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#1245237 - 08/07/09 07:42 AM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: currawong]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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"I didn't think N was saying you need to grip the keys so as not to slip off - I understood him to mean that totally relaxed hands/arms would slip off. And we don't totally relax everything or we'd be jelly on the floor. Unless I've misunderstood him."

No, that's precisely my point. A slack arm and hand will slip off (unless supported by a huge surface area, like if you put your whole palm on the keys). Therefore, it IS possible to over-relax the hand. With that in mind, to insist that everyone try to relax their hand more and that nobody needs to grip more in their hand risks imposing collossal limitations upon those who actually fall into the category of relaxing too much. Having been limited by such problems, I really don't take kindly to closed-minded thinking about the issue.

Incidentally, I have also previously slipped off individual black keys from time to time though. The fact that activating greater grip has served to reduce this substantially illustrates that grip can be an important part of creating friction at a keyboard- not just forming the hand's shape. Once more, preach that grip is never a positive and you might rob some people of the solution to a problem.

I have never denied that for some the notion of 'grip' is better replaced with a notion of relaxing the hand (although, frankly, I would be a little worried if a pianist could not actually perceive the difference between a genuinely slack hand and the natural playing position). I pointed that for at least SOME people it is absolutely vital. I'm simply sorry that some people insist that it's one or the other, rather than the balance between finger stabilisation and arm stabilisation that I have always suggested here. On countless occasions I asked people to simply acknowledge this balance, rather than try to tell me that grip is bad (even going so far as to advise me to drop it in my own playing!). The argument has been extended as the result of a blanket refusal for people to accept that grip (which I stressed was very small) plays any role in an equation, under any circumstance.


Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
Additionally, putting too much weight on the hands makes a deft pp touch very difficult to achieve.
"Once again, of course. But I don't think excessive weight was suggested."

Indeed, once you have the balance suggested, you have the freedom to put more weight on the finger or support more with the arm. If one does a little more, the other can do less. Resting on the keys is designed as a basis for taking the strain off the elbow and shoulder etc and spreading the workload around. Did anyone ever suggest that you must NEVER withold ANY weight from the fingers? It's a basis for freedom, not a rule for exertion.

If semantics was the issue, would it really have been hard to ask for further clarification on what I referred to a slight grip? Rather than shout "NO!!!!!!!!"?


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/07/09 08:05 AM)
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#1245240 - 08/07/09 07:50 AM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
I think a drawbridge is a better metaphor than a sword - talk us through that.


No it isn't a better metaphor at all. When you hold out a sword it reveals the level of muscular exertion that is involved in both supporting and balancing an extended body from only one end. However, you're welcome to hold a small drawbridge out from your body and gradually lower it. That will illustrate the issue just as well. If you refuse to take any support at the hand, the 'drawbridge' of you elbow is subject to vastly greater tensions. That is a fact. Ironically, your rope is more analagous to the role of the fingers, in stabilisation. The rope would be attached to the far end of the draw bridge. Attach it almost next to the point about which the rotation occurs (like with your bicep, right by your elbow) and the workload is HUGELY more pronounced. Even in medieval times, they knew that it took less force to stabilise closer to the FAR END of the drawbridge.

Anyway, I'm not responding with anything further until you answer the question that has been put to you on no less than five occasions.

If you cannot explain the glaring flaw in your own model, please have the dignity to either admit it, or stop wasting my time with these irrelevant factors.

Debate works two ways. I've answered a host of questions, in order to illustrate those factors that you failed to understand. If you still believe you have a case to make (on an issue that you are clearly not terribly well informed on), you need to answer the question.

You've decided that your elbow is free after all, so you are required to explain WHAT FORCE stops your wrist and knuckles from being pulled down by gravity.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/07/09 08:36 AM)
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#1245253 - 08/07/09 08:43 AM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
If you refuse to take any support at the hand, the 'drawbridge' of you elbow is subject to vastly greater tensions. That is a fact.
That is not a fact, there's no 'vastly' in it. It's the rope that is subject to tension.
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#1245263 - 08/07/09 09:40 AM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
If you refuse to take any support at the hand, the 'drawbridge' of you elbow is subject to vastly greater tensions. That is a fact.
That is not a fact, there's no 'vastly' in it. It's the rope that is subject to tension.


It's all very well trying to change the subject via pedantry, but it's perfectly acceptable to refer to tension about a joint. However, as you say, it's certainly the poor bicep muscle that is subjected to the most overwhelming tension, when it acts unaided by stabilisation from the hand's support (as part of your 'relaxation' method). That's why long periods of staccato can be tiring on an arm- yet you continue to insist on the same imposition for ALL playing? As to why your theory of a rigidly fused forearm should be preferable to a hand that simply does something (that it is impossible for it it not to do, in a balanced equation), that remains anybody's guess.

Have you ever seen a drawbridge in which the rope is attached directly next to the pivot point? Have you ever wondered why this would be avoided?

Anyhow, what is of importance is the question that I have repeated 6 or more times that your entire premise hinges upon and which you continue to duck.

Ever seen the interview between Jeremy Paxman and Michael Howard?

Here's another question that I have already asked: Are you interested in thinking about the subject matter and understanding how it relates to piano playing? Or are you simply interested in trying to salvage a grossly flawed argument by ducking the most important holes in your story? Why do you prefer to stand by an argument that you are incapable of supporting? There's a certain dignity in a captain who goes down with a sinking ship, but I'm really not seeing much of it in your refusal to either attempt to answer to the flaws in an example that YOU set out- or to admit that you are wrong.

Everyone else seems to have agreed on the notion of a balanced whole- yet you still seek to stand by a doctrine that contravenes the laws of physics?


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/07/09 10:19 AM)
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#1245283 - 08/07/09 10:28 AM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
...it's perfectly acceptable to refer to tension about a joint.
Only when there is tension - my fourth diagram shows that the rope (elbow flexors) takes the tension. The tension on the joint is negligible. I think we need to agree on that.
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#1245287 - 08/07/09 10:35 AM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
...it's perfectly acceptable to refer to tension about a joint.
Only when there is tension - my fourth diagram shows that the rope (elbow flexors) takes the tension. The tension on the joint is negligible. I think we need to agree on that.


Are you interested in the discussion, or are you simply interested in trying to maintain a falsely positive impression of a pre-determined view, by refusing to deal with the gaping flaws in your argument?


WHAT FORCE STOP YOUR WRIST AND KNUCKLES BEING PULLED DOWN BY GRAVITY?


ANSWER THE QUESTION!


If you don't answer it, I shall simply repeat it after every response you make. Is this how you conduct all discussions and conversations? By ignoring any questions that do not happen to be convenient, with regard to a predetermined belief that you have chosen never to question?


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/07/09 10:42 AM)
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#1245291 - 08/07/09 10:41 AM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
keyboardklutz Offline
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If your happy to accept that in my diagrams 1 to 4 the wrist and elbow are tension free then we can move on to your knuckles. You can't go darting about from one end of a discussion, or a diagram, to another without some resolution on some points.
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#1245294 - 08/07/09 10:45 AM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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The problem is that, thanks to your lack of understanding of physics, you are meandering around with irrelevant issues. I am not willing to waste any further time being led by you, as you have not the slightest idea as to where you are going with. The RELEVANT QUESTION is this:

WHAT FORCE STOP YOUR WRIST AND KNUCKLES BEING PULLED DOWN BY GRAVITY?

I have had the courtesy to answer countless questions, including a host of hopelessly irrelevant and ill thought-out ones that led to an instant dead-end in your hope at going anywhere.

NOW ANSWER THE QUESTION!



Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/07/09 10:49 AM)
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#1245295 - 08/07/09 10:47 AM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi

WHAT FORCE STOP YOUR WRIST AND KNUCKLES BEING PULLED DOWN BY GRAVITY?
A table top!
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#1245296 - 08/07/09 10:48 AM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Forget this idiotic beaver analogy. There is no table any more.

NOW ANSWER THE QUESTION!!!
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#1245300 - 08/07/09 10:53 AM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
keyboardklutz Offline
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The elbow flexors support the wrist. The hand lies on the keyboard.


Edited by keyboardklutz (08/07/09 11:08 AM)
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#1245368 - 08/07/09 01:23 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Susan K. Offline
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Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
The elbow flexors support the wrist. The hand lies on the keyboard.

...which brings us back to N.'s original premise that the fingers need to "grip"/rest on the keyboard in order to offset the tension usually created (albeit unconsciously) in the shoulders and forearms in order to support the act of fluidly playing the piano.

Susan, who actually read the whole thread.

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#1245373 - 08/07/09 01:30 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: keyboardklutz]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Of course, to broaden the discussion, N is really mixing two possible approaches which can be mutually exclusive. You can add the weight of the arm to the act of key depression and support it's weight without any shaping of the hand. You can also shape your hand (the hold a ball kinda thing) and not support any weight on the fingers. Pianists often do both independently. N's problem is that he's overwhelmed by his own invective and hyperbole.
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#1245376 - 08/07/09 01:33 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Susan K.]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: Susan K.
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
The elbow flexors support the wrist. The hand lies on the keyboard.

...which brings us back to N.'s original premise that the fingers need to "grip"/rest on the keyboard in order to offset the tension usually created (albeit unconsciously) in the shoulders and forearms in order to support the act of fluidly playing the piano.

Susan, who actually read the whole thread.

Rest yes, no need to grip. And welcome aboard Susan! You read the whole thing and haven't given up the will to live?
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#1245385 - 08/07/09 01:44 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: keyboardklutz]
jotur Offline
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Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
N's problem is that he's overwhelmed by his own invective and hyperbole.


But...but...but... kbk, you're known for your cryptic replies that don't give information but imply that the other person is wrong and/or ignorant! Sort of curmudgeon-like!

When you were a kid did you poke sticks at hornets' nests? Just askin' laugh

Of course, there are times when you show kind of an old-softy side, too, and your clavier-playing can be exquisite.

Maybe I'm just conflicted about you, kbk! laugh

Cathy
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#1245396 - 08/07/09 02:01 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: jotur]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: jotur

When you were a kid did you poke sticks at hornets' nests? Just askin' laugh
Didn't we all? I still do.
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#1245401 - 08/07/09 02:16 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: keyboardklutz]
jotur Offline
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Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: jotur

When you were a kid did you poke sticks at hornets' nests? Just askin' laugh
Didn't we all? I still do.


Well, there ya go smile

Cathy
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#1245434 - 08/07/09 03:36 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: jotur]
verania5 Offline
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Wrong turn, backing out slowly...

laugh

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#1245490 - 08/07/09 05:53 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: verania5]
jotur Offline
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ha

Cathy
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#1245513 - 08/07/09 07:10 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
The elbow flexors support the wrist. The hand lies on the keyboard.


What is known in the business as a 'locked elbow'. I see. Let's support our wrist by holding our forearm rigidly in position- all in the name of 'relaxation'. What kind of imbecile would see a contradiction in such a sound premise?

And never mind the knuckles, of course. They do not require an explanation as to why they might hover in the air, despite the absense of any stabilising forces.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/07/09 07:30 PM)
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#1245515 - 08/07/09 07:12 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Registered: 07/24/09
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Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Of course, to broaden the discussion, N is really mixing two possible approaches which can be mutually exclusive. You can add the weight of the arm to the act of key depression and support it's weight without any shaping of the hand.


If you like the sound of clusters, yes. Of course, assuming you do not want your knuckles to collapse into the keyboard (and that you do not suffer from severe arthritis), you have to grip. Alernatively, we could rely on your secret forces and power our cars off the magical energy source known as orgone.

Incidentally, I'm pleased to learn that the most basic laws of physics are now regarded as 'hyperbole'. It's great to hear that education is flourishing to such an extent in modern Britain. Let's hope that our architects and aeroplane designers are also aware of the fact that the laws of physics, as generally understood, can actually be regarded as going 'a little over the top'.

Can I ask a very serious question? If you sincerely cannot distinguish between the sensation of the limp hand that collapses flat onto a table top and the functional hand that can support at a keyboard (without the knuckles falling down), does that not worry you in any fashion? Personally I can perceive every stage from a slack hand to that which contains exactly enough tension to maintain support- without any extraneous clenching or the slightest perception of effort. Not having been gifted with a hand that would naturally flop into a position of support, this took some perserverance with exercises away from the keyboard- but I no longer have to employ any particular effort to align my hand into that position.

Is the reason that you refuse to believe that the model you have presented does not add up simply because you are not actually capable of relaxing your hand enough to find slack? Could the missing link be that you CANNOT truly relax your hand as most can? I have yet to find a student who was incapable of letting gravity collapse a slackened palm into a tabletop, but do you suffer from a limited range of motion?

Judging from your arguments, I think you ought to look into whether you have accumulated so much tension that it can longer be released. This may well be your missing link. Is it really wise to preach a universal premise that is based on the rarity of a hand that appears to be incapable of releasing into a relaxed state? I have yet to encounter such a hand in any student I have taught. If I found that a student could not relax beyond a position that would remain solid enough to support a raised knuckle against gravity, I would consider it to be a particularly great matter of concern. THAT would most certainly be sign of an unhealthy form of grip.

So are you sincerely telling me that your hand cannot collapse? Or are you just wasting everybody's time by deluding yourself that your inability to perceive what your hand actually does might illustrate an scientifically inexplicable method of stabilisation?


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/07/09 09:41 PM)
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#1245646 - 08/08/09 05:32 AM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
The elbow flexors support the wrist. The hand lies on the keyboard.


What is known in the business as a 'locked elbow'. I see. Let's support our wrist by holding our forearm rigidly in position- all in the name of 'relaxation'. What kind of imbecile would see a contradiction in such a sound premise?
You have never said in what way the elbow is 'rigid'. The elbow flexors support the forearm as did the table before it was removed. In neither is the elbow tense. You go on and on and on about a rigid elbow, when I ask for an explanation you insist on switching the discussion to the knuckles!?
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#1245678 - 08/08/09 08:59 AM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
The elbow flexors support the wrist. The hand lies on the keyboard.


What is known in the business as a 'locked elbow'. I see. Let's support our wrist by holding our forearm rigidly in position- all in the name of 'relaxation'. What kind of imbecile would see a contradiction in such a sound premise?
You have never said in what way the elbow is 'rigid'. The elbow flexors support the forearm as did the table before it was removed. In neither is the elbow tense. You go on and on and on about a rigid elbow, when I ask for an explanation you insist on switching the discussion to the knuckles!?


Do you think that Jeremy Paxman would settle for an answer as poor as that? Call it whatever you will. The biggest problem with your theory lies with your gravity defying knuckles.

Tell me, how long can you type for before you get tired- without resting your wrists or hands against anything at any point? This is seriously your model for a 'relaxation' method of piano playing? Please don't respond with this stupid analogy of a table under your forearm. Nobody plays that way.

I'm also waiting for you to answer the question about whether your hands are so tense that you cannot allow them slacken flat onto a tabletop, or whether you can achieve such a state. If you can WHY DO YOU PROPOSE THAT YOUR KNUCKLES DO NOT COLLAPSE THIS WAY WHEN YOU PLAY? Are you so unthinking, in your adherence to doctrine, that you would rather ignore this fundamental question than think rationally? If your teacher had told you to play with your palms facing up, would you also be defending this here?

That you would stand by such an appallingly short-sighted method (as a professional) without being able to explain these glaring problems and sources of (really very pronounced) tensions absolutely disgusts me.

If you're interested in discussion then answer my questions. If you're neither willing nor capable, then please don't bother to make such pathetically evasive responses. I shall respond back with the same question that I have possibly asked you ten times or more...


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/08/09 11:44 AM)
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#1245794 - 08/08/09 03:22 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Could you please say in what way the elbow is rigid? It doesn't matter what I say about knuckles, hand, resting etc, you'll just come back with 'rigid' elbow. What is rigid about it?
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#1245864 - 08/08/09 06:43 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Registered: 07/24/09
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In that it supports and balances the entire weight of a horizontal structure, without additional support. Like when you hold out a heavy sword outstretched and unsupported, without achieving a second point of balance by resting the end on anything. There's a good reason why the level of effort is overwhelmingly larger, when you only support at one end. There's also a good reason why staccato playing that is executed with a still forearm is more tiring than legato (although, with your universal method, I doubt whether there's anything in it).

Sorry, I was under the impression I'd already explained that on at least as many occasions as I've asked a certain question. Or perhaps you just refused to consider the repeated explanations- preferring to chant your hypocritical mantra about the importance of 'relaxing' every muscle in your body while tensing your elbow into the point of rigid support that you have personally decided upon?

Frankly, I couldn't much give a toss if you sincerely want to limit yourself in such a way. It's your muscles that are bearing this workload virtually 100% of the time while you play (assuming you never find any rest at the keyboard, as you say), not mine. I wish you luck with 'relaxing' them (although it's pretty clear that you're fighting a losing battle, judging from the sheer levels of tension in that Schubert that you linked to). However, I'm more concerned with your pathetic refusal to explain the unexplained force in your model.

I've answered more than enough of your half-baked, ill-informed questions. Now it's your turn:

WHY DO YOU PROPOSE THAT YOUR KNUCKLES DO NOT COLLAPSE WHEN YOU PLAY? WHAT PROVIDES THE FORCE?

It aint going away. If you're going to ignore the question once more (perhaps by trying to divert the subject with another inaccurate attempt at pedantry?), I will ask it yet again.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/08/09 10:47 PM)
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#1245867 - 08/08/09 06:45 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
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#1246079 - 08/09/09 06:43 AM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
In that it supports and balances the entire weight of a horizontal structure, without additional support.
The elbow doesn't, the elbow flexors do. The elbow joint has hardly any more stress that when it lies on a table.
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#1246093 - 08/09/09 09:11 AM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Fine, the 'elbow flexors' have to support the entire structure without allowing any give, and with no support elsewhere- like when you hold a sword outstretched and don't rest the end anywhere. The fact that they're called the elbow flexors seems to tell me that they're considered as a part of the elbow's mechanics, but we'll insist on referring to anatomical specifics- as opposed to what a staggeringly large workload is being imposed (and continually sustained) by only supporting and balancing a lever from one end. Now that we've got passed that pedantic irrelevance, here's a particular question about the an even bigger hole in your flimsy arguments:

WHY DO YOU PROPOSE THAT YOUR KNUCKLES DO NOT COLLAPSE WHEN YOU PLAY? WHAT PROVIDES THE FORCE?

If you have an ounce of dignity then make an attempt to explain this. Or admit that you simply have no idea what you are talking about and cannot provide an explanation that is not atttributable to grip. Even complete silence would be more dignified than the way you're trying to worm your way out of it by hoping to change the subject. Squirm as hard as you like. Every time you reply but do not answer I will ask again.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/09/09 09:22 AM)
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#1246176 - 08/09/09 12:25 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453

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#1246189 - 08/09/09 12:36 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
[...] Tell me, how long can you type for before you get tired- without resting your wrists or hands against anything at any point? This is seriously your model for a 'relaxation' method of piano playing? Please don't respond with this stupid analogy of a table under your forearm. Nobody plays that way....

I can't make heads or tails out of this thread any longer—I think it's just so much overanalyzing and mental ... um, self-stimulation—but this stood out to me.

One can type for very long periods indeed with unsupported hands, provided that one's posture is comfortable and "correct." The vocational skill of typing has been around for a long time, and "wrist rests" are a fairly recent idea. Such a thing was unknown in the age of manual typewriters, electric typewriters and even most of the era of electronic typewriters. (Of course, RSIs were practically unheard of then, too, but that's a different matter.)

Steven
_________________________

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—Albert Schweitzer

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Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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