Baseline and Melody in Piano Pieces

by Ghazaleh
(Iran)

Example 1

Example 1

Example 1
Example 2
Example 3

Hi,

I have just read the interesting article about Piano Practice Chart
for Adults.
My question is about Polishing the Parts. I didn't understand this step. What do you mean of baseline and melody in piano pieces?

Thank you a lot.


Maria's Answer:

Hello and thank you for your question! First of all, I had made a typo writing the article, it should be "Bass line" and not baseline. This is now corrected.

The melody part is the one you'd sing along with, the part that usually makes you recognize the piece.

The bass line is simply the lowest notes in your score. It is often the foundation of the harmonies in a piece, sometimes it is the melody, and sometimes a complimentary part to the melody(-ies).

Sometimes its very easy to see like in this excerpt: (see example 1 above)

Sometimes the bass is simply the lowest note in a chord, and by playing only these notes, one after the other, they form a bass line. In this excerpt it is a 4-part harmony, so the bass line would be sung by the bass voices in a choir: (see example 2, and click on thumbnail above)

Other times the bass line is more hidden as the lowest note among other notes, like here: (see example 3, and click on thumbnail above)

You would practice this bass line, preferably with the correct fingering, to get a sense of the arm movement required, and open your ears and awareness of the foundation of the harmony in the piece.

By focusing on different parts like this in a score, you are in a sense "orchestrating it". You become aware of all the different parts and melodies, almost as if you would rehearse with a real orchestra!

This makes you learn the piece in a more multidimensional way.

And this in turn pays back in the form of depth of interpretation, easier memorization, fixing troublesome spots, and a generally deeper understanding of the structure of the piece.

How great is that! :)

I hope this helped.
Happy practicing!

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