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#1998866 - 12/13/12 10:54 AM Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ? [Re: Derulux]  
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piano joy Offline
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I'm going to jump in here, briefly.
6 months ago, I started "unofficial" lessons with the Taubman technique (taught by a local univ. music professor currently studying with Robert Durso ) and I LOVE IT!
I had to, as my medial tendonitis (aka golfers elbow) was flaring up, partly due to piano.

I think the main points are to avoid extremes of motion, unnatural stretching/movements and chronic tension. Come to think of it, this applies to all body parts in all aspects of life!
My previous piano teacher, who I thought played beautifully, once told me to "lift the fingers high until it hurts" . HUH?!
That was my queue to exit, stage left.

Personally, I am loving the details with which this technique is taught - suits my personality to a T ! I imagine some people would abhor this.

Just my 2 cents worth.


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#1998898 - 12/13/12 11:49 AM Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ? [Re: Jazz+]  
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Kreisler Offline
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My only issue with all of this is that there's a fine line between detail (which is good) and over-thinking (which is not!)

There's also a problem when people reject grey areas. Mortensen's advice is carefully worded: we must avoid the *extremes* of finger isolation and independence. Some degree of finger isolation and independence is necessary and may change depending on the person, piece, and desired touch.


"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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#1998989 - 12/13/12 02:29 PM Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ? [Re: Derulux]  
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kuifje Offline
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Originally Posted by Derulux
Originally Posted by kuifje
So maybe what she describes as double rotation being there without seeing or feeling is the fact that you don't use your extensors.

It's nearly impossible to not use your extensors. I think the idea is that you "feel" like you're not using them, but you still are using them. If you didn't use them at all, you would never be able to play individual notes. The depth of the key and the weight of your hand is enough to cause other fingers to play notes along with the one you mean to play. (One exception: if, as jdw said, you isolate your fingers, you would be able to play individual notes, but eventually such isolation will prevent your advancement and potentially cause injury.)

Let me try to go through the examples the best I can:

1) In effect, very similar. In cause, different enough that I would not call them the same thing.

2) I'm not sure what you mean, but it sounds like isolation.. better to avoid isolating fingers.

3) Your hand should never remain at a constant height. "Locking" your hand in place is one major way to create tension. In nearly all passage work, your wrist will change heights in accordance with the note/fingering/lyrical progression.

4) You probably shouldn't strike the key hard enough to cause your hand to bounce, but yes, one way to play staccato is to lift your entire hand after the note is played. It takes a little longer, but it can be done.



Maybe I should have said something like "not use your extensors to lift your fingers higher than their natural position". Like if you press your fingers down, and you let go, they will automatically spring back to their natural position. Is this what you meant? That seems like a good use of your extensors.

I don't have a teacher. I read several books (incl Matthay's act of touch), looked at Golandsky's and some other youtubes, and some posts right here on PW. I don't remember where i got what idea, especially case 2).

3) and 4) I'm practically sure are in Matthay's book (4 seems very peculiar to me too).

I find Matthays book very interesting (and boring at the same time!). I am curious to hear if his 100 year old ideas are still valid or whether they are obsolete and in fact wrong?

When i read it it makes sens to me. I think he basically says, when you strike a key:
-you can lower your hand by its weight, by loosening your arm a little, but you must firm up your finger to transmit the force to the key and prevent it collapsing.
-Or you can push down your finger from the knuckle, but you must apply a little hand weight (again by loosening your arm a little) to prevent your hand from recoiling up.

So (still according to how i understood Matthay) it's always a combination of finger force and hand weight, but depending on which one is more, the hand moves or stays still.

That sounded quite reasonable to me, and also for me helps make sense of Chopin's quote "the finger activates the arm" (after all Chopin knew what he was talking about).

Last edited by kuifje; 12/13/12 02:36 PM.
#1999013 - 12/13/12 03:13 PM Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ? [Re: Derulux]  
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wouter79 Offline
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Originally Posted by Derulux

wouter- Doubles are hard to see, and even harder to feel. What you actually tend to feel is a "collapse" of the hand, and what you hear is an unevenness in the notes. Try this: play a five-note scale in C-major. Thumb on C. Then play your index finger. Your hand should be totally relaxed, your fingers on the keys. Now, play your middle finger. Observe the motion of your finger and hand before you play it. You cannot push it straight down, but actually must "prep" the motion by picking it up ever so slightly. This is the principle behind what Taubman calls a double rotation. (It's so very difficult to explain over the forums.. wish we could sit down at a piano. It's so much easier to understand what I'm trying to say when in person.)


Thanks! What I make of this is that when rolling the scale in 1 guesture, your hand ends up too close to the keyboard to play on. You then have to raise your hand a bit for the next guesture, in your example the e with the middle finger. This is what you call "prep" or what they call rotation. This is not double rotation, correct? Or are you intending to an a with the middle finger?


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#1999075 - 12/13/12 05:26 PM Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ? [Re: wouter79]  
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Derulux Offline
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Originally Posted by wouter79
Originally Posted by Derulux

wouter- Doubles are hard to see, and even harder to feel. What you actually tend to feel is a "collapse" of the hand, and what you hear is an unevenness in the notes. Try this: play a five-note scale in C-major. Thumb on C. Then play your index finger. Your hand should be totally relaxed, your fingers on the keys. Now, play your middle finger. Observe the motion of your finger and hand before you play it. You cannot push it straight down, but actually must "prep" the motion by picking it up ever so slightly. This is the principle behind what Taubman calls a double rotation. (It's so very difficult to explain over the forums.. wish we could sit down at a piano. It's so much easier to understand what I'm trying to say when in person.)


Thanks! What I make of this is that when rolling the scale in 1 guesture, your hand ends up too close to the keyboard to play on. You then have to raise your hand a bit for the next guesture, in your example the e with the middle finger. This is what you call "prep" or what they call rotation. This is not double rotation, correct? Or are you intending to an a with the middle finger?

No problem. I'm glad the explanation made some sense. smile

Yes, actually.. you've got it. This is pretty much exactly what "double rotation" is/does. Just the idea that, when you play a note, your hand "stops" on that note, and then you "prep" to play the next note so your hand/fingers don't collapse into the keys. The phrase "double rotation" is actually a misnomer, but in the context of the study, it ends up making sense. (There is such thing as a "single rotation," which is actually more of a "continuing" motion, or "half" rotation similar to what you feel when you trill. If you want to check this out, trill with 1 and 3. You'll see the "half" or "single" rotation at work. If you really want to see/feel it, try using 1-5. The motion will be at its largest.)



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.
#1999293 - 12/14/12 07:36 AM Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ? [Re: piano joy]  
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jdw Offline
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Piano joy, I'm glad to hear you're having such a great time! I felt the same way, even during the early months of training.

Who would think that close analysis of movement could be so fascinating? But once you experience the difference in how it feels to play and what you're able to do musically, it's easy to get hooked!


1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Chopin, Waltz in E minor (op. posth.)
Schubert, Op. 90 no. 2
Mendelssohn, Op. 19 no. 2
#2000211 - 12/16/12 11:21 AM Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ? [Re: Jazz+]  
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JerryS88 Offline
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Originally Posted by Jazz+
"Dr. John Mortensen, Professor of Piano at Cedarville University, explains the principle of rotation. It solves lots of problems and sets pianists free, but the majority of students do not understand it. Here's how and why."



Ludicrous. Did nobody notice how he clenches his hand muscles with ridiculous exaggeration, purposefully to illustrate how "inferior" it is to articulate with the fingers (CREDIBILITY ALERT!!!)? Does anyone really believe that out of the entire 19th century roster of golden-age pianists, including Liszt, not one of them ever uttered a word about rotation and double rotation, the supposed FOUNDATION of their technique???? While we're at it, where are all the reports of Matthay's virtuosic performances? Why is his name not mentioned along with the great virtuosos of his time? Sorry, but what about Golandsy's virtuoso performances? This is all too stupid for words. Sorry, I've lost patience with this nonsense. You think you can play 32nd note runs rotating and double-rotating (large or small, visible or not) on each and every note, go ahead. I like Taubman's general concept of using coordinate movements that eliminate body strain and I can see how pianists can benefit from it, but in my opinion (and experience - 3 regrettable summers with Matthay teacher in my youth, 2 years spent earnestly and with dedication trying out Taubman method with their videos and superb Taubman teacher - senior staff member of Golandsky Institute) this rotation stuff is sheer and utter nonsense.

#2000263 - 12/16/12 01:48 PM Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ? [Re: Jazz+]  
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#2000288 - 12/16/12 02:29 PM Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ? [Re: chopin_r_us]  
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JerryS88 Offline
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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us


OK, I stand corrected about Matthay's playing ability (the first I've ever come across - thanks for posting), but listening to this I don't for a second believe the man didn't use a healthy dose of finger articulation (demonized by Dr. Mortensen) in his playing. Good luck to those who don't develop their finger articulation and rely on rotation and double-rotation to get them through fast passages.

#2000289 - 12/16/12 02:33 PM Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ? [Re: Jazz+]  
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chopin_r_us Offline
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You may have a point. Matthay fought, and won, against a finger destroying epoch. Obviously a pinch of salt here or there makes sense.

#2000319 - 12/16/12 03:46 PM Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ? [Re: chopin_r_us]  
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kuifje Offline
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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
You may have a point. Matthay fought, and won, against a finger destroying epoch. Obviously a pinch of salt here or there makes sense.


What Matthay fought was lifting the finger in order to strike the key while playing legato. Or any striking of keys for that matter.

Depending on the situation (e.g. fast runs) he advises finger articulation, but always accompanied by a slight laps in arm support to provide the weight to prevent the hand from recoiling upwards

#2000479 - 12/16/12 10:35 PM Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ? [Re: Jazz+]  
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Thrill Science Offline
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My current teacher uses the Golandsky "Rotation" method.

If you don't have any trouble playing through the Chopin Etudes at performance tempo, by all means, you can ignore this method.

But if you've hit a plateau, this is a way of thinking that can break you through. There may be other techniques that work, too.


Robert Swirsky
Thrill Science, Inc.
#2000509 - 12/17/12 12:08 AM Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ? [Re: JerryS88]  
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LaReginadellaNotte Offline
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Originally Posted by JerryS88
Does anyone really believe that out of the entire 19th century roster of golden-age pianists, including Liszt, not one of them ever uttered a word about rotation and double rotation, the supposed FOUNDATION of their technique???? While we're at it, where are all the reports of Matthay's virtuosic performances? Why is his name not mentioned along with the great virtuosos of his time? Sorry, but what about Golandsy's virtuoso performances?

I think that you have a good point, but the best teachers aren't always the best performers. It's conceivable that Golandsky may understand certain aspects of technique better than great virtuosi do. Performers aren't always consciously aware of what they are doing when they play.

For example, Horowitz claimed that he uses only the wrist (with the movement stopping at the wrist) to play octaves, and that if he used the arm, he would become fatigued, and a harsh sound would result. However, a slow motion video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lT6H-ERo-rk, clearly shows Horowitz using the foreram (in a manner that is similar to the Taubman approach) to play octaves.

Last edited by LaReginadellaNotte; 12/17/12 02:39 AM.

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
#2002178 - 12/20/12 01:39 PM Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ? [Re: Jazz+]  
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wouter79 Offline
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>What Matthay fought was lifting the finger in order to strike the key while playing legato. Or any striking of keys for that matter.

Yes maybe he was fighting the "hanon" school that advertises lifting the fingers high...I more and more start to appreciate my teacher's talking about guestures to avoid this whole issue.


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