Friday, November 28, 2014

Score Visualization for Instrumentalists; Memo by Payman Akhlaghi (2014)

Score Visualization for Instrumentalists
From a Performance Perspective
An Original Memo by Payman Akhlaghi (Draft 1)

(*) First published at on November 28th, 2014, under Score Visualization for Instrumentalists, and also on author's public page, ComposerPA (Payman Akhlaghi).

Pianists in particular can benefit much from "visualizing scores" away from their instrument. It's a very efficient way to improve sight-reading, to learn new music accurately, and to improve your inner hearing skills.

Hold a score in hand. Study it at your own pace, as slowly as you may need. Try to hear as many notes and chords as you can by your inner ear, say, using one of several "solfeggio" methods.* Analyze passages and recognize the patterns -- rhythms, intervals, chords, scales, etc. --and the larger forms. Imagine your hands and fingers as they rest and the keys, and move about the keyboard. If advanced, imagine your foot work on the pedal. Now go through the passage again, in your mind, in "real time". When possible, move the fingers on a desktop before you. Once confident, try the passage at the piano from memory. Notice how easier it feels to practice and play this new music. Notice how much sooner than before you master the music.

Start out with very small bites, say, one measure or a short phrase at the most. As you make progress, increase the size of the portion. Keep at it. Soon enough, you'd be surprised by the results. Yo may share your success here with me. Good luck.


* Solfeggio, Solfège, Solmization: Sight-singing using numbers or syllables (solmization) assigned to the degrees of the scale (e.g. the Movable Do); or preferably for more chromatic music, using syllables fixed to pitch classes (the Fixed Do).

** Karl Leimer and Walter Gieseking dedicated a large section to "visualization" in their highly recommended book, as it was a cornerstone of Leimer's teaching method. See "Piano Technique", 1932, Republished by Dover, 1972.

© 2014, Payman Akhlaghi. All rights reserved.

(*) Payman Akhlaghi is a composer, pianist and piano teacher based in Los Angeles. His repertoire covers Classical music, as well as Persian (Iranian) Music, Pop Music, and Film Music. For information on the lessons in the Greater Los Angeles area, including Beverly Hills, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Encino, Brentwood, etc. please call: 310-208-2927. Thank you.

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