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How do you evaluate the importance of the "Thumb Over" versus the "Thumb Under" motion?
I regularly use "Thumb Over" and agree with Chang; "Thumb Under" should only be used for slow, legato passages. 17%  17%  [ 2 ]
It's a matter of taste. Both motions can be studied, mastered and made to suit any situation. 25%  25%  [ 3 ]
I only use "Thumb Under". I know about "Thumb Over", but consider it inappropriate or wrong for most situations, since it does not allow for elegant legato playing. 8%  8%  [ 1 ]
I've heard about "Thumb Over", but I haven't felt the need to incorporate it into my technique for any reason. 17%  17%  [ 2 ]
I hadn't heard bout the "Thumb Over" movement until today. 33%  33%  [ 4 ]
Total votes : 12
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 Post subject: Thumb over. How important is it really?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 6:41 pm 
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In his book "Fundamentals of Piano Practice" Chuan C. Chang can't seem to emphasize enough the importance of what he calls the "Thumb Over" movement. According to him, it is a different movement than the more widely known "Thumb Under" movement, that can be used for playing fast scales, arpeggios and runs. Below is a link to a section of his book that has an explanation, complete with video, of this particular motion:

http://www.pianofundamentals.com/book/en/1.III.5.2

Still according to him, scales and arpeggios must be practiced with both motions, since for most situations "thumb over" is actually better; "thumb under", the more widely used motion, is only suitable and should only be used for slow, legato passages.

What are your thoughts on this, and do you regularly used "thumb under" or "thumb over"?

Thanks a lot,

Marcelo


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:29 pm 
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I'm not 100% conscious of every motion I make 100% of the time but now that you mention it, I do this all the time. Didn't know it had a name! :lol:

Any motion (or omission of motion) that reduces friction between the ears and the piano has to be a technically sound choice, IMO. (Although I would never force anything of this sort on a student, if it was unnatural to him or her.)


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 4:00 pm 
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I must confess .... I can't find the advantage to TO. other than an unbent thumb, (?) what is the difference?

Now, Abbey Whiteside's wrist and shoulder movements I found immediate use for.

Btw, I'm not mocking, I'm genuinely interested in any technical improvements to be made, 'cause that 10/4 Chopin etude is having horrible problems progressing past 144MM.

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"You see, my piano is for me what his ship is to a sailor; more indeed: it is my very self, my mother tongue, my life." - Franz Liszt


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 Post subject: Friction between the ears and the piano.
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 5:03 pm 
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PJF, do you use your ears to play??? That's a new technique!!!

:-)

Just kidding, I think you must mean "friction between THE FINGERS and the piano".

Marcelo


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 6:07 pm 
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nathanscoleman wrote:
Btw, I'm not mocking, I'm genuinely interested in any technical improvements to be made, 'cause that 10/4 Chopin etude is having horrible problems progressing past 144MM.

You're working on 10/4?? I'm jealous!

Thumb over seems like it would be very awkward. I'll have to play with it some...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 6:52 pm 
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Terez wrote:
You're working on 10/4?? I'm jealous!



Don't be! :P "working on" was highly over-optimistic phrase I used there. "playing through once every third day" would probably be more accurate. :cry: At least I have it memorized!

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"You see, my piano is for me what his ship is to a sailor; more indeed: it is my very self, my mother tongue, my life." - Franz Liszt


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 7:16 pm 
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Terez wrote:
Thumb over seems like it would be very awkward. I'll have to play with it some...


As regards TO/U I remember having read something about Lipatti and after a quick search:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/article ... cle_id=351

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 Post subject: Re: Friction between the ears and the piano.
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 7:22 pm 
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mgasilva wrote:
PJF, do you use your ears to play???


Were it even a lapsus calami, it'd disclose a certain exactness of thought. :wink:
Everybody should use their ears to play.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 9:59 pm 
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alf wrote:
Terez wrote:
Thumb over seems like it would be very awkward. I'll have to play with it some...


As regards TO/U I remember having read something about Lipatti and after a quick search:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/article ... cle_id=351

More Rosen, eh? I did what everybody (I'm looking at you, Nathan) told me to and ordered The Romantic Generation. It's probably already in but I didn't have time to go by the post office today...

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"Z Czernym poznałem się na panie brat—na dwa fortepiana często z nim u niego grywałem. Dobry człowiek, ale nic więcej..." - Fryderyk Chopin


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:09 pm 
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Terez wrote:
alf wrote:
Terez wrote:
Thumb over seems like it would be very awkward. I'll have to play with it some...


As regards TO/U I remember having read something about Lipatti and after a quick search:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/article ... cle_id=351


More Rosen, eh?


That's the finger. Lipatti is the Moon. :lol:

Terez wrote:
I did what everybody (I'm looking at you, Nathan) told me to and ordered The Romantic Generation.


Well done, Terez, you won't be disappointed.

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 Post subject: Re: Friction between the ears and the piano.
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:30 pm 
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mgasilva wrote:
PJF, do you use your ears to play??? That's a new technique!!!

:-)

Just kidding, I think you must mean "friction between THE FINGERS and the piano".

Marcelo


No, I very clearly mean friction between ears and piano. The ear/brain is the first link in the music-making chain, the piano is the last. Believe me; there are many different sorts of friction to be found along the way!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:49 pm 
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Terez wrote:
More Rosen, eh? I did what everybody (I'm looking at you, Nathan) told me to and ordered The Romantic Generation.


well, as long as you're looking baby, let me put on a show! :P :lol: :shock:

In any case, it's a great bk ... definitely a good read and a great reference for years to come! you'll love it

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"You see, my piano is for me what his ship is to a sailor; more indeed: it is my very self, my mother tongue, my life." - Franz Liszt


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 Post subject: Thanks!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 2:57 pm 
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Thank you for your input on this.

Marcelo


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:59 pm 
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So, this "thumb over" thing is really not making sense to me.

This makes sense to me:

When you're not playing legato, there's no need for your thumb to actually cross under your long fingers, because there's no reason for those fingers to still be there when they're done playing the notes. So the whole hand moves across in a relaxed position rather than unnecessary twisting of the hand to pass the thumb under the long fingers.

Is this what "thumb over" means? Because "thumb over" as opposed to "thumb under" seems to imply that the thumb passes over the long fingers. That makes no sense, because it's the same problem as "thumb under", but with added difficulties.

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 Post subject: Exactly!
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 12:32 am 
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Terez,

When I first read the name "thumb over", I thought exactly the same thing you thought at first, that the thumb would cross OVER and ABOVE the long fingers, but that is not the case.

I thought, "how awkward that must be, worse than trying to play with your ears!!!"

It turns out it is a misnomer, and I think it corresponds to the motion you described when not playing legato.


Marcelo


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 12:53 am 
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I don't care if one plays with his nose, just as long as it sounds good! :wink:

Pollini has played with his elbows... :lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 11:22 am 
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I sometimes use my 'eleventh finger' .... :shock:


...... and returning to the topic: I still don't understand the advantage of OT. I've been fiddling with this now since Monday, and I have a question for all you guys. When you UT in a passage, say a scale, does your wrist lurch? or do you bend thumb and smoothly pass it under other fingers without moving wrist?

My wrist moves not at all, or maybe just a teensy imperceptible bit. Following the Whiteside principles, I do "draw circles" a lot with my wrist as I play, but there's still no lurching. Maybe I have long thumbs??? and you know what they say about guys with long thumbs!! :lol: :P ...... he can't wear normal size gloves! hehe

anyway, perversities aside ... I'm really curious about this.

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"You see, my piano is for me what his ship is to a sailor; more indeed: it is my very self, my mother tongue, my life." - Franz Liszt


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 11:57 am 
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PJF wrote:
I don't care if one plays with his nose, just as long as it sounds good! :wink:


My teacher says the same thing.

And I'm with Terez that TO makes no sense. How do you guys even do that? My thumb can not get close to going over my other fingers. Weird.

Nathan - my wrists start moving to the side - moving horizontal before I actually do move my thumb under when playing scales. So if I'm playing a traditional 12312345 scale, my wrist is already moving over right after I get off the first key. My thumb does not bend at all and it's barely going under any fingers except maybe the third finger.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 12:19 pm 
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PJF wrote:
I don't care if one plays with his nose, just as long as it sounds good! :wink:

My teacher said exactly the same to me, as was said to him by his teacher (the famous Jan Wijn, with whom nearly all Dutch pianists of this generation have studied).

PJF wrote:
Pollini has played with his elbows... :lol:

I guess he did not want to hurt his delicate little nose :P

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:11 pm 
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I seriously think the scale video alone should be reason enough to disqualify this guy as a piano teacher.

If it's not enough, have a look at the preface to his "piano fundamentals". Or pretty much any part of the book. Such arrogance...


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