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Re: how to relax right hand
rozina #1628465 02/26/11 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by rozina
Thanks keyboardklutz. Its much better when you argument what you state. When quoting someone it would also be nice to post a link to the source so we can trust it more.
I'll comment on your vids later when I'm on a faster computer. You can type a line from the Fraser quote into Google and get the whole thing. He's a bit big headed - he has a page of criticism on every major pedagogue - some of whom are dead so they have no defense!

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Re: how to relax right hand
Nyiregyhazi #1628468 02/26/11 12:42 PM
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Nyiregyhazi,

thanks, I will give a look at Volodos and Tatum,

just if you have 5 minutes, may you give a look at this guy playing, is he a model to imitate or absolutely not?

http://www.youtube.com/user/kylelandry#p/u/48/-NgRhr5s_ig

I am getting a lot of inspiration from his playing and it is likely I will unconsciously copying his way to use hands, (want to be sure not to "copy" wrong habits)

thanks in advance,
A.



Originally Posted by Nyiregyhazi


There are films of Volodos and Tatum that I included in my most recent blog post. Regarding what is "correct", there's no single "correct" use of the hands. All kinds of different means can work fine. What I'm seeking to raise awareness of in the blog is the specific physical state in which the arm can be balanced without internal efforts around the elbow and wrist (which it most certainly can, no matter how much other posters might wish to deny it). While the force required from the finger to maintain balance is very low (when directed exactly as needed), it certainly is not zero. This is more about what is (and is not) physically possible and how to achieve that state- rather than a very specific way of playing.

Re: how to relax right hand
RayE #1628469 02/26/11 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by RayE
I have had the same issue that I have worked on. I still revert back to raising my shoulders, especially when learning a new piece. It takes a lot of conscious effort to keep the shoulders down and relaxed, I also think of the weight of my arm depressing the keys, and not pushing them down.


Quite honestly, that could be part of the problem. If you want to feel the weight of your arm depressing the keys, you're very likely to be pressing forwards- which could be instigating the shoulder habit. If you truly release the arm, the most notable force occurs backwards and away from the piano. It doesn't act straight down into a key. If you activate the finger against that force, it works fine. However, if you are pushing forward to "correct" your arm weight into generating a downward force, that may well be driving your shoulders upwards. If you start with by releasing your arm without any expectations at all (rather thinking about about how weight is supposed to move the keys for you) it may very well make a notable difference.

Truly releasing your arm could never cause your shoulders to rise. However, if you are actually basing the movement on pushes that you are unaware of, it is very likely to cause

Re: how to relax right hand
achat #1628473 02/26/11 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by ashat
Nyiregyhazi,
just if you have 5 minutes, may you give a look at this guy playing, is he a model to imitate or absolutely not?

http://www.youtube.com/user/kylelandry#p/u/48/-NgRhr5s_ig



He makes a good sound, but I definitely wouldn't copy the technique. He is holding his arms in the air most of the time rather than releasing his elbow and wrists into an easy balance. I used to use a very similar way of playing myself- but it has real limits. Since I stopped holding my arms up, it's made everything massively more comfortable.

Such movements have uses- but it's all too easy to get lost in them and fail to learn the alternatives. He wouldn't get far with a Chopin Etude, with that style of movement.

Re: how to relax right hand
Nyiregyhazi #1628474 02/26/11 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Nyiregyhazi
However, as alluded to in my previous post, pushing inherently causes destabilisation, whereas pulling causes stabilisation. Once you have pushed up to a point, your shoulder will stay up or have to come back and start over. However, if you base it more on pulling, (without getting up from off the stool) the shoulders can never be displaced.
Doesn't matter whether you push or pull, if the key is going down your body is trying to go up! (wrists, elbow and shoulders) That's physics.

Re: how to relax right hand
keyboardklutz #1628478 02/26/11 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by keyboardklutz
Originally Posted by Nyiregyhazi
However, as alluded to in my previous post, pushing inherently causes destabilisation, whereas pulling causes stabilisation. Once you have pushed up to a point, your shoulder will stay up or have to come back and start over. However, if you base it more on pulling, (without getting up from off the stool) the shoulders can never be displaced.
Doesn't matter whether you push or pull, if the key is going down your body is trying to go up! (wrists, elbow and shoulders) That's physics.


Yes, and the pull is going to resist that (whereas a push would actively increase it) That's also physics. I didn't say anything about magically stopping reaction forces from occurring. The point is that when something is kept taut from both ends, any point within the chain will naturally be kept stable- solely from the ends. The reaction force is easily absorbed into a taut chain. If the wrist starts going up, you can stabilise it from the ends far more easily than with any localised stiffening around the wrist. That particularly applies to those with small hands. It's also far simpler to keep it taut from the ends (in a way that requires no great precision) than if you try to match the forces directly in the wrist itself.

Anyway, the point is that small hands do not have to stiffen at the wrist- if they understand how to stabilise the wrist. You're taking one approach to playing and using that to define the limits of possibility. It does not define the limits.


Re: how to relax right hand
Nyiregyhazi #1628483 02/26/11 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Nyiregyhazi
If the wrist starts going up, you can stabilise it from the ends far more easily than with any localised stiffening around the wrist.
If the wrist is going up the only way to prevent that is to stiffen the hand extensors - period!

Re: how to relax right hand
achat #1628492 02/26/11 01:14 PM
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That is simply an erroneous assertion and you have no business presenting it as if it were fact. First you reply to a poster who suggested imagining a ball in the hand as if he were an ignorant school child, but now you saying that you must "stiffen" the hand extensors? You are not looking at the bigger picture.

Think of an elastic band or a chain. Pull it taut and apply a small force in the middle. Then let it go rather more slack. The same force will cause greatly more movement. The same applies to the arm. If it is kept taut from both ends, it will resist forces in any of the joints that lie within the middle. What you are saying is simply not grounded in any facts. If you want to dictate what is and isn't possible, you need to do a great deal more research first.

Re: how to relax right hand
Nyiregyhazi #1628495 02/26/11 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Nyiregyhazi
That is simply an erroneous assertion and you have no business presenting it as if it were fact.
Yes, a simple fact of anatomy and physics. If a key is pushed down the wrist gets pushed up. The only way to prevent this is to contract the hand extensors. That's why you need to relax them inbetween whenever you can.

Re: how to relax right hand
achat #1628499 02/26/11 01:26 PM
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If you're simply going to repeat that erroneous claim (without even attempting to respond to the point I made in my previous post- yes, why not quote the single least relevant sentence and respond to that alone?) I have nothing to add. Anyone who is interested in the actual nature of possibility can go back and read what you chose to ignore.

Re: how to relax right hand
Nyiregyhazi #1628500 02/26/11 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted by John_In_Montreal

I've rechecked bench height, body movement (trunk, arms, hands) and such. I have no pain playing, just that I lift my shoulders when I play versus them being in a more natural and relaxed state otherwise so I do think it is tension related. I've yet to figure out why I behave that way but regular awareness may reveal the answer... Of course I'm probbly stressed out from the day's work when I practice in the evening! When I finally conenct with a teacher, this is one thing I will mention.


John, from the simplest rational point of view, it strikes me that when pianists raised their shoulder (which I used to do a lot myself) there are two main probabilities for the cause. A lot of people give complex theories for this sort of thing, but personally I'm convinced it's actually a very simple issue of how you conceive the basic movements.

Firstly, do you think of forwards/backwards elements to your motions, or do you focus very much on aiming actions straight down with the whole arm? If you think too much about the keys going down, it can cause you to want to "get over the top" more to push them straight down. Thinking more about the forwards/backwards elements, with regard to the arm as a whole is probably a good idea.

Secondly (but possibly closely related to the first)- do you think too much of pushing perhaps? This may involve forward pressures, which can be healthy at times, for separate chords. However, as alluded to in my previous post, pushing inherently causes destabilisation, whereas pulling causes stabilisation. Once you have pushed up to a point, your shoulder will stay up or have to come back and start over. However, if you base it more on pulling, (without getting up from off the stool) the shoulders can never be displaced.



Hello Nyiregyhazi,

Hum... I will have to do more observation to check what is happening. I dont think I'm focusing much about getting "over the top of the keyboard" but I need to check, it may be an unconscious thing I'm doing. You (and KeyboardKlutz) gave a lot of material to digest!

Basically, what I was trying to do / experiment was to play more with the weight of my hand and arms, observing if my wrists are relaxed and able to flex easily (no tension or locking); versus playing a lot using only my fingers. This came about from watching other pianists and, having no teacher to correct me, I realized I might not be using all of the possibilities of body mechanics to play "properly" (for lack of a better word).

But I see pianists using a whole lot of different hand positions, movements, gestures, etc and I'm checking all that out by imitation & seeing how it feels, how it sounds. Being just a beginner, I have a lot to look out for! So far it seems there is not really "only one correct way" to do things, but many. However there sure are lots of ways to do things incorrectly LOL. I aim to be as relaxed and "efficient" as possible, and of course, as musical as I can be smile

John





Last edited by John_In_Montreal; 02/26/11 01:43 PM.

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Re: how to relax right hand
achat #1628508 02/26/11 01:46 PM
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Ah, that might well be a cause. Have a look at the reply I wrote to RayE above. If you think of the weight moving the key for you, either the finger has to balance the backward pull that a release arm exerts- or the arm has to put the effort in to stop it. Thinking of the finger as only transmitting the arm's weight can easily lead to constant forwards pressure from the arm- rather than actual release. It might seem like nothing important in the short-term, but these things can easily accumulate. I'd notice the backward pull that results from a released arm and see if you can balance it in the finger. When the arm hangs between finger and shoulder, there's nothing making the shoulder go up.

Re: how to relax right hand
Nyiregyhazi #1628509 02/26/11 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Nyiregyhazi
If you're simply going to repeat that erroneous claim (without even attempting to respond to the point I made in my previous post- yes, why not quote the single least relevant sentence and respond to that alone?) I have nothing to add. Anyone who is interested in the actual nature of possibility can go back and read what you chose to ignore.
Would Newton read past the bit that said apples fall upward?

Re: how to relax right hand
achat #1628510 02/26/11 01:53 PM
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I'm not getting involved, kbk, so keep the bait to yourself. I'll say what I DID say once more:

"Think of an elastic band or a chain. Pull it taut and apply a small force in the middle. Then let it go rather more slack. The same force will cause greatly more movement. The same applies to the arm. If it is kept taut from both ends, it will resist forces in any of the joints that lie within the middle."

This is very elementary physics. If you're more interested in trying to come off better in an argument than in the issues, by all means feed ludicrous words into my mouth, as if I said something absurd. I've said what I have to say (now for the second time) and have nothing more to add to this basic (and indeed irrefutable) science- which illustrates how a wrist can indeed be stabilised without localised effort.

If you have a problem with notion that the mechanics of a taut chain can resist input forces solely from the far ends, I suggest you outline that problem. Unless you'd like to declare a basis for proclaiming this to be impossible, there is nothing to discuss.

Re: how to relax right hand
Nyiregyhazi #1628511 02/26/11 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Nyiregyhazi
Ah, that might well be a cause. Have a look at the reply I wrote to RayE above. If you think of the weight moving the key for you, either the finger has to balance the backward pull that a release arm exerts- or the arm has to put the effort in to stop it. Thinking of the finger as only transmitting the arm's weight can easily lead to constant forwards pressure from the arm- rather than actual release. It might seem like nothing important in the short-term, but these things can easily accumulate. I'd notice the backward pull that results from a released arm and see if you can balance it in the finger. When the arm hangs between finger and shoulder, there's nothing making the shoulder go up.



Well, one thing I know for sure, when I do scales legato I will use one finger as a pivot point to get my other fingers in position, so that is one time I know the arm is supported only at 2 ends - shoulder and finger, and I feel no undue tension. This way of doing seems to work well for me but I don't know if its "right". Its not tiresome or painful or stressing, and it feels natural.

John

PS: You are from the UK? So many great musicians from your country smile



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Re: how to relax right hand
John_In_Montreal #1628513 02/26/11 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by John_In_Montreal
Originally Posted by Nyiregyhazi
Ah, that might well be a cause. Have a look at the reply I wrote to RayE above. If you think of the weight moving the key for you, either the finger has to balance the backward pull that a release arm exerts- or the arm has to put the effort in to stop it. Thinking of the finger as only transmitting the arm's weight can easily lead to constant forwards pressure from the arm- rather than actual release. It might seem like nothing important in the short-term, but these things can easily accumulate. I'd notice the backward pull that results from a released arm and see if you can balance it in the finger. When the arm hangs between finger and shoulder, there's nothing making the shoulder go up.



Well, one thing I know for sure, when I do scales legato I will use one finger as a pivot point to get my other fingers in position, so that is one time I know the arm is supported only at 2 ends - shoulder and finger, and I feel no undue tension. This way of doing seems to work well for me but I don't know if its "right". Its not tiresome or painful or stressing, and it feels natural.

John

PS: You are from the UK? So many great musicians from your country smile



Yeah, sounds good to me. I've actually started using the Taubman rotation a lot for slow practise recently. When you have to balance on a finger, while preparing the next one, it's an excellent test of the activity that is required in the finger to keep the arm staying free between notes. If the finger fails to support, the arm can get very tired indeed. I think this is what their rotation really trains- proper contact with the keyboard.

Yeah, I'm from Birmingham, UK.

Re: how to relax right hand
Nyiregyhazi #1628547 02/26/11 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted by John_In_Montreal
Originally Posted by Nyiregyhazi
Ah, that might well be a cause. Have a look at the reply I wrote to RayE above. If you think of the weight moving the key for you, either the finger has to balance the backward pull that a release arm exerts- or the arm has to put the effort in to stop it. Thinking of the finger as only transmitting the arm's weight can easily lead to constant forwards pressure from the arm- rather than actual release. It might seem like nothing important in the short-term, but these things can easily accumulate. I'd notice the backward pull that results from a released arm and see if you can balance it in the finger. When the arm hangs between finger and shoulder, there's nothing making the shoulder go up.



Well, one thing I know for sure, when I do scales legato I will use one finger as a pivot point to get my other fingers in position, so that is one time I know the arm is supported only at 2 ends - shoulder and finger, and I feel no undue tension. This way of doing seems to work well for me but I don't know if its "right". Its not tiresome or painful or stressing, and it feels natural.

John

PS: You are from the UK? So many great musicians from your country smile



Yeah, sounds good to me. I've actually started using the Taubman rotation a lot for slow practise recently. When you have to balance on a finger, while preparing the next one, it's an excellent test of the activity that is required in the finger to keep the arm staying free between notes. If the finger fails to support, the arm can get very tired indeed. I think this is what their rotation really trains- proper contact with the keyboard.

Yeah, I'm from Birmingham, UK.




I didn't know this was part of the Taubman approach (something I'm interested in). I discovered this way of fingering while experimenting and it seemed a good way to go for certain movements. In fact, thinking about it, again for lack of knowing correct terminology: I mostly use "raw" arm power for chords (whole upper body leaning sometimes too), arm (and body) to bring the hand to the higher or lower octave keys, wrist as "spring" or "shock absorber" as needed, hand and (mostly) fingers for playing the keys. So yes, my arm is often "suspended" between shoulder and fingers.

I really seem to be narrowing down the problem to everyday stress.

ALso It took me a while to realize that its OK also play "in the keys" instead of close to the ends of them only!


John

Last edited by John_In_Montreal; 02/26/11 06:36 PM.

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Re: how to relax right hand
rozina #1628950 02/27/11 02:59 AM
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Originally Posted by rozina
This might be a bit OT, but I don't think it really requires a new thread. I have some trouble with my hands lately and I have been searching for some info on technique on the internet. I've come across Alan Fraser and his dvd Craft of piano playing. Is there a general opinion on his views on technique on this forum?
I've had a look and I and see where the problems are - your wrist is stiff and your fingers tense. Have you Skype? The problem can be shown to you pretty easily - everything's active all the time. PM me.

Re: how to relax right hand
John_In_Montreal #1628951 02/27/11 03:03 AM
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Originally Posted by John_In_Montreal

But I see pianists using a whole lot of different hand positions, movements, gestures, etc and I'm checking all that out by imitation & seeing how it feels, how it sounds.
You'll find pianists using many techniques even in a single piece. There's no one-size-fits-one-piece (apart from the odd toccata). If you're emulating here's some of our own:

Inlanding:


Peyton:


BillM:


MegumiNoda:

Re: how to relax right hand
keyboardklutz #1628983 02/27/11 04:27 AM
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Originally Posted by keyboardklutz
I've had a look and I and see where the problems are - your wrist is stiff and your fingers tense. Have you Skype? The problem can be shown to you pretty easily - everything's active all the time. PM me.


Yes with that piece my hand problems first started. I have never paid much attention to releasing my muscles since I never got tired yet. With that piece my hands got tired and combining that with starting to work out at the gym I developed pain in my hands.

However I started paying much attention to releasing my muscles when not being used. Do you feel that on my last 2 videos my hands are still stiff? I don't have Skype, but if you feel that the problem still persist in my latest recordings then I will check if I can set it up.

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