Thanks to smart glasses, we can see what an expert pianist sees when he is playing.
The differences between a novice pianist and another expert are clear to the naked eye, even without hearing the result. Clumsiness and the feeling of being lost are replaced by mastery and fluidity of movement.
Attending the performance of a veteran pianist is an audiovisual experience; You are not only captured by the sound, but also by the movements of the musician. But how does that translate into your actions? For example, are eye movements really capable of playing without looking at the sheet music or the keys?
This is what an expert pianist sees
This video from the new YouTube channel Function reveals the differences between a novice pianist and another veteran that we do not see. It allows us to see what a pianist who has played almost all his life sees. And for this, they have used the latest technology, of course.
Specifically, they have made the pianist wear Tobii Pro Glasses 2, specialized in tracking eye movement. Its creators present these glasses as very useful to understand the behavior of the users; for example, to understand why one product is more attractive than another, or in fields such as neuroscience, to understand the process of capturing information from our eyes.
And of course, to analyze the behavior of a professional pianist. Daniel Beliavsky, who has been playing for 33 years, played various pieces with his glasses on; the software recorded the performance and placed a point in the area where the eyes were looking in every moment.
The results did not surprise Beliavsky, who already assumed that he was not going to look at his hands much, as a novice would. Instead of that, his eyes searched for landmarks on the piano, to understand at all times what keys you were in and what movements you had to make to reach the following ones.
Smart glasses help us understand pianists
An exception is the more complicated parts, with a very fast and complex sequence of notes. In those situations the pianist looks at where the hands will have to be for the next sequence. However, as soon as his eyes land on his hand, he immediately reacts and focuses in the middle of both hands, a reaction that surprised Beliavsky himself.
The difference with one of his students is more than clear. His eyes move much faster, even on slow sheet music; They usually go from one hand to the other, seeking the certainty that they are in the correct notes.
It is very similar to what happens with those who write with the keyboard; If you are starting you will constantly look if you are on the correct key, but if you have been typing for years, you will be able to do it without looking.