Can accompanists mark?

Marking is a common concept for singers, but rarely heard of for pianists. And yet, accompanists can also mark.

  1. Play softer: The basis of marking is to cut all of your dynamics in half, while keeping the right proportion between them, and of course making sure to still phrase, and put in the right articulation and accentuation.

  2. Play fewer notes: Playing fewer notes is a great way to preserve yourself. You just need to be careful when you take notes out that the singers still hear what they're used to hearing, such as rhythm and harmony. Great ways to go about this is to play single notes instead of octaves, and to take out any inner notes in one hand that the other hand is already covering.
    1. When your singer is marking: When your singers needs to mark, for example because they are focusing on the new staging they've just been given or because their voice is sore, you actually help them when you mark alongside of them, so take advantage of that. 

    2. When you're physically tired: When your fingers and arms are getting fatigued, or your back is hurting, you need to take care of yourself. The best way to do that is by marking, particularly when you're practicing on your own. 

    3. When you need to pace yourself: When you know that you have many hours of playing ahead of you, you need to know in advance when you'll need to be at your peak, and pace yourself carefully until that point.

    Picture from http://gizmodo.com/5563778/this-is-the-pianists-equivalent-of-a-laptop-bed+table-right


      1. 4. Staging rehearsal for the fight scene from La Boheme Act IV.

      2. Great advice -- but note that it should be "Play fewer notes," not "less." (Less music, fewer notes.)

        I should have taken this advice last week!

      3. Chris, maybe we need to put a list together of all the music to be marked EXCLUSIVELY!!!

        Thanks for the correction Jeff! Sometimes my writing betrays my French nationality!

      4. Just sitting for hours on end (especially when you forget what you've learned through the Alexander Technique!) can lead to soreness everywhere! I try to get up and stretch whenever there is a musical break, always keeping my ears and eyes open for when and where we're starting up again with the music.


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