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Old 12-13-2018, 07:46 AM   #1
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Default Question about the show

Whenever episodes called for Betty White playing the piano, was she really playing it or was someone else doing the work?
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Old 12-18-2018, 09:10 PM   #2
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I highly doubt it was, because I specifically watched those scenes for it, and at no time did they shoot her hands actually on the keys. So I have to assume it was someone else playing a few feet away from her.

Clay Aiken did something similar during one of his Christmas tours a few years back. You could see his hands, and it really looked like he was pressing the keys, but when asked about it later, he explained that he doesn't play piano, and a pianist was right behind the curtain on stage, making it sound like he was. It was very convincing, and I was in a close up seat!

There is such a thing as a "dummy" piano that they use for situations like that, where they somehow silence the keys from striking the wires. That way the actor can press down as much as they want to and no sound will result.

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Old 12-19-2018, 11:15 AM   #3
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I highly doubt it was, because I specifically watched those scenes for it, and at no time did they shoot her hands actually on the keys. So I have to assume it was someone else playing a few feet away from her.

Clay Aiken did something similar during one of his Christmas tours a few years back. You could see his hands, and it really looked like he was pressing the keys, but when asked about it later, he explained that he doesn't play piano, and a pianist was right behind the curtain on stage, making it sound like he was. It was very convincing, and I was in a close up seat!

There is such a thing as a "dummy" piano that they use for situations like that, where they somehow silence the keys from striking the wires. That way the actor can press down as much as they want to and no sound will result.

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Old 12-19-2018, 10:09 PM   #4
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Right, generally, if they don't show the actor's hand playing it, the actor is not playing it.

And I think Betty White mentions either in Jim Colucci's book on the series, or her book "Here We Go Again! My Life in Television", that she doesn't play piano (I think it may be in the former book).
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Old 12-20-2018, 06:55 AM   #5
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Right, generally, if they don't show the actor's hand playing it, the actor is not playing it.

And I think Betty White mentions either in Jim Colucci's book on the series, or her book "Here We Go Again! My Life in Television", that she doesn't play piano (I think it may be in the former book).
But if they show close up shots of the person playing, then they are really playing it?
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Old 12-20-2018, 08:02 AM   #6
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But if they show close up shots of the person playing, then they are really playing it?
I doubt the producers could risk a wrong note so my educated guess is no.
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Old 12-20-2018, 08:04 AM   #7
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I doubt the producers could risk a wrong note so my educated guess is no.
Hm... Interesting.
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Old 12-21-2018, 09:57 AM   #8
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But if they show close up shots of the person playing, then they are really playing it?
Well, if it's a close-up of just their hands, it could be someone else's hands playing. But if they show someone seated and playing where you can see their body sitting there while they are playing, and you can see their arms and hands playing, and if it looks/sounds right (the fingers on the keys, the timing, etc.), then they are probably playing.
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Old 12-24-2018, 10:37 AM   #9
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As I mentioned earlier, there is a way a piano can be rigged to be silent. They go under the lid of the piano and do something to prevent the keys from being struck when pressed. That allows it to look like someone's genuinely playing it, when they're not. All you have to do then, is have someone behind the scenes actually playing a real piano, (or dub it in later) and you can make it look like anyone can be a piano virtuoso.
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Old 12-25-2018, 05:53 AM   #10
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Well, if it's a close-up of just their hands, it could be someone else's hands playing. But if they show someone seated and playing where you can see their body sitting there while they are playing, and you can see their arms and hands playing, and if it looks/sounds right (the fingers on the keys, the timing, etc.), then they are probably playing.
Thank you Retro.
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