Creating Stark Atmospheres
One of the things New Age pianist George Winston is known for is what he can do with just a few notes. In fact, in his piece Colors/Dance from the CD "Autumn" he uses an ostinato pattern in his left hand to create a wonderful stark mood.
He creates this atmosphere by using a simple ostinato pattern in his left hand while the right improvises a melody. The trick to all of this is the way he lets the notes ring out. You really get to hear the overtones.
Also, he is a very percussive player, hitting the keys very hard. This contributes to the stark sound created. When I first heard this piece I was in awe! So captivating and alluring, the music instantly took me away and transported me into that wonderful nonverbal realm where magic happens.
Now you too can create like this. In fact, it's quite easy once you get the ostinato pattern down in your left hand. Then you can really have fun while you explore and create by improvising a melody with the right. Many New Age pianists employ the ostinato technique and in my next lesson, I'll be showing you how to create a stark mood similar to what George does in Colors/Dance.
Edward Weiss is a pianist/composer and webmaster of Quiescence Music's online piano lessons. He has been helping students learn how to play piano in the New Age style for over 14 years and works with students in private, in groups, and now over the internet. Stop by now at http://www.quiescencemusic.com/piano_lessons.html for a FREE piano lesson!
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