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#1450625 - 06/05/10 05:33 AM Back to the Matthay Triangle  
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[Linked Image]
I finally got a look at the illustrations on the instruction card. It's not as tJ put it:
Originally Posted by theJourney
... For example, Matthay's recommendation to use his practice triangle was based on the fallacy of mechanically ‘strengthening’ the muscles of the arm and finger.’
It's for practicing the feeling of rotating (without moving the elbow). You place one hand on top to steady it, place two fingers of the other hand on either side near the apex. You then rotate your wrist - eventually with no visible movement. Practice with different combinations of two fingers.
Can be done on the edge of a table but I don't think you have as much freedom of wrist.


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http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

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#1450644 - 06/05/10 07:00 AM Re: Back to the Matthay Triangle [Re: keyboardklutz]  
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What is the triangle actually for? I don't follow.

#1450645 - 06/05/10 07:04 AM Re: Back to the Matthay Triangle [Re: keyboardklutz]  
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Originally Posted by Nyiregyhazi
What is the triangle actually for? I don't follow.
Originally Posted by keyboardklutz
It's for practicing the feeling of rotating (without moving the elbow).


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http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

#1450647 - 06/05/10 07:12 AM Re: Back to the Matthay Triangle [Re: keyboardklutz]  
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I mean specifically with regard to the movement. I'm intrigued by the device, but I'm really not clear as to what you're supposed to do with it or what it contributes to that, from your description.

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#1450652 - 06/05/10 07:31 AM Re: Back to the Matthay Triangle [Re: Nyiregyhazi]  
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If you are unaware what rotation is you need to read up. Matthay had to make very clear much of it happens without any visible movement - just pressure exerted in one or the other direction as below.
[Linked Image]


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http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

#1450655 - 06/05/10 07:35 AM Re: Back to the Matthay Triangle [Re: keyboardklutz]  
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I'm aware of rotation is. I have absolutely no idea how this triangle might be applied to the act of doing it, or what purpose it might serve. Would you mind giving a slightly more detailed explanation?

#1450666 - 06/05/10 08:05 AM Re: Back to the Matthay Triangle [Re: Nyiregyhazi]  
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Uhhhg - what utter nonsense. The idea of rotating on each note - I don't care how invisible - Matthay's genius was to convince so many pianist to follow such ridiculous nonsense.

#1450674 - 06/05/10 08:27 AM Re: Back to the Matthay Triangle [Re: JerryS88]  
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You don't rotate on the notes, you rotate to them. It's the same basic idea pretty much everybody talks about, from Taubman to Sandor. (And you can see fairly obvious applications of it in the Brahms exercises and Chopin etudes.)


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#1450691 - 06/05/10 09:13 AM Re: Back to the Matthay Triangle [Re: Kreisler]  
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Originally Posted by Kreisler
You don't rotate on the notes, you rotate to them. It's the same basic idea pretty much everybody talks about, from Taubman to Sandor. (And you can see fairly obvious applications of it in the Brahms exercises and Chopin etudes.)


All due respect - to, from, on - still utter nonsense.

#1450696 - 06/05/10 09:21 AM Re: Back to the Matthay Triangle [Re: JerryS88]  
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#1450699 - 06/05/10 09:29 AM Re: Back to the Matthay Triangle [Re: JerryS88]  
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I don't rule out the notion of rotation, but the notion that you MUST always do it and that it's sometimes invisible? That's a different matter altogether. Why is rotation of benefit with every note? And what physiological evidence is there that is would always be of benefit or that it must occur?

#1450705 - 06/05/10 09:49 AM Re: Back to the Matthay Triangle [Re: Nyiregyhazi]  
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I'm really confused. It's either because I'm blonde, or this isn't making much sense..



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
#1450718 - 06/05/10 10:14 AM Re: Back to the Matthay Triangle [Re: Nyiregyhazi]  
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Originally Posted by Nyiregyhazi
I don't rule out the notion of rotation, but the notion that you MUST always do it and that it's sometimes invisible? That's a different matter altogether.


I don't believe anyone says you must. It's an important aspect of playing, but not the only one...


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#1450719 - 06/05/10 10:14 AM Re: Back to the Matthay Triangle [Re: Pogorelich.]  
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Originally Posted by AngelinaPogorelich
I'm really confused. It's either because I'm blonde, or this isn't making much sense..

"The Matthay Triangle" made me think of the Bermuda Triangle. Not knowing anything of the topic, I imagined it to be a metaphor for some murky pedagogical Davy Jones' Locker.

Hey, maybe I was right. smile

I wonder if Tobias Matthay ever played the triangle? (I thought of that, too.)


"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must remain silent." —Wittgenstein
#1450724 - 06/05/10 10:26 AM Re: Back to the Matthay Triangle [Re: Kreisler]  
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Originally Posted by Kreisler
Originally Posted by Nyiregyhazi
I don't rule out the notion of rotation, but the notion that you MUST always do it and that it's sometimes invisible? That's a different matter altogether.


I don't believe anyone says you must. It's an important aspect of playing, but not the only one...


If I remember rightly from kbk's post, Matthay claims everyone does this invisibly on every note, whether they know it or not. So does the Taubman approach. If there is any evidence to support this, I've never seen any.

#1450730 - 06/05/10 10:36 AM Re: Back to the Matthay Triangle [Re: Nyiregyhazi]  
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I'm not near my Matthay books but he probably says something of the order of every good pianist does this all the time whether they are aware of it or not. By good pianist he will mean one whose body responds and acts in what is its natural relaxed way. Most pianists I observe go very much against how their body naturally wants to go about a task. So, it is a matter of does not must.


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#1450735 - 06/05/10 10:50 AM Re: Back to the Matthay Triangle [Re: Nyiregyhazi]  
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Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted by Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted by Kreisler
Originally Posted by Nyiregyhazi
I don't rule out the notion of rotation, but the notion that you MUST always do it and that it's sometimes invisible? That's a different matter altogether.


I don't believe anyone says you must. It's an important aspect of playing, but not the only one...


If I remember rightly from kbk's post, Matthay claims everyone does this invisibly on every note, whether they know it or not. So does the Taubman approach. If there is any evidence to support this, I've never seen any.


That's because it's invisible lol.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

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#1450740 - 06/05/10 10:57 AM Re: Back to the Matthay Triangle [Re: keyboardklutz]  
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But the question remains as to why anyone should believe it. I haven't seen anything to so much as point towards the possibility that the theory about that which is invisible is grounded in anything, nevermind prove it. I haven't even seen the most basic explanation of why it would be desirable, nevermind essential, to good playing.

As for "natural", you see what that really entails in the majority of those who have never been trained at all. I think you are confusing "natural" technique and "efficient" technique- which are rarely the same thing. When they coincide, you are talking about genius (or arguably luck, in many ways), not the norm. Good piano playing requires a wealth of adaptations that are rarely present in natural instincts. Otherwise untrained pianists would thrive.

#1450743 - 06/05/10 11:07 AM Re: Back to the Matthay Triangle [Re: Nyiregyhazi]  
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I think the opposite is equally ridiculous - that the playing of any finger is accompanied by a wrist/arm that does not rotate at all, and that the wrist/arm is either static or moves only vertically or laterally.

Put another way - if not rotation, then what else?


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#1450762 - 06/05/10 11:42 AM Re: Back to the Matthay Triangle [Re: Kreisler]  
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Sure, it should be free to respond to the motion. But that's a very different thing to initiating movement via muscular effort. Surely one could argue that if in the habit of creating motion, you are in the habit of using muscles that would be better off releasing? Why introduce an association with an addtional effort, rather than work on releasing it? Alternatively, if it really is a willful activity, what is it for? It still doesn't make any sense to me. To respond to an external force like the keys pushing back, you just need to be loose. For example, when you play chords, you practise following through. You wouldn't come away from the keyboard and practising slamming on the brakes at the point where the key would stop you. So why practise these minute rotations with willful simulation of what would be the product of an external force, not a willfully instigated motion?

#1450769 - 06/05/10 12:06 PM Re: Back to the Matthay Triangle [Re: Nyiregyhazi]  
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Not easy, but I tracked down RAM's description from the card. Everything bar the pictures: http://www.ram.ac.uk/emuweb/pages/ram/Display.php?irn=11408&QueryPage=Query.php


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http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

#1450899 - 06/05/10 03:45 PM Re: Back to the Matthay Triangle [Re: JerryS88]  
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Originally Posted by JerryS88
Uhhhg - what utter nonsense. The idea of rotating on each note - I don't care how invisible - Matthay's genius was to convince so many pianist to follow such ridiculous nonsense.


You must tell me how you play, then, for I have found rotation, however little, to be immensely helpful in all my playing. Especially when it comes to runs of arpeggios.

Well, I just plain like the idea of letting larger muscle groups do the work before smaller muscle groups.


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New website up: http://www.studioplumpiano.com. Also on Twitter @QQitsMina
#1451063 - 06/05/10 09:57 PM Re: Back to the Matthay Triangle [Re: Minaku]  
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Originally Posted by Minaku
Originally Posted by JerryS88
Uhhhg - what utter nonsense. The idea of rotating on each note - I don't care how invisible - Matthay's genius was to convince so many pianist to follow such ridiculous nonsense.


You must tell me how you play, then, for I have found rotation, however little, to be immensely helpful in all my playing. Especially when it comes to runs of arpeggios.

Well, I just plain like the idea of letting larger muscle groups do the work before smaller muscle groups.



Minaku - look carefully at the Matthay illustration. The first note is rotated toward the thumb. The second note, played with the 2nd finger, is rotated "Towards Little Finger." So far so good. But Matthay instructs you to rotate the following 3 notes "Towards Little Finger" as well. The only way to do that is to rotate BACK toward the thumb AFTER having already rotated towards the little finger to play the 2nd finger. This is what Taubman calls a "Double Rotation." So you do this "double rotation" on each of the four fingers 2 through 5. Ridiculous - there is no justification for all this useless movement, I don't care how small and invisible it is - it serves no good purpose.

This is different from the natural rotation that occurs when you play arpeggios and rotate slightly to the left (RH) to play the thumb, and to the right to play the NEXT 2 OR 3 NOTES(depending on whether your arpeggio is a simple triad or 7th chord) i.e. one rotation encompassing several notes going in one direction. That is perfectly natural movement. I would still advise against relying entirely on the rotation of the forearm to play arpeggios and scales "cartwheel" style. It is a poor SUBSTITUTE for competent finger articulation. Best to have them work TOGETHER.

#1451181 - 06/06/10 01:30 AM Re: Back to the Matthay Triangle [Re: JerryS88]  
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Originally Posted by JerryS88
This is what Taubman calls a "Double Rotation." So you do this "double rotation" on each of the four fingers 2 through 5. Ridiculous - there is no justification for all this useless movement, I don't care how small and invisible it is - it serves no good purpose.
Matthay is not talking about movement in most cases. Maybe support is a better word? Here's this Matthay quote again.
Quote
Finally, coming to so-called "Finger-Touch" (that is, visible movement of the finger itself), you here have all three "species" of touch-constitution available. This means that, when you employ finger-movement, this may consist either solely of an exertion of the finger itself ("first Species") or you may add thereto an invisible exertion of the hand ("second species"), or finally you may add thereto an invisible arm-basis, in its several available ways. Yet all these three totally diverse forms of action (or "species") here come under the heading of so-called "Finger-touch," because only the finger is seen to move. Moreover, Arm-basis in the production of tone may itself be one of four distinct kinds: you may either (a) allow the weight of the whole arm (visibly or invisibly) to help during the act of tone-production; or (b) the weight of the forearm only; or (c) you may combine with the full relaxation of the upper-arm a down-exertion of the forearm (both invisible) to enable you to produce your fullest forte without harshness; or finally (d) you may instead invisibly drive forward with the upper arm while giving this down-exertion of the forearm.
What he is saying is that from outside appearances you can't tell which part of the body is actually contributing the effort. http://www.archive.org/details/visibleandinvisi009582mbp page 149.

I also think it really is pedagogical knowledge - when a player plays naturally it is what happens, but they have no need of this knowledge.


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#1451196 - 06/06/10 02:09 AM Re: Back to the Matthay Triangle [Re: JerryS88]  
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Originally Posted by JerryS88
play arpeggios and scales "cartwheel" style.

Can you explain what this means??


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#1451318 - 06/06/10 10:35 AM Re: Back to the Matthay Triangle [Re: JerryS88]  
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Originally Posted by JerryS88
Originally Posted by Minaku
Originally Posted by JerryS88
Uhhhg - what utter nonsense. The idea of rotating on each note - I don't care how invisible - Matthay's genius was to convince so many pianist to follow such ridiculous nonsense.


You must tell me how you play, then, for I have found rotation, however little, to be immensely helpful in all my playing. Especially when it comes to runs of arpeggios.

Well, I just plain like the idea of letting larger muscle groups do the work before smaller muscle groups.



Minaku - look carefully at the Matthay illustration. The first note is rotated toward the thumb. The second note, played with the 2nd finger, is rotated "Towards Little Finger." So far so good. But Matthay instructs you to rotate the following 3 notes "Towards Little Finger" as well. The only way to do that is to rotate BACK toward the thumb AFTER having already rotated towards the little finger to play the 2nd finger. This is what Taubman calls a "Double Rotation." So you do this "double rotation" on each of the four fingers 2 through 5. Ridiculous - there is no justification for all this useless movement, I don't care how small and invisible it is - it serves no good purpose.

This is different from the natural rotation that occurs when you play arpeggios and rotate slightly to the left (RH) to play the thumb, and to the right to play the NEXT 2 OR 3 NOTES(depending on whether your arpeggio is a simple triad or 7th chord) i.e. one rotation encompassing several notes going in one direction. That is perfectly natural movement. I would still advise against relying entirely on the rotation of the forearm to play arpeggios and scales "cartwheel" style. It is a poor SUBSTITUTE for competent finger articulation. Best to have them work TOGETHER.


I'm aware of what Taubman calls it. I'll get specific - I had an issue with the evenness of the AbM arpeggios in op. 110. I tackled it from different angles, working with a metronome, working in rhythms, working in blocked groups, forwards and backwards. None of those really got the job done until I applied Taubman, or the double rotation technique, and everything came out beautifully, rhythmically perfect, and with the lightness and flow that I wanted. Say what you will about double rotation, but it does work.

I don't believe anyone has ever advocated that only the forearm do the work; the playing mechanism should not be isolated to only one aspect of the body. Of course the fingers need to be strong. We aren't talking about flopping all over the piano here. And if you saw me perform those arpeggios you probably would not realize that in order to solve my problem, I applied double rotation. Perhaps it's a mind game. Or perhaps it really does work. Taubman is simply a tool in the arsenal. There isn't a place for rotation in everything we do. But don't dismiss this tool entirely as useless. There are some useless things out there, like playing too high, too low, too close, too far. Rotation isn't one of them.

As for Matthay, it is possible to continue your rotation as one gesture towards the fifth finger. You don't have to do a double rotation.


Pianist and teacher with a 5'8" Baldwin R and Clavi CLP-230 at home.

New website up: http://www.studioplumpiano.com. Also on Twitter @QQitsMina
#1451557 - 06/06/10 08:07 PM Re: Back to the Matthay Triangle [Re: Minaku]  
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Originally Posted by Minaku
I'm aware of what Taubman calls it. I'll get specific - I had an issue with the evenness of the AbM arpeggios in op. 110. I tackled it from different angles, working with a metronome, working in rhythms, working in blocked groups, forwards and backwards. None of those really got the job done until I applied Taubman, or the double rotation technique, and everything came out beautifully, rhythmically perfect, and with the lightness and flow that I wanted. Say what you will about double rotation, but it does work.


Minaku - the AbM figure in op. 110 is not an arpeggio, it's a broken chord - a significant distinction in this case because broken chords call for very few double rotations (usually none, but this passage uses a sort of hybrid, or modified, broken chord), as the figure mostly changes directions with every note (double rotations occur when 2 or more notes follow in the same direction, as I'm sure you know.*). To be more specific, there are double rotations on only 2 of the first 16 notes of this cascading AbM broken chord - the 2nd and 3rd Eb's (the RH part - I think you'll agree the LH notes that follow are pretty easy to play). But if you find double rotations help you, all the power to you.

[*edit for those not familiar with the details of double rotation - the thumb always rotates in its direction. When the 3rd finger crosses over the thumb coming down, it rotates in the opposite direction, so there is no double rotation despite the two notes following in the same direction - an exception to the rule, illustrated in this passage.]

Last edited by JerryS88; 06/06/10 08:43 PM.
#1454409 - 06/11/10 01:59 AM Re: Back to the Matthay Triangle [Re: JerryS88]  
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According to Taubman, rotation is the quickest and most effecient way to move from note to note. Taubman said that because piano playing involves side to side motions across wide distances, it is necessary to move the forearm. She claimed that if you only move the forearm up and down or side to side, it will never move as quickly as it does during rotation. That is why she believes that you must rotate (single or double) before every note. The rotation will supposedly bring you to each note more quickly than merely moving the arm from side to side.


Recent Repertoire:
Liszt: Concerto #1 in Eb https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dY9Qw8Z7ao
Bach: Partita #2 in c minor
Beethoven: Sonata #23 in f minor, Opus 57 ("Appassionata")
Chopin: Etudes Opus 25 #6,9,10,11,12
Prokofiev: Sonata #3 in a minor
Suggestion diabolique
#1454528 - 06/11/10 09:54 AM Re: Back to the Matthay Triangle [Re: LaReginadellaNotte]  
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Originally Posted by LaReginadellaNotte
According to Taubman, rotation is the quickest and most effecient way to move from note to note.


I have no axe to grind and haven't studied Taubman much, but I did find the following review to be pretty devastating:

Debunking the Myths of the Taubman Approach

In particular the parts about how they show the rotation slowly but abandon it completely for fast scales. I guess they say it's invisible but that just smells too fishy for my liking.

(As an aside, does anyone know how "independent" that website is, it seems to be a little bit of a love-fest for Alan Fraser).


  • Debussy - Le Petit Nègre, L. 114
  • Haydn - Sonata in Gm, Hob. XVI/44

Kawai K3
[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
#1454615 - 06/11/10 12:06 PM Re: Back to the Matthay Triangle [Re: Andy Platt]  
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 10,856
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keyboardklutz  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2007
Posts: 10,856
London, UK (though if it's Aug...
That is Fraser. I wouldn't give credence to anything on his website - he really doesn't know his stuff i.e. cites no sources.


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

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