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#1028690 - 10/19/08 01:21 PM Truthfully who doesn't bend their phalanges?
Oxfords Gal Offline
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Registered: 11/21/06
Posts: 1553
Loc: Jacksonville, Florida
My teacher noticed that sometimes[/b] I bend my finger phalanges slightly but I don't know why I do it since I do play with curved hands.

Is it too much pressure?

I'm curious to know who doesn't bend their distal or intermediate phalange when playing and how we can keep them from bending even when we're playing with curved hands.

thanks
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#1028691 - 10/19/08 01:42 PM Re: Truthfully who doesn't bend their phalanges?
keyboardklutz Offline
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Grip the keys.
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#1028692 - 10/19/08 03:56 PM Re: Truthfully who doesn't bend their phalanges?
TrapperJohn Offline
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Registered: 02/11/08
Posts: 3602
Loc: Chocolatetown, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Oxfords Gal:

I'm curious to know who doesn't bend their distal or intermediate phalange when playing and how we can keep them from bending even when we're playing with curved hands.

thanks [/b]
OG - I guess I must have missed this lesson in my self-instructional pedagogical indoctrination, but why is a "bending phalange" considered a "problem" at all?

Just when I thought I had rid my mind of all extraneous and seemingly inconsequential pianistic considerations and could finally relax and enjoy simply playing and making music, now something else to worry about .

This is something akin to a .400 hitter in baseball suddenly starting to worry and fret about how and where his hands are placed on the bat! :p

Regards, JF
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Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.

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#1028693 - 10/19/08 05:07 PM Re: Truthfully who doesn't bend their phalanges?
ddh Offline
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Registered: 11/22/06
Posts: 458
Loc: Abitibi
Oxford gal, the master of "shortissimo" answers (KBK) is right again.

When You grip the keys, You are using the large and powerful muscle at the base of the fingers and the finger stays naturally arched (bone alignment).

If You bend the phalanges, You are using the tendon in the arm to move the fingers. It is weaker, gives less control and may lead to tendonitis if overused.

But I guess we all do it once in a while.

Cheers
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#1028694 - 10/19/08 07:48 PM Re: Truthfully who doesn't bend their phalanges?
Roger Ransom Offline
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Registered: 01/19/05
Posts: 1300
Loc: SouthWest Michigan
OK, at the risk of appearing ignorant (a familiar feeling by the way), what the heck is a phalange and how do I know if it's bent?
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#1028695 - 10/19/08 08:25 PM Re: Truthfully who doesn't bend their phalanges?
keystring Offline
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Registered: 12/11/07
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Loc: Canada
Your phalanges are the bones of your fingers. Some people will allow the joint between the fingernail "phalange" and the next bone to collapse so that the fingernail part of the finger falls inward under pressure.

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#1028696 - 10/19/08 08:53 PM Re: Truthfully who doesn't bend their phalanges?
sotto voce Offline
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Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
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Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
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#1028697 - 10/20/08 01:15 AM Re: Truthfully who doesn't bend their phalanges?
keyboardklutz Offline
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Sorry ddh but gripping happens using the flexors -- both short (attached to middle phalange) and long (attached to nail phalange). If your nail joint breaks in then you're failing to utilize the long flexors. It's usually a coordination problem. Here's a thread I started in January: http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?/topic/2/16913.html#000000
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#1028698 - 10/20/08 07:25 AM Re: Truthfully who doesn't bend their phalanges?
TrapperJohn Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/11/08
Posts: 3602
Loc: Chocolatetown, USA
Is there professional therapy (or at least a support group) available for this so-called "problem" - this "fatal flaw" - not for bending phalanges that is, but for worrying about them :rolleyes:

In the incredibly complex biomechanical-psycological process of piano study/performance isn't there already more than enough to worry about?

What next - how suntanning effects the weight of your hands and their subsequent action on the keys?

Regards, JF

P.S. the only straight, stiff phalanges I've seen lately was from a motorist suffering from advanced road rage.
_________________________
Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.

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#1028699 - 10/20/08 07:46 AM Re: Truthfully who doesn't bend their phalanges?
Oxfords Gal Offline
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Registered: 11/21/06
Posts: 1553
Loc: Jacksonville, Florida
Thanks for the feedback all.

Actually JF, that particular bending of the phalanges is mentioned and pictured in plenty of method books. I've seen it I just never thought I did it and I just saw it pictured in one of my books this weekend as I was thumbing through.

I'll look this evening and post a picture to get the idea.

I wouldn't lose sleep over it though, I know I'm not but it's good to know ways to stop doing it if it improves playing or comfort for those who want to try.
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#1028700 - 10/20/08 08:17 AM Re: Truthfully who doesn't bend their phalanges?
LaValse Offline
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Registered: 02/21/07
Posts: 1225
Loc: Mumbles, Wales
I teach a friend of mine and with her long skinny fingers she tended to do that at first. I have no evidence, but to me it looked like it it would cause much pain later if left...
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#1028701 - 10/20/08 08:23 AM Re: Truthfully who doesn't bend their phalanges?
keystring Offline
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Loc: Canada
This ocarina player has the bendiest phalanges in the direction that we do not want to have on piano, but allows him to play his instrument. I couldn't make my fingers do that if I tried. It does show a good example of what's being talked about I think. Ocarina player

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#1028702 - 10/20/08 08:37 AM Re: Truthfully who doesn't bend their phalanges?
Debbie57 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/27/07
Posts: 258
Loc: Kansas
Not to make light of the OP's question at all, but John Frank you have made my day! Your responses were just what I needed to get a great big grin going...right before work. Alas, all I worry about right now is hitting progressive octave stretches without slowing the piece down to a crawl.
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#1028703 - 10/20/08 11:48 AM Re: Truthfully who doesn't bend their phalanges?
Triryche Offline
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Registered: 08/11/06
Posts: 1456
Loc: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
The only time I bend them, which I know of, is when I am playing with flat fingers. I know it probably isn’t proper technique, but there are times when I find myself doing this unconsciously as a result of the emotion of the piece. But then it is not just the first joint, but my entire finger arching as I slide it onto and off the key.

I know this is a common problem amongst beginning guitar players before their finger/fret board hand builds adequate strength.

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#1028704 - 10/20/08 12:06 PM Re: Truthfully who doesn't bend their phalanges?
keyboardklutz Offline
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Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
One of the goals in piano playing is to have a sense that the sound sparkles from the finger pads. Breaking in the joint takes 1/60th of a second (Ortmann) - so you just get a phut. Using flat fingers for some of the 19th century repertoire is perfectly OK.
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#1028705 - 10/20/08 12:09 PM Re: Truthfully who doesn't bend their phalanges?
keystring Offline
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Registered: 12/11/07
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 Quote:
...so you just get a phut.
I am being utterly sincere if I say this is the best and most enlightening explanation I have seen all year. \:D "sparkles from the fingerpads" also does the trick for me.

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#1028706 - 10/20/08 12:30 PM Re: Truthfully who doesn't bend their phalanges?
Oxfords Gal Offline
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Registered: 11/21/06
Posts: 1553
Loc: Jacksonville, Florida
Me too I agree. I want my music to sound like it sparkles from my fingerpads. \:D \:D
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#1028707 - 10/20/08 12:41 PM Re: Truthfully who doesn't bend their phalanges?
Triryche Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/06
Posts: 1456
Loc: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
... - so you just get a phut. [/b]
What do you mean by this?

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#1028708 - 10/20/08 12:54 PM Re: Truthfully who doesn't bend their phalanges?
Oxfords Gal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/21/06
Posts: 1553
Loc: Jacksonville, Florida
I think it means kind of like a "plunk" or "thud" as opposed to a sparkle.

I don't know if that's what it means but that's what I got out of it.

Some people play the piano and it sounds as if their fingers just glide and ripple on the keyboard.

Others sound plunkety plunk like a phut or a horse walking on cobblestones. teee heee

I'm laughing right now because a phut sounds too much like....... well nevermind. ha ha
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Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear, Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.>>> Herman Munster

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#1028709 - 10/20/08 01:02 PM Re: Truthfully who doesn't bend their phalanges?
Triryche Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/06
Posts: 1456
Loc: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
OK, that's kinda what I thought, then I thought maybe there was more, I guess I think too much sometimes.

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#1028710 - 10/20/08 01:13 PM Re: Truthfully who doesn't bend their phalanges?
keyboardklutz Offline
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Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
I used to see it when my teacher played. She had such grace of movement that the sounds seemed to just flash from her finger tips. It always mesmerized me.
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#1028711 - 10/20/08 01:26 PM Re: Truthfully who doesn't bend their phalanges?
keystring Offline
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Registered: 12/11/07
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Loc: Canada
Perhaps we should translate all the erudite knowledge into phuts, spluts, swooshes and sparkles and glides - then we might get somewhere. Nothing like being there, though, seeing, hearing, and having the ivories (plastics) under the fingers, sound in the ears.

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#1028712 - 10/20/08 02:26 PM Re: Truthfully who doesn't bend their phalanges?
Kymber Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/25/08
Posts: 1348
Loc: MA
If you keep saying the word phalange over and over again it starts to sound weird- Phalange! I think Pheobe used to say it on friends and when I read it I heard her voice in my head-Phalange. I know people who could just bend the tops of their fingers at the-Phalange keeping the rest of the finger straight. I can't do that. I think its similar to being double jointed or rolling your tongue or wiggling your ears. How many people are trying to wiggle their ears right now? Phalange!
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#1028713 - 10/20/08 02:38 PM Re: Truthfully who doesn't bend their phalanges?
keystring Offline
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Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 12488
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
Phalange!
Phut!
..... Sparkle!

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#1028714 - 10/21/08 12:59 PM Re: Truthfully who doesn't bend their phalanges?
TrapperJohn Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/11/08
Posts: 3602
Loc: Chocolatetown, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
 Quote:
Phalange!
Phut!
..... Sparkle!
[/b]
I think that pretty much says it all - well stated keystring - very profound! :p

Regards, JF
_________________________
Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.

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#1028715 - 10/21/08 01:33 PM Re: Truthfully who doesn't bend their phalanges?
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 12488
Loc: Canada
\:\) In a sense the phut and sparkle are profound. There is no way that the essence of playing can be expressed in diagrams, statistics, and explanations. Sometimes "phut vs. sparkle" says a lot more. So much for the human advantage of language. I'd rather watch, listen, and play.

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#1028716 - 10/21/08 03:02 PM Re: Truthfully who doesn't bend their phalanges?
TrapperJohn Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/11/08
Posts: 3602
Loc: Chocolatetown, USA
keystring - you're starting to make sense - should I be worried about my mental state? ;\)

Regards, JF

P.S. first there was the "ying and yang" of it and now we have the "phut and sparkle" - the essence of art to a new level!
_________________________
Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.

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#1028717 - 10/24/08 06:02 AM Re: Truthfully who doesn't bend their phalanges?
Oxfords Gal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/21/06
Posts: 1553
Loc: Jacksonville, Florida
I caught my teacher "Phalangering" slightly \:D

I finally got to scan a page of it being demonstrated.

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#1028718 - 10/24/08 07:34 AM Re: Truthfully who doesn't bend their phalanges?
TrapperJohn Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/11/08
Posts: 3602
Loc: Chocolatetown, USA
OG - that bottom photo is really nasty - obviously an advanced, incurable case of BPS (Bent Phalanges Syndrome) - does anyone really do that? You'd almost have to try to do that!

Regards, JF
_________________________
Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.

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#1028719 - 10/24/08 08:28 AM Re: Truthfully who doesn't bend their phalanges?
DragonPianoPlayer Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/06
Posts: 2462
Loc: Denver, CO
If anyone actually experiences bent phalanges, I would recommend that the proceed to the emergency room post haste. I would not like anyone on this forum to have bent or broken bones. JK
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