, who had studied piano with Neefe (unknow to descendants posterity, not very skilled on the keyboard) and composition with Salieri (that also “taught” for free), knew the “Well-Tempered Clavier” by J. S. Bach  and had studied almost by heart the complete works of Homer, so he developed a dedication to music and literature out of the ordinary.

Maestro of the sight read, improvisation, counterpoint and processing on the low-numbered, also possessed an innate virtuosity dictated by the shape of his hand, which was large, squat, powerful and square with the fingertips. Because of this, Beethoven impressed the first Viennese audiences who heard his extraordinary legato, which had never before been heard on the piano. But Beethoven could not have known that hundreds of years later, posterity would naively believed, on the threshold of a millennium in which man is preparing to colonize the moon, can bind to the piano sounds in the most “intimate” of the word .

All in love and devoted to the study of legato, all with an innate feeling of guilt against those poor students who can not “tie” the musical phrase, all of them with the open palm of the hand waiting the descent of the other one in a very mild attempt to show “ad exemplum” as the last phalanx must “dig” the key. And a multitude of great piano teachers shouting “Feel the Key” to the students, showing to the world that, while the human being is getting ready to manage nuclear energy and to exploit the solar one, pianists have not yet realized that the piano is a struck strings instrument and not “smoothed”.

In short, as Martelli said,the true “legato” on the piano doesn’t exist. It’s true that the piano brings out a lot of emotion and feeling also without realizing a real “legato”.

Fortunately, in these last years,musicians have taken a different track, facing to a new piano didactics.

 

• The italian word “Legato” literally meaning “tied together” indicates that musical notes are played or sung smoothly and connected. The legato technique is a kind of articulation.

• Attaccato= attached.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autore: Filippo Arlia

Filippo Arlia ha scritto 18 articoli.

Filippo Arlia è un pianista, didatta e concertista italiano. E' considerato dalla critica internazionale uno dei più brillanti e versatili pianisti della sua generazione.

Questo post è disponibile anche in: Italian



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