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Re: Quick question. 1 4 or 1 5 for black key octaves
Carey #1895854 05/12/12 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by carey
Originally Posted by Mark_C


Originally Posted by beet31425
I have a concert pianist friend who had been complaining to me about the octaves in the Chopin op.53 Polonaise. She had played this piece for decades, but for some reason she was now starting to get fatigued part-way through the section. She was using a combination of 1-5 and 1-4 (and maybe a 1-3), connecting all the top notes. I recommended she switch to all 1-5, and she now swears by that fingering; she said that after an awkward couple days, the section is easy again. A rare case of problem solved.

I'm going to try that.
I've never used anything except 4, because I learned the piece years ago when I was in the habit of (almost) always using 4 -- and I've always had at least a little trouble with it (more of course when I haven't been practicing it) but never thought of changing the fingering, because -- y'know, sometimes you just never think of changing something if you've always done it a certain way....


I learned the Polonaise years ago using 5 (when I was in the habit of almost always using 5) and now that I've revisited the piece I've switched to 4 on the black keys - which works SO MUCH better for me !!!! grin



4 on the black keys is also the fingering given in Henle, FWIW.


Re: Quick question. 1 4 or 1 5 for black key octaves
albydooby #1895911 05/12/12 07:21 PM
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I usually use 1-4, but not always. smile



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Re: Quick question. 1 4 or 1 5 for black key octaves
albydooby #1895917 05/12/12 07:38 PM
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I always play octaves with 2 and 3.

Re: Quick question. 1 4 or 1 5 for black key octaves
nocturne152 #1895925 05/12/12 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by lostaccato
I always play octaves with 2 and 3.


Good luck with those LH octaves in the Opus 53 !!! crazy



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Re: Quick question. 1 4 or 1 5 for black key octaves
Carey #1895941 05/12/12 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by carey
Originally Posted by lostaccato
I always play octaves with 2 and 3.


Good luck with those LH octaves in the Opus 53 !!! crazy



grin

Re: Quick question. 1 4 or 1 5 for black key octaves
albydooby #1897069 05/14/12 11:22 PM
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Totally depends what comes before and what comes after. Whether staccato or legato.


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Re: Quick question. 1 4 or 1 5 for black key octaves
albydooby #1988554 11/19/12 01:48 PM
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Li Lundi uses all 1/5 as does the Taubman & Goldansky methods, also Earl Wild.

I think 1/4 is fine for slower tempos but probably 1/5 works better for fast octaves.

Re: Quick question. 1 4 or 1 5 for black key octaves
albydooby #1988559 11/19/12 01:57 PM
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1/5 is better for me because it's less stretch. It the stretch that partly gives me pain after a while. There is a youtube video of Goldansky coaching octaves and what she says about rotating into the thumb helps for me. It takes a lot of the the pressure/stress out of playing octaves. I don't like that little tug on the wrist tendons I get when I stretch a little to accommodate the 4th on black.

Re: Quick question. 1 4 or 1 5 for black key octaves
albydooby #1988936 11/20/12 12:02 PM
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Has anyone tried measuring their hand span from thumb tip to 5th fingertip and thumb to 4th fingertip? You may well find that the latter is slightly longer, if your ring fingers are longer than your index fingers, like mine are. (I believe that women have ring fingers shorter than their index fingers, while men tend towards the opposite). My LH measurements are 8.15in 1-4 and 8.05in 1-5. On RH, it's 8.05in 1-4 and 8in 1-5. Which explains why I find it slightly easier to stretch 10ths on LH than RH, and probably why I almost always play 1/4 on black octaves, unless it's a chord where the 4th finger is already employed elsewhere.

But it might also be because my teacher taught me to play octaves this way, from the very first piece I learnt that has fast octave scales (Schubert's D664). I remember being rather miffed that I had to roll the very first RH chord when Sviatoslav Richter (my hero at the time) could play it perfectly as written, and thought that I wasn't a 'real' pianist when I couldn't even physically play what Schubert actually wrote......


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Re: Quick question. 1 4 or 1 5 for black key octaves
bennevis #1988958 11/20/12 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Has anyone tried measuring their hand span from thumb tip to 5th fingertip and thumb to 4th fingertip? You may well find that the latter is slightly longer, if your ring fingers are longer than your index fingers, like mine are. (I believe that women have ring fingers shorter than their index fingers, while men tend towards the opposite). My LH measurements are 8.15in 1-4 and 8.05in 1-5. On RH, it's 8.05in 1-4 and 8in 1-5. Which explains why I find it slightly easier to stretch 10ths on LH than RH, and probably why I almost always play 1/4 on black octaves, unless it's a chord where the 4th finger is already employed elsewhere.

But it might also be because my teacher taught me to play octaves this way, from the very first piece I learnt that has fast octave scales (Schubert's D664). I remember being rather miffed that I had to roll the very first RH chord when Sviatoslav Richter (my hero at the time) could play it perfectly as written, and thought that I wasn't a 'real' pianist when I couldn't even physically play what Schubert actually wrote......

For most people, I imagine the span is pretty close one way or the other. The difference, especially for people with smaller hands, is the angle from 1-4 vs the angle from 1-5. The thumb and pinky are the two fingers with greatest lateral motion, and also are at opposite ends of the hand. When you "stretch" your hand out and look at it, you can see there is a much greater angle between 1-4 vs 1-5. The 1-5 span is nearly perpendicular to the wrist, which makes it much easier to play octaves without twisting.

For small hands, especially, a 1-4 span requires one of two things: a large enough hand that you can span the distance, or a reposition of the hand/arm (without twisting if played correctly) in order to span the distance.

Any time you have to reposition, it slows you down. Extra movements require more time and effort to execute. So, the idea should be to minimize this effort. This, ironically, was the initial reasoning behind the switch from 1-5 to 1-4 on black-key octaves. (The hand has to move in to play a 1-5 black key octave.) However, with octaves, left-right movements to reposition (for smaller hands) takes longer and creates a "destructive interference" effect with the muscles. An in/out movement creates far less interference with speed than a left/right movement. So, for smaller hands, it is usually advised to forgo the left/right reposition, and to move in/out to play a 1-5 octave on all keys.

Also, if you start in on white keys and out on black keys (rather than playing in the middle of the white key or the middle of the black key), you can minimize the in/out distance your hand has to travel.


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
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