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#2087827 - 05/24/13 08:56 AM Hit F# and A at the same time softly
Baroque Style Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/09/09
Posts: 38
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
I have problem at hitting F# and A at the same time (RH 2 & 4). I have to hit them softly. Most of the time I will hit F# first. This is in relation to Brahms's Lullaby (the last bar of the first line, page 58, Alfred's All-in-one-Course Book 2). Could anyone give suggestions?

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#2087838 - 05/24/13 09:07 AM Re: Hit F# and A at the same time softly [Re: Baroque Style]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 14922
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
The problem is that our fingers are naturally uneven lengths. Add to that that you are playing a black key with his higher in the air than a white key, and it will naturally strike sooner unless you change your hand position to accommodate that.

Give this a try: place your hand in this position with fingers 2 & 4 touching the keys but not pressing them down. Then lift your hand off the keys but don't move your fingers. You should see that finger 2 is higher than finger 4. This is how you will have to play this part of the song. Both fingers will have to be resting on the keys and you press from there. Chances are you are hitting the keys from the air and of course, the black key gets pressed first. If you play from fingers touching the keys first, ti should work.

If not, or if it's still difficult, then you can try this. With both fingers resting on the keys, play only the A and don't sound the F#. Do that a couple of times, and if possible within the context of the song. You should not hear the F# sound. When you can do that somewhat successfully (it doesn't have to be perfect) then you can try to play both notes. You should be able to play them together.
private piano/voice teacher FT

#2087842 - 05/24/13 09:15 AM Re: Hit F# and A at the same time softly [Re: Baroque Style]
zrtf90 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 3287
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Morodiene has addressed the timing but for the delicate bit, rest both fingers on the keys momentarily then keep hand and fingers still as you press with the whole arm weight. This uses the back and shoulder muscles, which are larger than the wrist or arm muscles and can be more delicate.

This is analogous to handwriting without moving hand or finger, except to adjust pressure, but writing with the shoulder offers finer control and won't result in writer's cramp.

#2087863 - 05/24/13 09:43 AM Re: Hit F# and A at the same time softly [Re: Baroque Style]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2496
Loc: Virginia, USA
Good advice so far, I just want to add one thing. This can take a long time and a lot of practice to get right. It's one of the problems with my playing, although it's getting a lot lot better. A relaxed hand will be better than a stiff hand too so make sure you watch for signs of tension.
  • Debussy - Le Petit Nègre, L. 114
  • Haydn - Sonata in Gm, Hob. XVI/44

Kawai K3

#2087879 - 05/24/13 10:11 AM Re: Hit F# and A at the same time softly [Re: Baroque Style]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 14922
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Also, do not be concerned with being soft. First you have to get there and do it right without tension, as Andy says. There is also the issue of getting there from where you are in the previous measure or passage right before this. So you may need to practice VERY SLOWLY getting to that from the notes right before it, again, not being tense.
private piano/voice teacher FT

#2087914 - 05/24/13 11:18 AM Re: Hit F# and A at the same time softly [Re: Baroque Style]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5446
Loc: Philadelphia
You've already got some great suggestions on how to practice this, so I won't belabor what the other guys have already said. I'll just do my best here to explain why this happens, since no one has really touched on that yet.

Usually, this is the result of one of two things: a position/alignment issue, or a tension issue. Sometimes, it's both. So, you're more-than-likely either attacking the notes from the wrong angle and/or "side", or you're tightening your hand in anticipation of the perceived difficulty (which is, ironically, the opposite of what you really want to do).

Is the preceding note above or below the minor third? I'm going to suspect that the preceding note is below the third..?
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.

#2089640 - 05/26/13 11:39 PM Re: Hit F# and A at the same time softly [Re: Baroque Style]
Baroque Style Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/09/09
Posts: 38
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Thanks all. I followed Morodiene's advice and it worked. Now I can make F# and A sound at the same time. I hope other people can benefit from this post as well.


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