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Thread started 03/16/18 6:16am

lonelyalien

Technically how good a pianist was prince?

Now Im not a pianist so dont know how to gauge his playing but from what he left us on record and his live performances where does he rank in the pantheon of great pianists is he average, great a master I know he's a master guitarist but what about his piano playing?

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Reply #1 posted 03/16/18 7:07am

soladeo1

Nice feel for the instrument and definitely had his own recognizable style but wasn't a very technical player. He could have used a few lessons from Freddie Mercury.
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Reply #2 posted 03/16/18 7:43am

mbdtyler

I've seen him do some very impressive stuff on a piano, but I'm not familiar enough with any virtuosos (or piano playing in general) to really measure his skills.

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Reply #3 posted 03/16/18 8:43am

lonelyalien

I suppose it just comes down to the fact he spent far more time on the guitar than the piano theres only so many hours in the day even if the piano was his first instrument I mean I know hes no horrowitz but he did have a wonderful touch on it as seen in the summertime clip theres no doubt about that because I dont play the instrument unlike guitar which I do its hard for me to say if what he was doing was technically up there maybe any pianists on here might be able to respond.

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Reply #4 posted 03/16/18 9:20am

dandan

Very, very good. It would appear that most of his songs were written at the piano, and that he spent a lot of time at the piano when at home. Note all the anecdotes from associates of hearing him playing piano from upstairs or in anohter room. You don't really hear the same anecdotes of him playing the guitar.

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Reply #5 posted 03/16/18 9:27am

laurarichardso
n

dandan said:

Very, very good. It would appear that most of his songs were written at the piano, and that he spent a lot of time at the piano when at home. Note all the anecdotes from associates of hearing him playing piano from upstairs or in anohter room. You don't really hear the same anecdotes of him playing the guitar.

The man who tuned his piano at Paisely in the 90s said he had to come every other day to tune the piano.

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Reply #6 posted 03/16/18 9:35am

TrivialPursuit

It's a tough call. I talked about this on your other thread where the topic was "Which genre of music do you think was prince's strongest".

I noted how he really delved into certain genres more in some eras than others. Bouncing off that: Prince certainly could play well early on but I feel like his piano skills were stronger earlier in his career. During the Lovesexy Tour, he would noodle around and do runs that were something I'd never quite heard from him before. He continued to grow. The Nude Tour video of him playing "Summertime" showed just how easy and talented he was on piano.

And while he didn't shy away from the guitar, his 90s material seemed to be even more guitar-oriented. To me, The Gold Experience is a full-on guitar album. It was his best 90s album hands down. When he paired his band down to a five-piece and he was the sole guitarist, that spoke volumes about just how much prowess he had gained with that instrument.

But through all that, he continued to play and amaze people on the piano. Really fast strokes like "The Rest Of My Life" (and similar) show his virtuosity on the eighty-eight more than ever. Technically is a tricky term. It was his first instrument, and I would bet one he wrote on more than guitar (although it might be a close race). I'm sure there was always someone he could have learned from. You don't see him on piano much during the early Renato Neto years. I think he learned a lot from Neto and even appreciated new age/jazz music more w/ him there (which is highly evident on albums like N.E.W.S., Xpectation, The Rainbow Children). He came out an even better piano player after that, which shows you never stop learning.

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Reply #7 posted 03/16/18 10:13am

nextedition

avatar

soladeo1 said:

Nice feel for the instrument and definitely had his own recognizable style but wasn't a very technical player. He could have used a few lessons from Freddie Mercury.

The piano medley with the Lovesexyconcert had some pretty technical stuff.

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Reply #8 posted 03/16/18 10:19am

Genesia

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I loved Prince's piano playing. But let's face it, Van Cliburn, Vladimir Horowitz or Ludwig van Beethoven he was not.

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Reply #9 posted 03/16/18 10:41am

lonelyalien

nextedition said:

soladeo1 said:

Nice feel for the instrument and definitely had his own recognizable style but wasn't a very technical player. He could have used a few lessons from Freddie Mercury.

The piano medley with the Lovesexyconcert had some pretty technical stuff.

I agree thats got some great moments.

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Reply #10 posted 03/16/18 10:52am

laytonian

.

The New Yorker's classical music critic Alex Ross was stunned by his abilities.

"He described it as “one of the most staggering live performances I’ve ever seen.” He went on to say that the featured artist was “a profoundly musical being whose startling displays of virtuosity never lost sight of the fundamental harmonic landscape…”

The artist in question? Yo-Yo? Placido? Renee?

It was Prince."

http://wnpr.org/post/prin...-world-too

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Reply #11 posted 03/16/18 10:54am

lonelyalien

laytonian said:

.

The New Yorker's classical music critic Alex Ross was stunned by his abilities.

"He described it as “one of the most staggering live performances I’ve ever seen.” He went on to say that the featured artist was “a profoundly musical being whose startling displays of virtuosity never lost sight of the fundamental harmonic landscape…”

The artist in question? Yo-Yo? Placido? Renee?

It was Prince."

http://wnpr.org/post/prin...-world-too

Thanks for the link. cool

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Reply #12 posted 03/16/18 10:59am

rogifan

Genesia said:

I loved Prince's piano playing. But let's face it, Van Cliburn, Vladimir Horowitz or Ludwig van Beethoven he was not.


Do people compare Elton John and Billy Joel to classical greats? I think Prince is as good or better than either of them. Scottie Baldwin once said if the had to rank Prince by instrument he’d rank piano first guitar second.
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Reply #13 posted 03/16/18 11:48am

Genesia

avatar

rogifan said:

Genesia said:

I loved Prince's piano playing. But let's face it, Van Cliburn, Vladimir Horowitz or Ludwig van Beethoven he was not.

Do people compare Elton John and Billy Joel to classical greats? I think Prince is as good or better than either of them. Scottie Baldwin once said if the had to rank Prince by instrument he’d rank piano first guitar second.


The question posed was how good a pianist Prince was technically. That is the question I answered.

Scottie Baldwin (whoever he is) saying Prince was a better pianist than a guitar player is neither here nor there.

We don’t mourn artists because we knew them. We mourn them because they helped us know ourselves.
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Reply #14 posted 03/16/18 12:08pm

laytonian

Genesia said:

rogifan said:

Genesia said: Do people compare Elton John and Billy Joel to classical greats? I think Prince is as good or better than either of them. Scottie Baldwin once said if the had to rank Prince by instrument he’d rank piano first guitar second.


The question posed was how good a pianist Prince was technically. That is the question I answered.

Scottie Baldwin (whoever he is) saying Prince was a better pianist than a guitar player is neither here nor there.

Everyone knows who Scotty Baldwin is. He's worked with everyone. He was Prince's soundman on-and-off for years (including P&M, which he left halfway through the Australian portion of the tour).

Welcome to "the org", laytonian… come bathe with me.
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Reply #15 posted 03/16/18 12:34pm

jdcxc

Genesia said:



rogifan said:


Genesia said:

I loved Prince's piano playing. But let's face it, Van Cliburn, Vladimir Horowitz or Ludwig van Beethoven he was not.



Do people compare Elton John and Billy Joel to classical greats? I think Prince is as good or better than either of them. Scottie Baldwin once said if the had to rank Prince by instrument he’d rank piano first guitar second.


The question posed was how good a pianist Prince was technically. That is the question I answered.

Scottie Baldwin (whoever he is) saying Prince was a better pianist than a guitar player is neither here nor there.



I technically agree with you, but without evaluationg “technique” from a classical standard, Prince was a cool pianist. Many people can argue about Western musical principles, brilliant Jazz artists have been criticized for “technique.”
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Reply #16 posted 03/16/18 1:27pm

PeteSilas

way better than he should have been considering all the other stuff he did.

Prince.org: With fans like these he didn't need haters.
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Reply #17 posted 03/16/18 1:39pm

Genesia

avatar

laytonian said:

Genesia said:


The question posed was how good a pianist Prince was technically. That is the question I answered.

Scottie Baldwin (whoever he is) saying Prince was a better pianist than a guitar player is neither here nor there.

Everyone knows who Scotty Baldwin is. He's worked with everyone. He was Prince's soundman on-and-off for years (including P&M, which he left halfway through the Australian portion of the tour).


Clearly, everyone does not know who he is. lol

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Reply #18 posted 03/16/18 1:56pm

PeteSilas

Genesia said:

laytonian said:

Everyone knows who Scotty Baldwin is. He's worked with everyone. He was Prince's soundman on-and-off for years (including P&M, which he left halfway through the Australian portion of the tour).


Clearly, everyone does not know who he is. lol

all due respect to scotty, i disagree with his assesment there.

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Reply #19 posted 03/16/18 2:30pm

SimonCharles

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Back during UTCM wasn't there a quotation from Steven Berkoff about ...in between takes you'd hear him playing another haunting tune on the piano... - something like that? Even if technically Prince wasn't the greatest, the effect and impact he had on his audience with the instrument cannot be denied.

*

And Steven Berkoff is a bit of a freak...so to impress him is going some.

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Reply #20 posted 03/16/18 2:39pm

PeteSilas

SimonCharles said:

Back during UTCM wasn't there a quotation from Steven Berkoff about ...in between takes you'd hear him playing another haunting tune on the piano... - something like that? Even if technically Prince wasn't the greatest, the effect and impact he had on his audience with the instrument cannot be denied.

*

And Steven Berkoff is a bit of a freak...so to impress him is going some.

he was great on piano, but i actually think he was a virtuoso on guitar, i don't see how you can deny that. I've played piano for over 30 years and he's a helluva lot better than me but I've heard a lot of players better but those better players probably don't write, produce, arrange, dance, make movies, bang hot chicks, travel the globe, run a studio.

Prince.org: With fans like these he didn't need haters.
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Reply #21 posted 03/16/18 2:39pm

stpaisios

Genesia said:

I loved Prince's piano playing. But let's face it, Van Cliburn, Vladimir Horowitz or Ludwig van Beethoven he was not.

But let's face it comparing him to concert career pianists is not very smart, due 2 fact that they R mainly focused on one instrument & interpreters of other works - not essentially a composers - rarely arrangers and usually just virtuoso players.

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Reply #22 posted 03/16/18 2:48pm

PeteSilas

stpaisios said:

Genesia said:

I loved Prince's piano playing. But let's face it, Van Cliburn, Vladimir Horowitz or Ludwig van Beethoven he was not.

But let's face it comparing him to concert career pianists is not very smart, due 2 fact that they R mainly focused on one instrument & interpreters of other works - not essentially a composers - rarely arrangers and usually just virtuoso players.

comparing him to anyone who's specialty is keyboards, even top studio musicians isn't fair. which is why i hate these kinds of arguments because there are always failed musicians who jump out of the woodwork and nitpick at his playing. truth be told, playing ability rarely translates to real cash, that's becoming truer and truer the more computerized music gets but it's been true for rock since the git go.

Prince.org: With fans like these he didn't need haters.
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Reply #23 posted 03/17/18 1:40am

SimonCharles

avatar

PeteSilas said:

SimonCharles said:

Back during UTCM wasn't there a quotation from Steven Berkoff about ...in between takes you'd hear him playing another haunting tune on the piano... - something like that? Even if technically Prince wasn't the greatest, the effect and impact he had on his audience with the instrument cannot be denied.

*

And Steven Berkoff is a bit of a freak...so to impress him is going some.

he was great on piano, but i actually think he was a virtuoso on guitar, i don't see how you can deny that. I've played piano for over 30 years and he's a helluva lot better than me but I've heard a lot of players better but those better players probably don't write, produce, arrange, dance, make movies, bang hot chicks, travel the globe, run a studio.

Couldn't agree more.

***ALERT***

***QUESTION THAT'S GOING TO ANGER CERTAIN MEMBERS ON HERE***

***ALERT***

*

Do you think that Lisa's influence on Prince's playing affected the sound and structure - hence the quite signature sound Prince made on the piano?

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Reply #24 posted 03/17/18 3:10am

love2thenines2
003

How Bad he was instead !

...he is a very bad guitar player too....a very bad Singer & Dancer & we can say as final word = The most bad Musician i ever knew !

razz

[Edited 3/17/18 3:11am]

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Reply #25 posted 03/17/18 3:57pm

jdcxc

SimonCharles said:



PeteSilas said:




SimonCharles said:


Back during UTCM wasn't there a quotation from Steven Berkoff about ...in between takes you'd hear him playing another haunting tune on the piano... - something like that? Even if technically Prince wasn't the greatest, the effect and impact he had on his audience with the instrument cannot be denied.



*



And Steven Berkoff is a bit of a freak...so to impress him is going some.



he was great on piano, but i actually think he was a virtuoso on guitar, i don't see how you can deny that. I've played piano for over 30 years and he's a helluva lot better than me but I've heard a lot of players better but those better players probably don't write, produce, arrange, dance, make movies, bang hot chicks, travel the globe, run a studio.



Couldn't agree more.


***ALERT***


***QUESTION THAT'S GOING TO ANGER CERTAIN MEMBERS ON HERE***


***ALERT***



*


Do you think that Lisa's influence on Prince's playing affected the sound and structure - hence the quite signature sound Prince made on the piano?



Anger? Prince acknowledged her influence during Piano and Microphone.
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Reply #26 posted 03/17/18 4:49pm

PeteSilas

i think wendy mentioned that lisa used Joni Mitchell type chords and prince said she'd do unusual things with her playing like push two keys with one finger for a bigger sound. How that rubbed off on him, who knows, i'd say his fathers jazz harmonies probably had the biggest impact, every song he made just about had jazz chords.

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Reply #27 posted 03/18/18 2:28am

SimonCharles

avatar

jdcxc said:

SimonCharles said:

Couldn't agree more.

***ALERT***

***QUESTION THAT'S GOING TO ANGER CERTAIN MEMBERS ON HERE***

***ALERT***

*

Do you think that Lisa's influence on Prince's playing affected the sound and structure - hence the quite signature sound Prince made on the piano?

Anger? Prince acknowledged her influence during Piano and Microphone.

Countless are the threads that descend into the shouting match that is "How much influence did Wendy adn Lisa have on Prince?" - so, yes, anger and, as stated "certain members" - and by certain members I have no one in mind just the numbers who have engaged in the shouting matches previously.

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Reply #28 posted 03/18/18 2:28am

SimonCharles

avatar

PeteSilas said:

i think wendy mentioned that lisa used Joni Mitchell type chords and prince said she'd do unusual things with her playing like push two keys with one finger for a bigger sound. How that rubbed off on him, who knows, i'd say his fathers jazz harmonies probably had the biggest impact, every song he made just about had jazz chords.

Good point, well made.

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Reply #29 posted 03/18/18 2:36pm

LadyLayla

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stpaisios said:

Genesia said:

I loved Prince's piano playing. But let's face it, Van Cliburn, Vladimir Horowitz or Ludwig van Beethoven he was not.

But let's face it comparing him to concert career pianists is not very smart, due 2 fact that they R mainly focused on one instrument & interpreters of other works - not essentially a composers - rarely arrangers and usually just virtuoso players.

Ah, Beethoven! The Pathetique and Moonlight Sonata Movement #3. Those two pieces to me are the gold standard of technical prowess on the piano....then move on to Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody.

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