Robert Estrin - piano expert
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Henrik on October 8, 2015 @9:17 am PST

Is there a difference between playing a baroque mordent if it's a crochet or a quaver? A mordent is three notes being played. The third note is the longest. I know all of this. Should a mordent always be played at the same speed all the time? Is there even a correct speed? 
Robert - host, on October 8, 2015 @4:18 pm PST
There are books written about how to play ornamentation. There isn't only one right way to approach mordents, trills, turns or other ornaments. Ultimately you must use your musical judgement in the context of the piece to find a musical solution which you can execute faithfully technically.
Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, on October 8, 2015 @4:23 pm PST
Thank you Robert for answering. Henrik, you can checkout our Ornamentation Chart below:

I hope that can help a little to start. Please, let us know if you have any further questions.
Hank on September 9, 2015 @7:27 am PST
when playing BWV anh 114 & 115 you are supposed to do the dynamics a bit different the other time after the reprise/repeat sign (what do pianist call this sign?). There is in some editions mordernts and trills already there in the sheet music but if you need to play the same part of the piece again the dynamics should not be the same. How does one deal with this?
Robert - host, on September 9, 2015 @11:08 am PST
There is a degree of freedom in interpreting Baroque music in regards to dynamics and ornamentation. Some people choose to play repeated sections exactly the same both times. Others play with different dynamics and embellishments on repeated sections. It is not completely clear as to what the performance practice of the time was. Although, different performers have strong convictions about how the music should be played.
Bill McClellan on September 3, 2015 @2:25 pm PST
Sometimes when holding down a key with the 5th finger of my left hand I'll keep the key held down and switch fingers to my 4th or 3rd finger in preparation for playing a lower note with my freed-up 5th finger. Could you comment on this technique?

Many thanks for your great videos!
Robert - host, on September 3, 2015 @7:22 pm PST
Changing fingers on one note is a common technique in piano playing in order to foster a legato line. Just be sure there isn't a fingering that doesn't require it first since there is a limit to how fast you can change fingers.
Dylan Kelly on August 20, 2015 @11:46 am PST
What is the significance of quarter tone music? What is it?
Robert - host, on August 21, 2015 @10:47 am PST
This is great question which I will tackle in a future video. Spoiler alert: quarter tone music doesn't represent much significance in Western music. But there is a lot more to this question which may surprise you!
Michael on August 13, 2015 @8:54 pm PST
Hey Robert,

Can someone who has almost no musical experience (by that I mean a person that knows what pieces sound like) help someone that is playing an instrument from an "audience perspective"?
Robert - host, on August 14, 2015 @12:08 pm PST
Surprisingly, the perspective of people without extensive musical experience can sometimes be invaluable. That is because it is essential for a musician to reach everyone in the audience, not just the musically sophisticated. So getting the feedback from people with limited musical exposure can foster better communication.
Art Scheid on August 12, 2015 @6:44 am PST
Thank you, Robert, for these terrific teaching 'vidiettes/videos'. I am a piano teacher/organist , and I love the balanced approach that you present with reference to encouraging a child's learning interests in their musicianship journey and what instrument is best for them to learn. Every child is different.
Ben on August 9, 2015 @3:50 am PST
Robert Any tips to play Chopin's Polonaise in A-flat major, Op. 53 (Heroic). ?
Robert - host, on August 9, 2015 @12:02 pm PST
There could be quite a few videos possible with this piece as well. I will put it on the list for future consideration.
Benedito Pratama on July 17, 2015 @7:55 am PST
Hello Robert, Any tips to play the Chopin's Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23. ?
Robert - host, on July 17, 2015 @1:37 pm PST
I have gotten several requests for help with this piece. There are so many sections to this work which present unique technical challenges, I am considering covering some of them in future videos.
Eric Gardner on July 8, 2015 @1:38 pm PST
Hello Robert, I was wondering whether or not the piano lid should always be open to the fullest extent when playing. Are there times when the lid should be completely closed or completely off or somewhere in between? Thanks in advance.
Robert - host, on July 8, 2015 @2:26 pm PST
This is such a great question, we will make a video to answer it in depth.
Raoul on July 5, 2015 @2:41 pm PST
Hello Robert,
Which (classical) theory music book do you recommend for someone that wants to learn everything from the basics (for example how major and minor scales relate) to the more "conservatory-like" information? I heard someone recommend the book: "The Musician's Guide to Theory and Analysis (Second Edition)", do you recommend it also or do you prefer an other book?
Thanks in advance,


P.S. Thank you for al your great videos, I love watching them!
Robert - host, on July 6, 2015 @11:07 am PST
I was fortunate to have studied piano, music theory, harmony, sight-singing and dictation with my father, Morton Estrin. He wrote a book that is not published which starts from the beginning - how to read notes through 4 part harmony. I have never found any materials that describe things in such a concise and digestible manner. My intention is to create an online resource based upon his teachings.
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