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#2264190 - 04/19/14 05:02 PM I think I have a problem
JoelW Online   content
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Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4831
Loc: USA
My right hand trilling is not consistent. My left hand can trill all day long at any speed, any dynamic, with 100% consistency. My right hand gives me trouble all the time. So much so that it makes me feel hopeless, like I will never be able to overcome it. The opening to Chopin Op. 55 No. 2 for example. I have serious trouble playing that trill without choking up. I've heard "think about your fingers going up, rather than down" but that doesn't work. Sometimes, every now and then, I can trill effortlessly with control. But most of the time, it chokes up. I really don't know what to do here and it's been bothering me for way too long. It's all the more puzzling since my left hand trills perfectly but my right hand, my dominant hand, can't. I feel like I have some sort of coordination problem. Right now I just feel hopeless.

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#2264196 - 04/19/14 05:09 PM Re: I think I have a problem [Re: JoelW]
Atrys Offline
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Registered: 10/31/13
Posts: 990
Originally Posted By: JoelW
But most of the time, it chokes up

Does it lock up at the fingers, wrist, or both?
_________________________
"A good intention but fixed and resolute - bent on high and holy ends, we shall find means to them on every side and at every moment; and even obstacles and opposition will but make us 'like the fabled specter-ships,' which sail the fastest in the very teeth of the wind."
R. W. Emerson

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#2264197 - 04/19/14 05:10 PM Re: I think I have a problem [Re: JoelW]
JoelW Online   content
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Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4831
Loc: USA
Fingers only.

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#2264202 - 04/19/14 05:22 PM Re: I think I have a problem [Re: JoelW]
Atrys Offline
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Registered: 10/31/13
Posts: 990
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Fingers only.

This means you are trilling with the interossei muscles of the hand, which is the where the best trills are achieved. Trills that lock up reflect that your inhibitory and excitatory reflexes aren't balanced, which will actuate opposing movements; instead of a clear "up then down, up then down" signal, you end up with overlapping, opposing signals.

To address this, there are two things that helped me overcome locked trills very quickly, based in research. You can practice indirect, yet transferable activities to help balance these two reflexes. Try playing a grand scale and stopping at a seemingly random time, at your will. The ability to have such manipulative control of stop-and-go at your will of faster play will reflect that the two reflexes are at some level of balance. Second, to address the acute imbalance of locking trills, you have to build the connections that execute the correct actuations of the fingers without opposing signals; using your interossei muscles, play slow trills, paying careful attention to sending very clear "up" and "down" signals that do not overlap in time.

It's a very conscious thing that requires a lot of concentration to ensure you're embedding the correct impulses that execute a trill, but following this method of balancing the reflexes cleaned up my trills extremely quickly.

Once the wiring is there, it is very easy to recall it.

Also, this is all assuming you wish to continue with trills from your interossei muscles (which you should!)
_________________________
"A good intention but fixed and resolute - bent on high and holy ends, we shall find means to them on every side and at every moment; and even obstacles and opposition will but make us 'like the fabled specter-ships,' which sail the fastest in the very teeth of the wind."
R. W. Emerson

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#2264204 - 04/19/14 05:25 PM Re: I think I have a problem [Re: JoelW]
JoelW Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4831
Loc: USA
I'll give it a try. Thanks.

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#2264253 - 04/19/14 07:11 PM Re: I think I have a problem [Re: JoelW]
Kuanpiano Offline
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Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2151
Loc: Canada
Try using "measuring" your trills, playing them in rhythm, rather than just rapidly alternating the notes. It'll help you think more about each individual action, and of course it'll make it easier to practice at a slow tempo.
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Working on:
Chopin - Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante
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#2264257 - 04/19/14 07:15 PM Re: I think I have a problem [Re: Kuanpiano]
JoelW Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4831
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
Try using "measuring" your trills, playing them in rhythm, rather than just rapidly alternating the notes. It'll help you think more about each individual action, and of course it'll make it easier to practice at a slow tempo.

That's what I've been trying. I feel like it makes it worse. It's like, the more I think about it, the more psyched-out I get.

Perhaps this is of importance:

While performing, I don't have this problem as much, if at all. What in the world could be the reason for this?

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#2264323 - 04/19/14 09:50 PM Re: I think I have a problem [Re: JoelW]
hreichgott Offline
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Registered: 04/11/13
Posts: 1103
Loc: western MA, USA
Maybe your hands are already shaking smile
Seriously, don't worry about it. Probably you are right about psyching yourself out, it increases tension. For now just try to tolerate slower but even trills, and think about other aspects of the music instead. The trills will come back.
_________________________
Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com
Sometimes a bagatelle is just a bagatelle. Beethoven Op. 33
Daily 16th notes: Chopin Op. 10 no. 2, Pischna
Loving Fauré/Barcarolles and Ravel/Tombeau de Couperin
Always a fan of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and new music

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#2264324 - 04/19/14 09:52 PM Re: I think I have a problem [Re: JoelW]
hreichgott Offline
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Registered: 04/11/13
Posts: 1103
Loc: western MA, USA
One idea if you haven't tried it already -- maybe wrist rotation plus farther-apart fingers like 13 or 14?
_________________________
Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com
Sometimes a bagatelle is just a bagatelle. Beethoven Op. 33
Daily 16th notes: Chopin Op. 10 no. 2, Pischna
Loving Fauré/Barcarolles and Ravel/Tombeau de Couperin
Always a fan of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and new music

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#2264455 - 04/20/14 02:56 AM Re: I think I have a problem [Re: JoelW]
phantomFive Online   content
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Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1530
Loc: California
I think most people start out by feeling hopeless about trills, with both hands.
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

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#2264458 - 04/20/14 03:37 AM Re: I think I have a problem [Re: JoelW]
ScriabinAddict Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/10/12
Posts: 335
Transferring weight and relaxation = Fast, Even, Consistent Trills with ease, and they're not fingery. You're probably just a bit more tense in your right hand, try releasing all the tension in your right shoulder and make sure your elbows and wrists are completely relaxed.

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#2264516 - 04/20/14 10:15 AM Re: I think I have a problem [Re: JoelW]
prout Offline
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Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 836
What fingering are you using? Have you tried 12313231323..., as opposed to 123232... or 1231313... or 124242... or 124141...?

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#2264583 - 04/20/14 02:08 PM Re: I think I have a problem [Re: JoelW]
Morodiene Offline
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There is an exercise where you hold down 5 notes in a 5-finger pattern. Then lift one finger and repeat playing just that one note while you continue to hold down the rest. Then move onto the next finger while the 1st finger holds down. Then I hold down the other 3 keys while the two fingers I will be trilling with go back and forth. This is all done slowly. You want to feel the minimal point at which you can lift and then press again, so you're not lifting up too high (no need to go all the way up, just above the let-off point).

You are thinking "up, up" on the trills, but I always think down instead since you don't want to really lift too high. So maybe it's just that. Still, the above exercise I have found to be very helpful.

Also, for long trills where I get to choose the fingering, I like to alternate between 2-3 and 1-3, but not every other, just if I feel things beginning to tighten, but the 1-3 generally feels better because you can do it with rotation and much less "fingery".
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#2264627 - 04/20/14 03:50 PM Re: I think I have a problem [Re: Morodiene]
Pathbreaker Offline
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Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 1098
Loc: Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: Morodiene

Also, for long trills where I get to choose the fingering, I like to alternate between 2-3 and 1-3, but not every other, just if I feel things beginning to tighten, but the 1-3 generally feels better because you can do it with rotation and much less "fingery".


I like the 1-3 for the same reasons even if the 2-3 appears to have more speed potential at times. I also find it's helpful to accent in a way that gives the perception of speed. That way I can be more focused on being accurate, fluid and in rhythm instead of going as fast as possible.

I find that if I can be very comfortable in playing a measured trill very evenly at slightly less speed and can do it with total consistency, eventually it becomes easier to do it faster and with no tension. It's the playing it really fast and hoping/praying it works out that causes tension for me.

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#2264680 - 04/20/14 07:05 PM Re: I think I have a problem [Re: Morodiene]
Louis Podesta Offline
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Registered: 02/05/13
Posts: 741
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
There is an exercise where you hold down 5 notes in a 5-finger pattern. Then lift one finger and repeat playing just that one note while you continue to hold down the rest. Then move onto the next finger while the 1st finger holds down. Then I hold down the other 3 keys while the two fingers I will be trilling with go back and forth. This is all done slowly. You want to feel the minimal point at which you can lift and then press again, so you're not lifting up too high (no need to go all the way up, just above the let-off point).

You are thinking "up, up" on the trills, but I always think down instead since you don't want to really lift too high.

Oh, my goodness! Please do not do what this very talented lady is suggesting (who arpeggiates her chords).

Where is Laguana Greg when we really need him? If he was here, he would teach you the Dorothy Taubman technique, which is that when it comes to a particular difficult trill, especially the fourth finger, you do this:

In order to maximize the body's normal flexor/tensor physiology, you stick, "with a straight finger," the dominant finger when you play the trill. And, then you instantly relax.

This allows the body to maximize its normal function vis a vis the muscles of the lower forearm which are actually effectuating these particular fingers.

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#2264702 - 04/20/14 07:55 PM Re: I think I have a problem [Re: JoelW]
caters Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/14
Posts: 191
Loc: Columbus, ohio, USA
I prefer the 2-3 fingering for a trill no matter how long. In fact I think that the 2-3 fingering is best for long trills because the fingers there are so slim and have a higher ability of trill. Like if I play the solo part of Piano Concerto no. 21 or the K 545 where they both have some trills that take up a lot of the measure I would prefer the 2-3 fingering than the 1-3 because that gives me the ability to do 32nd note trill at allegro. I have to do it at a much slower speed if I use 1-3. As far as tremolo that is a 1 note trill and so if middle C is tremolo that means you repetitively play middle C as fast as a trill. Also my right hand can trill consistently but my left hand can't. That poses less of a problem for me because most often the trilling is done in the right hand.


Edited by caters (04/20/14 08:01 PM)

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#2264703 - 04/20/14 07:56 PM Re: I think I have a problem [Re: Louis Podesta]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12056
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Louis Podesta
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
There is an exercise where you hold down 5 notes in a 5-finger pattern. Then lift one finger and repeat playing just that one note while you continue to hold down the rest. Then move onto the next finger while the 1st finger holds down. Then I hold down the other 3 keys while the two fingers I will be trilling with go back and forth. This is all done slowly. You want to feel the minimal point at which you can lift and then press again, so you're not lifting up too high (no need to go all the way up, just above the let-off point).

You are thinking "up, up" on the trills, but I always think down instead since you don't want to really lift too high.

Oh, my goodness! Please do not do what this very talented lady is suggesting (who arpeggiates her chords).

Where is Laguana Greg when we really need him? If he was here, he would teach you the Dorothy Taubman technique, which is that when it comes to a particular difficult trill, especially the fourth finger, you do this:

In order to maximize the body's normal flexor/tensor physiology, you stick, "with a straight finger," the dominant finger when you play the trill. And, then you instantly relax.

This allows the body to maximize its normal function vis a vis the muscles of the lower forearm which are actually effectuating these particular fingers.
I received the above advice from this forum and tried it with success. And I'm very big on playing without pain. If you're going to attack someone's suggestion, at least say what is wrong and why. If you don't know, then perhaps you should just offer your alternate advice and not knock something you may not understand.
_________________________
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Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2264740 - 04/20/14 09:04 PM Re: I think I have a problem [Re: Morodiene]
Pathbreaker Offline
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Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 1098
Loc: Massachusetts
I've done the exact exercise you referred to. I've also heard to do such exercises with extreme caution. I would say that it is very useful and there's no need to write it off completely.

Where can this exercise be found? Dohnanyi's finger exercises (to name one). Quite highly regarded, I think. Still, many have said to use them judiciously but that's probably the case for a lot of technical studies.

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#2264748 - 04/20/14 09:38 PM Re: I think I have a problem [Re: Pathbreaker]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12056
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Pathbreaker
I've done the exact exercise you referred to. I've also heard to do such exercises with extreme caution. I would say that it is very useful and there's no need to write it off completely.

Where can this exercise be found? Dohnanyi's finger exercises (to name one). Quite highly regarded, I think. Still, many have said to use them judiciously but that's probably the case for a lot of technical studies.
I think I did them 2 or 3 times in a week and saw improvement, and literally that is all I did, so I'd agree that more is unnecessary and potentially harmful, just like Hanon or whatever can be harmful. They aren't harmful intrinsically if you are smart about it.
_________________________
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Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2265047 - 04/21/14 06:40 PM Re: I think I have a problem [Re: Morodiene]
Louis Podesta Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/13
Posts: 741
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: Pathbreaker
I've done the exact exercise you referred to. I've also heard to do such exercises with extreme caution. I would say that it is very useful and there's no need to write it off completely.

Where can this exercise be found? Dohnanyi's finger exercises (to name one). Quite highly regarded, I think. Still, many have said to use them judiciously but that's probably the case for a lot of technical studies.
I think I did them 2 or 3 times in a week and saw improvement, and literally that is all I did, so I'd agree that more is unnecessary and potentially harmful, just like Hanon or whatever can be harmful. They aren't harmful intrinsically if you are smart about it.

Laguna Greg, wherever you are?, can address the physiological aspects of this better than I can. However, my coach is Thomas Mark, who like L.G. studied under Dorothy Taubman.

The Taubman people stress over everything else that there be no co-contractions with any muscles involved in playing the piano. That means that 1) you don't play with an outstretched hand, 2) you do not stretch are reach for a note while having any other finger stationary, and most importantly, 3) you don't hold down notes while playing any other, unless for a very brief period of time.

What about J.S. Bach? Well, he was playing the organ, harpsichord, or a clavichord, which have nowhere the stiffness of the action of a modern piano.

Morodiene, I am glad it worked out for you, but I can just see the old "more is better" philosophy kicking in with those pianists who are not professionals. It is an extreme example, but remember what happened to a man named Schumann?

I personally have tried a combination of the interossei speed trill and release, along with sticking the outer finger ala Taubman. This is being done with the trills in the first four measures of the Brahms Paganini Variation IV (Book One), and it is working very well.

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#2266663 - 04/24/14 10:46 PM Re: I think I have a problem [Re: JoelW]
caters Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/14
Posts: 191
Loc: Columbus, ohio, USA
The only time I would do a 1-3, 1-4, or 1-5 fingering is if I had to trill notes wider than a second apart. Here is the list of my fingerings for trills:
1-1: 1 note trill otherwise known as tremolo
1-2: minor or major second
1-3: minor or major 3rd
1-4: perfect fourth or diminished 5th
1-5: Anything from perfect 5th to as far as my hand can reach which is a major 9th

However I can comfortably have my 1-2 fingering from minor second to augmented 5th, my 1-3 fingering from minor third to minor seventh, and my 1-4 fingering from perfect fourth to perfect octave


Edited by caters (04/24/14 10:49 PM)

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#2266792 - 04/25/14 09:07 AM Re: I think I have a problem [Re: JoelW]
Shabbat Shalom Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/06/14
Posts: 13
Loc: USA
It's possible to have comfortable and good-sounding trills with any finger combination. Just have a light approach with firm finger tips, loose wrist and arm, and listen carefully.
_________________________
"Whoever is moved by music to the depths of the soul, and works on the instrument like possessed one, who loves music and his instrument with passion – will acquire virtuoso technique; he/she will be able to recreate the artistic image of the composition; he/she will be a performer." - Neuhaus

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#2267021 - 04/25/14 04:34 PM Re: I think I have a problem [Re: JoelW]
caters Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/14
Posts: 191
Loc: Columbus, ohio, USA
but natural hand shape also plays a role. Like if you have 1-3 for major second that is unnatural but if you have it for minor or major third it is natural. So hand shape plays a role in the lower boundaries and how far you can stretch that combination plays a role in the upper boundaries.

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#2267049 - 04/25/14 05:21 PM Re: I think I have a problem [Re: caters]
pianoloverus Offline
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Registered: 05/29/01
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Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: caters
but natural hand shape also plays a role. Like if you have 1-3 for major second that is unnatural...
I don't think so. In addition some use 13231323 fingering on trills on adjacent white notes. Anton Kuerti likes doing trills on adjacent white notes with 1-3 and a low wrist.

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#2267052 - 04/25/14 05:26 PM Re: I think I have a problem [Re: caters]
pianoloverus Offline
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Registered: 05/29/01
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Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: caters
The only time I would do a 1-3, 1-4, or 1-5 fingering is if I had to trill notes wider than a second apart. Here is the list of my fingerings for trills:
1-1: 1 note trill otherwise known as tremolo
When playing repeated notes(these are not called tremolos)using the same finger is possible(although using the thumb is rare). But many, I think a sizable majority, prefer changing fingers when playing repeated notes,e.g. 321321 or 212121 etc.

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#2267107 - 04/25/14 07:27 PM Re: I think I have a problem [Re: pianoloverus]
caters Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/14
Posts: 191
Loc: Columbus, ohio, USA
tremolos do involve only 1 note thus my saying they are 1 note trills.

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#2267122 - 04/25/14 08:07 PM Re: I think I have a problem [Re: caters]
pianoloverus Offline
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Registered: 05/29/01
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Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: caters
tremolos do involve only 1 note thus my saying they are 1 note trills.
In piano music (as opposed to string music)I have never heard of calling the playing a single note repeatedly a tremolo (and definitely not a trill). It's possible that this is done, but only rarely.

Similarly I have never heard of the alternate playing of the the notes in a larger interval, e.g. a fourth, being called anything other than a tremolo. Trills refer to alternating notes either a minor or major second apart.


Edited by pianoloverus (04/25/14 08:12 PM)

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#2267168 - 04/25/14 10:56 PM Re: I think I have a problem [Re: pianoloverus]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12056
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: caters
tremolos do involve only 1 note thus my saying they are 1 note trills.
In piano music (as opposed to string music)I have never heard of calling the playing a single note repeatedly a tremolo (and definitely not a trill). It's possible that this is done, but only rarely.

Similarly I have never heard of the alternate playing of the the notes in a larger interval, e.g. a fourth, being called anything other than a tremolo. Trills refer to alternating notes either a minor or major second apart.


This is my understanding as well.
_________________________
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MTNA member
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#2267169 - 04/25/14 10:58 PM Re: I think I have a problem [Re: Morodiene]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7648
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: caters
tremolos do involve only 1 note thus my saying they are 1 note trills.
In piano music (as opposed to string music)I have never heard of calling the playing a single note repeatedly a tremolo (and definitely not a trill). It's possible that this is done, but only rarely.

Similarly I have never heard of the alternate playing of the the notes in a larger interval, e.g. a fourth, being called anything other than a tremolo. Trills refer to alternating notes either a minor or major second apart.

This is my understanding as well.

And it is correct.
_________________________
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Polyphonist

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#2267177 - 04/25/14 11:07 PM Re: I think I have a problem [Re: pianoloverus]
noobpianist90 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/23/13
Posts: 386
Loc: India
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: caters
tremolos do involve only 1 note thus my saying they are 1 note trills.
In piano music (as opposed to string music)I have never heard of calling the playing a single note repeatedly a tremolo (and definitely not a trill). It's possible that this is done, but only rarely.

Similarly I have never heard of the alternate playing of the the notes in a larger interval, e.g. a fourth, being called anything other than a tremolo. Trills refer to alternating notes either a minor or major second apart.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g60JMPAU2cE&feature=youtu.be&t=23s

What would this be?

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