Question for Musicians/Piano players

bwayto
Leading Actor
joined:12/5/11
Question for Musicians/Piano players
Posted: 10/31/12 at 11:52pm
When I am playing music from Piano/Vocal selections, I hate when the melody is included with the piano part, because it sort of makes the singers obsolete. I prefer arrangements that sound like a reduced orchestra part (Wicked Selections for example have this, Legally Blonde). And frankly, for me, it's not as fun to play!

My friends are always telling me, "that doesn't sound right! play it like this", and then they start humming the melody.

What do you prefer/have in most of your books?
Alan Henry
Senior Editor, BWW Toronto
alan@broadwayworld.com
adam.peterson44
Broadway Star
joined:9/7/11
Question for Musicians/Piano players
Posted: 11/1/12 at 12:01am
"I hate when the melody is included with the piano part, because it sort of makes the singers obsolete."

Most of the pianos that I have worked with have had very poor diction, and I always find it hard to understand the lyrics when they mess up their enunciation.
bwayto
Leading Actor
joined:12/5/11
Question for Musicians/Piano players
Posted: 11/1/12 at 12:13am
"Most of the pianos that I have worked with have had very poor diction, and I always find it hard to understand the lyrics when they mess up their enunciation."

@adam.peterson44: What do you mean by the piano having poor diction? I think you might mean singers... If that is what you mean, I hear you!
Alan Henry
Senior Editor, BWW Toronto
alan@broadwayworld.com
loliveve
Broadway Star
joined:6/24/12
Question for Musicians/Piano players
Posted: 11/1/12 at 12:15am
Honestly, I prefer to have the melody incorporated into the accompaniment, because that way it doesn't sound odd when I am playing :)
adam.peterson44
Broadway Star
joined:9/7/11
Question for Musicians/Piano players
Posted: 11/1/12 at 12:27am
"@adam.peterson44: What do you mean by the piano having poor diction? I think you might mean singers... If that is what you mean, I hear you!"

Well, I was just joking about the comment about singers being obsolete if the piano has the melody included, since even with the melody, the lyrics are absent, so singers would still be needed since the piano can't produce the lyrics along with the melody. Of course, as you allude to, not all singers are equally skilled at conveying lyrics clearly!
DooWahDiddy
Featured Actor
joined:8/26/08
Question for Musicians/Piano players
Posted: 11/1/12 at 01:43am
Yeah, the first thing you need to realize is that regular piano books, the ones sold by Hal Leonard and such, are printed so that anyone and everyone can sit around and play "Castle on a Cloud" by themselves, without anyone singing.

Unless you're using the reduced score or a well-arranged book that doesn't include the melodies in the accompaniment, you'll need to adjust your playing to be a little more improvisational. Learn your chords, if you don't know them already, and just improvise off of them until you get a good feel for the song. They're located just above the melody line, in case anyone reading this doesn't know.

Other than that, there's not a whole lot you can do other than listen to the recording, and if your ear is good enough, figure out what the orchestra is doing by yourself. But definitely try to get your hands on some vocal scores (I know Sondheim's are all published, as well as older musicals like The Music Man and R&H shows) where the accompaniment is a genuine orchestral reduction. And save the Piano/Vocal books for when you get hired to play background music.
My Oh My
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/07
Question for Musicians/Piano players
Posted: 11/1/12 at 05:28am
I'm sort of shocked and not so shocked at the same time about how the OP's friends say he should play it. Incredible that something so integral to music is literally ignored and only the melody is relevant.

I'm assuming the OP best enjoys playing a reduced piano adaptation of the full orchestration? And hates playing some mash up that includes the vocal line (melody)?

I've actually encountered people who find it extremely difficult to sing a song with the song's actual orchestral accompaniment, and prefer those cheesy, badly produced Karaoke renditions that sound nothing like the song's intended orchestration but glorify the main, basic melody.

One of those was a friend that I haven't kept in touch with but I told him the reason he enjoys singing along to nothing but melodies and gets spooked by orchestration is because he's tone deaf and needs a guide to tell his voice what/how to sing.

I'm not a bad singer but that's not why I easily find the vocal placement; I'm sure I'd have trouble too if I blocked everything out except for the melody. But no matter how difficult or intricate an orchestration is, I always find my voice blends in immediately. Nothing can explain the rush when your voice harmonizes with some of the instrument parts. How people don't notice these things is truly, truly a mystery to me.
Recreation of original John Cameron orchestration to "On My Own" by yours truly. Click player below to hear.
Updated On: 11/1/12 at 05:28 AM

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