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lalaalalaa user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 10 Sep 09, 17:18 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I've seen some arguments like this and I was wondering....

Do you consider the piano to be a string instrument or a percussion instrument and why?

I consider it a string instrument because basically without the strings, it can't make music (unless you hit it with a stick or something XP)

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Posted: 10 Sep 09, 17:49 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

There are actually little hammers which strike the chords. Have you ever seen what happens to a grand piano when one of the pedals is pressed - the one to your left, for instance? : - )

It’s a highly percussive instrument, which doesn’t mean it can’t play melody - Fred Astaire could play whole melodies with his shoes or with drums and jazz and rock drummers do it too. Piano is a very versatile instrument in that it lends itself beautifully both to a more rhythmic and a more melodic-oriented approach.

I play it since I was five. My mother says three, but I highly doubt it. My recollections are from playing it when I was a little kid, about five or six years old. Never stop ever since.

One of my favorite hobbies is transcribing songs to piano.

: -)))



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Posted: 10 Sep 09, 17:53 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

So what if there are hammers that strike the chord?

People hit guitar strings with a pick, but does that make it a percussion instrument?

It's a very debatable subject (like most subjects are)

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Posted: 10 Sep 09, 22:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



lalaalalaa wrote:

So what if there are hammers that strike the chord?

People hit guitar strings with a pick, but does that make it a percussion instrument?

It's a very debatable subject (like most subjects are)

You’re right! It is a very debatable subject. My opinion is more dictated by habit - I play in an Orchestra and I have seen my name listed so many times as part of the percussion ensemble that I just got used to the idea - than by sound, independent reasoning, I must say that. I look at it the way I was taught, but I never actually gave it much thought or consideration to reach my own conclusions.

I know there are good arguments from both sides. And many who argue convincingly that drawing such distinction is useless and pointless! 

Take care!








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Posted: 11 Sep 09, 03:43 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Do you mean mechanically speaking, or in it's application in music?

I'd have to say stringed, if for no other reason than that it has strings.  True, it's a hammered instrument and other percussion instruments can be tuned and used to make melodies, but the piano is slightly different.

Having said that, most instruments I can think of can (with a bit of artistry) blur the line between percussive and melodic applications.  Even brass sections, when you get to the staccato 'farty' stuff, act as a kind of percussion.


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Posted: 11 Sep 09, 06:05 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



lalaalalaa wrote:

I've seen some arguments like this and I was wondering....

Do you consider the piano to be a string instrument or a percussion instrument and why?

I consider it a string instrument because basically without the strings, it can't make music (unless you hit it with a stick or something XP)

Without the hammers, it can't make music either, unless you are willing to modify the mechanics, in which case it could well be argued that we are no longer talking about a piano.

What I do not see is why the piano cannot be considered *both* a percussion- and string instrument. At all times, the way sound is produced in a piano involves both strings and percussive action, and the dominance of either depends on how the instrument is used in a certain piece of music.







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Posted: 11 Sep 09, 07:50 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



ThomasQuinn wrote:



 



lalaalalaa wrote:



I've seen some arguments like this and I was wondering....

Do you consider the piano to be a string instrument or a percussion instrument and why?

I consider it a string instrument because basically without the strings, it can't make music (unless you hit it with a stick or something XP)


Without the hammers, it can't make music either, unless you are willing to modify the mechanics, in which case it could well be argued that we are no longer talking about a piano.

What I do not see is why the piano cannot be considered *both* a percussion- and string instrument. At all times, the way sound is produced in a piano involves both strings and percussive action, and the dominance of either depends on how the instrument is used in a certain piece of music.





I think it's both string and percussion, but I'm trying to see what people would consider it if it could only be one.







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Posted: 11 Sep 09, 09:17 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



lalaalalaa wrote:







ThomasQuinn wrote:











 







lalaalalaa wrote:







I've seen some arguments like this and I was wondering....

Do you consider the piano to be a string instrument or a percussion instrument and why?

I consider it a string instrument because basically without the strings, it can't make music (unless you hit it with a stick or something XP)






Without the hammers, it can't make music either, unless you are willing to modify the mechanics, in which case it could well be argued that we are no longer talking about a piano.

What I do not see is why the piano cannot be considered *both* a percussion- and string instrument. At all times, the way sound is produced in a piano involves both strings and percussive action, and the dominance of either depends on how the instrument is used in a certain piece of music.





I think it's both string and percussion, but I'm trying to see what people would consider it if it could only be one.






Because no matter how soft and gentle the composition might be, a pianist is always doing percussive movements and the piano is always working as a big percussive feedback system. Both hands do a percussive movement. No matter how hard a rock song is, the guitar player, once he gets the right tension in the strings to produce the sound, is more worried about sliding the strings than pressing them; so a lot of times, that’s true with regard to both of his hands, he’s not doing percussive movements and the guitar is not working this way. He gets the sound with one of his hands mostly by bending or picking the strings, not by tapping them.

The pianist is hammering the keys all the time. He doesn’t bend the key or slide the key - he’s hitting them in a percussive movement all the time.

That’s why it makes sense for some to say it’s a percussive instrument as far as the pianist interaction with the piano and the way the sound is produced in it are concerned.

These people will argue: this is one thing (the way the instrument works when approached by the musician); another different thing is the sonic impression you get from the playing - it can be both melodic and rhythmic.

In short:

a) Melody and rhythm are terms used to describe the kind of sound the musician gets from the instrument or, more accurately, the function of this sound within the song structure. These sounds can be obtained from instruments as different as a violin and the drums.
b) Percussion vs string are terms used to describe the physical interaction between the musician and his instrument and the way the sound is produced in it.
c) Historical reasons: the model of string instruments when these distinctions began to be drawn up in "classical" music was the fiddle and then the modern violin. With regard to these, and taking into account the kind of pieces which were played back then and the movements they demanded from the player, the contrast between the percussive movements of a pianist and the careful sliding movement of a fiddler was starker. I know that nowadays there’s barely a distinction sometimes, so therefore the controversy.

Using this distinction, one may argue, and without going into the specifics of harmonic overtones and other stuff more related to physics than to music proper - and even then there’s is controversy, you’re right! -, that the piano is a percussive instrument which may perform rhythmic and melodic duties. The guitar is a string instrument which may perform both too.

So that b is to a pretty much like genes to our phenotypes. The same genes may have different phenotypical expression and different genes may express themselves and interact with the environment in such a way as to produce similar phenotypical or, more broadly, "external" features.

Of course there’s more to it, but even when the discussion is narrowed to very technical grounds one has to rely on concepts defined to a greater or lesser extent in a quite arbitrary and vague way.  So it is basically a convention.

It is - or used to be - useful to organize orchestras, it’s useless in other musical environments.

That’d be it. : -))))










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Posted: 11 Sep 09, 11:34 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Actually, it is considered a chordophone, not a "stringed" or "percussive" instrument.

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Posted: 11 Sep 09, 11:43 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Micrówave wrote:

Actually, it is considered a chordophone, not a "stringed" or "percussive" instrument.


Which is a term as vague as "cool".

See above.







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Posted: 11 Sep 09, 12:42 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Yara wrote:



 



lalaalalaa wrote:



 



 



 



 



ThomasQuinn wrote:



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



lalaalalaa wrote:



 



 



 



I've seen some arguments like this and I was wondering....

Do you consider the piano to be a string instrument or a percussion instrument and why?

I consider it a string instrument because basically without the strings, it can't make music (unless you hit it with a stick or something XP)



 



 



 


Without the hammers, it can't make music either, unless you are willing to modify the mechanics, in which case it could well be argued that we are no longer talking about a piano.

What I do not see is why the piano cannot be considered *both* a percussion- and string instrument. At all times, the way sound is produced in a piano involves both strings and percussive action, and the dominance of either depends on how the instrument is used in a certain piece of music.





I think it's both string and percussion, but I'm trying to see what people would consider it if it could only be one.






Because no matter how soft and gentle the composition might be, a pianist is always doing percussive movements and the piano is always working as a big percussive feedback system. Both hands do a percussive movement. No matter how hard a rock song is, the guitar player, once he gets the right tension in the strings to produce the sound, is more worried about sliding the strings than pressing them; so a lot of times, that’s true with regard to both of his hands, he’s not doing percussive movements and the guitar is not working this way. He gets the sound with one of his hands mostly by bending or picking the strings, not by tapping them.

The pianist is hammering the keys all the time. He doesn’t bend the key or slide the key - he’s hitting them in a percussive movement all the time.

That’s why it makes sense for some to say it’s a percussive instrument as far as the pianist interaction with the piano and the way the sound is produced in it are concerned.

These people will argue: this is one thing (the way the instrument works when approached by the musician); another different thing is the sonic impression you get from the playing - it can be both melodic and rhythmic.

In short:

a) Melody and rhythm are terms used to describe the kind of sound the musician gets from the instrument or, more accurately, the function of this sound within the song structure. These sounds can be obtained from instruments as different as a violin and the drums.
b) Percussion vs string are terms used to describe the physical interaction between the musician and his instrument and the way the sound is produced in it.
c) Historical reasons: the model of string instruments when these distinctions began to be drawn up in "classical" music was the fiddle and then the modern violin. With regard to these, and taking into account the kind of pieces which were played back then and the movements they demanded from the player, the contrast between the percussive movements of a pianist and the careful sliding movement of a fiddler was starker. I know that nowadays there’s barely a distinction sometimes, so therefore the controversy.

Using this distinction, one may argue, and without going into the specifics of harmonic overtones and other stuff more related to physics than to music proper - and even then there’s is controversy, you’re right! -, that the piano is a percussive instrument which may perform rhythmic and melodic duties. The guitar is a string instrument which may perform both too.

So that b is to a pretty much like genes to our phenotypes. The same genes may have different phenotypical expression and different genes may express themselves and interact with the environment in such a way as to produce similar phenotypical or, more broadly, "external" features.

Of course there’s more to it, but even when the discussion is narrowed to very technical grounds one has to rely on concepts defined to a greater or lesser extent in a quite arbitrary and vague way.  So it is basically a convention.

It is - or used to be - useful to organize orchestras, it’s useless in other musical environments.

That’d be it. : -))))








Actually you can slide keys ;)  But it's a very limited sound.  People hammer the guitar strings with a pick. 






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Posted: 11 Sep 09, 13:26 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Yara, I'm agree with you on this question. But just want to remember you that there is a way of playing guitar "tapping".


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Posted: 11 Sep 09, 13:58 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



ThomasQuinn wrote:


What I do not see is why the piano cannot be considered *both* a percussion- and string instrument.







It cannot be considered both, because then there would be no argument.  :) 

I remember hearing this argument a few years ago, I was staying with someone in the US (seriously musical family - one of the kids, maybe about 15 then fixed violins for pocket money - and that was not the child that wanted to go to music college).  But they had this fierce argument cos another child in the family was writing a school report about pianos and she said they were either string or percussion instruments, I can't remember which.  She changed her argument fairly rapidly after being told in no uncertain terms that she was totally and completely wrong!  But the argument was amazing to watch, much more volatile then this one!



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Posted: 11 Sep 09, 15:32 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



lalaalalaa wrote:







Yara wrote:





Because no matter how soft and gentle the composition might be, a pianist is always doing percussive movements and the piano is always working as a big percussive feedback system. Both hands do a percussive movement. No matter how hard a rock song is, the guitar player, once he gets the right tension in the strings to produce the sound, is more worried about sliding the strings than pressing them; so a lot of times, that’s true with regard to both of his hands, he’s not doing percussive movements and the guitar is not working this way. He gets the sound with one of his hands mostly by bending or picking the strings, not by tapping them.

The pianist is hammering the keys all the time. He doesn’t bend the key or slide the key - he’s hitting them in a percussive movement all the time.

That’s why it makes sense for some to say it’s a percussive instrument as far as the pianist interaction with the piano and the way the sound is produced in it are concerned.

These people will argue: this is one thing (the way the instrument works when approached by the musician); another different thing is the sonic impression you get from the playing - it can be both melodic and rhythmic.

In short:

a) Melody and rhythm are terms used to describe the kind of sound the musician gets from the instrument or, more accurately, the function of this sound within the song structure. These sounds can be obtained from instruments as different as a violin and the drums.
b) Percussion vs string are terms used to describe the physical interaction between the musician and his instrument and the way the sound is produced in it.
c) Historical reasons: the model of string instruments when these distinctions began to be drawn up in "classical" music was the fiddle and then the modern violin. With regard to these, and taking into account the kind of pieces which were played back then and the movements they demanded from the player, the contrast between the percussive movements of a pianist and the careful sliding movement of a fiddler was starker. I know that nowadays there’s barely a distinction sometimes, so therefore the controversy.

Using this distinction, one may argue, and without going into the specifics of harmonic overtones and other stuff more related to physics than to music proper - and even then there’s is controversy, you’re right! -, that the piano is a percussive instrument which may perform rhythmic and melodic duties. The guitar is a string instrument which may perform both too.

So that b is to a pretty much like genes to our phenotypes. The same genes may have different phenotypical expression and different genes may express themselves and interact with the environment in such a way as to produce similar phenotypical or, more broadly, "external" features.

Of course there’s more to it, but even when the discussion is narrowed to very technical grounds one has to rely on concepts defined to a greater or lesser extent in a quite arbitrary and vague way.  So it is basically a convention.

It is - or used to be - useful to organize orchestras, it’s useless in other musical environments.

That’d be it. : -))))








Actually you can slide keys ;)  But it's a very limited sound.  People hammer the guitar strings with a pick. 





Yes. I can set the piano on fire and say it’s an abrasive instrument. : -))))

Sliding and bending the strings are the very foundation of a whole gamut of sounds when it comes to playing the guitar -  on the piano, however, we are always doing percussive movements no matter what we’re playing - we are doing it with both hands all the time.

On the other hand, and I say that as someone who plays acoustic guitar too, bending and sliding the strings are the bedrock of my playing, at least - it’s a different way of physically interacting with the instrument. Of course you have to perform percussive movements on a guitar - ironically enough, to mute its sound, for instance. ; -))) But the question remains: there’s way more to guitar playing, physically speaking, than pressing the strings, whereas piano playing is basically about pressing and releasing keys and pedals in a percussive manner, however gentle the song might be.

Strike a chord on your guitar. Or just the big E. Check out the way the string moves and what you’re doing with the pick - even in the instances when it seems you’re "hammering the guitar", you’re actually bending the strings, not pressing and releasing them. The string moves obliquely and to the sides. The piano key goes either up or down - you press it and release it. You’re hammering the keys ALL THE TIME. Within the piano the hammers are going up and down the strings all the time too. The same for the dampers.

I can’t bend or drag the keys of the piano upwards - I have to release them, therefore creating a percussive motion. On the guitar, on the other hand, I do bend and drag the strings up and significantly modify the sound by doing sliding movements. And this is not a marginal feature of the guitar playing, but one of its foundations!

I’m not saying the distinction is helpful - as I said above, most of the reason behind the distinction isn’t useful anymore for historical reasons.

I didn’t take the time to write the long post above to win an argument - I’m just trying to point out WHY SOME PEOPLE DO REGARD IT AS PART OF THE PERCUSSION ASSEMBLY WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE ORCHESTRA.

It’s point c of the post I wrote above.

I’m not saying I like the distinction. On the contrary: I think much of it is based on rather arbitrary notions. But there’s a reason why people do make the argument - it’s not as if they were brainless clueless people who couldn’t realize the obvious fact that the same instrument can be played differently. 

That’s not what the issue is about. Which are points a and b of the post I wrote above.

All I’m saying is that the people who made this argument had a sound reason to do so - and I’m not even getting into more abstruse technicalities.

Again: even when the issue is approached in a narrow technical sense, it’s still controversial.

I’m not saying the issue is not controversial or that I in some way I think that the distinction is of great relevance.

I just tried to point out why some people have an opinion which, at a first glance, may seem absurd to us.

Just that.

(Walking with the heads down and hands in the pocket, leaving the thread quietly and under cries of "kill the witch" and heavy stone-throwing)

: -))))))))))
















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Posted: 13 Sep 09, 05:16 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Yara:

1) when using legato-technique on the guitar, you are hammering on the strings
2) the direction in which you attack a string doesn't matter very much; yes, it bends. So does a piano string. That is the effect of pressure on any body that is flexible enough not to either break, or to deflect the blow. However, a guitar string generates sound by the *sudden* (this is the key word here) setting in motion thereof. The action that causes this may well be considered percussive, all depending on how narrow or wide your definition of percussion is.

Microwave:

Chordophones are technically a sub-category of string instruments, despite what you read on Wikipedia.


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Posted: 13 Sep 09, 17:32 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

so if im hammering on a guitar wouldnt it be percussive? ;)

i make a funny.



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Posted: 13 Sep 09, 19:34 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

All I did was trying to answer the thread starter's question as to why some people regarded it as a "percussion instrument".

As I said, I don't like the distinction nor do I think it's any longer helpful.

My one and only point in both long posts was trying to explain why it made sense for some people to regard the pianist as part of the percussion section in orchestral or chamber music ensembles. I tried to point out that there have been many different reasons for that, historical as well, and while I fully understand that to people more related to certain music cultures, let's say, it all sounds absurd, it does make sense to other people working, and thinking, within a very different context.
 
I dislike distinctions thought up just for distinction's sake. I tend to judge any kind of classification method for its usefulness, but I can't deny that some of the reasons for drawing such distinctions were, or still are in some cases, legitimate - the thread starter, and I don't think it was on purpose, let me say that right away, made it all look stupid, as if the people who argued for the second option were dim-witted unsophisticates at best. That's not the case. I don't want to overwhelm the thread even more than I did, but there's more to both sides of the argument than what I just sketched out above.

It's easy just to frown at something we don't see much sense in instead of trying to understand the reasons why it makes sense for many people. This is as true to music as to politics, though I'm not allowed to discuss politics anymore because of what seems to me to be a nonsensical (*:op) rule put into effect by an organization I work for and which I otherwise deeply admire.  

Now you may all burn me at the stake.

(arranging the heap of firewoods and pouring alcohol on it) ; -))))


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Posted: 14 Sep 09, 13:24 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

TQ wrote:

Chordophones are technically a sub-category of string instruments, despite what you read on Wikipedia.


Actually I didn't get that off Wikipedia.  I learned that when I was 6 or 7 in my first years of playing the piano.  They are stringed instruments, though, but you two were trying to decide which.  I think the Chordophone references the fact that (1) they have strings, but (2) are their own category and thus given their status.

Since you're arguing strings vs percussion, I take it you've never had any formal piano training.  Aside from what you've learned on Wikipedia.

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Posted: 15 Sep 09, 01:02 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



When I learned Violin as a child, I was taught that the ever accompanying piano was a stringed percussion instrument.



So for me it is neither one or the other but both.



Asking 'which would you choose if you had to' is really a rather pointless question IMO because it is both, so there is no choice to be made.








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