Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pianoteq
Latest Pianoteq add-on instrument: U4 upright piano
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 >
Topic Options
#1411979 - 04/06/10 03:36 AM The correct way of pressing a key ?
Cashley Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/16/09
Posts: 530
I came across a thread in this forum about how a teacher is able to tell from the way a student plays, whether he or she has been practicing on an acoustic or digital.

I guess much has to do with the way one presses the piano keys.

Exactly which part of the fingers should the pressure be applied ? The intersection between the nail and flesh ? Or the underside of the finger ?

Top
(ad) My Music Staff
Check out the new way to manage your music studio
#1411986 - 04/06/10 04:19 AM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Cashley]
Ben Crosland Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/10
Posts: 418
Loc: Worcester, UK
Check this essay on piano technique.

I think it goes some way to explain one of the major limitations faced by digital piano actions.

However, this does not fully explain why a student who practises on a digital would play differently.
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Sound Designer

Cool Beans!

Easy Christmas Jazz

YouTube channel




Top
#1412063 - 04/06/10 08:25 AM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Ben Crosland]
Cashley Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/16/09
Posts: 530
The essay on piano technique is too wide for this topic.

I just want to know which spot of the fingertip is the contact point.

Top
#1412068 - 04/06/10 08:49 AM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Cashley]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Whatever is suitable. It's about how you move, not necessarily which part of the finger is in contact. There is a place for all sorts of different positions, in the right context.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1412069 - 04/06/10 08:51 AM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Having said that, you will achieve a much better tone the more you are on the tip of your finger as compared to the fleshy pad. This is as much to do with physics as anything else - by shaping your finger in the manner required to press on the tip you need less energy to create a difference - and this means you have a wider variety of strengths you can apply.
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

Top
#1412073 - 04/06/10 09:05 AM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Elissa Milne]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
I totally disagree. What physics dictates that? On the contary, when you play with a flatter pad, you have the strong muscles at the knuckle in the optimal line to transmit energy. By necessity, as soon as you put the finger on the tip, you are transmitting a very indirect component of the force (having already placed the finger in a position where the knuckle joint is not in position to utilise its power, as a result of having passed through the strongest area of its potential for motion). Can you explain the physics behind your assertion (about needing 'less' energy)? I'm afraid it doesn't seem to fit any physics that I know.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1412078 - 04/06/10 09:14 AM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Elissa Milne]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7301
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Hummm, I'm not sure all would agree with that. Lhevinne wrote to play on the fleshy pads; Fleisher does as did Horowitz. I believe they were generally referring to Romantic literature, however. For Baroque and Classical, playing with high fingers and more to the tips is necessary, if you want the clean and crisp sound of those periods.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

Top
#1412082 - 04/06/10 09:29 AM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Yeah, there's certainly a place for playing on the tips. However, I cannot conceive any explanation in physics that would suggest it to be a notably efficient way of transmitting energy. I'd use it for light but precisely defined playing at speed, not for big sonorous sounds or fine control.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1412095 - 04/06/10 09:49 AM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Cashley]
wavelength Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 340
Loc: Vermont, USA
Originally Posted By: Cashley
The essay on piano technique is too wide for this topic.

I just want to know which spot of the fingertip is the contact point.


No, the essay is too narrow. It is a very broad topic with no correct answer.

Top
#1412104 - 04/06/10 10:04 AM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7301
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Yeah, there's certainly a place for playing on the tips. However, I cannot conceive any explanation in physics that would suggest it to be a notably efficient way of transmitting energy. I'd use it for light but precisely defined playing at speed, not for big sonorous sounds or fine control.


Our responses overlapped; I was referring to Elissa's posting, not yours. I happen to agree 100% with you for reasons I stated above!

Regards!


Edited by John v.d.Brook (04/06/10 11:24 AM)
Edit Reason: correct typo
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

Top
#1412183 - 04/06/10 11:53 AM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
From what I experience in going from my acoustic piano - a Yamaha U1 - to my digital Yamaha P85 - it's all about what I feel as I apply the same touches to either instrument.

The acoustic piano resounds and vibrates back into my fingers, the keys move in response to the weight and velocity of my fingers and to the targeted placement on the keys, with the slightest change producing a huge variety of differences.

I play a digital and the notes simply go down and it feels plastic and resistant. My techniques and expressiveness do not thrive on a digital. It becomes an empty experience and the connection between me and the digital becomes simply about pressing the right keys and holding for the duration. My ears and muscles turn off as what returns to me in less than the experience of a good acoustical piano.

It's depth and dimensions and resonating and sound that are less than desirable for an "inner world" musical happening. More like typing than anything.

With my acoustic piano I am keenly involved in making the music through my intentions and responding to the instruments capacities which can duplicate anything I set in motion.

I guess you would have to be here to understand what I mean. The difference between the glass being half empty or half full?

The physics of playing the piano are unique to each and every pianist - we are like snowflakes and finger prints - unique in our own human instrument which is the instument who plays the mechanical instrument, the piano and it's keyboard. Each has identifying characteristics - the human pianist, the composer who wrote the music enters into the formula, and the piano's capacity itself.

Top
#1412203 - 04/06/10 12:22 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Betty Patnude]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude

The physics of playing the piano are unique to each and every pianist - we are like snowflakes and finger prints - unique in our own human instrument which is the instument who plays the mechanical instrument, the piano and it's keyboard. Each has identifying characteristics - the human pianist, the composer who wrote the music enters into the formula, and the piano's capacity itself.


No, the physics is the same for each and every pianist. This is all too easily forgotten when thinking about differences from person to person. Everyone is slightly different and the optimal product may be slightly different as the result of differing proportions etc in fine details. However, the physics that governs how physical difference requires adaptation is always the same. I cannot conceive of a pianist who could not get more direct transmission of energy through a flatter finger- by playing from the knuckle (unless they have not trained themself to use the necessary muscles to their full capability). Some people may well prefer to use more rounded fingers. However, they cannot change the laws of physics that govern the fact that this means a more indirect and less efficient path into the key. Not every movement necessarily requires something approaching 100% transmission of input energy. If you prefer slightly indirect motions then fine. I recently realised how much more margin for error they provide in many quiet passages (although I still use the fleshy pad for better contact- greater surface area means more control over contact and more stability. You can't change that physics either, regardless of whether you prefer a pointed finger). I simply cannot see any laws of physics that might imply playing on the tip could transmit energy more efficiently. All I can see is how it wastes a high percentage of the input, and prevents the optimal muscles in the knuckles from being in an position to operate to their full capability. I'd be interested to see the explanation, but I'm highly skeptical that any science might support that theory.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1412228 - 04/06/10 12:47 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Physics is physics acknowledged.

However we are each different in our physical inclinations and just our shape and size as a human body with the brain that we have sets into place individual movements on the keys. And, we are very different in our evolution as pianists compared to ourselves and to others.

For instance, all the little young prodigies age 4-7 are going to have to continue to work on all their pieces over and over because as these children grow, develop, their bones, muscles and nerves are changing too. What they did at age 4 to access the keys is a different story at age 5.

The petite 7 year old is not going to be the same experience physically as the husky, big boned, tall for his age 7 year old.

Each person is unique in approach therefore the dimensions of the sound produced represent their weight, velocity, angles and ability to control their thoughts and their action on the keyboard.

We don't think in physics when playing the piano, but it is definitely there as a science as is acoustics. You can relate to the "art" - artistry of a pianist and the organziation of music making as well as to the "science" and "math" of the instrument and the human. Both the piano and the human are "machines/mechanisms" of sorts.

Top
#1412239 - 04/06/10 01:02 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Betty Patnude]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Sure, there are different approaches that work but we have to remember that the same fundamentals govern each and every one of these approaches. This is very important. I simply don't think this statement is accurate:

"This is as much to do with physics as anything else - by shaping your finger in the manner required to press on the tip you need less energy to create a difference - and this means you have a wider variety of strengths you can apply."

I'm not saying that means nobody should play on the finger tips ever, or that nobody can play well this way. However, physics as I understand it, seems to give an extremely strong suggestion that the description would be more applicable to flat fingers, based on the laws of mechanics. When looking for efficient transmission and maximal variety, I would always take the pad of the finger. This can be done with totally flat fingers or marginally shaped fingers. Either way, it provides far more scope for energy transfer than when the tips curl up.

PS. Arguably this is more about the lumbricals (about the knuckles) than the fingertip itself. However to reach the fingertip, you have to already have gone beyond the point where these muscles work to their best efficiency- or put them vastly out of line with the plane of the key (making their action more towards you rather than into the key) . To get the strong muscles involved to the full, you need to keep the knuckles in a natural position with only a slight curve. Then you have enormous potential for power, with smaller effort.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1412249 - 04/06/10 01:23 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
John_B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/10
Posts: 621
Loc: Bristol, UK
It seems to me that the term 'energy' is misleading. Surely, in very simplistic 'mechanical' terms, the factors are the torque applied to the fingers by the muscles and tendons (i.e. the force applied) and the velocity of the fingers where they meet the keys.

If you view the finger as a rigid lever (for the sake of argument ignore the muscles etc that control the 1st and 2nd joints) then the longer the lever is (i.e. extended fingers) the greater is the torque needed to apply the same force where the fingers touch the keys but, at the same time, the angular movement at the knuckle will be less. Conversely, the shorter the lever (curled fingers where the distance from the knuckle to the finger tip is reduced) the less the torque but the greater the angular motion.

Whether that has any bearing on the very complex musculature of the hand is another matter all together.

Top
#1412261 - 04/06/10 01:35 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: John_B]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Try holding your finger out straight. Move it as far as you would to depress a key and monitor the knuckle. Then curl your finger and do the same. The former has much more feeling of action from the knuckle and it should involve a larger movement at the knuckle- hence more scope for energy input. Mine feels restricted when my finger is curled. Also, notice how the straight finger tip moves almost perfectly downwards. Whereas the curled one shows much more rotational movement towards you- unless you are using an enormously low wrist. It's simply a less direct application of energy and harder to angle with efficiency. Plus there is vastly more scope for collapse with the rounded finger.

Also, one more thing- when on the pad, action about EVERY joint in the finger serves either to increase contact with the key, or to channel energy into moving that key. When the fingertip is pointed, any further muscular activity only serves to weaken the point of contact. So if it's not aligned flawlessly, no muscular activity can aid you I'd far sooner be in a position where I know that every possible action (except straightening actions, of course) is more likely to contribute a positive than a negative. When you're looking for a big sound, I think this far more desirable. It's also far less likely to be thrown off balance by the nerves of a concert situation, for example. Any faint instability caused by a little shaking vanishes, as you simply feel a faint curling action. Once this action has already been do to an extreme, it cannot contribute beneficially.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1412270 - 04/06/10 01:48 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Cashley]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13759
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Originally Posted By: Cashley

Exactly which part of the fingers should the pressure be applied ? The intersection between the nail and flesh ? Or the underside of the finger ?


Somewhere in between.

And the process of figuring that out is something of a personal journey that all pianists must take. This is the part of practicing that is not drill - analyze what you do, try something different, adopt what works, discard what doesn't. Lather, rinse, repeat.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

Top
#1412291 - 04/06/10 02:27 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
wavelength Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 340
Loc: Vermont, USA
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Sure, there are different approaches that work but we have to remember that the same fundamentals govern each and every one of these approaches. This is very important. I simply don't think this statement is accurate:

"This is as much to do with physics as anything else - by shaping your finger in the manner required to press on the tip you need less energy to create a difference - and this means you have a wider variety of strengths you can apply."

I'm not saying that means nobody should play on the finger tips ever, or that nobody can play well this way. However, physics as I understand it, seems to give an extremely strong suggestion that the description would be more applicable to flat fingers, based on the laws of mechanics. When looking for efficient transmission and maximal variety, I would always take the pad of the finger. This can be done with totally flat fingers or marginally shaped fingers. Either way, it provides far more scope for energy transfer than when the tips curl up.

PS. Arguably this is more about the lumbricals (about the knuckles) than the fingertip itself. However to reach the fingertip, you have to already have gone beyond the point where these muscles work to their best efficiency- or put them vastly out of line with the plane of the key (making their action more towards you rather than into the key) . To get the strong muscles involved to the full, you need to keep the knuckles in a natural position with only a slight curve. Then you have enormous potential for power, with smaller effort.


You're getting your physics terms mixed up. "Efficiency" in this case should mean the transmission of force with minimal loss of kinetic energy. "Energy" has a specific meaning, and it has nothing to do with "maximal variety". Curved fingers are definitely more efficient at transmitting force.

There are certainly times when playing flat-fingered can give beautiful, expressive legato. But all this physics talk is jumbled up and incorrect.

Top
#1412304 - 04/06/10 02:48 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: wavelength]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Where did I say energy has anything directly to do with maximal variety? However, if you are in a position of having the option to tranfer the maximum energy possible efficiently, your upper range is obviously bigger than if you waste plenty of the energy with a means that only permits an indirect strike. Hence more variety is possible. That is hardly controversial logic, surely?Especially as using the pads permits indirect strikes as well, when you raise the wrist. It allows total freedom over how directly or indirectly you wish to apply the energy. If you have the ability to apply energy as directly or indirectly as you like, you clearly have more range than if you employ a method that can only apply it indirectly and with wastage.

By efficiency I am referring to how much of the energy input goes into the hammer. If you move on an indirect plane, some of the energy travels on the wrong plane to do so. It is hence inefficient. If I am somehow mixed up, would you care to explain in some detail? And seeing as I took the time to explain why a flat-finger would permit greater efficiency through directness of motion (as well as other factors), would you like to counter it with a little detail about the reason why curved fingers might be more efficient, rather than simply stating it as if it were incontrovertible fact? Having studies physics and mechanics, I see no basis for that claim. So, if you feel I'm mistaken, perhaps you could explain what factors you believe would make it more efficient (in spite of the fact that it prevents the most direct transfer of energy from the knuckle)? I'm open to factors that I may not have yet considered, but simply telling me I'm wrong is not immediately going to cause me to switch sides, sorry.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1412370 - 04/06/10 04:44 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
Beginning piano students are typically taught to keep their
fingers curved, which naturally results in the fingers hitting
the keys with the tips. I suppose this is okay for a starting
point, but there is a tendency for many teachers to insist on
this basic hand position even into the advanced stages of
playing. This is particularly true in the US, where anything
less than curved fingers implies laziness, and there is no
greater sin in the US than laziness.

As pieces get technically more demanding, this basic curved
finger position just will not cut it. In advanced playing you
may have to strike the keys with the finger flat, and thus with
the bottom of the finger, or with the side of the finger, or
beyond the tip of the finger, that is, with the nail, or with the
first joint collapsed, not curved, and so forth.
So there is hard and fast rule on how to strike the keys. Generally
you hit the keys with whatever is necessary in a given playing
situation, and this could mean just about anything.

Note that if you play from sheet music without looking at
your hands, this solves all problems with technique. Not
only does this improve reading, since you can keep your
eyes on the score, but at the same time it lets your hands
find the best fingering and technique on their own, with
no special effort on your part, greatly simplifying playing.
This way you never have to read another finger number on
the score, and your hands automatically determine the best way to hit
the keys and finger position.

Top
#1412386 - 04/06/10 05:18 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
John_B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/10
Posts: 621
Loc: Bristol, UK
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Having studies physics and mechanics, I see no basis for that claim.


Well, 40 years ago I got a degree in physics (and then forgot all I had learnt within the next five years) but your scientific explanation sounds very dubious to me.

One question though: some time ago I seem to recall you were advocating 'balancing' the arm on one's fingers and allowing them to support the weight of the arm. I can't see for the life of me how that is possible with flattish fingers.

Top
#1412393 - 04/06/10 05:33 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
wavelength Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 340
Loc: Vermont, USA
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Where did I say energy has anything directly to do with maximal variety? However, if you are in a position of having the option to tranfer the maximum energy possible efficiently, your upper range is obviously bigger than if you waste plenty of the energy with a means that only permits an indirect strike. Hence more variety is possible. That is hardly controversial logic, surely?Especially as using the pads permits indirect strikes as well, when you raise the wrist. It allows total freedom over how directly or indirectly you wish to apply the energy. If you have the ability to apply energy as directly or indirectly as you like, you clearly have more range than if you employ a method that can only apply it indirectly and with wastage.

By efficiency I am referring to how much of the energy input goes into the hammer. If you move on an indirect plane, some of the energy travels on the wrong plane to do so. It is hence inefficient. If I am somehow mixed up, would you care to explain in some detail? And seeing as I took the time to explain why a flat-finger would permit greater efficiency through directness of motion (as well as other factors), would you like to counter it with a little detail about the reason why curved fingers might be more efficient, rather than simply stating it as if it were incontrovertible fact? Having studies physics and mechanics, I see no basis for that claim. So, if you feel I'm mistaken, perhaps you could explain what factors you believe would make it more efficient (in spite of the fact that it prevents the most direct transfer of energy from the knuckle)? I'm open to factors that I may not have yet considered, but simply telling me I'm wrong is not immediately going to cause me to switch sides, sorry.



Your finger is a lever. The fulcrum is the knuckle. The closer to the fulcrum your load (the piano key) is, the less effort it takes to move it. Curving the finger brings the load closer to the fulcrum.

I'm not arguing with your assertion that playing with the pads is better than playing with the tips.

I am taking issue with the inaccurate use of the language of physics to try to prove that assertion.

The language of piano technique and tone production is imprecise and poetic. It works in person, with a teacher. The language of physics is precise, but it is not the language of piano technique because piano technique goes beyond physics and into aural trickery.

Top
#1412421 - 04/06/10 05:52 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: wavelength]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Originally Posted By: wavelength
Your finger is a lever. The fulcrum is the knuckle. The closer to the fulcrum your load (the piano key) is, the less effort it takes to move it. Curving the finger brings the load closer to the fulcrum.

Yep, that's all I meant. And I didn't mean that playing on the pads of the finger is never appropriate!
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

Top
#1412427 - 04/06/10 05:58 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: John_B]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: John_B
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Having studies physics and mechanics, I see no basis for that claim.


Well, 40 years ago I got a degree in physics (and then forgot all I had learnt within the next five years) but your scientific explanation sounds very dubious to me.

One question though: some time ago I seem to recall you were advocating 'balancing' the arm on one's fingers and allowing them to support the weight of the arm. I can't see for the life of me how that is possible with flattish fingers.


They need to support a portion of the arm's weight, yes. Not all of it though and not none of it. Why a flat finger might not be able to do that is beyond me. I'm doing it right now on the tabletop and it's far more comfortable and balanced when I use the whole pad of my finger.

So what is your reasoning for saying that a strike that is clearly in the plane of required motion would not be more efficient than one that is not and in which give in the joints is inevitable?
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1412446 - 04/06/10 06:19 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: wavelength]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
"Your finger is a lever. The fulcrum is the knuckle. The closer to the fulcrum your load (the piano key) is, the less effort it takes to move it. Curving the finger brings the load closer to the fulcrum."

I see the point. But it is not a fixed structure. Especially not with a greatly curved finger. What of the inevitable loss of contact upon the key from the reduced area of contact? What of the inevitable fact that motion from the knuckle cannot be transmitted on a direct plane- due to a truly substantial amount of the energy being channelled on a horizontal plane (assuming that you don't have a staggeringly low wrist)? What of the fact that any muscular action in the end joints of the fingers decreases the stability of the structure and contact- instead of aiding it or serving to contribute additional energy input on top of that provided from the knuckle? Or that all of the muscles that contribute (especially the lumbricals) operate with more strength and function when beginning closer to a neutral position- than when already starting from an exaggerated position.

Sorry, but I don't believe for one second that these factors can be outweighed by the small change in the distance. After all, if that were truly the biggest factor, would we not all seek to form a perfect right angle at the next joint after the knuckle and keep the final joint perfectly straight? Neither do I observe pianists who make the biggest ranges of sounds tending to play on extreme tips with exaggerated curvature in the fingers- except for a specific effect.

I particularly can't see how it could reasonably be argued that finger tips are inherently superior, based on science. There are so many factors against it that I'm definitely siding with the dual possibilites for either direct or indirect angles for energy transfer, that come with the flattish finger.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1412450 - 04/06/10 06:21 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Ben Crosland Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/10
Posts: 418
Loc: Worcester, UK
My main issue with the open-fingered approach is that I am immediately aware of how much tension it introduces by default. For me, this tension is extremely effective at stopping much of my musical intention dead in it's tracks. Also, I do not support your notion that 'give in the joints is inevitable' - at least not in the sense that it would constitute any more give than is inevitable with any approach? A degree of flexibility is surely desirable in any case, as without it, there would be no shock-absorption?
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Sound Designer

Cool Beans!

Easy Christmas Jazz

YouTube channel




Top
#1412455 - 04/06/10 06:25 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
You just prefer the alternative, which is what motivates you to find the physics unconvincing. That's fine. But the physics of the situation remain, irrespective of all mitigating elements. And bear in mind that the OP is in the context of the discussion about the difference between pressing a key on a digital and an acoustic (which feeds out of discussion regarding the value of a digital piano for beginners). The flat fingered approach works just fine on a digital in ANY circumstance, and students who have been playing on a digital piano tend to play with their fingers more or less rigid from the knuckle with no ability to control dynamic. A conversation about what is appropriate at a concert performance level is somewhat out of place in the context of this beginners-on-a-digital/acoustic origin of the question - what is effective in a concert performance is often far from useful for a beginner, which I'm sure I'm not alone in noticing?
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

Top
#1412462 - 04/06/10 06:30 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13759
Loc: Iowa City, IA
FYI:

The finger is three levers, attached to another lever, attached to another lever, attached to another lever. Two of those levers are not simple hinges (wrist and shoulder) and they have the ability to change the orientation of all the other levers.

Each of these levers are controlled by a complex system of muscles and tendons, and the entire mechanism rests on a foundation that is somewhat flexible (the rest of your body.) This foundation is balanced at three points - the pelvis and two legs - but the weight distribution between them is often in flux.

Oh, and did I mention that the levers on two of the fingers are anatomically linked (the 4th and 5th.) Also, playing a finger by itself is a very different motion than playing it after another. Finger 3 alone requires a different motion than finger 3 after the thumb, which also requires a different motion than finger 3 after finger 4.

Simple physics may be useful in describing narrowly defined microscopic aspects of technique, but for actual piano playing, accounting for all the levers, angles, and forces used, in their proper contexts, would require hundreds of pages of equations.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

Top
#1412463 - 04/06/10 06:30 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Ben Crosland]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Why tension by default? You have to use a lot of muscle tension to form such a curved shape. Far more than to play with a natural finger shape- according to many who know a lot more about the anatomy than I do. I certainly feel more comfort with small stabilising actions that are spread across each joint, than when the hand is curved to the point where the last two joints are unable to contribute anything that does not act almost solely horizontally. As for shock absorption, yes it would certainly be necessarily. But it would detract from efficiency, which was the source of my disagreement. That ain't efficient! A naturally shaped finger undergoes far less shock and absorbs the little that occurs really very easily- and requires no joints to be fixed into position or to undergo comparable compression. No joint gives! They all squeeze faintly inwards and spread the load.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1412471 - 04/06/10 06:40 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Elissa Milne]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
You just prefer the alternative, which is what motivates you to find the physics unconvincing. That's fine. But the physics of the situation remain, irrespective of all mitigating elements.


The substantial number of mitigating elements I gave are not 'physics'? It's a complex issue, but I simply do not believe that so many factors fail to outweigh a small difference in the distance from the knuckle.

Also, with regard to ease, playing with a rounded tip requires far more factors to come perfectly together. When you squeeze from a slightly flattened finger, you can feel every joint acting positively. If you start too curved, you often collapse and then often have to use the opposite(!) muscles to those required in order to reset. And then many students collapse again. If you start flatter, you feel the natural inward action in every joint- until it carries you into a natural position. The most natural action creates a balanced position. There's no danger of forcing one joint into place but then having to use opposing muscles in another to keep it there. The whole finger does it's naturally evolved function of squeezing lightly inwards and every single joint contributes towards contact and balance. There is no fear of a near vertical joint accidentally slipping. Every natural inward action reinforces the balance. It's so simple that I can't understand why anyone would not want to use this as the most standard and normal way to play.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1412472 - 04/06/10 06:41 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Kreisler]
John_B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/10
Posts: 621
Loc: Bristol, UK
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
FYI:

The finger is three levers, attached to another lever, attached to another lever, attached to another lever. Two of those levers are not simple hinges (wrist and shoulder) and they have the ability to change the orientation of all the other levers.

Each of these levers are controlled by a complex system of muscles and tendons, and the entire mechanism rests on a foundation that is somewhat flexible (the rest of your body.) This foundation is balanced at three points - the pelvis and two legs - but the weight distribution between them is often in flux.

Oh, and did I mention that the levers on two of the fingers are anatomically linked (the 4th and 5th.) Also, playing a finger by itself is a very different motion than playing it after another. Finger 3 alone requires a different motion than finger 3 after the thumb, which also requires a different motion than finger 3 after finger 4.

Simple physics may be useful in describing narrowly defined microscopic aspects of technique, but for actual piano playing, accounting for all the levers, angles, and forces used, in their proper contexts, would require hundreds of pages of equations.


Thank heavens for some reality instead of pseudo-science.

Top
#1412477 - 04/06/10 06:54 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
wavelength Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 340
Loc: Vermont, USA
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
"Your finger is a lever. The fulcrum is the knuckle. The closer to the fulcrum your load (the piano key) is, the less effort it takes to move it. Curving the finger brings the load closer to the fulcrum."

I see the point. But it is not a fixed structure. Especially not with a greatly curved finger. What of the inevitable loss of contact upon the key from the reduced area of contact? What of the inevitable fact that motion from the knuckle cannot be transmitted on a direct plane- due to a truly substantial amount of the energy being channelled on a horizontal plane (assuming that you don't have a staggeringly low wrist)? What of the fact that any muscular action in the end joints of the fingers decreases the stability of the structure and contact- instead of aiding it or serving to contribute additional energy input on top of that provided from the knuckle? Or that all of the muscles that contribute (especially the lumbricals) operate with more strength and function when beginning closer to a neutral position- than when already starting from an exaggerated position.

Sorry, but I don't believe for one second that these factors can be outweighed by the small change in the distance. After all, if that were truly the biggest factor, would we not all seek to form a perfect right angle at the next joint after the knuckle and keep the final joint perfectly straight? Neither do I observe pianists who make the biggest ranges of sounds tending to play on extreme tips with exaggerated curvature in the fingers- except for a specific effect.

I particularly can't see how it could reasonably be argued that finger tips are inherently superior, based on science. There are so many factors against it that I'm definitely siding with the dual possibilites for either direct or indirect angles for energy transfer, that come with the flattish finger.


I don't necessarily disagree with your conclusions. But I wholeheartedly disagree with the reasoning that you present to get there, at least the part that's "based on science". Drawing conclusions from a simplistic application of theory to a complex system is not science.

Playing with flat fingers can have advantages, and (as I understand them) they are almost as you describe-- but not for the reasons you describe. Again, you're not using the language of physics properly. As I understand it, flat-fingered playing can be useful precisely because it is *less* efficient at transferring kinetic energy from the body to the piano. Once you are in the action, and the key is depressed but the hammer has not hit the string I believe flat-fingers can give you greater control and can produce beautiful, legato, cantabile playing. But it was precisely because the kinetic energy was diverted from its intended direction (down) that the playing became more delicately nuanced.

And what is this "outside the plane of motion" business? Do your fingers curve to the right and left?

Top
#1412479 - 04/06/10 06:55 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: John_B]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
None of the factors I listed are pseudo-science. Would I also be making silly talk if I said it is less efficient to turn your palm the wrong way and only using the opposing muscles to play the piano? Is it too complex to say that this is less efficient than playing with the muscles that can act most directly into a key?

There are sound reason for many things- such as why the lumbricals can't produce much power from the knuckle if you play from an enormously high wrist either. That's not pseudo-science. It's very simple application of mechnical laws based on horizontal and vertical components of a force. If you want to transmit power with the utmost directness from the knuckle, you need a naturally shaped finger, not one that curves up to play on the tip. You have used up most of the capacity for motion and thrown that which remains off-line. There are a thousand and one other things you need to do as well, but the more flat-fingered approach is inherently more efficient- if you want to be able to transmit energy from the knuckle, without always having to sending loads of it on a useless horizontal plane. That's not pseudo-science. It's fundmental mechanics.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1412481 - 04/06/10 06:58 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: wavelength]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: wavelength
And what is this "outside the plane of motion" business? Do your fingers curve to the right and left?



Of course not. I'm talkin horizontally as in towards yourself. Think about motion that occurs about the knuckle. When the finger has been curved up, that motion does not operate very directly through the path of the key. You waste a lot of the energy input. With flat fingers it is geared very directly into the near exact plane in which the key travels.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1412483 - 04/06/10 07:04 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
John_B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/10
Posts: 621
Loc: Bristol, UK
I'm sorry, Nyireqyhazi, but you seem to use terms without really understanding what they mean and you also seem to have a lack of basic understanding of levers.

I point you to wavelength's last post which also sums up my thoughts.

[Edit] However, I am sure you are an infinitely better pianist than I could ever hope to be.


Edited by John_B (04/06/10 07:10 PM)

Top
#1412490 - 04/06/10 07:17 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: John_B]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
I understand the notion that this could make a reasonably big difference IF it were a fixed structure. It isn't. To attempt to make it so would be very dangerous- particularly as the last two joints of a very curved finger would be rendered virtually useless (as they would act almost SOLELY towards you, not into the key) unless you work two opposing muscles groups against each other to stabilise. I would not want to recommend this to anybody.

And you feel that the notion that when a force is applied on an indirect line to a path of motion it wastes the force substantially is "pseudo-science"? Why dimiss this but keep repeating the business about the lever? It's a case of balancing the role of two subsantial factors. Neither is any less worthy of consideration. And if you acknowledge that flat fingers work better, why not make the same assumption that I do? ie that the indirectness of attack must cause serious problems- coupled with all the other perfectly reasonable problems I pointed out.

Sorry, but any method that places value on efficient transmission of energy from the knuckle (without seeking seizing up in the finger) requires a finger that is in a more natural position. Not one where the muscles have already "shot their load" before they even end up able to start act into the key (from a necessarily less than optimal angle).

If you don't want efficient transfers from the strongest, most able muscles of the hand then that is fine. I'm just saying that it's definable that that this pointed finger method does not permit the lumbricals to operate to high efficiency or without a highly complex means of balancing. The alternative is inherently far simpler and more direct. I didn't say either is right or wrong.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1412567 - 04/06/10 09:36 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7301
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
This is a most interesting discussion; however, I want to remind all that the greats for the most part played on the pads of their fingers, but with curved fingers. They were/are able to do so by maintaining a lower wrist position than what is generally illustrated (and I fear taught) in most method books and piano texts which I've seen.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

Top
#1412586 - 04/06/10 10:11 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Yeah. One thing that has occurred to me is that some of us may not even be talking of totally different things, necessarily. Almost everything is somewhere in the middle. I don't advocate collapsed joints as normal, or totally flat fingers (although I certainly employ the latter at times). Primarily I just don't think that any alignment that stops the natural function inward function of the last two joints is good for balance or ease- at any level of attainment. I've spent a lot of time slowly squeezing an initially flat finger through various positions using the natural inward muscular actions. If done slowly, you can feel the point where any additional activity from that joint would induce a feeling of horizontal force and not directly contribute any further to vertical contact. That's my primary yardstick for the normal position. I want any activity in those joints (faint as it is) to benefit and contribute to both balance and motion, not to leave me feeling like I will slip unless I stop and leave either fixed or devoid of muscular activity. This takes me to a position that is not entirely flat but neither would it come even close to only the tip of the finger. All the inward muscles work lightly but productively to glue you against the key and permit the strong lumbricals to move from the knuckle a direct plane with the key's motion. Nothing feels compressed or works against the limit of a joints motion. I feel vastly more potential to transmit energy here- and the fact that the pianists who produced the most searing "big" cantabile usually moved in this way does not strike me as any coincidence (or transcedence of physics). I realise that my point about the lever aspect was mistaken. However, I do believe that those about the planes of force and stability of motion must be a major factor in what is easily observed in practise. I think your point about the slightly lower wrist is important. It makes that direct plane of motion possible. Funnily enough, I've recently tended to do a lot of lighter things with an increasingly high wrist. However, I'm increasingly thinking that if you want to squeeze a big sound out (without thrusting the arm in), the lower the wrist the better.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1412610 - 04/06/10 10:52 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
RonO Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 115
Loc: New Zealand
Hang in there Nyiregyhazi. I completely agree with the main thrust of your argument.

Ron
_________________________
Now I Love Music Practice

Top
#1412855 - 04/07/10 11:19 AM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: RonO]
wavelength Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 340
Loc: Vermont, USA
Did you get all that, Cashley? wink

I have been re-reading "The Well Tempered Keyboard Teacher," which presents a historical overview of piano pedagogy. There is as much hogwash and contradiction in that book, from historically famous teachers, as in this thread.

You can't break it down to simple physics. That's why the great teachers use poetic - rather than scientific - language.

Top
#1412868 - 04/07/10 11:46 AM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: wavelength]
Cashley Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/16/09
Posts: 530
The physics part is a bit difficult to understand; worse still, there is no conclusion.

But I know if I were to use my fingertips, I'll have to trim my nails. I can't do simple household chores with my nails at reasonable length. Even picking up a piece of paper would be difficult.

Top
#1412898 - 04/07/10 12:57 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Cashley]
moscheles001 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/08
Posts: 753
Loc: Northeast Pennsylvania
If you note the shape of your hand as your arm hangs loosely at your side, it forms a natural, gentle curve. What I’ve read and my own experience tell me that playing the keys with this natural curve enables me to play with the least amount of tension. I think that’s why the B major and E major scales are easier to play than C major, because they allow for this relaxed, natural curve. Chopin always started his students with the B major scale rather than C, no doubt for this reason.

The shape of your hand is going to have to change depending on what you’re playing, of course. But I think trying to retain and use the natural curve, which will have you playing more on the pads than on the tips, is probably a good idea.

Top
#1412911 - 04/07/10 01:15 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Cashley]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Beginners tend to play in one of three ways:
1. with the finger more or less rigid from the knuckle
2. with the finger forming a straight line out from the knuckle to the first joint and then the second joint as straight (or beyond straight!) as much as possible (with the fingertip section almost bending back at up to a 20 degree angle)
3. with the fingers falling in a naturally curved position

method 3 will give the best results by a country mile

In an effort to get some beginners to create this third position teachers encourage students to think about playing on the tips of their fingers. In actual fact, once one has progressed very far at all one would be hindered by an adherence to playing specifically and uniquely on the fingertips. But if one starts from playing with the entire length of that third joint one is limited in one's ability to modulate the touch (let alone working very hard to press down each key).

Just as many students try to play with method 2 and with method 1, and maybe to a teacher who was purely concerned with playing on the finger tip this would be no problem, method 2 is at least as bad as method 1 in terms of restricting tonal control, and worse in terms of creating tension.

The more a student is inclined to play with method 1 (above) the less flexibility in tone will be possible. And in my experience students who practice on instruments with less resistance tend to develop a method 1 style of playing. Method 2 is typical of tense students (of course, this is not a one-way causal street - students who play this way will, by definition, experience tension - of the colloquial bad kind).

At the end of the day the shape of the hand is key to the production of tone, not the placement of the finger tip. But again, the injunction given by many teachers that students play on the tips of their fingers is a short-hand way of seeking to develop method 3 as compared to method 1. And playing with the entire length of the joint depressing the key is rarely of any positive value at all when in the first stages of learning.
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

Top
#1412935 - 04/07/10 01:38 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Cashley]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7301
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: Cashley
The physics part is a bit difficult to understand; worse still, there is no conclusion.

But I know if I were to use my fingertips, I'll have to trim my nails. I can't do simple household chores with my nails at reasonable length. Even picking up a piece of paper would be difficult.


You asked the correct way of pressing a key, and I guess we're remiss in not telling you that the best way is to press it down. When you press side to side or upwards, you don't get any sound.

All kidding aside, the focus on the finger tip avoids the entire issue which is that we play piano with a whole body mechanism, consisting of torso, arms, wrists, hands and fingers, and legs for balance and pedaling. Your teacher should be working with you on each of these elements, both separately and as a whole.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

Top
#1412953 - 04/07/10 02:08 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Elissa Milne]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
How can playing on the tips lead to a balanced natural curve? You most easily learn the natural curve by sensing what the return force of the key does to the neutral starting point. Then feeling how a tiny amount of added squeezing from each joint restores the equilibrium that was taken away as the key pushed back and caused that natural position to deform. You need to perceive what that force does and then perceive how to cancel it out. How can coiling the finger substantially past this point of maximum balance help to achieve it? I don't think that's the most direct path. When working with beginners I use a lot of different exercises. However, for collapsing tips I always get them to start with a completely flat finger that contacts a depressed key along its whole length. When they squeeze inward very slowly, I've rarely encountered anyone who wasn't able to get the finger into a naturally rounded position. Sometimes they need to work on only squeezing in with the end joint first, but almost everyone goes on to find how to balance without collapsing, when using this approach. I get them to gradually go further and further until they can feel that any additional curling is serving to weaken the contact and balance, rather than add anything positive. Just about everyone perceives this point without having come anywhere remotely near to the very tip of the finger. It's not surprising because any action from the final joint works increasingly across the key rather than into it, the further you continue.


In general I'd actually go so far as to say that those who I have seen attempting to play on the very tips of their fingers tend to suffer a lot more collapses than those who remember how to just lightly squeeze an initially flattish finger into balance. Another aspect here is that a collapsed flatter finger is easily corrected. Simply feel that inward action from the last joint onwards up to the knuckle. That small inward motion is a very simple fix. Students always seem to find it harder to correct collapses that occur when they have very curled fingers. You basically have to reset and start again. Far easier to fall short of the right muscular activity and then add a little more- than to go way beyond the right level and have to start looking to go backwards, I think. I's say that this would be a big danger with seeking to start with curled up fingers but then hope to return to a smaller curve. It doesn't give you any sensitivity to the right level of activity or teach you how to feel what you need to counter the return force of the key. So if you get accustomed to this, you're basically hoping to leap backwards without knowing exactly how to get to your destination or precisely where it even lies. If you learn what the muscular activity is specifically for, you get a lot of feedback along a very direct route.

PS. Playing with a totally flat finger does not either cause or necessarily imply great tension. I play this way for specific purposes with substantially less effort and tension than when I coil a finger. In the case of of inexperienced pianists, it may suggest that they are using opposing muscles to force the finger straight. That is not good. However, when the finger naturally straightens out as the product of action that is all at the knuckle, there is no cause to speak of notable or undesirable tensions.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1412990 - 04/07/10 02:57 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Ben Crosland Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/10
Posts: 418
Loc: Worcester, UK
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi


PS. Playing with a totally flat finger does not either cause or necessarily imply great tension.


Of course it does. It is not the the natural position of the fingers. If you let your arms dangle by your sides in as relaxed a manner as possible, the fingers form a natural curvature. Any attempt to straighten them beyond this point induces stiffness, not only in the fingers themselves, but also in the hand.

Surely, playing in C major is also very cumbersome if the fingers are opened beyond the natural curvature, as the thumbs are forced away from the keyboard? Or are you advocating a high knuckle position, which seems to be the only way to keep the fingers relatively straight, in front of the black keys, and with the thumbs on the keys?
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Sound Designer

Cool Beans!

Easy Christmas Jazz

YouTube channel




Top
#1413019 - 04/07/10 03:27 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Ben Crosland]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
The logic does not follow. When you put a force on something either it moves or something responds to cancel that force. So if a joint collapses (in the procedure of action from the knuckles- not due to active straightening forces within the joints themselves,as I specified) that is due to LACK of muscle tension. Conversely, when a finger keeps a curved shape while the key exerts a force against it, muscular tensions are precisely what cancel out that force and keep it from deforming in response to that force. Flat fingers can be associated with poor muscular use and extreme tensions. However, they do not require them to occur. It's all down to what else is going on and how the forces add up.

This can be done either with near vertical fingers on near horizontal ones, by the way. Either is possible without much effort and both have their uses.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1413024 - 04/07/10 03:36 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Try putting a totally limp hand on the keys and slowly let your wrist drop. Even without going far enough to depress any keys at all, the return force of the keys should straighten your fingers. If it does not, they are not in a relaxed state. Fingers can straighten without an ounce of tension. Of course, there's some tension in playing with a flat finger, no matter how well you organise it. But the same applies with any motion. Why a flat finger should necessarily involve any worse or more uncomfortable ones than anything else, I don't see any reason. If you do it the right way, you could put up a highly justifiable argument that it serves to minimise tensions- scarcely requiring any except in the strong, capable lumbricals that operate the knuckles. I think it's just a case of leaping to false conclusions because flattened fingers are often the product of ill-focussed tensions all over the place. But that's not the only thing that results in them.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1413049 - 04/07/10 04:09 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Claude56 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/02/09
Posts: 469
The truth about piano technique is that there is NO "CORRECT" way at all!

Many virtuosos will display virtuosity by having a curved finger technique. Others will display viruosity with a flat finger technique ex: Horowitz.


There is no correct way of pressing a key. The fact that every individual is different and has slightly different hand mechanisms is the truth. Everybodies hand and wrist is slightly different but all have common charactistics - 4 fingers and 1 thumb.

Top
#1413057 - 04/07/10 04:15 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Claude56]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7301
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: noSkillz
The truth about piano technique is that there is NO "CORRECT" way at all!

Many virtuosos will display virtuosity by having a curved finger technique. Others will display viruosity with a flat finger technique ex: Horowitz.


Not true. Horowitz played with an arch. Watch some of his videos. He also played with a very low wrist position, so as to be able to play on the pads of his fingers as often as possible.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

Top
#1413093 - 04/07/10 04:44 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
I wouldn't say either description is totally wrong. His most normal playing is not as flat as some people think, but if you look at the black key study he really is totally flat most of the time in the fingers of the right hand. It shows that there are plenty of adaptations that are worth making in the right context. However, while no way is a single correct truth, there are many things that might be worth employing in context that would could form a very poor foundation from which to base things overall. While I would never rule out either entirely, I don't believe that either extreme use of the tips or complete flatness is a good way to start. I think there are many different approaches that are valuable, but I do regard the level of balance and comfort that comes from using marginally curved pads as the primary point of reference- from which countless adaptations could be made. It's a good middle point from which you can either flatten more or curl up more, as the necessity arises. If you start with ease of balance as the number one goal, you can go on to whatever you want. Also, the student is not forced in one direction. It leaves them better equipped to make their own adapations if they start in the middle.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1413142 - 04/07/10 05:33 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7301
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Of course. But the statement was that Horowizt played flat fingered, but most of the time, he has a curve, however slight, in his fingers.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

Top
#1413147 - 04/07/10 05:35 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Yeah, absolutely. I'd certainly agree that it was more normal for him to do that. Even when very slight, you can usually see that there is a sense of action in the final joint. He doesn't actually let it truly collapse very often.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1413158 - 04/07/10 05:48 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Elissa Milne]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11556
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
Beginners tend to play in one of three ways:
1. with the finger more or less rigid from the knuckle
2. with the finger forming a straight line out from the knuckle to the first joint and then the second joint as straight (or beyond straight!) as much as possible (with the fingertip section almost bending back at up to a 20 degree angle)
3. with the fingers falling in a naturally curved position

method 3 will give the best results by a country mile

In an effort to get some beginners to create this third position teachers encourage students to think about playing on the tips of their fingers. In actual fact, once one has progressed very far at all one would be hindered by an adherence to playing specifically and uniquely on the fingertips. But if one starts from playing with the entire length of that third joint one is limited in one's ability to modulate the touch (let alone working very hard to press down each key)......

I found this post enlightening in regards to the apparent disagreements and for me at least it gave food for thought.

As I understand, there is an aim to prevent a habit which will create a problem - namely the straight-out fingers. The idea is that if you start with a curve, eventually the other shapes will grow out of it, but if you allow a start with the rigidly straight fingers, nothing can (probably) grow out them. I also imagine that the first music will have a span of 5 fingers and few if any black keys, which has fingers more curved anyway. Then as the span spreads out and black keys are introduced, the hand will start having more shapes and be less curved. An observant teacher would watch for that.

I could also see a problem if a teacher (all teachers not being created equal) was not aware of this, and rigidly imposed the fingertip-down, round hand, in all circumstances because of being taught that herself without understanding it, that this could prevent more natural use of the hand. Of if a student follows too religiously, straining to maintain that curve even when the music doesn't call for it. I bet that this has happened lots of times. It would also explain some of the debate.

One thing about the human body - We make minute adjustments all the time. If you tried to make all the correct motions in stirring coffee, you would be relatively stiff. But if you allow yourself to respond to the weight of the spoon in your hand, and the resistance of the liquid, your coffee stirring will be tension-free. Likewise, I imagine, if you are reaching naturally for the keys it would be a shame to destroy this by religious adherence to the curved hand. Wouldn't that break a connection that we have with ourselves?

It would seem that a good teacher would observe a student carefully and adjust her advice according to what the student is doing rather than having one rigid rule - but maybe a "rule of thumb".

I imagine that various teachers would have different ways of approaching this, since there is not really "one single shape" or use of the fingers and hand. But they have to start somewhere.

Top
#1413218 - 04/07/10 07:16 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: keystring]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7301
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
KS, the problem I see watching my colleagues' students and others is that the fingers are too arched. They are playing too much on the finger tips. There is a time and place for using 'high fingers' and it is most often in Baroque and Classical repertoire, where we need a very articulated sound.

I am not blaming the teachers for this, as it is what most of us were taught. I was certainly taught this, and I believe if you look in many primers of very methods, including John Thompson, you'll see a hand diagram with a suggestion that it be shaped as if it were holding a tennis ball. In the USA and probably Canada as well, we've been suffering from this nonsense for at least a century.

Better for the teacher to help the student press the key and lift off the key with a high pointing wrist, so the student gets a feel for touch and release, not stab, jab, and jerk. A while back, someone put up a really nice link which illustrated this motion very well.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

Top
#1413229 - 04/07/10 07:39 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Yeah, I think it would make as much sense to argue that all students should start with flat fingers to protect them from overcurling, as it would to suggest that they use only the tips to protect them from straight fingers. Either could be beneficial in some cases but also harmful in others. A student who learns to feel what role every joint can play- balancing into the equivalent of the neutral position (but with small activities to counter the response force from the key) can either choose to curl up more than others or less. They can base it on the feedback of the sensations, not on the idea that a certain shape is always better. I've learned a lot from the exercises that Alan Fraser uses in his book and adapted various ones in slightly different ways for students. I don't personally say to use any particular shape- as long as they can get the feeling of each joint contributing something positive rather than doubling back (including the knuckle above all). I just show them how to form a comfortable balance on each finger. This leads to some small curves and some vastly more pronounced arches. However, when a student slowly explores the full range (by gradually moving from a totally flattened finger to the very tip, in one ultra-slow but continuous movement) I don't find that they come out feeling the tip was either the most comfortable or the most stable point to contact with. In some cases I've been really surprised by just how quickly what had previously looked like very weak, tiny hands start to find comfortably supportive shapes. If the student can feel what the purpose of the muscular action is and what achieves balance, it's a lot better than simply aiming for a certain shape because the teacher said so. When you evolve into the shape from scratch through a slow, continously balanced action, it's a lot easier than having a wild stab in the dark at what might be supportive shape- before then stabbing it into the key to see if it will collapse or not
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1413262 - 04/07/10 08:33 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Yes, well the point is that a good teacher seeks to have the student achieve good tonal control and relaxed approach to the keyboard at all times, and a lot of this conversation is based on a very adult way of approaching thinking about the body. A fixation on solely playing on the finger tips is patently absurd, but when students 'naturally' play with rigid digits (which is the norm for children from families without an instrumental culture - by which I mean, no one in the family has a clue how to play any musical instruments) teachers asking students to create a relaxed curved finger shape where the tip (as compared to the entire first two joints) of the finger is the point of contact with the key is an eminently sensible approach. You only need to listen to the difference between children who play with rigid fingers and those who play using the tip of the finger.

DISCLAIMER: I've realised that some participants in this conversation restrict the term 'tip' to that part of the finger that touches the key when the last joint of the finger is at a 90 degree angle to the keyboard. Take that angle back to 60 degrees at most, often closer to 30 degrees, and this part of the finger 'tip' is that which I would call the 'tip'. Playing with the joint at right angles to the key is not appropriate when pressing the key in the context of any musical flow.
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

Top
#1413295 - 04/07/10 09:49 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Elissa Milne]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
The entire first two joints? What on earth makes you think that anyone might have suggested that, when referring to utilisng the pad? Personally I'd still regard 60 degrees as being the tip (and certainly not very close to 'relaxed' or a 'natural' angle), but I'd consider 30 degrees to count more for the pad. It's a little different for different hands maybe (not mention a little vague, with regard to exactly where the line would be imagined to extend along the finger) but those 30 degrees make all the difference for mine. Between those lies a totally different sensation of contact and balance. I'm probably closer to 20, for my regular position.

PS. technically the last joint is more tense if you keep some curve- not more relaxed. Forcing it down too much from the arm can make the collapse more probable. However releasing it doesn't make the joint stay rounded. A light inward grip does. No matter what you relax, a student who cannot perceive that tiny grip will usually collapse unless on the very tip. It's certainly more comfortable to keep that supporting, but that support really does come from muscular activity in the joint- not relaxation. I've found it far easier to deal with collapses since I understood this- in fact, excessive slack in these joints had been a big hole in my own playing until I learned of this less than two years ago. When a joint collapses either it is overrelaxed or it is being subjected to too much force elsewhere in the mechanism. The end product feels more relaxed overall, but it is not created by relaxation in the localised joint. I think it's likely that the rigid finger you described is the result of failure to feel how to employ action properly in the joint. When everything is felt to draws inwards (to equalize the force that makes for a collapse) it creates a tremendous opportunity to begin to relax elsewhere.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1413328 - 04/07/10 10:58 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
The entire first two joints? What on earth makes you think that anyone might have suggested that, when referring to utilisng the pad?
I wasn't thinking anyone was referring to that - I was thinking of the students who present having been practicing on a dodgy keyboard (or who believe they need to play with rigid digits - and there's LOADS of them about).
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

Top
#1413351 - 04/07/10 11:46 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Elissa Milne]
Michael Darnton Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 243
Loc: Chicago
Bringing this thread WAYYYY back to the start, I think the Cashley might have asked too much question, and got things pointed in the wrong direction.

I play regularly on both a digital and a grand, and my fingers don't change at all. Why should they?

So was the original question about the difference, or about finger position?

One big difference I see between MY digital and MY grand is that the power curves are very different. It's much easier for me to get a more controlled dynamic range on the digital because the power curve seems longer--different levels of volume are farther apart in pressure. On the real piano, things happen in a smaller range of pressures, and I don't have enough control to get what I want; my playing on the grand can be uneven in volume from finger to finger, note to note, and the dynamics erratic and out of control, but on the digital it's easier for me to control these things. That is, the real piano is "twitchy" and shows up all of my faults.

I wonder if that's what prompted the original question?
_________________________
http://darntonviolins.com and http://darntonhersh.com

Top
#1413446 - 04/08/10 08:01 AM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Elissa Milne]
RonO Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 115
Loc: New Zealand
My understanding of the anatomy of the hand and fingers is rudimentary. However, if the muscles and tendons work the way I think they do it could help us to understand what is best for playing the piano.

Each finger has 2 tendons which control the grasping motion. One tendon is attached to the middle section of the finger. The other one is attached to the end segment. By pulling on the first tendon with the appropriate muscle in my forearm I can keep my finger straight and move the whole finger up and down from the knuckle, or, I can make the finger bend at the second joint (second from the tip) while keeping the two end segments of the finger straight. I can make my finger 3 form a right angle at that joint, but I haven’t as much control over the other fingers. The beginners with stiff fingers Elissa described are using this muscle.

When I pull on the second tendon, which is attached to the end finger segment, I can only curve the whole finger. It is impossible to bend the finger at the end joint independently. When I try to do so the whole finger curves. But this tendon and its muscle seems to work easier, it seems much stronger and I also have much more control.

This second tendon and muscle is the one that does most of the work for us in our everyday lives. Grasping things, picking things up, holding things. Actually I can’t think of an occasion when I would what to use just the other tendon. I guess it probably works in a support role most of the time.

We need the maximum strength and control available to us when playing the piano. I think this means that the primary muscle and tendon we should be using is the one that is attached to the fingers' end segment, and this is the one that is going to cause our fingers to curve. This is the one we will automatically use if we think of a slight clenching action.

I think I have reached a very similar conclusion to others above, but just looking at it a bit differently can help our understanding of the forces at work.

It could also help us to explain the whys when we are establishing a good hand shape in a student.
_________________________
Now I Love Music Practice

Top
#1413474 - 04/08/10 09:18 AM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Michael Darnton]
John_B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/10
Posts: 621
Loc: Bristol, UK
Originally Posted By: Michael Darnton
Bringing this thread WAYYYY back to the start, I think the Cashley might have asked too much question, and got things pointed in the wrong direction....


I think the OP's question was (at least partly) inspired by the following thread, where various teaches said they could easily identify the difference in the touch of people who played solely on DPs. Two of the main differences that were noted were a restricted dynamic range (particularly at the fortissimo end) and lumpy phrasing.

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...tml#Post1409593

It's my view that one factor contributing to those problems is that almost all people playing a DP will set the volume control so that the DP is very much quieter than an acoustic piano (for obvious reasons). This then affects how people play and also, of course, affects what people can actually hear (when the volume control is turned up all sorts of problems can be revealed which were previously masked).


Edited by John_B (04/08/10 09:30 AM)

Top
#1413480 - 04/08/10 09:33 AM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Michael Darnton]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7301
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: Michael Darnton
Bringing this thread WAYYYY back to the start, I think the Cashley might have asked too much question, and got things pointed in the wrong direction.

I play regularly on both a digital and a grand, and my fingers don't change at all. Why should they?

So was the original question about the difference, or about finger position?

One big difference I see between MY digital and MY grand is that the power curves are very different. It's much easier for me to get a more controlled dynamic range on the digital because the power curve seems longer--different levels of volume are farther apart in pressure. On the real piano, things happen in a smaller range of pressures, and I don't have enough control to get what I want; my playing on the grand can be uneven in volume from finger to finger, note to note, and the dynamics erratic and out of control, but on the digital it's easier for me to control these things. That is, the real piano is "twitchy" and shows up all of my faults.

I wonder if that's what prompted the original question?


Michael, another way of thinking about this is that your keyboard, because of its very limited dynamic range, masks your playing imperfections. And because it does, you cannot hear imbalances in your playing and learn to correct it. The hours of practice you put in using the keyboard cheats you out of real progress.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

Top
#1413495 - 04/08/10 10:21 AM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: RonO]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: RonO

When I pull on the second tendon, which is attached to the end finger segment, I can only curve the whole finger. It is impossible to bend the finger at the end joint independently. When I try to do so the whole finger curves. But this tendon and its muscle seems to work easier, it seems much stronger and I also have much more control.

This second tendon and muscle is the one that does most of the work for us in our everyday lives. Grasping things, picking things up, holding things. Actually I can’t think of an occasion when I would what to use just the other tendon. I guess it probably works in a support role most of the time.

We need the maximum strength and control available to us when playing the piano. I think this means that the primary muscle and tendon we should be using is the one that is attached to the fingers' end segment, and this is the one that is going to cause our fingers to curve. This is the one we will automatically use if we think of a slight clenching action.



I don't think I'd quite agree, in terms of the fine details. I think the tendon that curls the final joint is important, but not much of a power source. I actually have some students who can bend that final joint wihtout the rest of the finger curling. Not quite sure how that works. Anyway, apparently the knuckle is operated by the lumbrical muscles (rather than tendons) that are vastly stronger. If you want the most able muscles to provide power, it makes sense to get it from here. So, I think the curling action from the fingertip is more to stabilise than anything. When grasping, I'm pretty sure it would primarily be your lumbricals operating from the knuckle- with the tendons following rather than leading the action. Apparently trying to support a heavy load primarily with the tendons that operate the following joints can lead to a lot of strain (eg if you support a bag of shopping on the mid-segment instead of on the segment next to the knuckle). So, although they are definitely important (to avoiding collapses), I don't think I'd use them too intensively. That is one of the implicit problems with using the tips as the most normal approach rather than for specific effects.

One thing I'm wondering is whether curling up the fingers with the tendons restricts the free use of the lumbricals. Try as I might, I can't get anywhere near as much action from those when my finger is curled. I feel much more power when the finger stays flatter and it all comes from the knuckle. Is there perhaps an anatomical reason for this?
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1413502 - 04/08/10 10:35 AM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Michael Darnton]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11556
Loc: Canada
Quote:
One big difference I see between MY digital and MY grand is that the power curves are very different. It's much easier for me to get a more controlled dynamic range on the digital because the power curve seems longer--different levels of volume are farther apart in pressure. On the real piano, things happen in a smaller range of pressures, and I don't have enough control to get what I want; my playing on the grand can be uneven in volume from finger to finger, note to note, and the dynamics erratic and out of control, but on the digital it's easier for me to control these things. That is, the real piano is "twitchy" and shows up all of my faults.

Can this also be related to you going to piano from violin, where the subtleties of dynamics and articulation happen in a different hand? I am also relating a violin-fact to what you described on piano. You know that a responsive violin will do wonders in the hands of a pro, but it will also "respond" in an amateur's hands by shutting down - also a reflection of that person's touch. IF you want to learn to really play the piano, might this responsiveness of the grand not be a good thing. Otherwise you get an instrument that plays itself for you while you type in the notes, and do a bit of fiddling with louds and softs, but nothing more subtle. When I switched to a more responsive violin my sound took a nose dive. But I learned to work with the instrument, and I developed a more sensitive touch and greater awareness of the instrument. I can't help wondering if there may be some parallels.

Top
#1413505 - 04/08/10 10:47 AM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: keystring]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Yes, to be honest, while I don't wish to sound like I'm saying that the person who wrote that must just be an awful pianist, but a similar thing occurred to me. My DP (A CLP370) has an absolutely miniscule range from soft to loud, compared to my battered antique upright Bluthner. Most of my students struggle to get much tone out of the Bluthner but can produce a big range easily on the DP. It's very easy to hit the maximum on those. Conversely, I've been working for a long time on my upright and I'm always learning to extract more and more tone from it. While most of my students would probably regard it as a quiet piano, I can now get a very big sound from it.

So, as I say, I don't wish to sound rude- but could it be that the poster has yet to learn the means to extract the full range out of the real instrument and control? If you're working in the mid-range, it may well seem that the power curve is wider on the digital. However, I suspect the grand is both far wider and has more audible increments between fine differences. Would Horowitz have found the widest range of dynamics on the DP?
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1413661 - 04/08/10 03:44 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Michael Darnton Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 243
Loc: Chicago
Since I used the words "power curve", I assume you're talking about me? I mean that with the digital, as hard as I pound, it doesn't go as far--the spread is less sensitive, the curve flatter. On the real piano, it's very sensitive: a little difference in touch makes a bigger difference. This makes the digital easier to control, that's all. I don't mean that it's better, and I definitely claim to not be in control. I was only addressing why practicing on a digital is different (and not as good) as on a real piano, and why a student who's practicing on a digital won't sound the same as on a real piano: they're not learning as much control.
_________________________
http://darntonviolins.com and http://darntonhersh.com

Top
#1413697 - 04/08/10 04:57 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
I feel much more power when the finger stays flatter and it all comes from the knuckle. Is there perhaps an anatomical reason for this?
Your anatomy is different to mine, as I feel much less power when the finger stays flatter and it all comes from the knuckles. But then my fingers have no natural inclination for the joints to create any other shape than a gently curved shape. I've had some students whose final joint in the finger is not only not curved, but it actually bends so the finger is beyond a 180 degree plane, and it sounds like that's how your fingers might also be? Further - do you practice on any other acoustic apart from a battered upright?
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

Top
#1413715 - 04/08/10 05:23 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Michael Darnton]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: Michael Darnton
Since I used the words "power curve", I assume you're talking about me? I mean that with the digital, as hard as I pound, it doesn't go as far--the spread is less sensitive, the curve flatter.


Ah, my mistake. I thought you meant the opposite regarding extreme levels- where the outer extremes of the digital were further apart than what was possible on the grand. After having read one or two comments on hear, it wouldn't have vastly surprised me to hear someone suggest that. Obviously that wasn't what you meant though- so no offence intended.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1413729 - 04/08/10 05:45 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Elissa Milne]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
I feel much more power when the finger stays flatter and it all comes from the knuckle. Is there perhaps an anatomical reason for this?
Your anatomy is different to mine, as I feel much less power when the finger stays flatter and it all comes from the knuckles. But then my fingers have no natural inclination for the joints to create any other shape than a gently curved shape. I've had some students whose final joint in the finger is not only not curved, but it actually bends so the finger is beyond a 180 degree plane, and it sounds like that's how your fingers might also be? Further - do you practice on any other acoustic apart from a battered upright?


I don't follow what you mean by "natural inclination". No hand naturally does that- but it's a more extreme position that serves a valuable purpose. I wouldn't call it a natural one- but neither would I call curling up thee fingers natural. Any hand that is capable of straightening the fingers (although in practise it's more a case of allowing them to be straightened as the result of the keys returning a force)- and feeling movement at the knuckle can do it.

If you are generally opposed to this motion, is it possible that you'd just need to practise it, to get it working optimally? It took me a lot of practise to get the action from the knuckles. Various hand exercises away from the piano (as well as use of a powerball and general weightlifting) have all contibuted to the ability to exploit that action. If you always seek to employ the end of the finger- could it be that you just aren't used to it. I say this because I have heard so many pianists say they use this for the most resonant and sonorous sounds but I have heard very few advise the tips for a rounded tone. What I see on films corresponds. If you don't train yourself in how to employ the action it won't offer its full potential at once. I heard that Horowitz told people that it took years to fully master this action.

There are many different ways of doing this. If seeking to channel maximum energuy from the arm I sometimes willfully straighten the finger a little and align it at about 45 degrees- to transmit the force with virtually no give in the finger (but room to follow through rather than jam the arm rigid into the bed). Ervin Nyiregyhazi used this for some of biggest sounds anyone ever got out of a piano.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WB8RfLtVgpU

However, I don't generally collapse the end joints. If you start with a very flat horizontal finger (you can do this merely by relaxing and lowering the wrist- the key will straighten it before you actually go to strike it) and then squeeze in from every joint, then every single joint contributes positively towards squeezing the sound out- from an angle where every action is optimally aligned to travel in the plane of motion. This makes a huge and rounded cantabile sound. You see this in a lot of great pianists who have that truly special sound.

PS. This applies especially on grands. Fortunately my Bluthner upright responds to these things, although some uprights make little difference.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1413732 - 04/08/10 05:52 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
But why would I seek to play in this way when I have had complete ease and freedom with my current approach?
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

Top
#1413740 - 04/08/10 05:54 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Elissa Milne]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
And I don't understand what you mean by saying that no hand behaves as my hand does.
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

Top
#1413748 - 04/08/10 06:05 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Elissa Milne]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Can you produce the tone or dynamic range of a pianist like Horowitz or Cortot? For me that is the primary goal and it's what I'm always looking to work towards. Unless I get there (which I'm certainly not saying I have), I'm never going to settle for what I'm doing. I'd say that this goal comes over ease and freedom, if it weren't the case that working towards a variety of different types of actions and the sounds they bring need not go against that. However, if it were only about ease and freedom then I would only ever align my hand in a neutral position. I would never curl the fingers and neither would I ever straighten them.

I didn't mean that your hand is unnatural. I meant the action of employing the muscles at the knuckle without curling the finger. In evolutionary terms the two would rarely be needed separately. However, in playing the piano there are tremendous uses to being able to work almost solely from the knuckle. If we restricted ourselves to what immediately feels natural alone, we would be heavily restricted. Sometimes you need to look beyond what immediately seems normal or natural, to extend your limits.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (04/08/10 06:30 PM)
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1413761 - 04/08/10 06:29 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
But this is far beyond the intent of this thread. I agree that if one seeks to create sounds like one's pianistic heroes then one will seek any number of means to achieve this end. If one wants to play the piano with ease, freedom, expression, range and so forth, effectively communicating with and through the piano without believing one has fallen short simply because one does not play like Horowitz, then one may not feel so driven to your kind of reworking of the hand action.

I am unashamed in saying that my primary purpose in playing the piano does not include matching the dynamic range of Horowitz or Cortot.
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

Top
#1413763 - 04/08/10 06:30 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Elissa Milne]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
And I realise that in a forum like this is might be utter heresy to suggest that one not be fixated on being as good as Horowitz.
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

Top
#1413768 - 04/08/10 06:36 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Elissa Milne]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
If you're happy as you are then that's fine- but why rule out something that has brought success for some of the greatest pianists of all time? That's all I'm puzzled by. And this is far from beyond the thread. It's both about pressing a key and something that makes very little different to the sound on a digital- and which is hence unlikely to be mastered on one. I wouldn't teach it in the first lesson (although I do use exercises away from the piano- so the students can perceive what it's like to utilise the knuckles alone from early on), but I often encourage advanced students to try these different combinations for specific sounds. I've often found that it leads to great improvement in the sound, when students understand the basics of the action. It certainly improved my own sound enormously. And it doesn't have to be phrased as a negative. I don't tell a student that they are rubbish because they don't have the tone of Horowitz. I simply show them different qualities of movement that might take them a little bit closer than if they stick to a single manner of movement. You can't progress, full stop- unless you strive for something more.

PS. Just discovered that you wrote Mozzie. Great work! Some of the jazzy pieces in the early grades have been pretty horrific before, but I've enjoyed doing that one with various students.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1413786 - 04/08/10 07:14 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
But I'm not advocating that your approach is wrong!! I think that if we were together at a piano we would be in incredible agreement - I think that my approach is very much from a pragmatic piano teacher perspective dealing with the kinds of problems and challenges that present in a very normal suburban piano teaching practice.... and I don't have time to post more today, but it's a very interesting discussion!
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

Top
#1413911 - 04/08/10 11:21 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Elissa Milne]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13759
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I think we'd all basically be in agreement. This is more an argument over words than substance.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

Top
#1413918 - 04/08/10 11:39 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Kreisler]
Elene Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/07
Posts: 1408
Loc: under monsoon clouds
It would be fascinating to see these things actually demonstrated by the posters, as it's relatively hard to picture what you mean from the verbal descriptions. Probably there would indeed be a lot of agreement if people could actually watch each other.

If any of you feel so inclined and have the time and energy, perhaps you could make short demo videos and put them on YouTube.

Elene

Top
#1413968 - 04/09/10 01:53 AM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Elene]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Back online for 5 minutes and wanted to say thanks Nyiregyhazi for the kind comments about Mozzie - I was running out the door this morning and hadn't noticed the postscript!
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

Top
#1413994 - 04/09/10 03:31 AM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Kreisler]
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4741
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
I think we'd all basically be in agreement. This is more an argument over words than substance.

Agreed. Without being able to play for each other, to demonstrate in action what we are teaching, words are likely to result in ever-increasing miscommunication and confusion.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

Top
#1624908 - 02/21/11 03:24 AM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Elissa Milne]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
But this is far beyond the intent of this thread. I agree that if one seeks to create sounds like one's pianistic heroes then one will seek any number of means to achieve this end. If one wants to play the piano with ease, freedom, expression, range and so forth, effectively communicating with and through the piano without believing one has fallen short simply because one does not play like Horowitz, then one may not feel so driven to your kind of reworking of the hand action.

I am unashamed in saying that my primary purpose in playing the piano does not include matching the dynamic range of Horowitz or Cortot.
I saw someone reading this thread which I think I missed (maybe banned?). I really like this Elene. If I had one, my motto would be - Be true to yourself not Horowitz! and I can't help thinking he would have agreed


Edited by keyboardklutz (02/21/11 03:54 AM)
Edit Reason: yeh, I was banned - the Leopold Mozart's Tutor incident!
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


Top
#1625206 - 02/21/11 01:55 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Cashley]
findingnemo2010 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/09
Posts: 1491
Is there a correct way or is it just one man's opinion from another?
_________________________
music to me is kind of like putting together pieces of a puzzle
i call it the paino because its where i put all my pain

Top
#1625212 - 02/21/11 02:00 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Cashley]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
I really think it's about learning how to listen to your body. Mostly I find pianist vs piano when in reality it should be pianist collaborating with piano.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


Top
#1625216 - 02/21/11 02:08 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: findingnemo2010]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: joeb84
Is there a correct way or is it just one man's opinion from another?


It's all about context. Some ways tend to land more heavily whereas others tend to absorb impact. Also, some enable massive acceleration, whereas others limit it. Everyone ought to at least be familiar with ways to produce more acceleration with less impact- unless they want to be limited in the range of what they can do. I wrote a blog post about how different ways of using a pencil to depress a key lead to very different results. The first part is in the end of this post (see part two also):


http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/2010/11/two-planes-theory-part-i.html


A pencil is obviously a little different from the finger itself, but it gives a good illustration of how some styles of leverage are more effective than others. It's particularly of note that lowering the far end of a lever seriously reduces the energy transfer (contrary to what many pianists actually seem to think- when starting with a raised wrist and lowering it down). Raising it during leverage makes far more possible. It actually takes a fair bit of practise to use a pencil to pull a key strongly while getting a very soft landing- although it's worth it, to understand the basis of the finger can act in a similar way.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1625246 - 02/21/11 02:57 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
findingnemo2010 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/09
Posts: 1491
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted By: joeb84
Is there a correct way or is it just one man's opinion from another?


It's all about context. Some ways tend to land more heavily whereas others tend to absorb impact. Also, some enable massive acceleration, whereas others limit it. Everyone ought to at least be familiar with ways to produce more acceleration with less impact- unless they want to be limited in the range of what they can do. I wrote a blog post about how different ways of using a pencil to depress a key lead to very different results. The first part is in the end of this post (see part two also):


http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/2010/11/two-planes-theory-part-i.html


A pencil is obviously a little different from the finger itself, but it gives a good illustration of how some styles of leverage are more effective than others. It's particularly of note that lowering the far end of a lever seriously reduces the energy transfer (contrary to what many pianists actually seem to think- when starting with a raised wrist and lowering it down). Raising it during leverage makes far more possible. It actually takes a fair bit of practise to use a pencil to pull a key strongly while getting a very soft landing- although it's worth it, to understand the basis of the finger can act in a similar way.


It's funny how one scholar or teacher can tell you one thing. Then another can tell you something totally different like "your doing it all wrong" or "do it this way". Who do you listen to? ha
_________________________
music to me is kind of like putting together pieces of a puzzle
i call it the paino because its where i put all my pain

Top
#1625247 - 02/21/11 02:59 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Cashley]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
The one that makes you go Wow!
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


Top
#1625256 - 02/21/11 03:05 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: findingnemo2010]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: joeb84

It's funny how one scholar or teacher can tell you one thing. Then another can tell you something totally different like "your doing it all wrong" or "do it this way". Who do you listen to? ha


You need to find the best way for yourself- but why not get used to the whole range? Start with a totally flat finger and lightly pull it into a curved position- allowing a lightened arm to follow behind. It's a great way of feeling where your finger is most comfortable and getting acquainted with every possible position.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1625270 - 02/21/11 03:18 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Cashley]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
This silent video is the best advice I know on the four different ways to bring about key depression. The hand's mine by the way:
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Just to illustrate the sheer importance of a supportive hand, here's Carola Grindea's hand. Do those pronounced knuckles reveal the shape of a 'relaxed' hand, or a shape that has been formed through efficient, well-controlled grip in the hand? I have rarely seen a more solidly formed arch. This is clearly the kind of hand that supports enough at the keyboard to reduce the requirement of extensive balancing forces further back in the arm- in a fashion that (unlike some methods) does not purport to break any laws of physics.




_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


Top
#1625273 - 02/21/11 03:24 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: keyboardklutz]
findingnemo2010 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/09
Posts: 1491
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
This silent video is the best advice I know on the four different ways to bring about key depression. The hand's mine by the way:
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Just to illustrate the sheer importance of a supportive hand, here's Carola Grindea's hand. Do those pronounced knuckles reveal the shape of a 'relaxed' hand, or a shape that has been formed through efficient, well-controlled grip in the hand? I have rarely seen a more solidly formed arch. This is clearly the kind of hand that supports enough at the keyboard to reduce the requirement of extensive balancing forces further back in the arm- in a fashion that (unlike some methods) does not purport to break any laws of physics.






That could possibly be the funniest video I have ever seen. It looks like your hand is trying to make love to the keyboard. It's not that serious. It's just trying to play a keyboard or piano.


Edited by joeb84 (02/21/11 03:24 PM)
_________________________
music to me is kind of like putting together pieces of a puzzle
i call it the paino because its where i put all my pain

Top
#1625276 - 02/21/11 03:25 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Cashley]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Originally Posted By: joeb84
It looks like your hand is trying to make love to the keyboard.
Out of the mouths of babes!
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


Top
#1625278 - 02/21/11 03:28 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: keyboardklutz]
findingnemo2010 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/09
Posts: 1491
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Out of the mouths of babes!

I'm only messin with you man. Your right though.
_________________________
music to me is kind of like putting together pieces of a puzzle
i call it the paino because its where i put all my pain

Top
#1625279 - 02/21/11 03:29 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
This silent video is the best advice I know on the four different ways to bring about key depression. The hand's mine by the way:[quote=Nyiregyhazi]Just to illustrate the sheer importance of a supportive hand, here's Carola Grindea's hand. Do those pronounced knuckles reveal the shape of a 'relaxed' hand, or a shape that has been formed through efficient, well-controlled grip in the hand? I have rarely seen a more solidly formed arch. This is clearly the kind of hand that supports enough at the keyboard to reduce the requirement of extensive balancing forces further back in the arm- in a fashion that (unlike some methods) does not purport to break any laws of physics.





You're resuscitating this nonsense again? As I explained at the time- that hand has excellent solid arch shape in the knuckles (which you sadly you abandon in your other videos, rather than benefit from). The strong shape your hand makes there is nowhere to been seen elsewhere- hence the error.

Just how intent are you on shoe-horning a personal vendetta into any topic? Intent enough to scour the archives and quote a post I wrote about 2 years ago? Accusing me of dishonesty and libelling me in another thread wasn't good enough for you? I have no interest whatsoever in any silly personal battles with you. If you make any further attempts to draw me into one it will be going straight to the moderators.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1625281 - 02/21/11 03:30 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Cashley]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
And Joe and I were getting on so nicely...
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


Top
#1625314 - 02/21/11 04:15 PM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Cashley]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Incidentally, I am rather flattered that you had to go two whole years back in the archive, in order to try make me look silly. Anyway, I now know better than to be so short-sighted as to assume that the way a person shapes the knuckles of their hand when moving over the keys will have any bearing upon the whether they employ a stable arch while generally playing.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1625699 - 02/22/11 02:20 AM Re: The correct way of pressing a key ? [Re: Cashley]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Many problems come from the fact that most work toward a technique suited exactly to a contemporary standard - the idea that all pianos should have the same action and you train to play that ideal piano. For what other instrument is that the case? Every oboist has their own bespoke reeds, every violin differs as does every guitar. I've seen a highly regarded pianist bashing away on a lighter-than-conventional piano action as if they're playing their Steinway at home and consequently breaking strings. Why should the instrument accommodate your technique? It should be the other way around - why would you want it any other way? The MacDonald's school of piano playing?
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


Top
Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 >

Moderator:  Ken Knapp 
What's Hot!!
LAST CALL - Piano Newsletter Ideas!
-------------------
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Knabe Pianos
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
Who's Online
137 registered (A Guy, 48 invisible), 1700 Guests and 25 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
75495 Members
42 Forums
156106 Topics
2292415 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Liszt's letters to Jessie Laussot
by Michael Sayers
07/23/14 07:59 PM
Good popular and classical songs for a piano gig?
by Tony Romo
07/23/14 07:13 PM
Famous mistakes by concert pianists
by rov
07/23/14 06:40 PM
Korg Triton>midi>us
b>lightning to usb>iPad mini>Garageband

by SilentMHP
07/23/14 04:54 PM
Pianist Martin Malmgren Performing in Helsinki
by Piano World
07/23/14 04:25 PM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission