How to place your hand on the piano by Chopin

Posted by: keyboardklutz

How to place your hand on the piano by Chopin - 08/10/09 10:22 AM

Originally Posted By: Chopin post.
Place the fingers occupying the high [-black] keys all on one level and do the same for those occupying the white keys, to make the leverage relatively equal; this will curve the hand, giving it the necessary suppleness that it could not have with the fingers straight{curving it to the degree most comfortable to its shape, a suppleness that it could not have with the fingers straight/deleted}. A supple hand; the wrist, the forearm, the arm, everything will follow the hand in the right order. [all italics are Chopin's]
He is saying with a natural hand the keys will shape the fingers, there is no need for any muscle use.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: How to place your hand on the piano by Chopin - 08/10/09 10:35 AM

Where did you get this, kbk? I would be highly interested to see the rest of it! smile
Posted by: sotto voce

Re: How to place your hand on the piano by Chopin - 08/10/09 10:36 AM

I was wondering the same thing. The Eigeldinger book?

Steven
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: How to place your hand on the piano by Chopin - 08/10/09 10:40 AM

Yes, and happy birthday Steven! Horo, if you haven't got Eigeldinger do get a copy. There's not much of Chopin himself though, I'll see what else I can post. You can read some through Google books.
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: How to place your hand on the piano by Chopin - 08/10/09 10:45 AM

How about a pupil on his technique from the same book:

Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: How to place your hand on the piano by Chopin - 08/10/09 10:48 AM

Thank you for the advice, kbk. I will see if I can get my hands on that book next time I order from Amazon. I'm still working out what I want in the way of recordings. grin In the meantime, I'll try google books. Thanks! smile
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: How to place your hand on the piano by Chopin - 08/10/09 10:51 AM


Here again he's saying how the keyboard is shaped to the hand, not the other way 'round.
Posted by: Nyiregyhazi

Re: How to place your hand on the piano by Chopin - 08/10/09 10:53 AM

Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
How about a pupil on his technique from the same book:



So are you saying that you've changed your mind about limp (as opposed to 'active')fingers and not applying any weight to the keyboard?

I don't see how a word of this has anything to do with what you were promoting in the other discussion.
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: How to place your hand on the piano by Chopin - 08/10/09 10:55 AM

Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi

So are you saying that you've changed your mind about limp (as opposed to 'active')fingers and not applying any weight to the keyboard?

I don't see how a word of this has anything to do with what you were promoting in the other discussion.
...the hand should fall softly on the keys just with its own weight.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: How to place your hand on the piano by Chopin - 08/10/09 11:02 AM

Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Yes, and happy birthday Steven! Horo, if you haven't got Eigeldinger do get a copy. There's not much of Chopin himself though, I'll see what else I can post. You can read some through Google books.


I just pulled it up on Google Books. Thanks again!
Posted by: Nyiregyhazi

Re: How to place your hand on the piano by Chopin - 08/10/09 11:13 AM

Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi

So are you saying that you've changed your mind about limp (as opposed to 'active')fingers and not applying any weight to the keyboard?

I don't see how a word of this has anything to do with what you were promoting in the other discussion.
...the hand should fall softly on the keys just with its own weight.


A confusing expression certainly. However, considering that it also says to keep the wrist free (an impossibility without a stable support at the fingertip), the weight of the foream is also going to be involved in the equation. I don't believe Chopin ever advised anyone to hold their elbow in position, as you do. Seen that anywhere? Assuming he didn't want the elbow held still (hardly a radical hypothesis, judging from what he says elsewhere) the only way to maintain a properly loose wrist is to seek support at a keyboard- by gripping enough to maintain a stable finger and resting upon that finger (ie. by finding a 'living, active link' as it's described here). All, in all, it seems pretty clear that it just means there's no need to actively push.

To translate that to- "don't rest weight on the keys" seems like a rather liberally conceived interpretation. The free wrist hinges on the necessity of weight being properly rested on the keys- just like the expression suggests the pianist should do.
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: How to place your hand on the piano by Chopin - 08/10/09 11:32 AM

*ignoring the above user*
Posted by: Nyiregyhazi

Re: How to place your hand on the piano by Chopin - 08/10/09 11:33 AM

Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
*ignoring the above user*


Some points are just too inconvenient with regard to a preconceived belief, for you to deal with them, eh?
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: How to place your hand on the piano by Chopin - 08/10/09 11:52 AM

*Still ignoring the above user* - If he had any decency he wouldn't post in my thread.
Posted by: Nyiregyhazi

Re: How to place your hand on the piano by Chopin - 08/10/09 12:28 PM

Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
*Still ignoring the above user* - If he had any decency he wouldn't post in my thread.


Sorry, I didn't realise that this was a private shrine to a self-appointed master.

I'm just rather concerned by your wild misinterpretation of that text- and the manner in which you have tried to twist it into supporting that which it clearly does not. This is seriously supposed to be some of the evidence for you ideas about holding your elbow and wrist still- rather than rest some weight on the fingertips?

If you opened your mind enough to consider how much it actually portrays the role of the 'active' (I quote directly) fingers, you might learn something. I particularly like the depiction of sensory awareness at the very tip of the finger. Leave your hand slack and there's very little. Begin to feel the very ends of the fingers just solidfying that tiny bit, however and you have precisely the type of sensation that is described in that passage. And precisely the force that is required to prevent a finger from collapsing when it strikes a key.

Does that not make you stop and think at all? Or are your preconceived opinions so strong that even such a vivid depiction as the one in that text strikes you as illustrating a limp, flaccid finger- that does not actively support any weight at the keys?
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: How to place your hand on the piano by Chopin - 08/10/09 01:06 PM

Obviously no decency.
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: How to place your hand on the piano by Chopin - 08/10/09 01:36 PM

No one has yet mentioned that Chopin's technique was behind Chopin's playing, which by all accounts was not as powerful as some of his contemporaries (Liszt, Thalberg, etc...)

Could it be that Chopin's approach to technique is not the only valid approach to piano playing? Liszt's approach seems to have been much different - observers were quick to point out his use of the arms.

It seems to me that many of the recent discussions on arm weight and hand position assume that there is one "best" approach that achieves the greatest artistic products with the most physiological efficient motions.

I would suggest that there are several approaches that are physiologically and artistically valid. Just as Andras Schiff's and Glenn Gould's Bach recordings are both different and illuminating from an artistic standpoint, why can't we bring ourselves to believe that the different physical processes that produce them are also valid?
Posted by: Nyiregyhazi

Re: How to place your hand on the piano by Chopin - 08/10/09 01:40 PM

Originally Posted By: Kreisler
No one has yet mentioned that Chopin's technique was behind Chopin's playing, which by all accounts was not as powerful as some of his contemporaries (Liszt, Thalberg, etc...)

Could it be that Chopin's approach to technique is not the only valid approach to piano playing? Liszt's approach seems to have been much different - observers were quick to point out his use of the arms.

It seems to me that many of the recent discussions on arm weight and hand position assume that there is one "best" approach that achieves the greatest artistic products with the most physiological efficient motions.

I would suggest that there are several approaches that are physiologically and artistically valid. Just as Andras Schiff's and Glenn Gould's Bach recordings are both different and illuminating from an artistic standpoint, why can't we bring ourselves to believe that the different physical processes that produce them are also valid?


Couldn't agree more. The only thing I'd rule out is the such ridiculous ideas as those that exclude the notion that active finger grip can ever be of benefit and that weight should never be deployed through the fingers. Aside from the fact that this is scientifically implausible, it's a tremendous limit to impose on anyone.

Beyond that, the possibilities are virtually limitless. The more different ways of moving you can learn, the better. Anything that restricts you to only hitting the keys from a height or only playing from immediate finger pressure is just that- a restriction. Learn to control as many different approaches as possible, and you can do whatever you want.

PS. It's also worth noting that Chopin was extremely jealous of how Liszt played his etudes. I don't believe this was purely in terms of accuracy etc. Chopin made a number of interesting observations, but who is to say they represent the ultimate secret to the most functional mechanism possible?
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: How to place your hand on the piano by Chopin - 08/10/09 01:46 PM

Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Could it be that Chopin's approach to technique is not the only valid approach to piano playing? Liszt's approach seems to have been much different - observers were quick to point out his use of the arms.
Agreed, but the best approach to Chopin is Chopin's (Mozart, Mozart's).
Posted by: Nyiregyhazi

Re: How to place your hand on the piano by Chopin - 08/10/09 01:50 PM

Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Could it be that Chopin's approach to technique is not the only valid approach to piano playing? Liszt's approach seems to have been much different - observers were quick to point out his use of the arms.
Agreed, but the best approach to Chopin is Chopin's (Mozart, Mozart's).


Perhaps his music can have justice done to it when it's played by a performer who is in the later stages of tuberculosis?

If I recall correctly, Chopin specifically said that Liszt played his Etudes better than he did.
Posted by: sotto voce

Re: How to place your hand on the piano by Chopin - 08/10/09 02:22 PM

For those who may not be aware, Chopin: Pianist and Teacher: As Seen by his Pupils, by Jean-Jacques Eigeldinger, is a wonderful and very significant contribution to the canon of contemporary writings about Chopin, his practices and his methods. Eigeldinger is a distinguished Chopin scholar who, along with the equally eminent John Rink and Jim Samson as co-editors, is preparing new urtext editions for Edition Peters.

kbk, thanks for the birthday wishes. smile

Steven
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: How to place your hand on the piano by Chopin - 08/10/09 02:25 PM

Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Could it be that Chopin's approach to technique is not the only valid approach to piano playing? Liszt's approach seems to have been much different - observers were quick to point out his use of the arms.
In fact I would go further and suggest the job of a pianist is to know, and where possible reproduce, a composer's technical approach. Here's an interesting picture by Maurice Sand, It shows Chopin discussing this very topic!
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: How to place your hand on the piano by Chopin - 08/10/09 04:41 PM

Which begs the question - Did Chopin alter his approach to the piano when playing the works of Liszt or Schumann?
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: How to place your hand on the piano by Chopin - 08/10/09 05:09 PM

Some how I doubt it besides, I don't think you'd have caught him playing Schumann. More importantly, what, of the many approaches, to take for beginners?
Posted by: sotto voce

Re: How to place your hand on the piano by Chopin - 08/10/09 05:22 PM

Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Which begs the question - Did Chopin alter his approach to the piano when playing the works of Liszt or Schumann?

I'm not sure if you're asking whether Chopin altered his approach to play the music of other composers in general—or just composers whose music he didn't find especially appealing. smile

Steven