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#1431544 - 05/07/10 02:35 PM Re: Horowitz' Technique [Re: Frozenicicles]
LaReginadellaNotte Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/09
Posts: 390
Originally Posted By: Frozenicicles
I think that everyone lies on a bell-curve. For people near the average, a generally successful technique would work very well.

Are you saying that the supremely gifted, such as Horowitz, need to use a technique that is different than that of the average pianist? And that if the average pianist attempts to use a technique that is designed for the supremely gifted, that is when you are risking injury?

Quote:
If you look at his fingers when he strikes the key, they are not perfectly straight.

They often look close to being straight. Even Horowitz talked about how he thinks that flat fingers, where the entire ball is touching the key as opposed to just the tip, will produce a better sound. However, many pianists are in the habit of curling the fingers, instead of maintaining a natural curve. If someone thinks that a curl is a curve, then I can understand why he would perceive Horowitz' fingers as being excessively flat.

Quote:
In fact, IIRC.....Harold Schonberg commented on it in some of his reviews.

Yes, he talked about how Horowitz used low wrists and flat fingers.

Quote:
Horowitz' fingers often look flat, but that doesn't mean he fails to maintain an arch or bridge.

How do you maintain the arch of the hand if the wrist is below the keyboard. Doesn't the arch of the hand automatically collapse when the wrist is too low?

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#1431553 - 05/07/10 02:45 PM Re: Horowitz' Technique [Re: LaReginadellaNotte]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19786
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: LaReginadellaNotte
Quote:
In fact, IIRC.....Harold Schonberg commented on it in some of his reviews.

Yes, he talked about how Horowitz used low wrists and flat fingers.

You're taking me a bit out of context. smile
What I said was that Schonberg talked about how Horowitz used different physical approaches for different kinds of passages -- straight fingers for some, curled fingers for others.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1431555 - 05/07/10 02:50 PM Re: Horowitz' Technique [Re: LaReginadellaNotte]
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: LaReginadellaNotte Horowitz' fingers often look flat, but that doesn't mean he fails to maintain an arch or bridge.[/quote

How do you maintain the arch of the hand if the wrist is below the keyboard. Doesn't the arch of the hand automatically collapse when the wrist is too low?


I don't think that follows. I've seen lots of pics and videos of VH with his wrists low, but I can't recall seeing one where his knuckles/arch looks collapsed.

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#1431557 - 05/07/10 02:50 PM Re: Horowitz' Technique [Re: Mark_C]
LaReginadellaNotte Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/09
Posts: 390
You're right; he talked about that also. Horowitz did use different approaches for different pieces, but I suppose that the most unorthodox approaches are the ones that people remember best.



Edited by LaReginadellaNotte (05/07/10 02:57 PM)

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#1431559 - 05/07/10 02:52 PM Re: Horowitz' Technique [Re: Mark_C]
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Mark_C


Question: If we could play like Glenn Gould -- I mean really play like him -- and we knew it would lead to "focal dystonia and thoracic outlet syndrome," would we still play that way?

I think we would.

And then we'd try to get treatment for those things. smile


I'd take the third choice: figure out a way to play that doesn't cause focal dystonia.....

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#1431564 - 05/07/10 02:53 PM Re: Horowitz' Technique [Re: Mark_C]
hat Offline
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Registered: 12/29/09
Posts: 244
Loc: In a heap of trouble
Quote:
His physical organization was supreme. I was reminded of the T’ai Chi masters who could reportedly send an opponent flying by barely moving their little finger. How was it possible for such explosions of sound to come rocketing out of the piano, but there’s virtually no movement! In any case, those who felt he was stiff were dead wrong. Physically he was loose as a goose, but the extreme economy of his movements led to the illusion of stiffness.

Years later one of my Feldenkrais trainers, Jeff Haller was watching the Moscow recital with me and said, “Look, he walks and moves his head just like Moshe!” And indeed, Horowitz was the embodiment of an ideal which Moshe Feldenkrais taught in a different sphere: his entire physical organization was based on sensitivity (that is, ability to discriminate) and most important, derived from a clear intention.
_________________________
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#1431566 - 05/07/10 02:57 PM Re: Horowitz' Technique [Re: hat]
LaReginadellaNotte Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/09
Posts: 390
Phlebas, how would you define "arch of the hand"? I understood it to mean that the wrist is level with the knuckles and slightly higher than the keyboard. Am I misunderstanding the concept?

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#1431619 - 05/07/10 04:29 PM Re: Horowitz' Technique [Re: Mark_C]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Question: If we could play like Glenn Gould -- I mean really play like him -- and we knew it would lead to "focal dystonia and thoracic outlet syndrome," would we still play that way?

I think we would.
Gould was a dreadful pianist. Very much a creature of his time.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1431623 - 05/07/10 04:33 PM Re: Horowitz' Technique [Re: keyboardklutz]
keyboardklutz Offline
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You folks really need to read Schlutz's Riddle of the Pianist's Finger. It's a very dense book but is in reality Shultz's attempt to 'scientifically' verify Horowitz's approach.
_________________________
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http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1431631 - 05/07/10 04:41 PM Re: Horowitz' Technique [Re: keyboardklutz]
Mark_C Online   content
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Registered: 11/11/09
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You need to have a more open mind.
(Yes, Glenn Gould was terrible.)
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1431635 - 05/07/10 04:48 PM Re: Horowitz' Technique [Re: Mark_C]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
You need to have a more open mind.
(Yes, Glenn Gould was terrible.)


Eccentric, yes. Terrible?!?!?!?!? No way!
_________________________
Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

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#1431637 - 05/07/10 04:50 PM Re: Horowitz' Technique [Re: Horowitzian]
Rui725 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 953
Is it possible that Gould hated Romantic period music because of the percussive tone produced by his very much, baroque style technique?

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#1431638 - 05/07/10 04:52 PM Re: Horowitz' Technique [Re: Rui725]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
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Loc: New York
Gould hated Mozart too. smile

He didn't hate stuff because of his percussive tone. He hated stuff because he was strange.

But he was great.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1431640 - 05/07/10 04:53 PM Re: Horowitz' Technique [Re: Rui725]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
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Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Gould had some big Oedipal problem. Composers had to bend to his will.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1431653 - 05/07/10 05:10 PM Re: Horowitz' Technique [Re: keyboardklutz]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6646
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Composers had to bend to his will.


That is exactly why I've never cared for him. He was absolutely a genius and I'd kill for his ability to play polyphonically, but Gould, was all about Gould. The best thing he did (which was quite a GREAT thing) was to put Bach back in the spotlight where he belongs. Unfortunately, he tainted an entire generation of pianists who tried to imitate him. Some of what I've heard from him leaves me wondering, "what the hell?" I appreciate him and respect his abilities, but he's one pianist I can live without.
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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#1431657 - 05/07/10 05:14 PM Re: Horowitz' Technique [Re: stores]
Mark_C Online   content
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Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19786
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Funny......I've never heard anyone who struck me as trying to imitate Gould.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1431659 - 05/07/10 05:16 PM Re: Horowitz' Technique [Re: Mark_C]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Funny......I've never heard anyone who struck me as trying to imitate Gould.


Neither have I.
_________________________
Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

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#1431665 - 05/07/10 05:20 PM Re: Horowitz' Technique [Re: Mark_C]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6646
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
I hear it all the time. A friend of mine tells the story of a young man playing some Bach for a class they were both in at university many years ago and he'd nailed down practically every nuance he'd heard in Gould's recording of the same work. The professor wasn't, at all, pleased with his performance. The young man exclaimed, "but I played it EXACTLY like Glenn Gould does!" The teacher replied, "I don't like Glenn Gould."
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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#1431676 - 05/07/10 05:31 PM Re: Horowitz' Technique [Re: Horowitzian]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19786
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Funny......I've never heard anyone who struck me as trying to imitate Gould.

Neither have I.

Cool. smile
But on the other hand, I spent too much of my life trying to imitate Horowitz, as did a few billion other people. ha

-----------------------------

"If you can't imitate him, don't copy him." -- Yogi Berra
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1431678 - 05/07/10 05:31 PM Re: Horowitz' Technique [Re: mikelovespiano]
Damon Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6149
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: mikelovespiano
lol no, like Pheblas said, horowitz often performed on his own steinway&sons, it's a bit of a stretch calling it cheating.


You can buy a piano today with action every bit as light as Horowitz's. It's called a Shigeru Kawai.
_________________________
It's been scientifically proven that Horowitz sucks.

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#1431697 - 05/07/10 05:57 PM Re: Horowitz' Technique [Re: LaReginadellaNotte]
Frozenicicles Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/09
Posts: 1324
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: LaReginadellaNotte
Originally Posted By: Frozenicicles
I think that everyone lies on a bell-curve. For people near the average, a generally successful technique would work very well.

Are you saying that the supremely gifted, such as Horowitz, need to use a technique that is different than that of the average pianist? And that if the average pianist attempts to use a technique that is designed for the supremely gifted, that is when you are risking injury?

Not necessarily. I'm thinking that the generally accepted techniques would work for most people, but some people who are built differently would need something else to work optimally. For example, many people would be fine with a typical diet following the food guide. But smaller people might become overweight if they tried to follow it, and people with faster metabolisms might lose weight. But most people would be fine. If, on the other hand, you tried to recommend a typical muscle builder's diet to everyone...

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#1431700 - 05/07/10 06:03 PM Re: Horowitz' Technique [Re: Mark_C]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6646
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Funny......I've never heard anyone who struck me as trying to imitate Gould.

Neither have I.

Cool. smile
But on the other hand, I spent too much of my life trying to imitate Horowitz, as did a few billion other people. ha

-----------------------------

"If you can't imitate him, don't copy him." -- Yogi Berra


I think most of us did at one point, or another.
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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#1431711 - 05/07/10 06:19 PM Re: Horowitz' Technique [Re: stores]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19786
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: stores
I think most of us did at one point, or another.

How about an "Imitate Horowitz" competition! ha

There would need to be several categories:

-- best
-- worst
-- most ridiculous
-- funniest
-- sustaining the greatest degree of injury
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1431855 - 05/07/10 10:09 PM Re: Horowitz' Technique [Re: Mark_C]
Kuanpiano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2147
Loc: Canada
Don't forget how the sounds Horowitz was able to create are based on his own orchestral ideas behind them, and how it is a conscious decision to make the enormous fortes, and the extremely soft pianos. There is an element of massive technique behind it...but I'm sure that other top performers could gain that ability if their interpretations required that kind of contrast. Horowitz's ideas about tone colour led to his extremely colourful playing, not just his ability to do so.
_________________________
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#1431873 - 05/07/10 10:34 PM Re: Horowitz' Technique [Re: LaReginadellaNotte]
crogersrx Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/25/08
Posts: 712
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Originally Posted By: LaReginadellaNotte
Horowitzian, so you believe that a technique that is natural for one person might not be natural for everyone else? That may be true, although it flies in the face of the logic of pedagogues such as Taubman who insist that everyone's anatomy is essentially the same and thus motions that are healthy for one pianist are automatically healthy for everyone. Those teachers would argue that what constitues a healthy or natural technique applies to everyone.


The belief that what works for one person will work for everyone is egocentric rubbish. Look at 5 sets of hands and you'll immediately see why. No set of hands is exactly the same, so not all techniques are going to be universal. I'm sure that Horowitz developed many of his ideosynchratic techniques from the time he was a child. Of course the worked for his hands... he spent a lifetime figuring out just what worked for his hands. To just look at his hand position and try to copy it is not really using the same technique.
_________________________
Cary Rogers, PharmD
San Francisco, CA
1887 Knabe 6'4" (Rebuilt)

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#1431967 - 05/08/10 01:48 AM Re: Horowitz' Technique [Re: Mark_C]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Funny......I've never heard anyone who struck me as trying to imitate Gould.
Ivo Pogorelich
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1431974 - 05/08/10 02:01 AM Re: Horowitz' Technique [Re: Mark_C]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5936
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Question: If we could play like Glenn Gould -- I mean really play like him -- and we knew it would lead to "focal dystonia and thoracic outlet syndrome," would we still play that way?

I think we would.
Gosh, I certainly wouldn't. I'd rather have my technique and pass on the injuries.
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#1431978 - 05/08/10 02:07 AM Re: Horowitz' Technique [Re: currawong]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
I wouldn't even if it offered 40 virgins in heaven! Or is that raisins?
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1431990 - 05/08/10 02:31 AM Re: Horowitz' Technique [Re: stores]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8891
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Composers had to bend to his will.


That is exactly why I've never cared for him. He was absolutely a genius and I'd kill for his ability to play polyphonically, but Gould, was all about Gould. The best thing he did (which was quite a GREAT thing) was to put Bach back in the spotlight where he belongs. Unfortunately, he tainted an entire generation of pianists who tried to imitate him. Some of what I've heard from him leaves me wondering, "what the hell?" I appreciate him and respect his abilities, but he's one pianist I can live without.

This is well said, and I quite agree with you my good mate.

Gould's Bach is always fascinating to hear, though didn't one reviewer comment: his humming would be better served by adhesive tape rather than magnetic tape?

For all that, the only Gould recordings in my collection are of Bach (and not that many), but when he gets around to other composers, sorry, it is not my cup of tea. One evening I heard his Beethoven Op. 28 whilst driving in the car and almost drove off the road.

My sincere apologies -yes, I don't have the barest fraction of his talent- but I'll listen elsewhere for Beethoven, okay?
_________________________
Jason

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#1432040 - 05/08/10 05:09 AM Re: Horowitz' Technique [Re: Kuanpiano]
babama Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/08
Posts: 800
Loc: Netherlands
Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
Don't forget how the sounds Horowitz was able to create are based on his own orchestral ideas behind them, and how it is a conscious decision to make the enormous fortes, and the extremely soft pianos. There is an element of massive technique behind it...but I'm sure that other top performers could gain that ability if their interpretations required that kind of contrast. Horowitz's ideas about tone colour led to his extremely colourful playing, not just his ability to do so.


Very good point imo.
I think Richter could have played anything like Horowitz, if he wanted to.

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