Inner Voices : The Lines Between And Beyond


Most students focus on the materials in the right hand, if not only the top melodic line. They neglect what is going on in the left hand, the bass register, or even the bass line. And more likely than not, the inner voices.

Why are the inner voices important?They form an essential component of the music. When we neglect a part of the materials in the music, we are presenting less of its content. It is similar to a jigsaw puzzle. When there are 50 pieces of the puzzle and we only put 30 of them together, what do we see? Apparently, only one part of the whole picture here even though it might be the majority part of it. Or, another example would be, fill in the blanks. Remember when we were young at school, there were exercises in English grammar classes to complete the sentences? The inner voices are the words missing. I _ _ going to _ _ _ mus_ _ m on _ _ _ day. (Or even alph_bets.) They are simply part of the equation to help us – both the performer and the audience – to make sense of the music as a whole.

To achieve a fuller sound projection of the inner voices, there are three main aspects to consider.

One, see with your inner eyes.

Understand the structure of the inner voices, how they proceed and progress on each of their own, and how they connect and communicate with one another.

You are not merely reading and watching where the notes are on the score and the keyboard.

Truly understand why they are there.

Two, listen with your inner ears.

Follow the lines as they proceed when you are playing them. Follow each note and connect the space between every two note.

You are not just hearing if you are hitting the right keys at the right time.

Truly listen to why they are there.

Three, project with a proper technique.

After you understand and listen, it is the time to play it. When you are playing more than one note at the same time by the same hand, use the palm. When you execute a chord, feel the sensation of grabbing the notes inward just a little bit towards the middle of the palm. Do not press your palm down towards the keys. Or more precisely, the palm knuckles, the part that connects the palm and the fingers.

Truly pay close attention to every single motion each hand is making.

Truly focus on every single detail in the music. Focus on every movement at your fingers, your palm, your wrist, your elbow, your arm, your upper body, your lower back, and your weight shift at your feet.

Listen to the inner voices. And project them. Properly. Precisely. Beautifully.

Teresa Wong

P.S. Truly focus on how to do the right thing, on how to project beautifully, instead of how to avoid playing wrongly and badly.

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