330 • Flat fingers

The flat fingers technique is an arcane but not entirely lost art. Here are a few pointers:

It is important is to play the black keys on their deep end allowing the thumb to move below on the whites, and to let the thumb move under and between extended fingers and even off the keyboard when necessary. The hand should be almost flat, the knuckle-ridge relaxed, and the wrist on the level of the fingertips. It is not to be played with force. The flat finger is an extension of the entire key, touching down almost at the extended joint; the whole finger pillow on the key, gripping or tapping it gently.

To calibrate the arm balance imagine a straight line extending from the elbow, through the forearm and wrist, leading to the fingertip, that reaches through the key, over the pivot, behind the fall board, to the jack tip propelling the hammer; this is your bow on the strings. The different touches the flat fingers technique engages on the key range from a kneading depression to the bottom of the key bed to the lightest tapping of just the surface of the key. It is not to be played with tension.

The flat fingers technique has two secrets, 1: The depressed key, once released by a relaxed flat finger, has enough up-weight to push the finger back up ~ there is no need to yank or curl or claw or hook or lift. And 2: Because of 1, the impediment of the fourth finger to lift above the neighboring fingers remains obsolete, it is an equal to its neighbors. A slight curvature of the flat fingers serves to provide a most comfortable (natural) position of the hand.

The flat fingers technique allows to play slow and melodic lines with exquisite legato control and expressive singing quality ~ Bel Canto; and fast and light ornamental passages with sublime transparency and the quality of falling snow or lightning fireworks, Jeu Perlé.

See: 72 • Fingering Principles
See: Tuck like a crab, sting like a scorpion.

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