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#1822512 - 01/11/12 03:27 AM another arm tension question  
Joined: Jun 2009
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beet31425 Offline
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beet31425  Offline
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Hi folks--

We've visited this topic 1000 times; here's 1001. smile

I'm starting the revolutionary etude in full force. (Tried it 25 years ago with limited success, but now I think I can pull it off.) Slow to medium practice yields some overall left hand fatigue. I've found some of the spots where I'm tensing, and I'm sure there are more to be found.

My question is this: If my hand feels tired after practice, is that necessarily because I'm doing something "wrong", like holding tension? Or, could this fatigue in part be simply due to the fact that my hand isn't used to playing so continuously, and it needs to build up endurance?

Here's a metaphor: If you were in decent shape and one day ran for 10 miles, you'd feel exhausted, not because you're running incorrectly, or holding some kind of body tension, but just because you're not yet conditioned to that kind of workout. In time, the exhaustion will go away on its own.

Do you think piano fatigue is like that? Of course, some-- a lot-- of my fatigue is due to tension; my question is whether it's necessarily *all* due to tension, or whether, on the contrary, I might expect some "natural" fatigue that will naturally dissipate as my hand gets conditioned to the piece?

Will ask my teacher next week; interested in your thoughts in the meantime.


-Jason


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
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#1822532 - 01/11/12 03:56 AM Re: another arm tension question [Re: beet31425]  
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PassingBy Offline
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Its very similar when i started Chopin Etude op10 no.2. At first, i got tired after only a few minutes. But as I kept at it, slowly i got less tense, and got more stamina. It's not all about tenseness, it is also something about building about stamina-in time, it will very likely improve.
Originally Posted by beet31425


My question is this: If my hand feels tired after practice, is that necessarily because I'm doing something "wrong", like holding tension? Or, could this fatigue in part be simply due to the fact that my hand isn't used to playing so continuously, and it needs to build up endurance?

Here's a metaphor: If you were in decent shape and one day ran for 10 miles, you'd feel exhausted, not because you're running incorrectly, or holding some kind of body tension, but just because you're not yet conditioned to that kind of workout. In time, the exhaustion will go away on its own.


The above seems the case. And if that runner started running for maybe half that distance (original distance 10 miles) for a while regularly, then he would be quite equipped (has more endurance) to do ten miles after that kind of practise.

#1822533 - 01/11/12 03:59 AM Re: another arm tension question [Re: beet31425]  
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Mark_C Online content
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Originally Posted by beet31425
....My question is this: If my hand feels tired after practice, is that necessarily because I'm doing something "wrong", like holding tension? Or, could this fatigue in part be simply due to the fact that my hand isn't used to playing so continuously, and it needs to build up endurance?....

I smell trouble here.
Not because there's anything wrong with the question, but because it's the kind of thing where anyone who answers and isn't too careful about the wording -- or even if he is grin -- will be inundated with stuff about what's wrong with what he said, because he didn't choose his words carefully enough or that the answer wasn't exactly perfect. grin


But nevertheless..... ha

It could be either, or some other things, including:

-- suboptimal fingerings here and there

-- something that could be mistaken for 'tension' but is actually something else: failing to find the best 'angles' for the hand at each moment

-- the piece is too hard for you, and your hand is struggling hard to do something it really can't
(hopefully that's not it) grin

-- you need to redistribute some of the notes to the R.H. ha


But besides all that....I think it's likely that you'll find....

Quote
....I might expect some "natural" fatigue that will naturally dissipate as my hand gets conditioned to the piece.

Take it sort of easy during the current stage, not letting yourself feel much strain at any time (and indeed maybe consider whether some fingerings and 'positionings' could be improved), work yourself up gradually (which I think you'll find possible), and see how far you get.

And see what your teacher says. smile


"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)
#1822537 - 01/11/12 04:07 AM Re: another arm tension question [Re: Mark_C]  
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PassingBy Offline
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PassingBy  Offline
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eek Mark_C, you make me nervous. Was my answer perfect enough, and dis I choose all the wording well?

But good post! thumb

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#1822538 - 01/11/12 04:09 AM Re: another arm tension question [Re: PassingBy]  
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Originally Posted by Rotom
eek Mark_C, you make me nervous. Was my answer perfect enough, and did I choose all the wording well?....

I can't tell -- I'm too nervous waiting for my post to be blasted to smithereens. ha


"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)
#1822543 - 01/11/12 04:26 AM Re: another arm tension question [Re: Mark_C]  
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beet31425 Offline
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
-- something that could be mistaken for 'tension' but is actually something else: failing to find the best 'angles' for the hand at each moment..

I agree that this is important, but is it really different from tension? If the hand is at the wrong angle, it's probably going to be producing unnecessary tension.

Here's how I'd put it instead (how does this sound?): there are different ways of relieving tension; in addition to just "lightening up" and not clenching, there is thinking about the proper hand position and angle (what my teacher likes to call "handing", analogous to fingering).

-J


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
#1822550 - 01/11/12 04:34 AM Re: another arm tension question [Re: beet31425]  
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Mark_C Online content
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^^ Yes, a different way of saying the same thing. ^^

The reason I express them as distinct things is that if you just regard it as "tension," you might think only in terms of things like "muscles" and "feeling," and only work on relaxing the hand -- I think that's what most people would do -- and not consider looking at the basic physicality of the approach, things like angle and position.

Last edited by Mark_C; 01/11/12 04:38 AM.

"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)
#1822554 - 01/11/12 04:41 AM Re: another arm tension question [Re: beet31425]  
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PassingBy Offline
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Maybe have more relaxred arm movements, and your hand and arm's movements should help each other, and make it easier.

Apparently, muscles work in pairs. When you move any part of your body, one muscle in the pair contracts (gets tense) and the other relaxes (and stretches). Of course, you have to move your arm, but make sure it is relaxed still.

#1822609 - 01/11/12 08:37 AM Re: another arm tension question [Re: Mark_C]  
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piano joy Offline
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Rotom
eek Mark_C, you make me nervous. Was my answer perfect enough, and did I choose all the wording well?....

I can't tell -- I'm too nervous waiting for my post to be blasted to smithereens. ha


Stores must not be awake yet. ....

oops, did I say that? smile


I don't care too much for money. For money can't buy me love.
-the Beatles



#1822639 - 01/11/12 10:10 AM Re: another arm tension question [Re: beet31425]  
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RonaldSteinway Offline
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You should not have tension/exhaustion after practicing Revolutionary. How do I know? Because I used to get tired, but after I learned the correct technique, I did not have that tension anymore when playing this etude.

Break the long phrase into shorter phrases, practice slowly those shorte phrases ( play with various rhythm etc), then combine them. It works for me.


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