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Fast Octaves

Discussion in 'Technique' started by Anonymous, Jan 25, 2007.

  1. joeisapiano

    joeisapiano New Member Piano Society Artist

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    if you merely use your arm's natural weight, the only motion you have to worry about is lifting the arm, along with other tiny motions in the wrist.
     
  2. Adam

    Adam New Member

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    Hmm, thanks for the replies. I think I know what you mean, Johnmar78.



    That would be Hungarian Rhapsody #6. I've wanted to be able to play this piece ever since I heard it.. ( about 3 weeks ago :lol: )
     
  3. johnmar78

    johnmar78 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Adam, keep up the good work and welcome to piano society.
     
  4. diminished2nd

    diminished2nd New Member Piano Society Artist

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    OK like all have said, definitely use the 4th finger for black notes, and the 5th finger for white notes.

    My hands are a little bit bigger than normal, so I actually sometimes find myself using sort of both the 3rd and 4th finger at the same time on black notes. Also, on repeated octaves (as in the same note over and over at a fast speed) I put all three of them on the key: the middle, 4th, and 5th fingers... it seems to help.

    What I HAVENT seen anybody say yet (very surprisingly...) is that you need to almost completely eliminate all vertical motion. Your fingers should be touching the keys at all times while playing fast octave passages. When you practice slow, your 5th/4th/whatever finger you're using with the thumb should almost just sort of roll from one note over to the next one. This makes your octave technique so much more efficient, and you can speed up a lot that way.

    Another thing I find very helpful, is this: put your hands on your knees. Now, keeping your arm, hand, and everything totally relaxed, raise up the base of your hand (sort of your wrists I guess), and then slap your legs with them (but your fingertips should always remain on your knees), in a tremolo type motion. Do this as fast as you can, while keeping everything completely relaxed. Now, try making octaves feel that way (rather than playing them "with your fingers" think of only making the motion with the base of your hand while your fingers happen to be in an octave position). In fact, practice whatever octave passage you're playing, and play each octave with the base of your hand like I just said, and smash all the notes in between the octave with your hand (like a cluster technique sort of). Always keep everything relaxed (I can't stress this enough :p). Now, take away the notes from the middle, and just play the octave notes, making it feel that way.

    The last thing I think about, is playing the octaves without your thumbs. I mean, not REALLY without your thumbs, but only think of playing with your pinky/4th finger/middle finger. In other words, put most of the weight on the outside of the octave. This not only helps you to stay relaxed, but it forces you to voice the octaves well too.

    (this is all stuff I learned at a piano camp I went to this summer... One of the master classes was focused on octave technique and I feel like I really gleaned a lot from it... I can probably play octaves at least 50% faster now than I could before)

    Hope this helps!
     
  5. diminished2nd

    diminished2nd New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Ah, I hadn't seen the second page. So somebody finally DID mention relaxation :p good, good.
     
  6. Mozartiana

    Mozartiana New Member

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    In doing octave work, I think it makes your hand less tense if you have a relaxed wrist and let the wrist turn as you play the octave. The point is to keep the arm and hand relaxed so as not to build up tension and the wrist allows that to happen by turning it towards the note you are playing first in the octave.

    Happy playing!
    Mozartiana :D
     
  7. hunwoo

    hunwoo New Member

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    to make things simple, play octave with ur wrist.
    Don't use ur arm.
     
  8. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    go to Youtube.com and search "Alkan + Jack Gibbons + Allegro Barbaro" sheesh! that man is incredibly fast.
     
  9. Adam

    Adam New Member

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    Quoted for truth! I found out that playing fast octaves is surprisingly easy when I use my wrist rather than my entire arm. I can play the final section of Hungarian Rhapsody #6 without getting tired/a sore wrist. :shock:
     
  10. amelialw

    amelialw New Member

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    my teacher has been teaching me how to use my arm+hands to play octaves. I find it much easier.

    if you use your wrists alone, you can injure your hands.
     
  11. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    Especially if you have carpal tunnel or tendonitis tendencies. But also using your arms can complicate those - you still have to avoid tension in the wrist, which can be just as bad as moving your wrist a lot.
     
  12. amelialw

    amelialw New Member

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    My hands are small the size of a 7th, to make it worse my R.H's 5th finger is damaged.

    everyday, to start off, I practise chopin's etude op.25 no.10 "Octaves" and I find that it really helps.

    remember that when you play octaves, use your eyes to guide your hands and lift your wrists up. Shape your hands like you are holding an orange and you can't let go of that shape.

    The other day my teacher actually placed a pomelo on my hand to let me grasp the idea.
     

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