Robert Estrin - piano expert

How to Play Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto

How to play the opening chords of the famous piano concerto

In this video, Robert approaches the famous and beautiful piano concerto by Tchaikovsky, and in particular, its opening chords.

Released on June 4, 2014

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hi, I'm Robert Estrin. This is with an interesting show today: how to play the opening chords of the Tchaikovsky B Flat Minor Piano Concerto, the famous Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto that everybody knows. The chords are glorious at the beginning, and they match the splendor of the orchestra. They're huge chords. I'm going to play them, just so you know what I'm talking about. And then I'm going to talk about how to get a beautiful sound out of this; how to approach the keyboard with this.


Massive chords, but you want to get a beautiful sound. What is the secret? Well, here's the interesting thing. When you watch pianists, oftentimes it looks like they're moving their arms a great deal, and it creates a lot of excitement in the audience. But the reality is, to get a good sound on the piano, you're actually striking the keys from the surface of the keys when you're playing big chords. And that's how you get a beautiful sound.

In fact, if you have a good piano, it doesn't matter how strong you play, you can put all the force you possibly can muster up if you push from the surface of the keys to the bottom of the key bed in one motion, you will always get a beautiful sound. And you could put more and more energy, getting more and more volume.

Now, the opposite of that is striking from above which oftentimes gives a harsh, slap sound as I'll demonstrate.


It's also harder to play accurately, isn't it? [laughs] But you hear the harshness of that. There's no control. When you play from the surface of the keys and drop all the way to the arms all at once, you can play louder and louder without getting ugly, ever. So try that in your playing not just for the Tchaikovsky B Flat Minor Piano Concerto, but whenever you have large chords that you want to play very big. Strike from the surface of the keys, dropping all the weight of your arm, and you'll get a glorious sound out of a great piano.

Thanks for joining me. Robert Estrin here at
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Carly Rodgers McMahan on June 21, 2014 @3:41 pm PST
Just beautiful.
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