it recently occurred to me that it would be logical to assume that one must make a conscious choice in sacrificing speed for tone, i would like to ask anyone their opinion to this question. it seems that the great ones can do both without losing speed or tone.ie evans =tatum peterson shearing etc> etc>etc>and not only piano  thx charlie
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there is no question in my mind:

the whole point in playing is "tone".  speed is just an extra trick to spice up your playing, but the best use of music is to communicate emotions to your audience, and speed doesn't help this communication.  playing with sensitivity and feeling, however, are at the very heart of communicating to your audience.  they are more important even than what notes you choose to play.
it's much like the difference between walking a running.  when we walk we spend more time on the ground shifting our weight from foot to foot.  we run with lighter, quicker steps, spending less time with our weight on the ground.  both can be equally effective:)
i know oscar peterson gets criticized sometimes for playing too many notes and stuff, but i find he combines his speed and delicate tone very masterfully.  now, i can't say the same for art tatum.  to me, tatum plays fast just for speed and speed alone, and it can get a little annoying to listen to after a while.  you see, oscar swings the hell out of tunes usually, and he always maintains a level of accessible tastiness to his playing.  tatum doesn't swing all that hard, he just plays really fast and does technically impressive things.  bill evans plays beautifully, but he often will get into that territory of inaccessible jazz and while he swings sometimes, that's not his forte.  i absolutely love hearing bill evans play ballads, i just wish he's stop giving freakin 15 minute bass and drum solos every single time.  i swear, he plays for 30 seconds, then there's a 10 minute bass solo and/or drum solo, then he'll close off with a couple more minutes.

i'll still say that the master of tone and combining speed with delicacy is gene harris.  everyone loves gene harris, even if you're not a jazz fan, because he's bluesy, dynamic, he swings like a mofo, and he works the crowd. i don't think there's any other player that can consistently bring a crowd to it's feet during the climax of a song than gene.  i read somewhere that he's the only person that ever got a standing ovation at the maybeck hall for those solo recitals.
please define "tone"? if you have a monkey play middle c on a piano and then keith jarrett plays that same middle c on that same piano it will have the same tone.
if you play a series of notes, or a chord, keith jarrett will have better tone than the monkey. in this comparison, i can act as the monkey.

on another forum, someone slowed down a fast bud powell line. i was amazed at the articulation when slowed down. it was consistent to someone playing the same line slowly. so the masters have the technique to maintain their articulation and then build it up to higher and higher speeds.
good point, tone is a vague term.  i guess i would define tone as the general effect of everything your doing.  sure, the individual notes are the same no matter who plays them, but the overall effect is different when you put it all together.  that's the tone i guess.  it involves the complex relationship between the notes, the dynamics, etc.  it's difficult to describe because it's not like the guitar where tone can mean the unique sound that each specific instrument makes.
you don't have to sacrifice or choose tone over speed. just practice your fundamentals- scales, arpeggios, moving chord voicings intervalically - until your technique is such that you have the speed and tone you're looking for.

if you find that your speed is affecting tone, all it means is that you need to put some time into practicing basic piano technique, which anyone can learn if you practice deliberately.
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this is over in "jazz links" and has a lot of info re-speed/tone-https://members.aol.com/chang8828/contents.htm
i guess we are talking about expression and artistry, not tone.
regardless, expression and artistry don't have to suffer as a result of speed. if they do, the player's technique needs to be upped to the next level.

i always recommend scales, arpeggios, and czerny.
If I'm not back in 24 hours, call the president.

Scot is available for skype jazz piano lessons (and google hangouts, phone call, etc...)
Use the contact link at the top of the page.
tone on a piano = velocity at key impact.

bad tone on piano = impact velocity at which unwanted partials start to sound which takes away from the fundamental (often described by teachers as what happens when i bang the keyboard).

good tone on piano = impact velocity at which fundamental tones are stronger


monkey and keith jarrett may in fact hit at same velocity which would create the same sound but that's a meaningless comparison since we are talking about continuous tone, not one key.

normal monkeys cannot hit the keys at exact velocity at all times like keith jarrett can. or if keith is swinging, then his velocity will change as he accents. monkey cannot do that unless he learned how to play jazz (from a master of course).

my point is that the common understanding of the word tone as applied to playing is understood as equating to overall sound quality that is pleasing (i.e. creating a good tone or a tone strong on fundamentals).

all tongue in cheek of course ;-)
agree with jazzwee, there's definitely a difference between good tone and bad tone on the piano the sane way there is on a saxophone or a violin. piano is a polyphonic instrument, and a big part of having good tone is also balancing the notes in any given chord, giving the right amount of weight to each note so that  the melody note can be heard clearly and distinctly against the chord. it takes a lot of control, bill evans was a master at it.  

i've been realizing lately how much years of practicing only on a digital piano has hindered my actual piano playing, as there are mechanical differences that will probably never be quite replicated by a digital piano. a system of levers throwing a hammer at a string produces a wider variety of tones, as jazzwee described, than a velocity sensitive key on a digital. also the lower the pitch on a piano, the bigger the string and the bigger the sound. lower notes played at the same velocity will have more volume than higher ones. i had always wondered why my playing always sounded muddy on a real piano when it didn't on my digital piano until my teacher explained this to me. on a real piano i have to lighten up on my left hand a lot more so my melody notes can be heard.
jwv76, that's exactly right. a digital gives you no feedback on the tone so one needs to memorize the touch on an acoustic and play the digital as if it were an acoustic, minus the feedback.

depending on the piano, bass keys are heavier (steinway) than treble. yamahas are balanced so the keys are more even from bass to treble. all affecting how hard you depress the keys which affect the tone.

it is often helpful to do exercises (as i did) with slurred thirds or triad shapes to train on evenness on multiple notes.

if the original poster had problem with playing at higher speeds and maintaining articulation and tone, then the time is not yet ripe. more work would be needed at slower speeds. in fact, my teachers would have me slow it way way down so i can observe every movement and be relaxed. speed, as i've learned, comes from complete relaxation (while maintaining musicality).
i played an over 9' groetsch-steinweg last month at a gig, & man it had a tone you wouldn't believe. just about anything you played on it sounded so smokin' superb! there is definitely something to be said for good craftsmanship. this piano is just a pianist's dream to play. it gives you ideas out the ying-yang. 'know what i mean? anyone experienced similar?
i experienced the same thing recently on a mason & hamlin grand (6' i think)  we were made for each other - too bad they wanted 45 grand for it:)
...and welcome back - i've missed your posts:)
i once played a 9' piano built by a piano designer named ron overs.  he changed the internal action geometry and the control you could get was phenomenal.  it was an unforgettable experience.  i just wish i had an extra 100 grand available.
solart!  welcome back!
thank you dr. whack & cynbad, such greetings feel good!
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