“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.”

Friday, May 13, 2016

Piano Technique in a Nutshell

   It occurs to me that in this age of IM's and Tweets a simple and direct message might be just the thing. Here it is: Departure, arrival, conveyance.  Notice the travel lingo. An efficient piano technique relies on an understanding of how to get from

one position on the keyboard to another. It's almost that simple. When there's a problem, notice first where you are. Then, find out where you want to be. Finally, figure out how to get from point A to point B. 

   Ah, you say, "the getting there," that's the rub. Those readers who also play string instruments will be way ahead of me. This

"getting there" is like shifting on a fingerboard from first position to second, or from first position to fifth or higher—which can be made to sound scrumptiously expressive, especially with the addition of a tasteful, angelic portamento. But I digress.

    We're talking about the technical grouping of notes. Notes that fall more or less under the hand are, for our purposes, a group. This could be a five-finger pattern—plus or minus. The connection to a subsequent group can be accomplished in two ways, either by means of a thumb-crossing or a leap. In the first case, the thumb is the conveyance, which in my approach is accomplished with a rotational gesture. (Look in the iDemo Tab for a video demonstration.) If the connection requires a leap, that is from one spot on the keyboard to another by means of finger to finger action, not requiring the thumb, the trip is accomplished by means of a plucking or springing gesture in combination with a rotation. The pluck gets the distance; the rotation (and gravity) produce the arrival. (Look for a demonstration in the iDemo Tab under leaps.)
   So, in a nutshell, the last note of the first group always—and I never use the word always or the word never, so this is important—the last note of the first group always conveys the hand/finger/forearm collaboration to the first note of the next group.  Last note to first note. There. Isn't that easy? Or at least succinct?
   Of course, the notes in each group, that is, the notes "under the hand," may require some technical assistance. But that's another topic.

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