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  • Left hand span of a penist?

    Hey guys, I just bought Imperial, because I'm writing a lot with the Duesseldorfer in SEE+ but it's not enough, velocity-wise. Does anyone know how big a REAL pianist can go in short times with each hand?

    I'm worried that I'm going to do things unnatural with Imperial.

    Can I hit it down below then go up an octave with my left hand while playing with my right hand, quickly, doing solo stuff?

    If I gave a pianist my thing, would she be able to play with it?



  • last edited
    last edited

    @shawngibson said:

    I'm worried that I'm going to do things unnatural with Imperial.

    Can I hit it down below then go up an octave with my left hand while playing with myself with my right hand, quickly, doing solo stuff?

    If I gave a pianist my thing, would she be able to play with it?



    [:D] That depends on her 'penist' span and motor skills... I hope she'll agree and you both have fun; it would be a pity if you had to play with yourself solo...

    Sorry Shawn, couldn't resist it... Hilarious post and thread title!

  • :) I tried to be funny, editted it down a bit cuz it was too much.

    The question is serious though, I wish I could tell what a pianist is capable of, because lately I'm trying to write full orchestra with two hands, a Michael Hedges approach, if you will. I am trying to be a pianist but I'm a guitar player, very different...

    Can I play full chords on the bottom while playing a lead up top? Could a pianist play that, if I use the right number of fingers? 

  • What you're describing is actually pretty basic. If you are not a pianist, no matter what advice anyone gives, you will inadvertently write stuff that will be unplayable for one reason or other. My advice is for you to write whatever comes to your head - my guess is that it will be no trouble at all even for high-school pianists from your description - and then let the intended soloist tell you what is possible and what needs rescoring. 

  • Thanks Errikos:)

    I guess it's hard to write for two parts, left and right hand, when you are trying to write for a full orchestra, but it's definitely worth it. I've never simplified my writing this much, and it's so beneficial so far, to write for two hands, with a tangent (ie knowing I will make it bigger). You have no choice but to hear everything, the song, the bottom, the top, melody, if it's working, if you need to change the tempo, if you're in a good mode for the vibe, etc.

    I like the piano, it forces me to be honest. But with that approach, the Duesseldorfer/Bossenwhachamacallit isn't enough. I need more velocity changes to simulate orchestra/parts/brass/whole section/my mom yelling at me back in the day:)

    I've been watching a lot of old footage of (proudly Canadian!) Glenn Gould lately. I've always listened to him but had no clue what he was doing. I still don't but at least now I watch his hands...


  • OK, I have octave issues, I think. When I look at what is now two tracks (bass and treble) of a song I re-did strictly on piano,  when I look in Cubase, I see each of the two 'staves' if you will are encompasing very regularly three octaves (ie 6 total). No one writes like that! The occasional journey into upper or lower registers, sure, but I see I am an octave's how I hear (too much Steve Vai/Eventide in the early days I guess).

    How do I squish this down? I need to make my ear hear in 3-4 octaves, not 6-7 Mariah Carey/Sebastian Bach/glass breaking octaves.

    Maybe concentrate on the harmony, the mode, dumb it down to 3-4 octaves and write with a mood (ie the mode) more in mind than encompassing everything at my disposal. I am super octaver freako dude right now. Geesh.

    I dunno.

    I could NEVER play this on a guitar. No one could I mean. It would be stupid and goofy and very bad if someone did. Blah. I LOVE what I'm writing, it sounds awesome to my ear, but unlike anything I've ever read the music's just wrong. I'll make old ladies' ears bleed with this...

    My cat just had an aneurysm I think...

  • Can you read music? Have a look at Ravel's orchestrations of his own piano works and his orchestrations of say Debussy, Mussorgsky, compared to the piano originals, and see how marvellous orchestral works have equally marvellous piano versions. You will notice that all essential material is right there in the piano part, and very playable.

  • I can read about 75% of music symbols, all of the important ones, but very slowly. I just bought Sibelius and Symphony Pro (for my iPad) so hopefully it gets better over the next few years. I'm very visual, scores are like the music coming alive to me (I'm a painter). Which is why I'm peeved at what I'm seeing, two staves and 6-7 octaves. Geesh.

    Is Ravel the guy with all the Fat Lady operas (like a billion of them)? :)

    I'm not sure what to buy from these recommendations, if you can recommend scores, please:)

    I would really like to get ALL of my music right on the piano, the way I used to with guitar, if that makes sense...


  • It's also worth pointing out that reductions of symphonies to piano were fairly common in the 19th century--no phonographs yet so it was a way to be able to hear them in Fargo, North Dakota! Orchestral music was frequently arranged for PIANO FOUR HANDS--two pianists sitting at one piano. It's a great sound! And really fun to play! (And there's a body of literature written specifically for piano four hands (e.g. Mozart) that was never intended for the orchestra.)