How to play fast, accurate arpeggios?

Posted by: Rickster

How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 04/02/09 12:26 PM

Hi All,

Does anyone have any suggestions, ideas, techniques, YouTube videos, or web sites on how to play really fast and accurate upward ascending arpeggios?

Thanks,

Rick
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 04/02/09 12:38 PM

Chopin was never concerned if his pupils left a gap in legato as the thumb went under - the flow was more important.
Posted by: dannac

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 04/02/09 12:50 PM

Hey Rickster,

you gonna boo me out the ballpark, but the answer is ....

practice, practice, practice.
Posted by: LeOniuS

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 04/02/09 12:58 PM

As always, slow practice with a metronome with gradual increase in tempo is basically all it is. Play at a challenging, but comfortable speed where you hit every note. My teacher advocated to feel the notes before you strike them, in other words be ready to play before tempo.. to get a feel for this start super slowly. Another thing is in Bernsteins book "With your own two hands" he did show a few exercises in turning the thumb under the hand for extended periods.. after all the essence of quality scales and arpeggios lies prominently in smooth turning under of the thumb.
Posted by: Rickster

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 04/02/09 08:13 PM

Hi Dannac,

I’d never boo you under any circumstances grin. Thanks for the great advice. Yes, Practice, Practice, and more Practice is the answer.

Also, thanks for the comments, keyboardklutz and LeOniuS!

Take care,

Rick
Posted by: Theowne

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 04/02/09 08:29 PM

Try playing the arpeggio notes with different rhythms. I find this helps my accuracy.

Also my other technique probably isn't recommended, but I try doubling the speed and trying to get them as accurate as possible there, this usually allows to play near perfect when I go back to the old speed.
Posted by: Rickster

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 04/02/09 10:18 PM

Thanks, Theowne!

Playing the 5-string banjo for many years has helped me to develop rather fast fingers, especially on my right hand. I’m getting pretty quick on the piano as well but my control and accuracy need improvement.

I guess I’m a little like Richard Petty… I do everything fast. I think I need to slow down a little. grin

Take care,

Rick
Posted by: ROMagister

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 04/03/09 05:14 AM

Hmmm... the basic thumb-under (as used for scales, to shift 4 or 5 notes) is enough to shift a whole octave ? I don't know if usual hand anatomy supports that.
C,E,G (thumb under) C,E,G (thumb under) C,E,G etc ?

or maybe thumb-under every 2 notes ? that seems doable:
C,E (TU) G,C (TU) E,G ...

Fun exercise-like pieces in Faber adult book 2 use both hands alternating for such multi-octave arpeggios, up and down, and that feels more natural.
But perhaps that's not 'advanced enough' technique, if a hand needs to play something else then the other must arpeggio alone ?
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 04/03/09 09:02 AM

Try this:
Play one 8va arpeggio very slowly, as quarter notes, then two octaves as 8th notes, then 3 8vas as 8th note triplets, then 4 8vas as 16ths. This will really help to keep your arpeggios even and accurate.

I agree that there can be a little gap when the thumb goes under, it will be covered by the legato in the other hand. The goal is to not slam down the thumb so that it's no louder than the other notes.
Posted by: Rickster

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 04/03/09 10:30 AM

Thanks, RoMagister and Morodiene!

ROMagister, you are on to something here… yes, the thumb under to span an entire octave is exactly my problem. There is a slight gap in the arpeggio timing when I try to do that. And, I think I am referring to 16th note arpeggios. I can fly down the keyboard with descending 2-note TU arpeggios; I’m slower going upward with the 2-note TU arpeggios.

There is a piece I am working on that has an ending (my own arrangement) with a 7 octave ascending arpeggio from F2 to F7 (16th notes I think). I’ll start on F2 with my left hand 5th finger and play 4 notes of the F major cord with the left hand from F2 to F3, three notes with the right hand (to complete the full octave F major cord) to end with RH finger #5 on F4; cross over with my left hand to play 2 notes (A and C) to complete the F major cord in the 4th octave; cross under with my right hand with finger #1 landing on F4 and #5 ending on F5. Now, here is where the gap come in… to complete the 7 octave arpeggio I have to cross my RH thumb under for a complete octave to start on A6 to complete the FM cord with the C and F in the 7th octave. The arpeggio is fairly smooth and fast until I get to the RH thumb under from A5 to A6.

Okay, has this made any sense whatsoever?

Thanks for the comments!

Rick
Posted by: shadowflower

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 04/04/09 12:07 AM

ROMagister,

Not sure if I understand you well. But in Hanon, C-E-G is played by 1-2-3 on RH, then TU. For LH, it's 5-4-2, TU, then 1-4-2.
Posted by: dannylux

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 04/04/09 08:43 AM

Originally Posted By: Rickster

There is a piece I am working on that has an ending (my own arrangement) with a 7 octave ascending arpeggio from F2 to F7 (16th notes I think). I’ll start on F2 with my left hand 5th finger and play 4 notes of the F major cord with the left hand from F2 to F3, three notes with the right hand (to complete the full octave F major cord) to end with RH finger #5 on F4; cross over with my left hand to play 2 notes (A and C) to complete the F major cord in the 4th octave; cross under with my right hand with finger #1 landing on F4 and #5 ending on F5. Now, here is where the gap come in… to complete the 7 octave arpeggio I have to cross my RH thumb under for a complete octave to start on A6 to complete the FM cord with the C and F in the 7th octave. The arpeggio is fairly smooth and fast until I get to the RH thumb under from A5 to A6.

Okay, has this made any sense whatsoever?

Thanks for the comments!

Rick

Rick,

For playing hand-over-hand arpeggios for 7 octaves, in F major, try this.

First, think of the run as eight-note triplets, rather than 16th notes.

Starting on the low F with your left hand, play F-A-C with 5-3-1. Then with your right hand, play F-A-C with 1-3-5.

Now cross your left hand over and play F-A-C with 5-3-1.

Continue up alternating hands.

Play the last F with your left hand, finger 2.

You can do this in any key, using the same pattern with the same fingers.


Mel
Posted by: Rickster

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 04/05/09 01:40 PM

Thanks, Mel.

I tried your suggestion and it does flow rather smoothly. The way I was doing the F2 to F7 arpeggio flowed really smoothly too until the last octave. I can cross over again with my left hand but I was hoping to figure out a way to do the last two octaves with just the right hand. I guess it’s possible but will take a lot of speed, agility and accuracy.

Thanks again,

Rick

P.S. I listened to some of your recordings and they were great! Your piano sounded nice, was in tune and the playing was very good!
Posted by: HappyApple

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 09/21/09 03:56 AM

Mel, you are fantastic! Wow.
Posted by: bluekeys

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 09/21/09 07:48 AM

This video might help:

http://www.cosmolearning.com/video-lectures/arpeggio-pattern/
Posted by: Riddler

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 09/21/09 08:09 AM

Aside to Mel,

FYI, I started my day by listening to your rendition of Pavane.

It's going to be a magnificent day, I'm sure!!

Thanks for sharing.

Ed
Posted by: Gyro

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 09/21/09 10:41 AM

The wording of your question reveals
a fundamental misunderstanding about
playing. In playing an arpeggio
speed and accuracy are secondary
concerns as compared to rubato.

An arpeggio is typically notated
in music as a series of 4-16 notes,
but in piano music a 4-16 note
figure immediately signals that
rubato treatment is required, that
is, the four notes are not supposed
to be played in strict time. Thus,
although speed an accuracy are
required, what is much more important
is that you don't play the notes
in strict time. Without this kind
of rubato treatment you can't get
an impressive performance on the
piano.
Posted by: buck2202

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 09/21/09 11:16 AM

Originally Posted By: Gyro
The wording of your question reveals
a fundamental misunderstanding about
playing. In playing an arpeggio
speed and accuracy are secondary
concerns as compared to rubato.

An arpeggio is typically notated
in music as a series of 4-16 notes,
but in piano music a 4-16 note
figure immediately signals that
rubato treatment is required, that
is, the four notes are not supposed
to be played in strict time. Thus,
although speed an accuracy are
required, what is much more important
is that you don't play the notes
in strict time. Without this kind
of rubato treatment you can't get
an impressive performance on the
piano.


You're suggesting that all long arpeggios in all piano music should be played without regard to strict timing? Without regard to the composer's period (romantic, baroque, etc.) or intentions indicated otherwise? Even when Rickster specifically says that he's working on his own arrangement, and would presumably know better than you what he intends?
Posted by: Gyro

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 09/21/09 11:20 AM

Yes to all three questions. If you're
asking this, you have no real
understanding about playing the piano.
Posted by: buck2202

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 09/21/09 11:26 AM

Awesome. Glad we got that cleared up. Rickster, you had better start reworking that arpeggio...might as well just do it with one hand, and don't bother with any quick thumb-under moves. Just pick your hand up and move it! Rubato! smokin
Posted by: TimR

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 09/21/09 11:45 AM

Originally Posted By: Rickster
Thanks, RoMagister and Morodiene!

ROMagister, you are on to something here… yes, the thumb under to span an entire octave is exactly my problem.
Rick


Then go thumb over.

Just as thumb under is good for slow legato scales but thumb over is necessary for fast scales, thumb over is needed for fast arpeggios. Watch closely when a good pianist rattles off fast arpeggios - they might say they are doing TU but if you watch you'll see they are not.

TO arpeggios are harder than TO scales but the principle is the same.

By the way, this is one of the problems with the incremental speed up method. If you start slow you'll have no problem doing these TU, but as you speed up you'll come to a point where it doesn't work anymore.

If the span is the problem, you might look into what chang describes as the cartwheel method. I can't vouch for this one as I haven't used it myself. TO is described by chang but is well known by most pianists. cartwheel seems to be chang's term.
Posted by: TimR

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 09/21/09 11:49 AM

Originally Posted By: Gyro
The wording of your question reveals
a fundamental misunderstanding about
playing.


There certainly is a misunderstanding!

Quote:
but in piano music a 4-16 note
figure immediately signals that
rubato treatment is required,


Ah!!! I see what the misunderstanding is. No, it's not the arpeggion that is the problem. It's ANYTIME the music gets difficult that you are allowed to claim rubato and play it how you want.

PS that is supposed to be irony but sadly it often is true instead.
Posted by: sotto voce

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 09/21/09 12:14 PM

Originally Posted By: Gyro
Yes to all three questions. If you're
asking this, you have no real
understanding about playing the piano.

What cheek coming from someone I'm convinced has no real understanding about anything real on Planet Earth. The insolence of the willfully ignorant is insufferable.

Steven
Posted by: jotur

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 09/21/09 12:20 PM

Originally Posted By: sotto voce
The insolence of the willfully ignorant is insufferable.


Oooooo - I wanna steal this quote sometime smile I promise attribution laugh

Cathy
Posted by: TimR

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 09/21/09 12:47 PM

PS I haven't downloaded them to see, but this page is supposed to have videos of TO and TU.

http://www.pianopractice.org/
Posted by: frida11

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 09/21/09 01:00 PM

Slow practice is always essential, but I've found that when you need very fast speed, you also have to practice getting your hands in position quickly. An excellent teacher suggested the following method (not as a stand alone method, but one practice technique among many). Play the first few notes as quickly as possible, just building very fast speed for only 3 notes if necessary. Then add another note. Alternatively, play the first few notes, and then chunk the next few together. Then play them all together. In these small chunks you aren't really thinking about the notes consciously but getting your muscle to move quickly and accurately. It's important not to chunk up the notes so that you avoid the hard jumps. For instance, if you have a thumb under or 3rd to 4th finger jump, they have to be included in a chunk. I hope that makes sense.

As for Gyro, maybe if he is ignored he will just go away.
Posted by: 4evrBeginR

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 09/21/09 05:21 PM

Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Chopin was never concerned if his pupils left a gap in legato as the thumb went under - the flow was more important.


Great insight. thumb
Posted by: Riddler

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 09/23/09 01:55 AM

Rick,

Knowing (or perhaps exploiting the convenient false belief) that I am too old to learn proper technique, I resort to tricks. For a major chord, say, C major, it is fastest for me to play it in a modified hand-over-hand way, starting on the second C on the keyboard, like this:

LH: C G E
RH: G C E G
LH: C E G
RH: C E G C
All this with pedal down.

Here's why. First, my teacher is a strict constructionist when it comes to the low interval limit, which means he will rap my knuckles severely if I play an interval smaller than an octave in the lowest octave, or smaller than a fifth in the next, with pedal down. This means 1 5 10 is a good way to start, and fortunately with a bit of pivoting I can reach the tenth.

For hand-over-hand, I think I get best speed if I minimize the number of hand-over movements, which means cover more real estate on the keyboard with each hand position. That's why I play 4 notes with the RH. However, my LH is not at a good angle in the middle or upper reaches of the keyboard to play 4 notes, so I settle for 3.

Anyway, this may not be pretty, and it has the disadvantage that you are not playing the same notes in each octave with LH or RH; but for me it is easy to play.

Ed
Posted by: JohnnyVegas

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 12/22/09 06:04 PM

I think you might like this one...very fast harp-like arpeggios on piano:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdg_xLqbfAc&feature=PlayList&p=B64F6BB0AD203969&index=7
Posted by: Rickster

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 12/22/09 07:29 PM

Wow, this is an older thread that got resurrected.

Thanks for that YT video, JohnnyVegas. I did enjoy that very much and got to see and hear a wonderful professional pianist, Oksana Kolesnikova. She makes it look so easy.

And, I reckon I lost track of this thread and didn’t realize that Gyro had come down on me so hard. Based on my original question about how to play really fast arpeggios he concludes that I don’t know a damn thing about music. Well, Gyro, you’re right, my friend, I don’t guess I do. Do you? Fact is I’ve never, ever heard any recordings from you on these PW forums, ever. I’d honestly like to hear you play. Maybe you can teach me something about music.

But, in the spirit of Christmas, I’m going to let by-gone’s be by-gone’s.

Thanks to Steven, and all who defended me against the infamous Gyro.

Take care, and Merry Christmas!

Rick
Posted by: Rui725

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 12/22/09 09:07 PM

If you have a Czerny 40 exercises handy. the 3rd exercise is on ascending and descending arpeggio's, left and right hand. There are other studies in there on arpeggio's but I haven't gotten to them yet.
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 12/23/09 02:21 AM

Originally Posted By: 4evr88keys
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Chopin was never concerned if his pupils left a gap in legato as the thumb went under - the flow was more important.


Great insight. thumb
To clarify, what Chopin is saying is don't ulnar or radial deviate but glide smoothly keeping the hand and forearm aligned.
Posted by: moscheles001

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 12/23/09 09:29 AM

I'm curious: when Gyro types at his computer, does he have coins on the backs of his hands?
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 12/23/09 10:22 AM

Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: 4evr88keys
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Chopin was never concerned if his pupils left a gap in legato as the thumb went under - the flow was more important.


Great insight. thumb
To clarify, what Chopin is saying is don't ulnar or radial deviate but glide smoothly keeping the hand and forearm aligned.

Which if you are doing multiple octaves means you'll need to lean to the side to keep the forearm and wrist perpendicular to the keys. It's the twisting that causes trouble.
Posted by: nicolakirwan

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 11/03/12 12:35 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Tgkji6i5KA

grin
Posted by: Bobpickle

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 11/03/12 01:59 AM

was a fun link so I didn't mind the zombie thread
Posted by: drazh

Re: How to play fast, accurate arpeggios? - 11/03/12 02:36 AM

hi
that was my problem too
the solution for me was this
dont flex the thumb under palm
play c.e.g lik a chord 4 octave slow motion then increase gradually you have to use arm motion and shoulder muscles
then play the c.e.g in four octave very fast
never play it slowly because it is dangerous for thumb tendons
thank you