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#915605 - 01/01/08 10:25 PM The Left Hand of the Pathetique
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13776
Loc: Iowa City, IA
One of the most frequently asked questions here regards the measured LH tremolo that accompanies the main theme of Beethoven's "Pathetique" sonata.

So, here are my suggestions for tackling this infamous accompaniment:

First, the major joints need to be free of tension. This means the shoulder, elbow, and wrist. Keep in mind that tension is cumulative, so I'd suggest practicing this section after you're warmed-up or have taken a short break, not after you've already been playing for an hour straight.

Try varying the height of your wrist and the height of the bench. Also, avoid extremes - your wrist should not be concave or overly convex (I prefer a slightly raised wrist.) Another interesting way to practice is to turn your bench and your body about 60 degrees to the right. This will keep your left elbow away from your body in a more natural position. Once you've got the hang of the passage in this position, it'll be easier to transfer that feeling to your regular position.

Visualize two things - imagine your left arm is a garden hose and that the sound is the water. For the sound to flow freely out of your hands, there can't be any kinks in the hose. As you practice, feel for those kinks and free them up when they happen.

One more bit of visualization that helps - imagine a light breeze passing through the crook of your elbow and through your armpit. Tension in those two joints spells disaster, so keep them well ventilated!

Practice on doorknobs and salt shakers. Every time you open a door, use your left hand and rattle the knob a bit. Every time you add salt to your food, sprinkle it on with your left hand.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#915606 - 01/01/08 10:34 PM Re: The Left Hand of the Pathetique
wdot Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/07
Posts: 727
Loc: South Carolina, USA
These are all really good suggestions. As an alternative, you could arrange to be left-handed like me. I can play octave tremolos all day with my left hand. Now my right hand is another story entirely.

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#915607 - 01/01/08 10:35 PM Re: The Left Hand of the Pathetique
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13776
Loc: Iowa City, IA
"But Kreisler, that's BORING, I want to really play the piece!!!"

Okay fine, try these exercises. The key is to keep it nice and light. Don't make it happen; let it happen.

Exercise 1 - Burst Practice

This works well for anything that has running sixteenth notes. Passagework in Mozart concerti, the LH of the Revolutionary Etude, and the Pathetique:



The dotted 16ths in the LH should have a light relaxed bounce to them. This will help you build points of relaxation into the passage.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#915608 - 01/01/08 10:39 PM Re: The Left Hand of the Pathetique
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13776
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Exercise 2 - Triplets

Often the problem with the tremolo is that the 5th finger is underdeveloped and the thumb is too clunky. As a result, the hand is off balance and favors the thumb side, creating a sound that's too loud and a feeling that hinders speed.

Practicing in triplets can help! Again, keep it light and gently throw the hand to the left as it rotates toward the 5th finger (we're talking millimeters here, don't overdo it - it's more a feeling than an actual motion.) When the hand rotates to the thumb side, feel for a slight throw - it's like following through in a baseball swing. You have to finish the motion and keep it round. Stay fluid, don't jerk your wrist back and forth!

_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#915609 - 01/01/08 10:44 PM Re: The Left Hand of the Pathetique
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13776
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Exercise 3 - Accents

In this exercise, I suggest accenting the lower C slightly. This will keep the hand weighted more evenly and give you a better sound. The key here is to keep that thumb light:



For another little trick, stop every now and then and squeeze the muscle between your LH thumb and 1st finger with your right hand. That muscle is the largest single muscle in your hand, and when it tenses up, your whole hand loses flexibility. Take a break and massage that muscle every now and then.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#915610 - 01/01/08 10:48 PM Re: The Left Hand of the Pathetique
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13776
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Exercise 4 - One Less Accent

Once you've got the hang of exercise 3, try halving the number of accents, putting them only on the strong beats. One bit of advice that many advanced pianists go by is to let your ear guide the technique. Listen for that low C, and your hand will find a way to make it happen. If you don't listen for it, the thumb will take advantage of you and butt in. Keep your ear on finger 5 and let it guide you through the passage. (But keep it light - a tense 5th finger is dangerous too!)



Finally, try all of the above exercises with a 5th or 6th in the LH instead of an octave. It might sound strange, but it'll help you find the right motions and make it all feel more comfortable. It'll make your practicing feel like less of a struggle, and the technique will transfer to the octave quite easily.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#915611 - 01/01/08 10:56 PM Re: The Left Hand of the Pathetique
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13776
Loc: Iowa City, IA
And finally, some general advice:

Practice for comfort, not speed. It's 100 times easier to make a comfortable passage faster than it is to make a fast passage more comfortable.

This is a physical skill. GI Joe's maxim does not apply. Knowing is not half the battle. Patient and consistent implementation of knowledge wins this war.

There are no shortcuts. Stop looking for them. Concern yourself with two things - the sound you want and physical comfort. Enjoy the journey and you WILL get there!
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#915612 - 01/01/08 10:59 PM Re: The Left Hand of the Pathetique
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13776
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Okay...let's hear from everyone else, too.

Are you an advanced pianist? How did you conquer the LH? Are you a beginner? What works best for you?
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#915613 - 01/01/08 11:00 PM Re: The Left Hand of the Pathetique
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5921
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by Kreisler:
It's 100 times easier to make a comfortable passage faster than it is to make a fast passage more comfortable.
[/b]
So, so true!
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#915614 - 01/01/08 11:48 PM Re: The Left Hand of the Pathetique
Secondo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 312
Loc: Seattle, Washington
Hi Kreisler:

Your exercises inspired me to go to the bookshelf and look for Ruch Slenczynska, Music at Your Fingertips, which I haven't looked at in years. Great way to strengthen the fingers and get rid of accents. Thanks!
_________________________
Baldwin SF-10 320152, Marshall & Wendell, Steinway B

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#915615 - 01/02/08 01:57 AM Re: The Left Hand of the Pathetique
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5459
Loc: Orange County, CA
This is awesome!!! Thanks!
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#915616 - 01/03/08 01:29 PM Re: The Left Hand of the Pathetique
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19271
Loc: New York City
Do you think that a lighter action makes the tremolos easier? When I played this work about 50 years ago, I don't remember having tremolo problems but my piano had a very light action. Or maybe I really did have problems but it's been too long to remember them!

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#915617 - 01/03/08 05:56 PM Re: The Left Hand of the Pathetique
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7348
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Kreisler - excellent posts and suggestions. Much of this applies to Alberti bass patterns and miserable Haydn accompaniments as well.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#915618 - 01/04/08 01:39 AM Re: The Left Hand of the Pathetique
HappyGoLucky Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/07/03
Posts: 295
Loc: Arlington, VA
Thanks for these excellent exercises. Your visualization suggestions are particularly helpful.

Once I got the tremelo technique down and was working toward getting the LH tremelo up to speed, my teacher recommended that I neither rest my LH fingers on the octave keys, nor raise my fingers off the octave keys. Rather, the trick to speed was to keep my the fingers "almost" on the keys at all times, lifting them not more than a few centimeters. It really improved my speed.

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#915619 - 01/04/08 08:38 AM Re: The Left Hand of the Pathetique
Arabesque Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/16/05
Posts: 549
Loc: Japan
You request advice form other pianists. I am an Advanced player.

It may sound trite but the way I eventually conquered the left hand tremeloes was to play many times over the boogie woogie pattern. I know it may sound terrible to you classicians but by marching up and down with those octaves and working the C,F and G chords in the right helped me. This is an example of how experimenting and messing around can widen the scope of your playing. I've been playing Pathetique on and off since I was 12. I feel absolute zero stiffnesss in the shoulders, wrists and finger joints. I love the tremeloes. They are a holiday for me even with no pedaling.

Admittedly playing them on a digital is easier than on a heavy action acoustic. But I also can play on acoustics strongly and without tiring. If you do a lot of that pinkie to thumb walking you develop a strong little finger. My little finger is very powerful from playing of many other pieces with a rythymic base pattern such as the Rondo Al Turca by Mozart. Check out that piece as it has a really excellent octave run in the bass. Also try and play Finlandia the piano score by Sibelius. That also has a lot of nice left hand tremeloes and will build you up. Practice those and you may return to Pathetique armed with more confidence.
_________________________
It don't mean a ting if it don't have dat swing

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#915620 - 01/07/08 06:48 AM Re: The Left Hand of the Pathetique
eFatz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/18/07
Posts: 78
Loc: Singapore
actually my solution is very simple
just cut down on the amount of unnecessary motion (means, do NOT do a lot of very pronounced pronation and supination). The less your hand moves, the less energy you waste, and the more effortlessly you can play.
if you think the tremolando of the pathetique sonata is difficult, try the piano part of the kreutzer sonata or the 2nd ballade by liszt... pages and pages of that stuff

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#915621 - 01/12/08 09:58 PM Re: The Left Hand of the Pathetique
Mac777 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/11/08
Posts: 10
Loc: Queensland AUSTRALIA
I'm a new member here ... bit more time on my heands these days, so thought I would browse some of the piano related sites.

After reading ALL the above ... I'm in a state of shock ... although I guess I shouldn't be surprised ... I have known for several decades how IGNORANT just about ALL pianists and teachers are regarding BASIC technique.

If I have time in the next day or so ... I'll respond at some length ... although it may be a week before I get to it ... we'll see

HOWEVER ... just to summarize ... I have NEVER read such RUBBISH in my entire life ... MOST if not ALL of the above will not in ANY WAY assist you ...

In fact ... MOST of the above is guaranteed to cause INJURY

NOT ONE of the above contributors have even a BASIC understanding of piano technique

Sorry ... sad tale but true

Ian Mac

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#915622 - 01/12/08 10:15 PM Re: The Left Hand of the Pathetique
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
cool, i hope to hear what you'd say soon! i don't play this yet, but am always curious about techniques someone would describe.

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#915623 - 01/12/08 11:48 PM Re: The Left Hand of the Pathetique
Brendan Offline


Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5299
Loc: McAllen, TX
 Quote:
Originally posted by Mac777:
HUAH [/b]
Awesome, we'll wait for that expert commentary.

Thread contribution:

For my hands, I find a dropping motion to be helpful in maintaining freedom. A fluid, continuous up-down motion at the rate of one "drop" per bar keeps the thumb relaxed. Tension comes from being locked in the same position for an extended period of time. If you "hit the ground running" on the first beat of each bar there's a little more flexibility as opposed to trying to control it too much. Someone earlier mentioned the Kreutzer Sonata - yes, it's the same issue there as well. I found those passages very challenging until I started experimenting with dropping within a wrist motion.

The same principle can be applied to most technical issues: the octaves in Petrushka, Chopin's Thirds Etude, etc. Of course, the REAL issue is evening out tone quality and making sure that the drop doesn't produce an accent.
_________________________
http://www.BrendanKinsella.com

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#915624 - 01/13/08 01:14 AM Re: The Left Hand of the Pathetique
Loki Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/05
Posts: 1035
Loc: Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by Mac777:


In fact ... MOST of the above is guaranteed to cause INJURY

NOT ONE of the above contributors have even a BASIC understanding of piano technique

[/b]
So practicing in different rhythms and relaxing your body is guaranteed to cause injury?? Funny, I've never heard that one before.

Also:

When I played this piece, I did what Brendan suggested and started the tremolo flat and grouped upward every measure.
_________________________
Houston, Texas

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#915625 - 01/13/08 01:20 AM Re: The Left Hand of the Pathetique
Mac777 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/11/08
Posts: 10
Loc: Queensland AUSTRALIA
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OK ladies and gents ... I'll copy and paste each of the above comments ... MY comments will be in the body of each.

I'll try to be brief ... although that's not in my nature ... so we'll see what eventuates.

I apologize in advance to those contributors who feel offended by my comments ... (unfortunately Tobias Matthay has a lot to answer for ... still creating havoc after a century of pianists developing bad and injurious habits)

################################################
One of the most frequently asked questions here regards the measured LH tremolo that accompanies the main theme of Beethoven's "Pathetique" sonata.

So, here are my suggestions for tackling this infamous accompaniment:

#####
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I've not had time to scour the archives here to see just how many have problems with this sonata ... I'll take ur word for it ... but there are numerous similar examples ... but this is as good as any for ME to start commenting on
#################################

First, the major joints need to be free of tension. This means the shoulder, elbow, and wrist. Keep in mind that tension is cumulative,
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I cannot disagree with the basic statement ... HOWEVER - an understanding of the physiology is imperative ... it is how we USE the joints u mention that is critical ... we MUST use our body in the most natural way ... use the "joints" in a fashion that they were designed for! EXAMPLE ... the elbow is but a HINGE ... it is not to be used in any other way! The wrist must NEVER be considered as a joint of rotation ... more on that later. I'm sure many of you have heard the phrase "forearm rotation" - a good recipe for pain, failure and injury!
The other issue here is HOW to minimize tension ... i say MINIMIZE because without SOME tension we would have spaghetti like limbs incapable of precise and controlled (both conscious and learned / memorized) movements.
Just saying ... "be free of tension" is not very useful. One would need to be observed by an expert so the particular problem with a particular student can be analyzed
#################################################

so I'd suggest practicing this section after you're warmed-up or have taken a short break, not after you've already been playing for an hour straight.
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WHY ?????? There should be no difference whether you've been playing for 6 minutes or 6 hours (NOTE - when I mention "hours" of practice ... i'm assuming that an advanced pianist has built up to that amount of practice over YEARS and is probably following a schedule SOMETHING like 45 minutes playing ... 15 minutes break ... 45 minutes playing etc etc etc
((There can be an issue of lactic acid build up during / after extended performance of "big" repertoire ... there are ways to minimize this ... we'll leave that for another day))
#################################################

Try varying the height of your wrist and the height of the bench.
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NEVER, NEVER, NEVER vary the height of the bench ... your seating position and HEIGHt is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL ... once it is correct you must ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS use the SAME HEIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is basic and CRITICAL ... I will often spend an hour EXPLAINING and ESTABLISHING seat hight for a new student .......... it is ONE OF THE MOST CRITICAL FOUNDATIONS WHICH MUST BE CORRECT ... i cannot emphasize this enough ((with a young student who is growing ... you must continually asses and adjust))
AND ... i am talking about PRECISE seat heat ... to within half a centimeter
################################################

Also, avoid extremes - your wrist should not be concave or overly convex (I prefer a slightly raised wrist.)
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Good point ... HOWEVER ... you must understand WHY ... it's no good just saying the above as there are small physiological differences between individuals ... and this determines the most best approach for each individual ... ALSO COMES BACK TO SEAT HEIGHT ((which can be affected by a variety of reasons ... think for a moment ... 2 pianists are both 5'10" in height ... one has a long body and one a short body ... both have different length arms and legs!!!! THEREFORE the both must sit at DIFFERENT HEIGHTS ... and THIS will have a direct bearing on the angle of the forearm in relation to the horizontal ... THIS will have bearing on the height of the wrist ... THIS WILL HAVE BEARING ON THE FREEDOM OF FINGERS TO WORK IN A NATURAL AND EFFECTIVE MANNER ...
It;s not a simple subject ... there is "no one size fits all" but it is a CRITICAL PART OF THE FOUNDATIONS OF PIABO PLYING .... sadly most often not understood and in the main ... overlooked out of ignorance.
################################################

Another interesting way to practice is to turn your bench and your body about 60 degrees to the right. This will keep your left elbow away from your body in a more natural position.
#####
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Sorry mate ... but that is a TRULY FRIGHTENING THOUGHT ... practice sitting at the piano in an asymmetrical way????? destroy the "memory" of good habits????? Sorry ... i just don;t get it ... and i am 100% sure that it would be only SLIGHTLY detrimental at best ... CERTAINLY no good can come of it ... I think ur mistaken about wanting to have ur elbow AWAY from ur body ... the MOST NATURAL way to see where EACH INDIVIDUAL should have there "relaxed" elbow is to just stand up and let ur arms hang ... ... it differs with individuals ... for a skinny person with narrow shoulders ... their elbows will gently touch their body ... certainly NOT "away" from their body ... for a muscular person with broad shoulders ... yes ... the elbows will be several inches away from their body ... for most ... almost touching will be most natural .......... i'm just a bit scared that these "suggestions" you make are only confusing and WRONG ... i'll rephrase ... sorry ... i'm NOT just a bit scared ... i am suret that you should NOT be spreading such erroneous and uninformed ideas re piano plying ... sorry
to anyone who follows these ides ... u will most certainly fail and risk PERMANENT injury
################################################


Once you've got the hang of the passage in this position, it'll be easier to transfer that feeling to your regular position.
#####
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#####
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RUBBISH ... try it and waste ur time ... or maybe u will be lucky and experience a short term placebo effect ...
#################################################

Visualize two things - imagine your left arm is a garden hose and that the sound is the water. For the sound to flow freely out of your hands, there can't be any kinks in the hose. As you practice, feel for those kinks and free them up when they happen.
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My arm is a garden hose and sound is running water ... hmmmmm OK mate ... i'm sure ur students appreciate the symbolism ... ... ... but for me ... i'd rather UNDERSTAND the issues at play ... EXPLAIN the issues ... and DEMONSTRATE solutions which are SAFE AND EFFECTIVE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
#################################################

One more bit of visualization that helps - imagine a light breeze passing through the crook of your elbow and through your armpit. Tension in those two joints spells disaster, so keep them well ventilated!
#####
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#####
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a breeze flowing through my armpit ... ... okkkkkkkkkkk ... no comment - i NEED A BREAK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

more to follow in the next day or so
#################################################

Practice on doorknobs and salt shakers. Every time you open a door, use your left hand and rattle the knob a bit. Every time you add salt to your food, sprinkle it on with your left hand.
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Oh ... nearly missed this last little "gem" ... very natural thing to do - twisting doorknobs!!!!!!!! a VERY VERY quick way to cause permanent injury .....!!!! just try twisting a doorknob backwards and forward RAPIDLY (rattle it like a tremolo!!!) for 30 seconds or so ... I REST MY CASE!!!
################################################
apologies for spelling and grammatical errors - i;m never inclined to reread and correct
################################################

ian mac

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#915626 - 01/13/08 11:32 AM Re: The Left Hand of the Pathetique
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
that doorknob thing is funny!

 Quote:
First, the major joints need to be free of tension. This means the shoulder, elbow, and wrist. Keep in mind that tension is cumulative,
#####
#####
#####
#####
I cannot disagree with the basic statement ... HOWEVER - an understanding of the physiology is imperative ... it is how we USE the joints u mention that is critical ... we MUST use our body in the most natural way ... use the "joints" in a fashion that they were designed for! EXAMPLE ... the elbow is but a HINGE ... it is not to be used in any other way! The wrist must NEVER be considered as a joint of rotation ... more on that later. I'm sure many of you have heard the phrase "forearm rotation" - a good recipe for pain, failure and injury!
Question: why is 'forearm rotation' a problem? what on earth i could do if i want to rotate my hand to a different direction? do you mean hands have to be totally flat (except up/down wrist motion as you mentioned), which certainly is impossible when playing anything?

i'm just trying to understand what you imply on this. thanks for your post!

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#915627 - 01/13/08 03:36 PM Re: The Left Hand of the Pathetique
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13776
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I should mention that this seating arrangement is for LH only practice. Obviously it's harmful for the RH! Also, keep in mind the basic physiological principles you've already admonished me for ignoring - the arm is naturally positioned so that forearm rotation is more easily accomplished with the arm slightly away from the torso and not directly in front of you.

When you stand and let your arms hang, your arm is to the *side*, not in front. My suggestion of turning your body keeps your arm in a more natural position - to the side of your body.

Don't worry, it's 100% physiologically sound. I'm quite familiar with physiological principles.

Also, with respect to varying the bench height, I mean to vary it so that you can find the optimal height for your body. Of course you'd stay with the optimal height once you've found it.

Something else you said was incorrect, though. The height of the person doesn't matter at all. The only thing that determines bench height is the level of the elbow as compared to the level of the keyboard. Absolutely nothing else matters. And there is no best height - excellent and comfortable players exist whose elbows are both slightly below and above the keyboard level, but generally speaking, most people are more comfortable slightly above.

Hope that clarifies some of my ideas. Thanks!


 Quote:
Originally posted by Mac777:
Sorry mate ... but that is a TRULY FRIGHTENING THOUGHT ... practice sitting at the piano in an asymmetrical way????? destroy the "memory" of good habits????? Sorry ... i just don;t get it ... and i am 100% sure that it would be only SLIGHTLY detrimental at best ... CERTAINLY no good can come of it ... I think ur mistaken about wanting to have ur elbow AWAY from ur body ... the MOST NATURAL way to see where EACH INDIVIDUAL should have there "relaxed" elbow is to just stand up and let ur arms hang ... ... it differs with individuals ... for a skinny person with narrow shoulders ... their elbows will gently touch their body ... certainly NOT "away" from their body ... for a muscular person with broad shoulders ... yes ... the elbows will be several inches away from their body ... for most ... almost touching will be most natural .......... i'm just a bit scared that these "suggestions" you make are only confusing and WRONG ... i'll rephrase ... sorry ... i'm NOT just a bit scared ... i am suret that you should NOT be spreading such erroneous and uninformed ideas re piano plying ... sorry
to anyone who follows these ides ... u will most certainly fail and risk PERMANENT injury
################################################
[/b]
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#915628 - 01/13/08 03:40 PM Re: The Left Hand of the Pathetique
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13776
Loc: Iowa City, IA
This is a fairly common topic of discussion. There is some controversy on the use of the word rotation, because none of the joints themselves actually rotate. The elbow is, as Mac has suggested, just a hinge. (The wrist doesn't rotate either. Only the rotator cuff in the shoulder rotates, but that's not a joint that comes into play in our current context.)

However, the end result feels like the forearm and hand rotate or rock back and forth, and while the vocabulary doesn't really describe in an explicit way what's going on, it does "do the trick" with most students.


 Quote:
Originally posted by signa:
Question: why is 'forearm rotation' a problem? what on earth i could do if i want to rotate my hand to a different direction? do you mean hands have to be totally flat (except up/down wrist motion as you mentioned), which certainly is impossible when playing anything?

i'm just trying to understand what you imply on this. thanks for your post! [/b]
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#915629 - 01/13/08 08:16 PM Re: The Left Hand of the Pathetique
Mac777 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/11/08
Posts: 10
Loc: Queensland AUSTRALIA
ahhhh ... so easy to stir you guys up \:\) \:\)

have a great day

i'm bored with this site now ... think i'll go fishing ... or maybe a road trip on my HOG for a few days ... or ... hmmm maybe sit at home and listen to some Scarlatti and Liszt ... they go so well together \:\)

i might return to this board one day ... never can tell \:\)

if anyone is experiencing the SLIGHTEST pain when playing ... PLEASE STOP !!!!!!!!!!!! IMMEDIATELY !!!!!!!!!!

i REALLY REALLY REALLY get sooooo sick and tired and sad with SOOOOOOO many young pianists fighting AGAINST their body because stupid ill informed "teachers" tell / show them dangerous techniques

it is ABSOLUTELY CRIMINAL how many young pianists at Julliard, Manhattan and Beijing are taking DRUGS ... REGULARLY

SUCH DRUGS AS CORTISONE TO MASK SYMPTOMS FROM INJURY AND BETA BLOCKERS BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT PSYCHOLOGICALLY SUITED TO PERFORM

I HAVE PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE OF THAT ... AND IT'S A SIGNIFIANT PERCENTAGE ... OBVIOUSLY I CANNOT QUOTE AN ACCURATE % ... BUT I WOULD BE CERTAIN IT IS IN EXCESS OF 50% .... TRULY FRIGHTENING

I HAVE PERSONALLY HAD PIANISTS FROM THOSE 3 INSTITUTIONS AND EVERY UNIVERSITY / CONSERVATORIUM IN AUSTRALIA COME TO ME FOR HELP WITH INJURY ... MOST IN TEARS

teachers ... i like that word ,,, but i guess Professor or Doctor or whatever sounds a lot more impressive ??? hmmmmmm???

TECHNIQUE is not understood by many ... in fact MOST college / uni famous professors haven't got a clue .... TECHNIQUE is taught to YOUNG people .... it should all be in place by age 12 or so ... improved for the next couple of years ... then it's all done ... just a matter of learning how to USE your technique

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#915630 - 01/13/08 08:23 PM Re: The Left Hand of the Pathetique
JerryS88 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/06
Posts: 638
Loc: Ringwood, NJ
 Quote:
Originally posted by Mac777:
So, here are my suggestions for tackling this infamous accompaniment:
[/b]
Sorry I came a little late to this party. What are your suggestions for tackling this passage? I only see refutations of others' suggestions.

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#915631 - 01/13/08 08:26 PM Re: The Left Hand of the Pathetique
JerryS88 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/06
Posts: 638
Loc: Ringwood, NJ
 Quote:
Originally posted by Mac777:
i'm bored with this site now ... think i'll go fishing ... [/b]
That was helpful.

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#915632 - 01/13/08 09:36 PM Re: The Left Hand of the Pathetique
Mac777 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/11/08
Posts: 10
Loc: Queensland AUSTRALIA
"""Something else you said was incorrect, though. The height of the person doesn't matter at all. The only thing that determines bench height is the level of the elbow as compared to the level of the keyboard. Absolutely nothing else matters. And there is no best height - excellent and comfortable players exist whose elbows are both slightly below and above the keyboard level, but generally speaking, most people are more comfortable slightly above."""

the height of a person and the "build" of a person does matter ... eg - long body ... short body ... long upper arms etc etc ... this DIRECTLY affects the seating height

BUT ... I THINK WE ARE BOTH ON THE SAME PAGE HERE ... I LIKE SOME ASPECTS OF UR EXPLANATION BETTER THAN MINE ... i think we are both trying to get pianists to sit at a height which ensure the forearm is "" more or less"" horizontal ... of course exceptions abound (Arrau, Gould)

the critical thing is that if u sit too low ... then there is a tendency to raise the shoulders ... creates undue tension ... and the reverse creates slouching and no proper foundation to build on and often low elbows , dropped wrists etc etc etc

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#915633 - 01/13/08 09:59 PM Re: The Left Hand of the Pathetique
JerryS88 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/06
Posts: 638
Loc: Ringwood, NJ
That's it? Use the body in a natural way, use the elbow as a hinge, keep the bench at the exact correct height, determine how far your elbow hangs naturally from your body, and you will be able to play this left hand passage? Sorry, Mac777, this all seems very vague and general to me. I'm having a hard time believing that's all there is to it.

By the way, I don't appreciate your condescending tone here and the rather cowardly way you chose to exit this thread. If you have something to share, share it, if you disagree, disagree, but I think everyone posting here does so because they believe they are offering helpful advice. There are ways of disagreeing in a respectful way, and I think all the people who have posted here deserve respect. Nothing wrong with refuting other's ideas, but what exactly do you offer instead? (That's a rhetorical question - truthfully you've lost my interest in what you have to say).

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#915634 - 01/13/08 11:28 PM Re: The Left Hand of the Pathetique
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Kreisler:
This is a fairly common topic of discussion. There is some controversy on the use of the word rotation, because none of the joints themselves actually rotate. The elbow is, as Mac has suggested, just a hinge. (The wrist doesn't rotate either. Only the rotator cuff in the shoulder rotates, but that's not a joint that comes into play in our current context.)

However, the end result feels like the forearm and hand rotate or rock back and forth, and while the vocabulary doesn't really describe in an explicit way what's going on, it does "do the trick" with most students.


 Quote:
Originally posted by signa:
Question: why is 'forearm rotation' a problem? what on earth i could do if i want to rotate my hand to a different direction? do you mean hands have to be totally flat (except up/down wrist motion as you mentioned), which certainly is impossible when playing anything?

i'm just trying to understand what you imply on this. thanks for your post! [/b]
[/b]
Thanks, Kriesler! i see your point. what you're saying is that instead of actually rotate forearm, you actually lift elbow which enable the hand rotate to a different direction from the body. it makes sense, and i do remember that my teacher told me the exactly same thing when playing scale (RH ascending).

it's too bad that Mac is getting bored to explain anything further.

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