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#1971909 - 10/11/12 04:17 PM Re: I don't get Taubman rotation [Re: jazzyprof]
pianomouse Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/12
Posts: 98
Loc: Europe
I don't know about double rotation or Taubman, but for me, any scales work wonderfully, if I try to keep my fingers as close to the keys as possible. If, instead of holding them down, this comes from total relaxation, my fingers make very small movements based on impulse. So, I can play really fast without moving my arm, and the hand only makes little movements out of the wrist.
I think that if I'm concentrating on what my fingers do on the keyboard, my wrist/arm will follow naturally (if I'm relaxed, of course).
_________________________
The piano keys are black and white,
But they sound like a million colours in your mind.
(Katie Melua)

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#1971940 - 10/11/12 05:31 PM Re: I don't get Taubman rotation [Re: pianoloverus]
Opus_Maximus Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/04
Posts: 1590
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I don't know anything about Taubman but I am curious to know:

1. Is this method popular or used by teachers at the most important conservatories?

2. Would Taubman disciples/teachers say that the great pianists generally used Taubman's approach in their playing even if they weren't specifically trained that way? Would non Taubman teachers agree about this?




1. Used by some. Kaplinsky, Martin, and McDonald at Juilliard at Sharon Mann at SFCM are probably the most prolific examples.

2. I don't think so. Some Taubamn teachers have been extremely critical of great pianists' techqniue, saying that Gould, Horowitz, and Serkin have been completely "wrong" in their approach at the piano, and that their ways of playing are "anatomically incorrect".

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#1971947 - 10/11/12 05:42 PM Re: I don't get Taubman rotation [Re: jazzyprof]
dolce sfogato Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2807
'Taubman' just doesn't sound right to a musician's ears, well, Beethoven was one, what the heck, I don't believe in technical/religious/sexual/political/esthethic dogmas, I believe in personal/artistic freedom, gained by experience and tolerance, it may take a few years, but it'll pay off in the end, even playing scales (omg) may benefit.
_________________________
Longtemps, je me suis couch´┐Ż de bonne heure, but not anymore!

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#1971948 - 10/11/12 05:43 PM Re: I don't get Taubman rotation [Re: Opus_Maximus]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 21551
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Opus_Maximus
1. Used by some. Kaplinsky, Martin, and McDonald at Juilliard at Sharon Mann at SFCM are probably the most prolific examples.

2. I don't think so. Some Taubamn teachers have been extremely critical of great pianists' techqniue, saying that Gould, Horowitz, and Serkin have been completely "wrong" in their approach at the piano, and that their ways of playing are "anatomically incorrect".


1. Would you say that only a small percentage of teachers at major conservatories talk about Taubman's ideas?

2. If great pianists, like the ones you mention, were able to achieve their pianistic ideas and reach the level of greatness, I don't see how they can be open to criticism about their technical approach. I guess one could always argue they played well in spite of their incorrect technical approach or could have played even better/with less effort using Taubman's ideas, but for me that's a very empty sounding argument.

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#1972028 - 10/11/12 08:02 PM Re: I don't get Taubman rotation [Re: jazzyprof]
jdw Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 1493
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
Of course there are also the great pianists who have hurt themselves, such as Fleischer, Graffman, etc., back to Schumann. Presumably most things about their technique were fabulous, but some things not.

I think anyone could benefit from more knowledge, however great their natural ability. I know Taubman was troubled that so many child prodigies ran into physical problems later (problems that she figured out how to fix).
_________________________
1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Brahms, Waltzes Op. 39
Chopin, Minute Waltz, Op. 64 no. 1
Haydn, Sonata Hob. XVI: 19
Chopin, Waltz in E minor (op. posth.)
Hmm...lotta waltzes

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#1972037 - 10/11/12 08:35 PM Re: I don't get Taubman rotation [Re: jdw]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 21551
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: jdw
Of course there are also the great pianists who have hurt themselves, such as Fleischer, Graffman, etc., back to Schumann. Presumably most things about their technique were fabulous, but some things not.

I think anyone could benefit from more knowledge, however great their natural ability. I know Taubman was troubled that so many child prodigies ran into physical problems later (problems that she figured out how to fix).
While it's true some great pianists have injured themselves, I don't think that's the point. Schumann is irrelevant because his injury was due to using some mechanical device. The number of famous pianists who have injured themselves is very tiny, and I don't think it was necessarily due to faulty technique.

I am not at all saying I don't think Taubman is a good idea or useful(I don't know anything about it), but if it's true that the huge majority of good pianists either employ the Taubman principles naturally without being trained in them or that Taubman thinks many of the great pianists play with incorrect technique, then I remain skeptical.


Edited by pianoloverus (10/11/12 08:37 PM)

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#1972214 - 10/12/12 08:00 AM Re: I don't get Taubman rotation [Re: jazzyprof]
jdw Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 1493
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
It's true that the number of pianists who have managed to become very famous and then have their careers damaged by injury is not huge--maybe for obvious reasons. But the number who play with varying degrees of discomfort is large. Ilya Itin has some interesting things to say about this in a recent New York Times feature (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/20/arts/music/golandsky-institute-helps-musicians-avoid-pain.html). This is true not just for piano but for a wide range of instruments.

It's not just about injury, of course. Taubman's close analysis of movement is a powerful means of overcoming technical limitations, which almost everyone has.
_________________________
1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Brahms, Waltzes Op. 39
Chopin, Minute Waltz, Op. 64 no. 1
Haydn, Sonata Hob. XVI: 19
Chopin, Waltz in E minor (op. posth.)
Hmm...lotta waltzes

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#1972576 - 10/13/12 01:30 AM Re: I don't get Taubman rotation [Re: pianoloverus]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5446
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Derulux

I think, for your second question, I would be averse to using the term "disciple" (makes the Taubman approach sound like a religion). But if you were to look at any athletic endeavor, there are two ways to learn it:
1. Intuition
2. Be taught how to do it

I would think that any program designed to teach the motions that are not being learned through intuition would be a good program that is beneficial to the student.
But if most excellent pianists use these motions without specifically being taught Taubman technique, it seems like Taubman should only be used if there is a problem that needs correction.

Of course, it's possible that other teachers teach essentially the same thing as Taubman and just explain it with different terminology. For example, I wonder if the Russian piano school, which is known for its technical prowess, teaches any thing related to Taubman's approach?

That is certainly one way to think about it. I will not make any qualms, I trained with Bob Durso in Philly for a number of years, but I have never been able to train in Russia. Bob is a wonderful pianist, an amazingly and extremely dedicated and caring teacher, and a great person. I feel honored to know him and be able to call him a friend. Setting my personal feelings for Bob aside, and analyzing the Taubman method objectively, I would say this:

I am sure there are other methods and techniques designed to free the playing mechanism, to overcome tension, and to reduce errors in technique. They may all teach similar ideals through different methods, practice, and even language. The Taubman method is the most technical specific, and scientific method I have found for approaching technique (be there issues or not). It quantifies what movements are required to play notes/passages, and gives a sort of "checklist" to run through if anything is not feeling good or there is a problem with a particular passage. Being inclined to business and engineering, this sort of scientific approach really appeals to me.

I am also an accomplished martial artist. Accomplishments aside, I can tell you that one of the most important principles in the martial arts is to learn how your body moves, and to adapt principles to your body. I do believe this also applies to the piano. Bob is a master at this, but I could not tell you about any other Taubman teachers. (However, if you would like to inquire directly, I can probably put you in touch. Send me a PM.)

It is important to separate sales pitches from practical usability, but the Taubman approach is practical, and highly usable. Is it necessary for everyone to use it? No. Some people are lucky/gifted enough to develop a very relaxed, tension-free technique from the start. If you are playing at the level you want to be playing at, and are doing it naturally, then awesome. I'm very happy for you (honestly). If you have areas you just can't seem to address, or tension you just can't seem to get rid of, then I would fall back on Einstein's "definition of insanity" quote as a starting point. wink
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#1972584 - 10/13/12 02:08 AM Re: I don't get Taubman rotation [Re: pianoloverus]
Opus_Maximus Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/04
Posts: 1590
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Opus_Maximus
1. Used by some. Kaplinsky, Martin, and McDonald at Juilliard at Sharon Mann at SFCM are probably the most prolific examples.

2. I don't think so. Some Taubamn teachers have been extremely critical of great pianists' techqniue, saying that Gould, Horowitz, and Serkin have been completely "wrong" in their approach at the piano, and that their ways of playing are "anatomically incorrect".


1. Would you say that only a small percentage of teachers at major conservatories talk about Taubman's ideas?

2. If great pianists, like the ones you mention, were able to achieve their pianistic ideas and reach the level of greatness, I don't see how they can be open to criticism about their technical approach. I guess one could always argue they played well in spite of their incorrect technical approach or could have played even better/with less effort using Taubman's ideas, but for me that's a very empty sounding argument.


1. Only a small percentage about Taubman per se, yes, but a lot of teachers talk about aspects of technique that have, over time, become intrinsically linked with what Taubman likes to claim as their own (rotation, Pivoting, alignment, etc)

2. I agree with you, and don't know what's going on in their heads.


Edited by Opus_Maximus (10/13/12 02:16 AM)

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#2549542 - 06/14/16 10:43 PM Re: I don't get Taubman rotation [Re: jazzyprof]
MrCreosote Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/08
Posts: 22
"As a physicist/engineer..." laugh

Me too, in fact my specialty was Vibration of Compressor and Turbine Blades in Jet Engines - I worked for Pratt & Whitney.

The "sports science" of piano technique is either lacking or highly guarded. (But maybe not - how much money is there in winning a piano competition? If the money is there like in pro sports, the tech will be there.)

I've just discovered Taubman (I'm 63, mostly self taught, ruined by the age of 10 by Finger-Method, yadda yadda...) and while it is so clear that rotation is important (I'm mesmerized by Lisitsa's hands), the explanation of it is very lacking in physics.

Yes, they are identifying the Rotation "Structural Mode" and illustrate its motion or Displacement. And it looks like a few are mentioning Stress which can be related to Force.

But what is really lacking is any mention of Inertia - especially of the forearm. I'll leave Inertia as a characteristic that needs much further investigation and explanation. And note that in slow speeds, inertia "terms" are negligible. But at high speeds, they dominate.

Any repetitive motion can be viewed as a Single Mass Oscillator: a Mass on the end of a Spring. (I think we can leave the Dampener out for now.)

At high speed we can have large inertial and restoring forces and yet they are invisible as far as displacement is concerned.

A high speed trill w/ and w/o rotation will look very similar, but if you could see the fraction of the force due to rotation, it would be a lot higher than what you can see (with the naked eye - slomo and precision mapping of motions would reveal what is actually going on.)
_________________________________

This part is OFF TOPIC, in that it is what lead me to think along these lines: fast octaves:

The very first question I asked myself for playing octaves is, What primary mode of the finger/wrist/forearm/arm is the fastest?

Obviously, the forearm up/down pivoting at elbow is not a fast one.

Nor is individual finger moving up and down either.

Wrist up/down is faster than the above. (So I thought this might be the basis of fast octaves.)

But wrist rotation is the fastest. (Can't see how this helps octaves though.)

But all of these motions are the various "Fundamental Modes" of portions of the complete arm system

But what about 2nd modes?

The forearm u/d is slow, but it's 2nd mode is much faster. In this mode when the arm goes down, the wrist goes up - it is a whip-like motion - something you would do if you were trying to shake something off your hand.

Could the forearm 2nd be faster than the wrist 1st for octaves? Beats me. But I'll bet you that mode shows up if you could measure the joint forces during fast play.

And yes, I also think Golandsky is hot(!)


Edited by tomhoo (06/14/16 10:45 PM)

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#2549559 - 06/15/16 12:21 AM Re: I don't get Taubman rotation [Re: MrCreosote]
phantomFive Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 2936
Loc: California
Originally Posted By tomhoo
"As a physicist/engineer..." laugh

Me too, in fact my specialty was Vibration of Compressor and Turbine Blades in Jet Engines - I worked for Pratt & Whitney.

The "sports science" of piano technique is either lacking or highly guarded. (But maybe not - how much money is there in winning a piano competition? If the money is there like in pro sports, the tech will be there.)

If you want hard science, Otto Ortmann is your guy. Taubman is for ease of learning. I'm not sure I understand why you're so focused on inertia, though.
_________________________
Read a Programming Book

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#2549600 - 06/15/16 06:37 AM Re: I don't get Taubman rotation [Re: MrCreosote]
anamnesis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/17/11
Posts: 251
Loc: Alabama
Originally Posted By tomhoo
"As a physicist/engineer..." laugh

Me too, in fact my specialty was Vibration of Compressor and Turbine Blades in Jet Engines - I worked for Pratt & Whitney.

The "sports science" of piano technique is either lacking or highly guarded. (But maybe not - how much money is there in winning a piano competition? If the money is there like in pro sports, the tech will be there.)

I've just discovered Taubman (I'm 63, mostly self taught, ruined by the age of 10 by Finger-Method, yadda yadda...) and while it is so clear that rotation is important (I'm mesmerized by Lisitsa's hands), the explanation of it is very lacking in physics.

Yes, they are identifying the Rotation "Structural Mode" and illustrate its motion or Displacement. And it looks like a few are mentioning Stress which can be related to Force.

But what is really lacking is any mention of Inertia - especially of the forearm. I'll leave Inertia as a characteristic that needs much further investigation and explanation. And note that in slow speeds, inertia "terms" are negligible. But at high speeds, they dominate.

Any repetitive motion can be viewed as a Single Mass Oscillator: a Mass on the end of a Spring. (I think we can leave the Dampener out for now.)

At high speed we can have large inertial and restoring forces and yet they are invisible as far as displacement is concerned.

A high speed trill w/ and w/o rotation will look very similar, but if you could see the fraction of the force due to rotation, it would be a lot higher than what you can see (with the naked eye - slomo and precision mapping of motions would reveal what is actually going on.)
_________________________________

This part is OFF TOPIC, in that it is what lead me to think along these lines: fast octaves:

The very first question I asked myself for playing octaves is, What primary mode of the finger/wrist/forearm/arm is the fastest?

Obviously, the forearm up/down pivoting at elbow is not a fast one.

Nor is individual finger moving up and down either.

Wrist up/down is faster than the above. (So I thought this might be the basis of fast octaves.)

But wrist rotation is the fastest. (Can't see how this helps octaves though.)

But all of these motions are the various "Fundamental Modes" of portions of the complete arm system

But what about 2nd modes?

The forearm u/d is slow, but it's 2nd mode is much faster. In this mode when the arm goes down, the wrist goes up - it is a whip-like motion - something you would do if you were trying to shake something off your hand.

Could the forearm 2nd be faster than the wrist 1st for octaves? Beats me. But I'll bet you that mode shows up if you could measure the joint forces during fast play.

And yes, I also think Golandsky is hot(!)


You might be interested in the passage from Abby Whiteside:

------

The alternating action (that combination between tween forearm and hand which allows the dream of speed without torture to come true) plus the rotary action are the truly master mechanics for speed with brilliance in piano playing If the alternating action received anything like the attention in learning which fingers have been given, there would be a great increase in facility for those players who are now endowed with what seems like a ready-made coordination. All who are thus richly endowed use the alternating action whether they know it or not. The combination of leverage between elbow and wrist which produces the alternating action avoids a vacant up action-vacant vacant of tone production-which means speed in tone production with half the speed in a repeated action. (It is like the trill of the violinist: while the finger is lifted the string is producing tone.) While the forearm lifts, the hand goes down. The hand produces tone while the forearm gets ready to repeat a down action. All that is necessary for a tone is a down action at some point. If there is no vacuum so far as tone production is concerned while an up action is taking place, that horrible feeling of jamming and being unable to achieve speed is relieved. The alternating action turns that comforting trick. It operates in two ways: one when there is positive control at the wrist of the hand action, and the other when the muscles governing the hand are passive and the action of the forearm flings the hand down or out. and the action of the forearm flings the hand down or out.

It is this possibility of flinging the hand down or out through the wrist joint which gives the wrist a very specialized value for the pianist. It means, as with the crack of the whip, that power used through a very small arc can produce the movement which will cover a much wider are of distance. Thus, a quick small movement at the elbow can fling the hand in such a manner that it will cover distance-horizontal, vertical, and in-and-out-expertly. This is great conservation in movement. A prime necessity of speed and brilliance is a compactness in the use of power for control of distance as well as for tone. There has been much discussion concerning a "loose wrist." The wrist is only effectively "loose" when it allows an action farther back in the arm to propel the hand through an are of distance. Then its "looseness" is of the utmost importance.

------


The books/essays later on to describe the usage of this technique for the Chopin Etudes Op 10 no 7 (fast alternating double thirds and sixths) as well as as the Op 25 no 10 (the octave etude). It's also a little more complicated at top speed then this passage describes as this was written at an earlier stage, it becomes more of flutter and "fluid" rather than distinct up and down modes. Even her student who edited the written work says so in the preface:

"There is a particularly good illustration of alternating action in the analysis of the Chopin Etude, Op. 10, No. 7. At a later stage the alternating action became refined into a kind of flutter of the hand being shaken by the forearm and upper arm when the Etude was played at top speed."

And although this is what is needed for "fast articulation", in the Whiteside model, articulation is subordinate and captured inside of more basic rhythmic motions akin to a walking or running gait. (In fact. a homology comparison between the lower and upper extremity systems--coordinated with the torso and spine of course--can provide some useful instincts.)

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#2550027 - 06/17/16 03:12 AM Re: I don't get Taubman rotation [Re: jazzyprof]
chopin_r_us Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 1871
Loc: London
FWIW I do sense finger (and thumb) movement in the octaves from the Ab Polonaise. It's a kind of flick inwards with the nail joints.

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