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'Bracing' of fingers, a limiting factor?

Discussion in 'Technique' started by Affinity, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. rainer

    rainer New Member

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    I like the sound of that, but is there not another school of thought which discourages watching your fingers? By depriving the fingers of ocular support you force them to stand on their own feet, so to speak, and to find their own way in the world, by magic or a special kind of muscle memory by which they judge the leap distance by themselves.

    The eyes can't always help, because they can't simultaneously "focus" on two different leap targets which are very far apart, for example in Leyenda, where the hands have to leap large distances in opposite directions at the same time. The best the eyes could do is guide one hand; the other hand still has to look after itself.
     
  2. Affinity

    Affinity Member

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    @rainer: Oh and yes, I meant 'playing by the nails literally'. You're right in the hand has to exert more strength to keep the finger in place, though, something I totally forgot about. Ironically my teacher would always ask me to cut my fingernails if they were too long because of the clitter clatter thing. It has not once caused me pain however.
     
  3. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I agree with you entirely.
     
  4. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I agree with rainer on this, because soon enough you'll bump into literature that simply doesn't allow pre-targeting. And in a related fashion but worse, pianists that don't develop the ability to play chords and octaves without "pre-touching" them are at a HUGE disadvantage in demanding literature. Some stuff cannot be played efficiently without the ability to trace through the air to a "direct hit" for the required playing. This skill is learned with graded steps begining with inversions of triads by changing the ratio of time on the key (sound) to switching position (silence, all the time maintaining a strict tempo). I would teach my students not to execute a "false gesture," meaning the hand moves to play ... and then waits... and then plays; the move should result directly in playing.

    More interestingly, I have wondered much about the function of the two hemispheres of the brain, together with the dominant handedness that most of us have (one hand or the other, just not ambidextrous), and the inherent bi-handed nature of playing the piano. I noticed, that mostly, I observe one hand and the other seems to play more by its own control. Then I theorized that it could be of a beneficial nature to try to work it the other way, that is to watch the "automatic hand" and force the observed hand to play "by itself." This is really kind of cool (IMO) and likely important from a training/neurologic perspective but I don't have the time to pursue it in a systematic and scientific manner. But I would ask you to try the following: Play some two-handed scales in parallel (or better contrary) fashion and observe how differently it feels depending on which hand you watch like a hawk, and which is left to its own devices. Or try a short piece that you play well already and play it twice, each time watching one hand while ignoring the other, then switch assignments. You will soon discover which way you observe your hands; then spend time working it the oposite way. Let me know what you experience. [I have never heard this notion discussed or published so it is likely original. If you know otherwise, please provide some source reference.] :idea:
     
  5. hreichgott

    hreichgott New Member

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    Actually, if the goal is to open up the hand from a too-closed position, E and C is probably better.
     
  6. hreichgott

    hreichgott New Member

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    I've long been aware that I play two-handed broken chord and arpeggio exercises much better when I watch my left thumb. No idea why.
     
  7. paulwhite743

    paulwhite743 New Member

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    I was also taught to play with strongly curved fingers, but later realized that this was often reducing the fluency and efficiency of my playing. I now use a more flexible approach, where the finger shape is determined by the context. For example, a gentler curve can be used on black keys. For playing in close position there is a stronger curve at the knuckle joint, whereas for some widely spaced arpeggios the knuckle is nearly straight and the second joint strongly bent. Most importantly, the finger changes shape during the course of its action, straightening during the descent and beginning to curve just before the note is sounded. It continues to curve more during the retraction. For much more detail please see my free guide to technique via this link: http://techniquepiano.weebly.com/
     

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