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#1453408 - 06/09/10 02:04 PM Re: Relax fingers during play... some advice? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
gooddog Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4779
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Nyiregyhazi, do you have any idea how obnoxious you sounded? I don't know if that was your intent, but it sure came across that way. We were having a nice civil conversation and "bam" you came in with a sharp tongue. That's counterproductive. Maybe read your posts before you actually post them. Cheesh.

Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Then obviously you are unaware ...There's an interesting exercise that illustrates what a lot of nonsense... ... But perhaps kbk is limited only by his ears rather than his physical means here? And presumably any conductor with good ears... Walking home is of little relevance. Almost everyone can walk.
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#1453417 - 06/09/10 02:15 PM Re: Relax fingers during play... some advice? [Re: gooddog]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
I find it extremely obnoxious for somebody claim that it's as easy to bring out lower voices as upper ones. Hence the reciprocatory tone, and the illustration of how dubious such bravado filled claims are.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

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#1453422 - 06/09/10 02:21 PM Re: Relax fingers during play... some advice? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
No, I'd better not.
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http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1453425 - 06/09/10 02:24 PM Re: Relax fingers during play... some advice? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
How are you getting on with the exercise, by the way kbk? Are you finding it as easy to bring out a clear rendition of three blind mice from the cluster, as the upper note? Is it as easy as you claim? Or are your "ears" letting you down?
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http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

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#1453427 - 06/09/10 02:29 PM Re: Relax fingers during play... some advice? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
I did Ode to Joy. Yeh, no great shakes.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1453428 - 06/09/10 02:29 PM Re: Relax fingers during play... some advice? [Re: keyboardklutz]
gooddog Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4779
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
No, I'd better not.
You're right. Don't feed the....
_________________________
Best regards,

Deborah

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#1453429 - 06/09/10 02:29 PM Re: Relax fingers during play... some advice? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
I should love to hear it.
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http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

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#1453432 - 06/09/10 02:32 PM Re: Relax fingers during play... some advice? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
gooddog Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4779
Loc: Seattle area, WA
KBK...DON'T.
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Best regards,

Deborah

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#1453435 - 06/09/10 02:37 PM Re: Relax fingers during play... some advice? [Re: gooddog]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
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Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Originally Posted By: gooddog
KBK...DON'T.
A 20 sec experiment is one thing. Recording, uploading etc is totally another. Besides as you say, it'll only be feeding...
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snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1453437 - 06/09/10 02:42 PM Re: Relax fingers during play... some advice? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
The problem is, your experiment proves nothing unless another person can distinguish what tune you are playing. And you must be able to to do this with all the other notes plyed ppp and the melody played mf, as well as with all the other notes played forte and the melody played fortissimo.

Otherwise it's clear that your claim that it's as easy to bring out lower voices as the top is exposed as pure bravado.

PS. I know people who really can do this. However, it takes extremely cultivated physical means. If the ear were truly the hard part, any conductor could do it. The conception of one note in a chord being notably projected over the others really is not hard. The execution is extraordinarily difficult, however.
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#1453567 - 06/09/10 06:21 PM Re: Relax fingers during play... some advice? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5448
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Hi klutz! I love it when I begin to hear counter melodies and other melodic lines in pieces. I second (or third, or however many) the notion of hearing better.

Did you know that my band is going to Wyoming next week to play in a Celtic festival? (Just trying to give you something to reply to and perhaps distract you from the. . . smile )

Cathy
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#1453574 - 06/09/10 06:34 PM Re: Relax fingers during play... some advice? [Re: jotur]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
Nyireghyazi is in no way a troll. That is a rude and pityful insinuation.

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#1453602 - 06/09/10 07:16 PM Re: Relax fingers during play... some advice? [Re: LaRate]
onlinepianoplayer Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/08/10
Posts: 2
My advice will be to take you time and don't rush things. Practise the key here. Take it slowly and practise playing slowly. You need to be able to move each finger independently of each other. It is kind of hard because our muscle memory stuffs us up. We have to reprogram ourselves.

Practise, practise and practise. And slow down and relax.
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#1453634 - 06/09/10 08:05 PM Re: Relax fingers during play... some advice? [Re: landorrano]
gooddog Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4779
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Nyireghyazi is in no way a troll. That is a rude and pityful insinuation.
Maybe so, but he sure is cranky.
_________________________
Best regards,

Deborah

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#1453678 - 06/09/10 09:28 PM Re: Relax fingers during play... some advice? [Re: gooddog]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Call, me what you like. I'm not interested in slanging matches. I'm interested in rational understanding of how to control voicing. I'm not a fan of the snake oil approach that puts it all down to the ear alone (aside from a little general vaguery about certain fingers being firmer- that helps very little unless you have already internalised the sensation). The ear is the means of feedback, not the means of execution.

If you want a simple method that actually permits notable and rapid progress (without the implication that your ears must be at fault, should you fail to make it), practise holding the note to be voiced while flicking that which is not as short as possible. No weight goes into the upper note, only a finger flick. But you support your arm greatly on the note which is to be voiced. Hey presto, return to normal and the lower/inner note should almost instantly start to come out more easily. And all without putting across the implication that anyone who fails to aquire the physical means bring out out the lower voice (simply by intending to) must have cloth ears. The same exercise is also useful for distinction between upper notes and accompaniment. I've seen it make a world of difference in the first movement of the moonlight. The fifth is held and everything else is staccato. Then return to legato but remember the distribution of weight. You don't need superhuman hearing to voice notes at will. Those with perfectly ordinary hearing can do it when they know how it's done. I've always seen instant improvement when using this with students.

The ear is what is responsible for controlling long-term phrasing and shaping. The ability to highlight any note in a single chord is physical. If you already know that you want to bring a note out, you need to work on the means of doing so. Forget the mind or ('ear') over matter approach. It's a dead end for all but the lucky.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

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#1453789 - 06/10/10 01:51 AM Re: Relax fingers during play... some advice? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Whose implying anyone 'must have cloth ears'? - that's inflammatory. I'm just saying your body knows best. How do you think an animal stalks its prey? Telling itself which foot to put forward softest?
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snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1453825 - 06/10/10 04:15 AM Re: Relax fingers during play... some advice? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
If it's primarily done by the ear, failure to achieve it is hence to be blamed on the ear. Hardly advanced logical thinking.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

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#1453885 - 06/10/10 08:41 AM Re: Relax fingers during play... some advice? [Re: gooddog]
TimR Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3159
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: gooddog
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Nyireghyazi is in no way a troll. That is a rude and pityful insinuation.
Maybe so, but he sure is cranky.


Not in my perception. Though he does get that way at times.

KBK has merely restated the Inner Game of Tennis approach to voicing - that focusing on the intended results will get you there without knowledge of the mechanics being necessary.

It actually works for some people. Probably it works for KBK. It utterly fails for me. (Once a skill is learned, that IS how it is executed. Learning is a different matter.)

Can you play an SATB hymn and bring out any given part? Of course. Any experienced player can.

Can I? Nope. It's beyond my current skill, but I'm getting close. Last year when I tried it was so obviously hopeless I put it on the shelf, apparently I'm improving. Now that it looks doable, I'm doing some specific exercises to help.

Can I listen to an SATB hymn and follow any given part, even if the parts are exactly equal volume? Of course. I've been able to do that for at least 40 years. So it's not my ears that are the problem.

Can I listen to myself play equal volumes and fool myself into thinking I'm bringing out the alto part? Oh, absolutely. That's one skill that's within everyone's grasp.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#1453907 - 06/10/10 09:56 AM Re: Relax fingers during play... some advice? [Re: TimR]
BB Player Offline


Registered: 11/17/06
Posts: 2557
Loc: Not in Texas
Folks.

I've received 6 report posts on this thread that basically are asking people to be nicer to each other. While it is certainly desirable that the ABF, and Pianoworld are friendly, welcoming places where we can learn and grow together, as with any large "family" there will be people who disagree. Sometimes, they won't do it in as friendly a way as onlookers might like.

However, the other moderators and I are not in the business of policing "tone". As long as people don't engage in name calling, profanity or other prohibited behaviors they're free to argue a point back and forth ad infinitum (and believe me, some will). If you lose interest in the discussion, tune it out. If you find particular forum members consistently irksome, use the forum "ignore" feature.
_________________________
Greg

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#1453916 - 06/10/10 10:23 AM Re: Relax fingers during play... some advice? [Re: BB Player]
moscheles001 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/08
Posts: 753
Loc: Northeast Pennsylvania
I came across this quote from Russell Sherman, and I was curious how people thought it fit into this discussion:

"The hand should be quiet, tranquil, floating. It is supported by the spine, whose stable strength is cantilevered through the shoulders and elbows, which, in turn, support the weightless and buoyant hand at rest. But in motion the hand channels the torso's energy, echoing and concentrating the body's disposition, the heart's disposition toward contraction and release.

The fingertip sinks into the key, secure but free. The entire apparatus, from tip to toe, through the arms, torso, and legs, hangs gently off the nexus between flesh and key. The motion is up and down, north and south, lined up on the axis formed by key, finger, and elbow. The fingertip adheres possessively (but tenderly) to the key, like a child suckling, like a monkey swinging off a branch firmly grasped by its limb or tail. The contact is sealed, flowing, momentarily eternal."

I know it isn't exactly a scientific description of how to play a note on the piano. Perhaps a bit too metaphysical, but I found it interesting nevertheless.

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#1453962 - 06/10/10 12:15 PM Re: Relax fingers during play... some advice? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
MaryBee Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 1207
Loc: Cleveland, OH
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
If you want a simple method that actually permits notable and rapid progress (without the implication that your ears must be at fault, should you fail to make it), practise holding the note to be voiced while flicking that which is not as short as possible. No weight goes into the upper note, only a finger flick. But you support your arm greatly on the note which is to be voiced. Hey presto, return to normal and the lower/inner note should almost instantly start to come out more easily. And all without putting across the implication that anyone who fails to aquire the physical means bring out out the lower voice (simply by intending to) must have cloth ears. The same exercise is also useful for distinction between upper notes and accompaniment. I've seen it make a world of difference in the first movement of the moonlight. The fifth is held and everything else is staccato. Then return to legato but remember the distribution of weight. You don't need superhuman hearing to voice notes at will. Those with perfectly ordinary hearing can do it when they know how it's done. I've always seen instant improvement when using this with students.

The ear is what is responsible for controlling long-term phrasing and shaping. The ability to highlight any note in a single chord is physical. If you already know that you want to bring a note out, you need to work on the means of doing so. Forget the mind or ('ear') over matter approach. It's a dead end for all but the lucky.

Now that's a good post, Nyiregyhazi -- useful, specific information, and no overt insults. Thank you! BTW, I think you'll find a lot less animosity directed toward you if you can keep that tone in your future postings.
_________________________
Mary Bee
Current mantra: Play outside the box.
XVI-XXXIV

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#1454007 - 06/10/10 01:53 PM Re: Relax fingers during play... some advice? [Re: MaryBee]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Nice one Mosheles!
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1454024 - 06/10/10 02:22 PM Re: Relax fingers during play... some advice? [Re: keyboardklutz]
moscheles001 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/08
Posts: 753
Loc: Northeast Pennsylvania
Thanks, KBK. I just wonder if it's relevent to the discussion. It seems as if it may be, but I'm not sure how. It's certainly a beautiful description of what playing freely feels like.

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#1454028 - 06/10/10 02:26 PM Re: Relax fingers during play... some advice? [Re: moscheles001]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
100% OT and a beautiful read to boot!
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1454055 - 06/10/10 03:18 PM Re: Relax fingers during play... some advice? [Re: MaryBee]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

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

Now that's a good post, Nyiregyhazi -- useful, specific information, and no overt insults. Thank you! BTW, I think you'll find a lot less animosity directed toward you if you can keep that tone in your future postings.


If you read my other posts, I think you'll find that I'm not a habitually rude person. However, I don't respond well to such things as flippant bravado, based on ignorance/wishful thinking (whichever you choose to regard it as). Also, my post did not contain any insults. It simply corrected the erroneous notion that it is as easy to voice middle parts as upper ones. There are both various scientific (specifically acoustical) and physioglogical aspects that can very easily prove that is not true. I stated these in my post, in order to to refute kbk's claim. Read that as rudeness if you will. But it was actually a factual correction and an explanation of why an analogy based on walking (which almost everyone can already do) is of scarcely any relevance regarding something that few people do to a high standard.

Calling someone obnoxious or a troll, however?
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

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#1454115 - 06/10/10 05:12 PM Re: Relax fingers during play... some advice? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
MaryBee Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 1207
Loc: Cleveland, OH
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Calling someone obnoxious or a troll, however?
Yeah, well, that too. frown
_________________________
Mary Bee
Current mantra: Play outside the box.
XVI-XXXIV

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#1454116 - 06/10/10 05:14 PM Re: Relax fingers during play... some advice? [Re: moscheles001]
MaryBee Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 1207
Loc: Cleveland, OH
Originally Posted By: moscheles001
"The hand should be quiet, tranquil, floating. It is supported by the spine, whose stable strength is cantilevered through the shoulders and elbows, which, in turn, support the weightless and buoyant hand at rest. But in motion the hand channels the torso's energy, echoing and concentrating the body's disposition, the heart's disposition toward contraction and release.

The fingertip sinks into the key, secure but free. The entire apparatus, from tip to toe, through the arms, torso, and legs, hangs gently off the nexus between flesh and key. The motion is up and down, north and south, lined up on the axis formed by key, finger, and elbow. The fingertip adheres possessively (but tenderly) to the key, like a child suckling, like a monkey swinging off a branch firmly grasped by its limb or tail. The contact is sealed, flowing, momentarily eternal."
Oh wow. But how do I actually do that?? confused

Maybe someone can post a video... grin
_________________________
Mary Bee
Current mantra: Play outside the box.
XVI-XXXIV

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#1454147 - 06/10/10 06:05 PM Re: Relax fingers during play... some advice? [Re: MaryBee]
jazzwee Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7060
Loc: So. California
If the discussion is kept to the topic and not be personal, I think this is quite useful. So let's keep the debate to the issues at hand.

I was able to do an Ode to Joy melody with the 5 fingers as Nyiregyhazi put as a challenge. But I could only do in the Steinway. It was close to impossible to do it on the digital!

I thought this was a very nice technical exercise. Nyiregyhazi, is this the best kind of practice for this? Or is there something more difficult than the C-G position? I find it is not as hard with less fingers of course since I do this inner voicing thing with jazz chords all the time. It is not as hard too with two hands and inner voicings being highlighted by the thumbs and forefinger.

BTW - I think there's not much disagreement here. It's all about very fine points. Obviously Kbk, meant that the ear is the feedback mechanism, which it obviously is. But I would have assumed it to be common sense that feedback requires action and I thought that was implied.

Nevertheless, the specific descriptions given of a finger flick was helpful.
_________________________
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#1454245 - 06/10/10 09:01 PM Re: Relax fingers during play... some advice? [Re: LaRate]
photowriters Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/06/08
Posts: 180
Loc: Kansas City
Here is a tip from The Inner Game of Golf by Timothy Gallwey. (Yes, I know that a piano will not fit in a golf bag and a golf club is not a suitable device for playing the piano.)

Gallwey's tip about reducing tension in the golf swing worked for me the first time I tried it, and the technique should transfer directly to your fingers. Have you ever noticed that you cannot relax by telling yourself to relax? (Kind of like the "Don't think about an elephant" paradox.) If you put correcting an "error" in a complex body movement into the front of your conscious mind, it is very difficult to correct that "error" without screwing up something else. The conscious mind cannot concentrate on very many things at the same time.

The technique Gallwey recommends (and it works in golf) is to perform the action but try to recognize any unwanted tension. Don't try to eliminate the tension. Let your subconscious do that for you. When you play, see if you can locate where the tension lies. You might be surprised to find that the root is somewhere other than the hands such as the lower back or shoulders.

Once you've determined where the tension resides, stay aware of that tension as you play, but don't consciously try reduce it. The second part of the solution is to allow yourself to make mistakes. None of us like to play the wrong note, but even if we do the consequences a minimal. We will not be lined up against the wall and shot. The FBI will not come an arrest us. Etc.

If you allow your self to make mistakes and remain aware of where the tension is located, your subconscious can work on eliminating the tension as you play. Usually we are filled with tension during certain difficult passages in the music. Play such a passage several times allowing yourself to make errors while remaining aware of both where the tension lies and how much tension there is without trying to reduce the tension. If you do that, I'll bet that the tension in your hands drops significantly with each repetition.

Like I said, I did that with my golf swing and the results were amazing. In just a few swings the tension went away and the ball started going longer and exactly where I was aiming. The principles should apply to any sort of performance tension. I'd be interested to hear the results. I admit that I haven't tried it with the piano yet, but I plan to do so.
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Regards,

Bob

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#1454278 - 06/10/10 10:02 PM Re: Relax fingers during play... some advice? [Re: photowriters]
TimR Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3159
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: photowriters
Here is a tip from The Inner Game of Golf by Timothy Gallwey.

The technique Gallwey recommends (and it works in golf)


I think this is a directly relevant comment. As I pointed out before, I think the KBK approach to this problem is basically the Gallway Inner Game approach.

I disagree with your statement that it works in golf. Rather, it works for you in golf. I've read the Gallway books - Inner Tennis, Inner Golf, Inner Skiing, I think there's a music one too though I haven't seen it.

They do not work for me, and I've given them some extensive effort in a number of sports. They do work for my brother, in the same sports.

It is a matter of personal learning styles, and I've come to believe that these are hardwired and fixed. I can no more learn the Inner Game way than my brother can the analytical mechanics way.

I wish that I could. A large number of the top athletes and musicians seem to be Inner Game types. But emulating their learning style leads to frustration rather than mastery for some of us.
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