“Music is a moral law. It gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, and life to everything. It is the essence of order, and leads to all that is good, just and beautiful, of which it is the invisible, but nevertheless dazzling, passionate, and eternal form.”
Plato

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

On Finger Evenness

     A student writes: "I don't know what the exact
term is, but I am referring to say each note in a scale played with the exact same intensity and touch...I struggle with this. It seems that my 1st and 3rd fingers always hit a note stronger than say the weaker 4th and 5th fingers. When I really concentrate, hands separate and glaring down at my fingers with the tempo significantly slower, I can get a smoother and more equal passage down...but it goes out the window as soon as I increase the tempo. What are some good approaches towards tackling this issue?"
     The response: Unevenness is caused by isolating the fingers from the hand, by lifting them away from the hand. In order to control the weight evenly, the fingers, hand and forearm work as a unit in a coordinate manner, dropping into the key, not pulling away from it. There is a shape to the lateral movements that propel us up and down the keyboard. 
     Simply put, this shape allows the forearm to be behind the each finger as it plays. Try this as an introduction to shaping: In a five-finger pattern, allow your forearm to rise slightly behind each finger as it plays, the highest being at the point where the longest finger plays (3). Then, allow the arm to drop slightly behind the shorter fingers (4
and 5). The fingers are not independent agents, but they can be made to sound that way by allowing this coordination. (There is much more to consider, of course, particularly as the thumb crosses.)
     Any solutions you come up with must feel easy. Otherwise, they are not the answer.
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