How do you achieve a perfect legato?

 Always try to play a legato by hands alone without pedal first. 

A. Hands only:

Never rely solely on the pedal to create a legato effect – it is not possible without the help of the hands

  1. Hold each note as long as possible (like “tenuto”)
  2. Overlap the notes as much as possible, meaning you don’t leave the first note you are holding until you have played the second note and so on; overlapping is the secret weapon to achieve a beautiful legato

B. Use pedal:

Use effective pedalling to create the perfect illusion by bridging the gap between two notes by blending and blurring the sounds of held notes together

How to change pedals?

Change whenever there is change of chords – or when you hear the sound is becoming too blurry and muddled.  When there is scale (stepwise motion), change every few notes if you really have to use the pedal. And always change right AFTER you hit the next chords – if you change the pedal WITH your hand (s’ change of chords/notes), there will be a gap between the previous pedalling and the next one, creating a bumpy sound that is the opposite effect when one wants to create a legato. Change the pedal after you play the next chord. 

Having a great posture sets up the solid foundation for freedom and smooth flow at the piano - crucial for a beautiful legato playing!

Having a great posture sets up the solid foundation for freedom and smooth flow at the piano – crucial for a beautiful legato playing!

One important tip: You have to make sure that when you want to play in a legato fashion, the volume and tone of the notes match one another (and when going louder/softer the graduation of volume/tone is gradual as well)

Until next post,

Teresa Wong

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