Archive for the ‘Pianistic Concerns’ Category

286 • Inferiority complex

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

There is one crucial technical misconception: the supposed inferiority of the 4th finger. The truth is that only the lifting capabilities of the ring finger are limited due to the connection of the three outer finger extension tendons (extensor digitorum communis).

The muscles responsible for lowering the fingers (lumbricalis) are not connected in any way and therefore unrestricted. If the finger lies relaxed on the keys and is activated without continuous tension - i.e. relaxed immediately after contact - the up lift of the key provides half the effort to lift the finger.

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283 • Kinesthetic projection

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Have your movement on the keyboard always connected with, even guided by, a melodic, a musical, an expressive idea of gesture - a kinesthetic projection.

282 • Exoskeleton

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Finger independence is obviously a critical component of piano playing and needs cultivation. But so is and does arm independence. Polyrhythmic arm drops are a very good first step. Brahms Paganini Variations are a very good destination.

We sometimes play with 4 fingers, sometimes with 10, sometimes with 12 but always with two arms. When the arms are not independent, usually due to tension, and raised shoulders, the body forces both hands into the same movements, rhythmical articulation, and dynamics: Forklift Arms.

256 • Maulstick

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Like the jeweler or watch maker, looking through a diamond lens, operate a precision instrument resting their hands on the table to have a point of reference, and painters, e.g. Dali, use a maulstick to control fine paintbrush strokes, we, when playing with fine finger technique (finger independence), can perch the hand on a long note in holding exercises, but in performance (and thus in practice) arm weight has to be statically balanced (like a high quality record player's tone arm) so that the fingers can operate in full support and absolute independence.

251 • To play the violin on the piano

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

When we speak about imitating a musical instrument on the piano, we have to consider not the perceived sound of e.g. a violin, woodwind, brass, or voice, but rather the way that instrument plays, its technical and musical approach and possibilities, i.e. articulation, natural dynamics, attack, release, range, as well as function and interaction within the ensemble.

240 • The unexamined vibration is not worth listening to.

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Sound is perceived acoustically by the ear, but for the pianist sound is in addition experienced physically through the finger on the keyboard. Good sound is the art of examined vibrations.

237 • Countdown

Monday, November 14th, 2011

When a concert pianist warms up on stage before a performance, playing a few scales, improvising a small cadence, or rehearsing the repertoire, he is not like a pseudo romantic poet trying to find sentimental inspiration, but more like a sniper aligning his scope before a hit or an astronaut checking his instruments before liftoff.

217 • Umerus, Humerus

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

When your right hand gets tired, it is usually because it tries to play too loud. Instead of pushing with the right, just take your left hand down by 50%! You'll need independence of arms.

See: 198 • Take it easy, lemon squeezy.

202 • Cookie cutter

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Technical skill is personal, since we ultimately strive for an individual technique. One has to learn not only how to use technical cookie cutters (formulas - i.e. scales, arpeggios, ornaments, chords, octaves, and polydactyla), but also how to make one's own personal technical cookie cutters.

Look at the piano mastery of e.g. Horowitz, Argerich, Cziffra, Tatum, Richter, Gould: those are highly personalized techniques and what we must learn from them is not to tuck the 4th and 5th finger, or to drop octaves, or to use wristbands, or to sit really high or low, but to develop our own personal technique. Always have your artistic standards slightly higher than your technical abilities.

198 • Take it easy, lemon squeezy.

Friday, October 21st, 2011

When it becomes physically too difficult to play fast and loud, the common sense solution seems to be to play slower, but for once try to play softer instead.

See: 84 • Swift-footed Achilles

  • A weblog of thoughts, ideas, concepts, observations, suggestions, research, methodology, discoveries, rules, exceptions, aphorisms, and secrets from pianist to pianist.
Total number of posts: 436
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