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#2024296 - 01/30/13 09:48 PM A failing arpeggio technique in Liszt - also Neuhaus
InfiniteClouds Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/15/11
Posts: 7
Hi! Any advice here would be greatly appreciated. My teacher has been ill and with a deadline I have been trying to self-diagnose.

I've never thought I had an issue with my arpeggio technique - until now. I have been studying - and will be performing, soon - Liszt's Waltz no. 1 S.514 and I see everything falling into place except for this one small bit. You may already know I am referencing the 'tutta forza' section nearing the end of the piece with the arpeggios in the right.

Really, even these are moving well now except the 2nd, 3rd and 4th series of arpeggios. More specifically, it is the 5-1 turn from G# to B, G# to A in the following line, and F# to A in the 3rd line after that that is causing the problem.

I have no issues with the positions themselves as I can shift quite quickly when playing them as chords. However, when broken there is that horrid, ugly hiccup of amateur arpeggios. It is worse because the 5th finger on black is the the first of four sixteenths and quintuplets. When I try and rotate hand/forearm off the pinky to bring the thumb over the G#s/F#s end up sounding weak and smudged at tempo.

I notice I tend to 'lean' the hand to the right in anticipation of this rotation and I remembered reading from Neuhaus something in reference to scales where the hand should be slightly slanting in the direction opposite of which you are going to be making a turn, rather than in the direction you are going. Could this be the issue? I honestly don't know.

If you have studied this, could examine your own technique here and post some feedback I would be eternally grateful.



Sorry, could a moderator please move this to the appropriate forum or delete. Thanks!


Edited by InfiniteClouds (01/30/13 11:01 PM)

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#2024351 - 01/30/13 11:38 PM Re: A failing arpeggio technique in Liszt - also Neuhaus [Re: InfiniteClouds]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5295
Loc: Philadelphia
If you use the 5th finger (like I do), there is absolutely no way to make it "perfectly" even. Part of the reason it sounds so uneven (gap) is probably because you're trying to connect it. Remember, you've got the pedal here, and you should be using it. The sustain will cover the "gap". And the melody is in the bass, so bring that out over the arpeggio. This will help to make the gap all but invisible.

I'm going to suggest that you may be so concerned about crossing over to the thumb, that you never completely land on the pinky. Check it out. Sometimes over-rotating your hand to hit the pinky can help you determine if this is true, and can also help fix the landing. One way to practice it is to over-rotate and stop on the pinky. Really exaggerate it so your hand is perpendicular to the keyboard, and your thumb is sticking way up in the air (as if you were waving "hi" to someone on your left).

One other thing to check is your hand position (in/out). Typically, your hand is a little farther into the black key area when your pinky is on a black key. But then you have to play the thumb on a white key, so the hand has to move out a bit. If you stay too far inside the black key area, the crossover is difficult (usually resulting in your thumb missing).

Only two things I can think of off the top of my head. If you can post a video, I might be able to catch something else (if there is anything to catch). smile
_________________________
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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#2024381 - 01/31/13 12:51 AM Re: A failing arpeggio technique in Liszt - also Neuhaus [Re: Derulux]
InfiniteClouds Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/15/11
Posts: 7
First and foremost, thank you for sharing.

Originally Posted By: Derulux
If you use the 5th finger (like I do), there is absolutely no way to make it "perfectly" even. Part of the reason it sounds so uneven (gap) is probably because you're trying to connect it. Remember, you've got the pedal here, and you should be using it. The sustain will cover the "gap". And the melody is in the bass, so bring that out over the arpeggio. This will help to make the gap all but invisible.


I've been able to get a 'passable' result like this by using the sustain, roaring the melody and just lifting and moving on these particular arpeggios. I felt like it was still noticeable if for no other reason than the fact that the rest of the arpeggios (without the pinky-black to thumb-white) felt more connected. I have contemplated that by just shifting completely and continuing to practice this way it might get better over time. Then I was also thinking maybe it wouldn't and I should really try to connect more.

Quote:

I'm going to suggest that you may be so concerned about crossing over to the thumb, that you never completely land on the pinky. Check it out. Sometimes over-rotating your hand to hit the pinky can help you determine if this is true, and can also help fix the landing. One way to practice it is to over-rotate and stop on the pinky. Really exaggerate it so your hand is perpendicular to the keyboard, and your thumb is sticking way up in the air (as if you were waving "hi" to someone on your left).


When I didn't try to connect at all the problem with the pinky began to disappear (but the disconnect was obviously still there) so you're definitely right on about this part. It was precisely the rotating motion (for the purpose of bring the thumb up above where it can then just fall to the next note) that caused my pinky to flub. You are suggesting then to not abandon this motion but that I should be able to keep it while securing the pinky as a pivot for hand/arm - this is really hard to do at this tempo with the 5 on a black! This is essentially the motion (obviously smaller) that I'm making with the other arpeggios that don't have the 5 on black and it works as well as it always has. I just don't get that 'balance' over the finger when I'm trying to rotate here.

Quote:

One other thing to check is your hand position (in/out). Typically, your hand is a little farther into the black key area when your pinky is on a black key. But then you have to play the thumb on a white key, so the hand has to move out a bit. If you stay too far inside the black key area, the crossover is difficult (usually resulting in your thumb missing).

Only two things I can think of off the top of my head. If you can post a video, I might be able to catch something else (if there is anything to catch). smile


I will see if I can post a video. I know I have one (though the angle was low) and the sound was cut off - not that that matters as far as the viewing goes.

Thanks again.

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#2024392 - 01/31/13 01:42 AM Re: A failing arpeggio technique in Liszt - also Neuhaus [Re: InfiniteClouds]
InfiniteClouds Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/15/11
Posts: 7
I cut the section out and slow-mo'd the video down to .25x speed so it is easier to see.

It was originally taken with a cell phone camera though and the angle is low so I don't know how helpful.


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#2024430 - 01/31/13 03:36 AM Re: A failing arpeggio technique in Liszt - also Neuhaus [Re: InfiniteClouds]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5295
Loc: Philadelphia
Sent you a PM.
_________________________
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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#2024487 - 01/31/13 08:03 AM Re: A failing arpeggio technique in Liszt - also Neuhaus [Re: InfiniteClouds]
David Benjamin Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/28/11
Posts: 17
Originally Posted By: InfiniteClouds
I notice I tend to 'lean' the hand to the right in anticipation of this rotation and I remembered reading from Neuhaus something in reference to scales where the hand should be slightly slanting in the direction opposite of which you are going to be making a turn, rather than in the direction you are going. Could this be the issue? I honestly don't know.


Neuhaus wrote about exactly this 5 -> 1 fingering in his book and he said, you should always play it that way.

Neuhaus - "But it is quite uthinkable, quite wrong to play this bit with the usual scale fingering, without the little finger. And If one of my pupils evades this fingering because he is scared to play the thumb after the fifth finger (not used to it!) I turture him until he plays the passage quite dazzlingly and with Liszt's fingering."

Neuhaus - Art of Piano Playing - > Page 158

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