Tone

Added on by Greg Anderson.
Dear Greg,
I wanted to ask you a question specifically about tone and how it is produced. I noticed listening to you and other pianists of very high quality like agerich or gilels(of whom I feel you could be in a league with some day), they have a very Big quality to their sound, in addition to whatever other aspects of there tonal quality are produced such as percussive versus sensual tones, bright vs. warm, soft and rich. My question is, how exactly can one practice to achieve these kinds of sounds? Is it something innate and inborn or is there a particular method? I ask you because I noticed that your playing has a similar caliber of tonal quality i.e. really really Full sounding. Thanks
 - Michael Dawkins

Dear Michael,

Thank you! When it comes to the simple sound of the piano, I love the straightforward tone created by Gilels, Argerich, Rubinstein, and Weissenberg above all else! I'm flattered to be compared to anyone on that list.

First of all, I highly encourage you to purchase my mentor's book: Pianism, by Aiko Onishi. She articulates the techniques used to produce gorgeous tone better than anyone I know. In clear, simple language, she describes how to create a beautiful singing tone, harmonious tones, colorless tones, thick and chordal tones, and much more. The book is worth every penny -- "a must," if you will.

Aiko Onishi and Julian Martin (my teacher at Juilliard) significantly contributed to the development of my "tone," but much could be also considered a matter of my personal taste.

The simplest piece of advice for you: "hear" the sound you would like to produce from the piano first; then try to recreate the sound at the piano. If you are truly "listening" for the sounds you hope to create, you're body will know what to do.

The second piece of advice: don't let anyone tell you that physical size or strength play a large role in a pianist's tone. My primary teacher growing up, Kim Craig, is very petite, but she can create a massive sound when she wants to. A big, full sound comes from your back, and she knew how to work it!

Best wishes -- and get that book!

- Greg (March 6, 2009)