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#2244230 - 03/10/14 12:00 PM Re: Is hand position overrated? [Re: Gary D.]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7348
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Gary, I was sitting at the grand moments ago, when it occurred to me to look at the hammers and see how much control the key actually has over the hammer. It looks like there's roughly 2 to 2 1/2 inches of total hammer travel, and the key is controlling all but the last 1/4 inch of that travel. It would be like bowling where the bowler runs down the alley except for the final foot, where the ball is released. In other words, it would appear that there is tremendous control over the hammer by the direct motion of the key.

Thoughts?
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#2244261 - 03/10/14 01:13 PM Re: Is hand position overrated? [Re: Opus_Maximus]
TimR Offline
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Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3190
Loc: Virginia, USA
When the hammer shank leaves the jack knuckly it is a projectile.

Whatever velocity it has at that point is what determines how hard it hits the string.

I guess you're suggesting that there might be a difference in how you transmitted force in the half inch or so your finger pressed the key down. Maybe you used a steady pressure to get to the letoff point, or maybe you pressed very lightly and slowly until near the end then put a sudden force on it, or maybe you pressed hard at first and then coasted?

Trouble is there are quite a few studies that say if you're only playing one note, loudness is tone, and velocity is velocity. And when you're playing more than one note, there are all the other factors of overlap, articulation, voicing, damping, etc.
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#2244276 - 03/10/14 01:37 PM Re: Is hand position overrated? [Re: TimR]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7348
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: TimR
Trouble is there are quite a few studies that say if you're only playing one note, loudness is tone, and velocity is velocity. And when you're playing more than one note, there are all the other factors of overlap, articulation, voicing, damping, etc.

How were those studies conducted? With a steady-state mechanical device which varied velocity only? Or did they vary key depression depth as well as velocity? Did it vary where in the key stroke acceleration occurred? Was the velocity achieved smoothly over the full key stroke? Or suddenly just near the beginning or end of the key stroke? Does the whiplash of the hammer, when too rapid acceleration occurs, affect the sound? Are there other components to the total sound, such as the key hitting the keybed(not a silent process as I suspect many here might suppose - try it on an unstrung piano)? I raise these questions because I've never seen them discussed in piano journals and am not personally familiar with them. And it's quite obvious that some people are able to get a more pleasing tone, even with one note, out of an instrument, than others are. Gary mentioned the old piano rolls. I've only heard a few of those, and they were hardly satisfactory. I've heard the modern Yamaha mechanism, and the sound it produces gets tiring all too soon.
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#2244419 - 03/10/14 07:05 PM Re: Is hand position overrated? [Re: keystring]
Gary D. Online   content
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Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: keystring
Planted as possible food for thought / expansion: Is there a problem in the word "position" or "shape" itself, given that playing involves constant movement? I'm thinking that the hand is constantly changing its shape, and concentrating on a shape might hamper some of that freedom.

That's exactly what I mean.
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#2244579 - 03/11/14 04:51 AM Re: Is hand position overrated? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Gary D. Online   content
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Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4783
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Gary, I was sitting at the grand moments ago, when it occurred to me to look at the hammers and see how much control the key actually has over the hammer. It looks like there's roughly 2 to 2 1/2 inches of total hammer travel, and the key is controlling all but the last 1/4 inch of that travel. It would be like bowling where the bowler runs down the alley except for the final foot, where the ball is released. In other words, it would appear that there is tremendous control over the hammer by the direct motion of the key.

Thoughts?

John, my immediate thought would be that the moment the bowling ball is released could impart all sorts of spin on the ball, so it could be spinning backwards or sideways - a lot like a pool ball. If you stroke a cue ball slowly at one end of the table, by the time it hits a ball at the other end it really doesn't matter how you hit it (other than knocking it off course with spin), because by the other end of the table it will be rolling slowly.

But if you hit that same cue ball with HARD, with draw (backspin), it makes a huge difference, as anyone who plays pool knows.

But with a hammer the hammer is held in line. The moment it is no longer pushed the only thing left is the velocity of the hammer. It's going to hit the same strings in the same place in the same way.

Now, you can argue that there are other factors, but I believe they are extremely minor.

There are a lot of things that are part of the sound we hear, but can we distinguish them?

With the lid up on a grand I can clearly hear the difference when holding down a chord with my fingers of whether or not the damper pedal is down. I can hear the sound open up as I depress the pedal, the opposite when I lift it. Obviously other strings are free to vibrate sympathetically, and then they are not.

But can I hear the difference between those two sounds if the pedal is not changed? I'm not sure. I do know that I can't hear the difference if someone does it, on stage, while I am sitting several rows back where the audience would be.

But for me the main point is this:

If 10 different people play one note on my piano at about the same dynamic level, just pressing the key and then holding it for a few seconds, will I hear a difference?

I won't. If you can, you are hearing things I can't hear. smile
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#2244598 - 03/11/14 05:49 AM Re: Is hand position overrated? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Gary D. Online   content
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Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4783
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Gary mentioned the old piano rolls. I've only heard a few of those, and they were hardly satisfactory. I've heard the modern Yamaha mechanism, and the sound it produces gets tiring all too soon.

John, here are two recordings:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zt_gcYP6QEk

Supposedly this is Rachmaninov, but on a piano roll. I have no idea how this was done, so pardon my ignorance.

Start at 4:00, Lilacs. I may show myself to be a fool, but I have listened back and forth between this and the real deal, and old recording:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72xh91KTOOA

I don't know this piece, so I am only going on what I am listening to. But it sounds like the same person, the same phrasing, the same touch. The same magic. If this is someone from today, pretending to be Rachmaninov, mimicking his style, sound, phrasing, then he fools me.

If I am right about this really is Rach himself, but on a mechanical device, I fully admit it raises way many questions than it answers.

Why are most of the piano roll recordings so fake and so obviously inferior sounding? Why does this recording sound so good? Who did this? How?

My answers are not answers, but questions: apparently SOME how the genius of Rachmaninov is coming through in both recordings. The roll recording is slightly higher in pitch. Other than that I prefer it, because of the sound, for the same reason that I prefer recordings made recently to those made early in the 20th century, but otherwise I would give both recordings a tie. It seems like there is more subtlety in the roll recording. How could that be? I do know from talking to older pianists (long ago) that they had to make compromises because of the equipment and other factors. Today's pianists don't have to do that.

So the roll recording sounds, to me, more like modern day recordings. Other than that, it just sounds very good, and 100% like Rachmaninov.

I wish I had another example, something that is more famous and perhaps that we might both like better, but however the "roll" recording was made, I think it makes it obvious that we have way more questions to answer about how we hear than we have solid answers.
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#2244634 - 03/11/14 08:39 AM Re: Is hand position overrated? [Re: Gary D.]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11657
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: keystring
Planted as possible food for thought / expansion: Is there a problem in the word "position" or "shape" itself, given that playing involves constant movement? I'm thinking that the hand is constantly changing its shape, and concentrating on a shape might hamper some of that freedom.

That's exactly what I mean.


To expand on the idea - in the old days the only recorded model that we had were illustrations and photographs in books. Unfortunately that is still what is often used today. So a student in the past tried to make his hand a ball-holding shape - later the debate was whether it should be a flatter shape - or maybe it should "be" the shape that happens when you hang your hand straight down. The question was always which pictured shape is it?

But the hand of the person playing is in motion. Playing is motion. Which position or shape has to be the wrong question, and the wrong goal. Trying to "have" the right shape implies a static shape to the hand.

In fact, isn't it the same for posture as shown in the books? Yes, you have a given distance from the keys, height of the bench, you don't slump over. But in playing you go forward into the black keys, sideways to the distant keys - even Rubinstein demonstrate a gentle swaying governed by where along the keyboard he is going.

So if a student tries to adhere to a shape or position as in a picture, he may be limiting the looseness of motion he needs to have, because live players are not photographs. Could this thinking actually be causing problems?

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#2244650 - 03/11/14 09:37 AM Re: Is hand position overrated? [Re: Gary D.]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11657
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Originally Posted By: Gary D.

My answers are not answers, but questions: apparently SOME how the genius of Rachmaninov is coming through in both recordings. The roll recording is slightly higher in pitch. Other than that I prefer it, because of the sound, for the same reason that I prefer recordings made recently to those made early in the 20th century, but otherwise I would give both recordings a tie. It seems like there is more subtlety in the roll recording. How could that be? I do know from talking to older pianists (long ago) that they had to make compromises because of the equipment and other factors. Today's pianists don't have to do that.


I also listened back and forth. It would be very interesting to learn what was done. The blurb under the playing says
Quote:
Rachmaninoff performs his solo piano works in a spectacular recording made on a Bosendorfer 290SE piano, using the music rolls made in his time. This remarkable listening experience brings Rachmaninoff's phenomenal pianistic talent to life in today's world. By using unprecedented new techniques of transfer and reproduction, the mechanical aspects of music roll performances have been eliminated. More astonishingly, these advances reveal the subtleties and fine details of Rachmaninoff's playing with startling clarity, showing us why he was regarded as perhaps the greatest pianist of his time.

I'd like to find out more about what they did.

Regardless, it gives us wonderful insights into Rachmaninoff's vision of his own music, and his playing.

I am curious about something in the first recording, Prelude in C# minor - what is happening from 0:13 to 0:14. The chord suddenly becomes quieter. What did he do to produce that? Would a soft pedal on a grand have an effect by suddenly shifting the mechanism over, even if the strings are already vibrating? Or release of the damper, suddenly cutting out sympathetic vibration of other strings, while holding down only the played notes?

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#2245020 - 03/11/14 10:50 PM Re: Is hand position overrated? [Re: Opus_Maximus]
hreichgott Online   content
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Registered: 04/11/13
Posts: 966
Loc: western MA, USA
Even releasing the damper pedal then quickly pressing it again produces a drop in volume. Doing this a few times in a row creates an artificially fast decay, although of course its effect is limited to the resonating strings not the ones held with the fingers.

The soft pedal can't do anything to affect notes that have already been struck.
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#2245156 - 03/12/14 02:12 AM Re: Is hand position overrated? [Re: hreichgott]
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4783
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: hreichgott
Even releasing the damper pedal then quickly pressing it again produces a drop in volume. Doing this a few times in a row creates an artificially fast decay, although of course its effect is limited to the resonating strings not the ones held with the fingers.

I here it done only once, and it is exactly as you say. You sort of "bounce" the sustain. The dampers come down just long enough to brush the strings, and that partially stops them, but an immediately re-depression then lifts them back up. So you get an instance, noticeable cut in volume and resonance.

This also clears up another matter. Both hands then have to play the moving chord, while the bass notes resonate. Some people recommend using the sostenuto pedal, which I don't like at all. It takes away the una corda, and we don't have three feet. For sure Rachmaninov elected to used the sustain and the una corda.

I did not mention this recording because it is a recording of a cliche, and I don't think Rachmaninov played this too often except under pressure because he got sick of "being asked to play 'my prelude'".

I was hoping a few people would listen to the two recordings of Lilacs and compare them. So far no takers...

The soft pedal can't do anything to affect notes that have already been struck. [/quote]
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#2245159 - 03/12/14 02:28 AM Re: Is hand position overrated? [Re: Gary D.]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11657
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Gary D.

I was hoping a few people would listen to the two recordings of Lilacs and compare them. So far no takers...

I did listen to the two recordings of Lilacs, and hoped to see what the other teachers would have to say about it. smile

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#2245400 - 03/12/14 02:29 PM Re: Is hand position overrated? [Re: Gary D.]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7348
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Well, I finally had a chance to listen to the two this morning. It's quite evident that the live recording was played on a NY Steinway - the timbre is unmistakable - but if I hadn't been told that the other recording was on a Bosie, I would have guessed a Hamburg Steinway or Yamaha. Of the two, I preferred the live recording, even given the considerably less fidelity. It seemed a bit strident, for want of a better term.
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#2245455 - 03/12/14 04:40 PM Re: Is hand position overrated? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4783
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Well, I finally had a chance to listen to the two this morning. It's quite evident that the live recording was played on a NY Steinway - the timbre is unmistakable - but if I hadn't been told that the other recording was on a Bosie, I would have guessed a Hamburg Steinway or Yamaha. Of the two, I preferred the live recording, even given the considerably less fidelity. It seemed a bit strident, for want of a better term.

Which recording sounds strident?

Did you listen on speakers or earphones?

But this all skips my point: I can't tell that the recording supposedly made from the roll is not played by a person. I do not hear something missing in terms of phrasing, dynamics and so on. It's not like one is Rachmaninov, but the second sounds like some vastly inferior machine. I hear the same very musical things happening in both.

You can't do that with voice, or trumpet, or flute. Because on those instruments all the variables that make up "tone" are far more complicated.
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#2245460 - 03/12/14 04:47 PM Re: Is hand position overrated? [Re: Opus_Maximus]
keystring Online   content
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Registered: 12/11/07
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One thing I heard was voicing and dynamics on both, and that surprised me. This would come from velocity of the hammers which is a resulting "force times speed" which in turn sends the hammers flying and so forth. So somehow the piano roll must have measured this. That is not implausible. Anyone remembering the old manual typewriters will notice some letters being lighter or darker as stronger or weaker fingers struck the keys.

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#2245465 - 03/12/14 04:52 PM Re: Is hand position overrated? [Re: Gary D.]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
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The recording of the piano roll sounded a bit strident to me.
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#2245473 - 03/12/14 05:03 PM Re: Is hand position overrated? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
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I suddenly get it. I think that the comparison of Rachmaninoff via piano roll and Rachmaninoff recorded directly is about this:
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook

How were those studies conducted? With a steady-state mechanical device which varied velocity only? Or did they vary key depression depth as well as velocity? Did it vary where in the key stroke acceleration occurred? Was the velocity achieved smoothly over the full key stroke? Or suddenly just near the beginning or end of the key stroke? Does the whiplash of the hammer, when too rapid acceleration occurs, affect the sound? Are there other components to the total sound, such as the key hitting the keybed(not a silent process as I suspect many here might suppose - try it on an unstrung piano)? I raise these questions because I've never seen them discussed in piano journals and am not personally familiar with them. And it's quite obvious that some people are able to get a more pleasing tone, even with one note, out of an instrument, than others are. Gary mentioned the old piano rolls. I've only heard a few of those, and they were hardly satisfactory. I've heard the modern Yamaha mechanism, and the sound it produces gets tiring all too soon.


As I understand it, part of the idea is that what the hand mechanism does throughout the playing of a note will have an effect on the final sounds produced. If so, then the piano roll should be different from the recording.

My thought is that the various things we do when playing will have an effect on what force and speed the key gets touched, and how the hammer is being sent flying. But the end result will be a moment of impact at a given force and speed. If so, then the two recordings will sound the same (barring quality of recording equipment and of the piano itself).

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#2245492 - 03/12/14 05:31 PM Re: Is hand position overrated? [Re: Gary D.]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7348
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
I can't tell that the recording supposedly made from the roll is not played by a person. I do not hear something missing in terms of phrasing, dynamics and so on. It's not like one is Rachmaninov, but the second sounds like some vastly inferior machine. I hear the same very musical things happening in both.

Gary, I'm not sure I can put this into words, but I will try.

It's obvious, from the clues of "phrasing, dynamics and so on," that it's the same pianist playing. Yet, had I heard only the piano roll version, and you told me that it was Rach, I would have accepted it only based on your word, because the playing doesn't sound to me like playing I'm used to of his on recordings. For want of a better term, it sounds a bit "poundy" which is obviously not his style. I'm hearing something which differentiates the two. What it is, I call tone, but which many tell me doesn't exist, or at least, a player cannot influence. I hear it all the time, even with (and especially with) artists. Some produce a very sweet tone, and others, a rather harsh and unpleasant tone.

Which brings us back full circle to the original topic, hand position - does it matter? While the rounded hand position may be a great point of departure for beginning students, I prefer that a student's hand be aligned with the key where ever possible, so that they have maximum control of the key. And this means a moving, flexible wrist, which is constantly realigning the hand to the demands of the keys being played. The sound they produce overall is more pleasing.
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#2245498 - 03/12/14 05:44 PM Re: Is hand position overrated? [Re: keystring]
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4783
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: keystring
I suddenly get it. I think that the comparison of Rachmaninoff via piano roll and Rachmaninoff recorded directly is about this:
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook

How were those studies conducted? With a steady-state mechanical device which varied velocity only? Or did they vary key depression depth as well as velocity? Did it vary where in the key stroke acceleration occurred? Was the velocity achieved smoothly over the full key stroke? Or suddenly just near the beginning or end of the key stroke? Does the whiplash of the hammer, when too rapid acceleration occurs, affect the sound? Are there other components to the total sound, such as the key hitting the keybed(not a silent process as I suspect many here might suppose - try it on an unstrung piano)? I raise these questions because I've never seen them discussed in piano journals and am not personally familiar with them. And it's quite obvious that some people are able to get a more pleasing tone, even with one note, out of an instrument, than others are. Gary mentioned the old piano rolls. I've only heard a few of those, and they were hardly satisfactory. I've heard the modern Yamaha mechanism, and the sound it produces gets tiring all too soon.


As I understand it, part of the idea is that what the hand mechanism does throughout the playing of a note will have an effect on the final sounds produced. If so, then the piano roll should be different from the recording.

My thought is that the various things we do when playing will have an effect on what force and speed the key gets touched, and how the hammer is being sent flying. But the end result will be a moment of impact at a given force and speed. If so, then the two recordings will sound the same (barring quality of recording equipment and of the piano itself).

The question is whether we can hear "other things". A person is going to strike the keys with fingers, and we can hear those sounds. The problem is this: we don't if that makes enough of a difference to affect how we hear. Can the sounds of the fingers hitting the keys be heard from from several rows back in an auditorium?

I don't think so, but if you have a pianist slamming the keys down from several inches away from the keys for very loud chords, that might make a difference. Normally the sounds made by the hammers striking the strings cover that stuff up.

There is another set of sounds that may make more of a difference. If you play a DP with the sound turned off, the noise of the keys hitting the keyboard bed is pretty loud. If you think of "riding" the key all the way to the bottom as opposed to pushing it down half way and letting the key travel on its own, there will be a theoretical difference. The key itself may continue to accelerate AFTER the escape has taken place, even though once the hammer is thrown, it will not change the hammer velocity. If the key is released as the hammer is thrown, the key will deaccelerate, so the sound of the key striking the key bed may be lesser.

I think this difference is pretty minor. Others disagree.

Obviously with a mike all these sounds are picked up. But when the roll is played there will be no sound of fingers hitting keys. And how are the hammers thrown into motion with the roll mechanism? Obviously there are not little mechanical fingers, moving over the keyboard, pushing the keys down. At least I ASSUME not.

So my picture, right or wrong, is more like the way midi data drives the Yamaha pianos that will "play" music with midi. The problem there is that if the midi data is not created on the same piano that plays it back, you aren't going to get the same sound on any other piano. To me THAT is the biggest problem. Someone has to decide what piano is most compatible with the data from the roll, and even so things are going to change.
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#2246011 - 03/13/14 03:31 PM Re: Is hand position overrated? [Re: Opus_Maximus]
Gary D. Online   content
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Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4783
Loc: South Florida
Meanwhile, no one ever defined what the "correct hand position" is...
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#2246033 - 03/13/14 04:06 PM Re: Is hand position overrated? [Re: Opus_Maximus]
ezpiano.org Offline
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Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1002
Loc: Irvine, CA
I think "correct hand position" means "relax hand position".
Just my humble opinion.
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#2246229 - 03/13/14 10:03 PM Re: Is hand position overrated? [Re: Opus_Maximus]
Arghhh Offline
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Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 1061
I don't think it is overrated. After spending a few months really focusing on my own hand position while playing, I can say playing piano is much easier when the good hand position is maintained. Two things that were beneficial (and can be verified while sitting here at my computer)
- keeping a rounded bridge. If the bridge of my hand becomes flattened, it means I'm pressing down into the keys and my fingers aren't as free to move
- avoiding collapsed joint in my fingers. If the end joint my my finger caves in, this means I'm continuing to try to pull my finger in towards my palm even though it is not moving on the key. Also not good because then I have to use more effort to move my fingers again

If I strive to maintain this position, I HAVE to relax my fingers and wrists, and then it becomes possible to play even passagework easily.

Edit: this is valid for passages not requiring large reaches


Edited by Arghhh (03/13/14 10:08 PM)

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#2246454 - 03/14/14 10:33 AM Re: Is hand position overrated? [Re: ezpiano.org]
keystring Online   content
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Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
I think "correct hand position" means "relax hand position".
Just my humble opinion.

.... and a relaxed hand also means a hand that is ready to change shape as the music changes.

I was told before that my idea was on track. Namely that if a student tries to "hold" a shape, as if trying to replicate a static picture in a book, then this contrary to the fluid nature of playing. I am wondering whether the idea of "having a shape" has caused problems in the past that might not have been recognized?

(Btw, why is this called "position"? I think of location on the keyboard and the range the hand will cover when I see the word. I've been puzzled about the term.)

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#2249421 - 03/20/14 11:19 AM Re: Is hand position overrated? [Re: TimR]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1381
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Tim and Gary,

"Trouble is there are quite a few studies that say if you're only playing one note, loudness is tone, and velocity is velocity."

Those studies don't really mean anything. I've been reading those since I was a kid, and they conclude erroneously that timbre and tone color cannot be influenced by touch.

Except that people have been going to hear great artists play who can make a "beautiful" sound, and can also produce different colors and timbres independent of volume. Rubinstein was famous for it among others, as was Gieseking. And then there are all the very famous, highly respected teachers who claim they can teach someone how to make such timbral changes.

So who's right? Millions of concert goers and critics over 100+ years, who can hear the differences? Or the experiments, who say the phenomena don't happen even if people hear them?

That tells me that the studies were flawed in some way and did not accurately measure the observable phenomena in their entirety. For example,

1- The premise of the experiment was flawed. It was never going to measure the correct variables that would account for the phenomena in the first place,

2- The scientist or lab tech did not properly control all the variables for one reason or another, and/or

3- The tools used to measure the experiment were either not used properly or were the wrong ones for the job.


Edited by laguna_greg (03/20/14 01:10 PM)
Edit Reason: forgot a "not"
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2250144 - 03/21/14 07:53 PM Re: Is hand position overrated? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
BostonTeacher Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/18/14
Posts: 40
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Gary, I was sitting at the grand moments ago, when it occurred to me to look at the hammers and see how much control the key actually has over the hammer. It looks like there's roughly 2 to 2 1/2 inches of total hammer travel, and the key is controlling all but the last 1/4 inch of that travel. It would be like bowling where the bowler runs down the alley except for the final foot, where the ball is released. In other words, it would appear that there is tremendous control over the hammer by the direct motion of the key.

Thoughts?


It must have to do with speed of attack then. I had a few lessons with a teacher who based her technique on speed rather than weight. At that moment I couldn't possibly change my whole technique *again* I had just been through an excruciating technique "recycling" period but it made a lot of sense.

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#2250157 - 03/21/14 08:24 PM Re: Is hand position overrated? [Re: BostonTeacher]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1381
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Originally Posted By: BostonTeacher
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Gary, I was sitting at the grand moments ago, when it occurred to me to look at the hammers and see how much control the key actually has over the hammer. It looks like there's roughly 2 to 2 1/2 inches of total hammer travel, and the key is controlling all but the last 1/4 inch of that travel. It would be like bowling where the bowler runs down the alley except for the final foot, where the ball is released. In other words, it would appear that there is tremendous control over the hammer by the direct motion of the key.

Thoughts?


It must have to do with speed of attack then. I had a few lessons with a teacher who based her technique on speed rather than weight. At that moment I couldn't possibly change my whole technique *again* I had just been through an excruciating technique "recycling" period but it made a lot of sense.


Hi John and Boston,

Well, that's Dorothy Taubman's idea about keystroke timing all over again. I've found it to be very useful.

Boston, that shift from using weight or force to speed is actually not hard to make. It makes playing a whole lot easier.
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2253284 - 03/27/14 09:12 PM Re: Is hand position overrated? [Re: Opus_Maximus]
DinaP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/12
Posts: 152
Andrew Thayer has a blog devoted to the "physics" involved in playing piano. Best way to navigate it is to use the archive in the right hand column and start with the earliest year.

Go to:
http://pianoscience.blogspot.co.uk/

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