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Left hand little finger--how to avoid pain #1017096
08/20/07 01:32 PM
08/20/07 01:32 PM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 720
Iowa
J
joangolfing Offline OP
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joangolfing  Offline OP
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Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 720
Iowa
I have noticed a very slight bruised feeling in my left hand little finger while playing.

How should the little finger strike the piano--on tip, flat with nail facing up???

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Re: Left hand little finger--how to avoid pain #1017097
08/20/07 02:06 PM
08/20/07 02:06 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 10,856
London, UK (though if it's Aug...
keyboardklutz Offline
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Shouldn't strike. Make sure you are touching the key then scratch, drop or flip the key depending on the context.


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

Re: Left hand little finger--how to avoid pain #1017098
08/20/07 04:23 PM
08/20/07 04:23 PM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 8,483
Ohio, USA
signa Offline
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rotate your hand a little bit toward it when you use the 5th finger, which would shift little weight over it to help out. it's also a technique, and many advanced pianists use it. sometimes, if you watch some professionals playing in concert or at youtube, you'd even see the hand (when playing with little finger) in 45-90 degree angle over keyboard.

Re: Left hand little finger--how to avoid pain #1017099
11/30/07 10:53 AM
11/30/07 10:53 AM
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 379
Canada
pastafarian Offline
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Canada
I'm bumping this because my LH little finger is feeling bruised from the tip to the first joint. The cause, I believe, is the repeated 1-5, 2-5 plus pinky-alone quarter and eighth figures typical of the blues/boogie tunes I've been working on. The pinky hits every eighth or quarter over twelve bars. The rotation idea doesn't really work because of the simultaneous thumb or index finger with most of the pinky notes.

Does anyone know of any exercises or technique changes that one can do to improve this?

I assume it's manageable or it would be impossible to be a professional boogie-woogie player.


Without music life would be a mistake
-- Friedrich Nietzsche
Re: Left hand little finger--how to avoid pain #1017100
11/30/07 12:02 PM
11/30/07 12:02 PM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 8,483
Ohio, USA
signa Offline
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rotation could be very slight if you need to do it, because your hand/fingers are close to key surface. it's like playing tremolos with 1-5 fingers, while you don't really use fingers only to press down keys, but use your hand as flipping pivot/center to flip fingers over 2 keys. if you try to do just that, you may notice that you're using very little your finger movement (if at all).

Re: Left hand little finger--how to avoid pain #1017101
12/01/07 08:51 PM
12/01/07 08:51 PM
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 379
Canada
pastafarian Offline
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Hi signa,

I thought about your response and played around a bit. It feels a bit awkward compared to my "arched pinky with the pad making contact" style, but if I hold the finger flat and rotate it in slightly so I'm making contact with the side, the double stops are playable and the pain is gone. Thanks.


Without music life would be a mistake
-- Friedrich Nietzsche
Re: Left hand little finger--how to avoid pain #1017102
12/28/07 01:40 AM
12/28/07 01:40 AM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 968
California
Ferdinand Offline
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Ferdinand  Offline
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California
I'm also recently having pain in right hand 5th finger nail joint. It started after I'd been working on Brahms' g minor Ballade. I think I was stressing the joint in trying to bring out the top notes.

Quote
originally posted by keyboardklutz
Shouldn't strike. Make sure you are touching the key then scratch, drop or flip the key depending on the context.
keyboardklutz, I read in another post of yours an explanation of "scratch." Would you be so kind as to explain "flip," or provide a link to where it's been discussed? Thank you.

For now, I am taking some days off practicing to see if it rest will help it.

Re: Left hand little finger--how to avoid pain #1017103
12/28/07 04:58 AM
12/28/07 04:58 AM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 10,856
London, UK (though if it's Aug...
keyboardklutz Offline
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Flip is starting from your wrist as low as you can (think of where it is as your arm goes back to throw a ball). Quickly flick your wrist up (until it is where it would be after throwing a ball). Look at the end of the Grieg extract where I am flipping or flicking the big chords up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5OEJBIo38o You can also do this with individual fingers. I just added this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5c_MUlzjIEQ
to show dropping and flopping. That is more likely to be your problem - not flopping between notes.

If you want to post the passage I'd be happy to make suggestions.


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

Re: Left hand little finger--how to avoid pain #1017104
12/28/07 10:27 PM
12/28/07 10:27 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 968
California
Ferdinand Offline
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Ferdinand  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2007
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California
Thank you for responding. Your description and the video have explained the concept well.
Quote
If you want to post the passage I'd be happy to make suggestions
I appreciate the offer and I may take you up on it in the near future. For now, I'll not pursue it as I don't want to be tempted to practice the Ballade. I think your suggestions will apply as well to other, less strenuous pieces I'm working on.

Re: Left hand little finger--how to avoid pain #1017105
12/29/07 01:04 AM
12/29/07 01:04 AM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 143
Adelaide, South Australia
A
Alexander Hanysz Offline
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Alexander Hanysz  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 143
Adelaide, South Australia
Quote
Originally posted by joangolfing:
How should the little finger strike the piano--on tip, flat with nail facing up???
It depends on the context. The "classical" technique is to play with curved fingers, striking the key almost vertically, so you are using the tip of the finger. This is good for clear articulation, especially in a fast passage. For romantic pieces, and especially for slow legato playing of melodies, it's common to use flat fingers--in this case you should be "stroking" the keys more than "striking" them.

Do you have the chance to work on this with a good teacher?

Quote
Originally posted by signa:
rotate your hand a little bit toward it when you use the 5th finger, which would shift little weight over it to help out. it's also a technique, and many advanced pianists use it. sometimes, if you watch some professionals playing in concert or at youtube, you'd even see the hand (when playing with little finger) in 45-90 degree angle over keyboard.
For professionals, this is likely to be "showmanship"--a good visual effect, but not the most efficient way to play. For beginners, it's a common bad habit.

Generally, if the arm is rotated towards the 5th finger then the hand position is cramped. If you rotate the opposite way, it seems a bit counterintuitive if you're not used to it, but it allows the adductor muscle on the outside of the hand to come into play. (Many pianists don't realise that there's a muscle there! The 5th finger isn't as weak as most people think.)

Of course, there are many different approaches to piano technique. Someone else might have totally different ideas from me but still obtain excellent results...

Quote
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
Flip is starting from your wrist as low as you can (think of where it is as your arm goes back to throw a ball). Quickly flick your wrist up (until it is where it would be after throwing a ball). Look at the end of the Grieg extract where I am flipping or flicking the big chords up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5OEJBIo38o You can also do this with individual fingers. I just added this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5c_MUlzjIEQ
to show dropping and flopping. That is more likely to be your problem - not flopping between notes.
The general idea of keeping the wrist loose and relaxed is good. However, this particular video worries me a little. Keyboardklutz, I hope you don't mind me giving this feedback: it looks as though your seat is far too low, making it very difficult to involve your upper arm in chord playing. Are you sitting on a proper piano stool, or on a dining chair? In particular, the fact that your wrist never drops below the level of the keyboard bothers me. Still, the attitude--of taking every opportunity to relax in between chords--is a good one.

Re: Left hand little finger--how to avoid pain #1017106
12/29/07 07:03 AM
12/29/07 07:03 AM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 10,856
London, UK (though if it's Aug...
keyboardklutz Offline
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keyboardklutz  Offline
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Joined: May 2007
Posts: 10,856
London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Thanks for the advice. I am a low sitter and sit on a mixture of different stools/chairs depending what instrument I'm playing (I sit crossed legged to play the clavichord). I don't believe in being over fussy about it though. I only use upper arm for great force. Also I love flat fingering as in: http://youtube.com/watch?v=hhiMuQMK1u8 (another poor quality video) which calls for low sitting.
.


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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