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The Science & Psychology of Music PerformanceCreative Strategies for Teaching and Learning$
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Richard Parncutt and Gary McPherson

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195138108

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195138108.001.0001

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(p.284) (p.285) 18 Piano
The Science & Psychology of Music Performance

Richard Parncutt

Malcolm Troup

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents some observations based on research on the physics and physiology of the keystroke, the acoustics and perception of piano timbre, and the psychology of piano fingering. Among these are that the timbre of an isolated tone cannot be varied independently of its loudness but depends on finger-key, key-keybed, hammer-key noise, and on the use of both pedals. The timbre of a chord further depends on the balance and onset timing of its tones, whereby louder tones tend to sound earlier (melody lead, velocity artifact). Both the sustaining pedal and una corda can enhance sostenuto. Leap trajectories are curved and asymmetrical. Optimal fingering is determined by physical, anatomic, motor, and cognitive constraints interacting with interpretive considerations, and depends on expertise.

Keywords:   piano timbre, acoustics, pedal, keystroke, piano fingering

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