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Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ?
chopin_r_us #1997384 12/10/12 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Originally Posted by Derulux

I think that's the exact point of the technique. If you already do it, great! Congratulations. Move on. But if you do not, and can't figure out why your playing is not where you would like it to be, here is a scientific approach to diagnosing what technique issues you may have and not even know it.
I don't see what is scientific about it. Mr Mortensen got the anatomy substantially wrong, and yet he's a spokesman?

Yeah, I don't know who Mortensen is. Never met him. But I don't think he's a spokesman for the Golandsky Institute. I've met Edna, even played the piano in her apartment once for her, and studied for about five years with Bob Durso in Philly, but I never met Mortensen. The list of Faculty is here: http://www.golandskyinstitute.org/teachers/faculty.

I do agree that those who know nothing about a particular discipline (anatomy, for example) should not comment on it without the proper foundation to make such comments. However, I would not go so far as to say that the technique is not scientific because one guy, who does not represent the Institute, got it wrong once. wink

Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Originally Posted by Derulux

By the way, if you get a chance, please review my previous question. I would like to discuss it, but wasn't quite clear what you meant. smile
I was only saying the snake oil salesman approach doesn't wash with me.

Ah, okay. Yeah, I don't like that crap, either. I know what those people intend, because I understand the change in their playing that they have experienced, but to me, that kind of 'preaching' does more harm than good. I can't stand the "religious" approach.. the "it's a miracle" (even if it is), or the faith-based, "trust me, it works" approach (even if it does). It just seems fake to me.

It's interesting that, in most writing courses (whether fiction or business marketing), they teach you not to "preach" to your audience. That is, don't tell them what to think or feel because they won't believe you. I think that holds true here, too. People can't say, "It's a miracle!" You won't believe them, and neither would I. It's the same principle behind the reason why I don't buy anything they advertised on late night TV... wink

Last edited by Derulux; 12/10/12 02:13 PM.

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Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ?
Jazz+ #1997390 12/10/12 02:24 PM
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Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ?
Elene #1997465 12/10/12 05:39 PM
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Elene, thanks for your long and interesting reply. As I implied, I know little about technical traditions or classical music, and have not had a serious teacher for forty-five years. While I don't doubt that attention to these matters would have made me a better pianist per se, I agree that I have probably fluked assimilation of enough fluid movements to render correction unnecessary. What about Virgil Practice Claviers of the sort used by Arrau ? Good ? Bad ? Indifferent ? I have used one night and morning for over forty years and have always considered it has kept my technique alive and in a state fit to allow flow of ideas in improvisation, but anyone can be wrong I suppose. I have never had pain from playing in my life. I've had one or two involuntary movements, which seem to take ages to get rid of, but not to the point of interference with creative flow.

The few pieces I play are difficult but not very difficult - Chopin studies, Waller solos, classical and contemporary ragtime, that sort of thing. I don't strive for perfection, being content with around 95% provided it is musical and enjoyable to me in private.

Thanks again for your thoughts,
Ted.

Last edited by Ted; 12/10/12 05:40 PM.

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Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ?
Jazz+ #1997614 12/10/12 10:01 PM
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Maybe I'm leading a sheltered life, but I don't really see a lot of snake oil. Okay, some things could be rephrased here and there. But I get the feeling that expressions of genuine enthusiasm are sometimes dismissed as preaching.

I find myself self-censoring when I post about Taubman study. I know that if I wrote honestly about my epiphanies (and that's the subjective experience of learning new, transformative stuff, even when its basis is the objective study of movement)--I'd be perceived as a fanatic.

Personally, I admire Golandsky and her institute faculty for their efforts to educate people about this approach. Like many others, I was completely sidelined by injury. If they weren't reaching out, I would never have heard of Taubman. This study has not only enabled me to play again, but taken my technique to totally new (if still modest) levels. Hard to say enough good about it.


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Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ?
Jazz+ #1998057 12/11/12 08:49 PM
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Another thought on the double rotations that might be helpful. At the risk of making them sound mechanical, which they aren't: I sometimes think of it as like a ratchet, or a reset. As Derulux said, it's a very small adjustment that gets you ready to play the next note, so the hand doesn't collapse.


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Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ?
Jazz+ #1998152 12/12/12 01:45 AM
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I really don't think about double rotations consciously unless I'm in one of these three situations:

1) playing Baroque/polyphonic music, when I have to legato a certain voice while letting go of the other fingers (also excellent for making the preparatory motion for quick ornaments!);

2) slow music that allows for the overt gesture of double rotations, for the sake of expression and tone; and

3) playing a difficult passage that requires extra thought on my part, usually in the form of tricky fingering or difficult rhythmic figures.

Most of the time (especially in runs) I just use shaping and in & out motion.


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Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ?
Jazz+ #1998153 12/12/12 01:53 AM
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Professor Dr. John Mortensen answers the following question:

I have no doubts about how beneficial rotation can be (in cases where rotating from side to side can help to lead directly towards the next notes eg. in Alberti bass). What I question is the reason for wanting to believe the forearm rotates back and forth within a fast scale- when the notes go in a single direction. Do we believe the idea that the arm can not only rotate into the note, but rotate back to prepare for the next note in fast scales?

"Yes, that is the great question. As you probably know, Taubman/Golandsky et al refer to this as the preparatory swing. I would say that such a motion exists at slower tempos (I was just practicing Scarlatti a minute ago and definitely used prep swings in LH 8th notes) but vanishes progressively as it speeds up. However, I do believe that using the swing at slower speeds gives the pianist an advantage at faster speeds because (and this is just my theory) the balance and natural motion of the slower rotation will cause the pianist to discover the most balanced and natural way of playing faster. the habit transfers even if the exact motion doesn't. I also notice that slow practicing of fast passages with at least a little prep swing rotation does help them when they get back to speed. The main thing, in my opinion, is to avoid the extremes of finger isolation and independence, which is the root of all kinds of evil.

At the end of the day, talking about complex physical motion is difficult, ain't it?

Happy practicing,

JJM "

Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ?
Jazz+ #1998405 12/12/12 02:28 PM
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I also saw this video and wondered about the same thing. The way I understand it is that the most important thing is to never ever use your extensors to lift your fingers.

So, that being said, do you get your finger high enough to strike (or rather push down) a key? For instance for the 3rd note of a legato scale?

To my knowledge there are 3 ways:

1) only for slow passages: actual double rotation. And you know it is there because you see it and you feel it. This is effectively weight playing?

2) by contracting your 2nd finger a little while the 2nd key is on the keybed. This will lift your whole hand.

3) For fast passages: by keeping your hand at constant height (= high enough), and push your fingers down one by one (from the knuckles or by curving them),

( and 4. apparently in staccato, you can let the key and your fingers bounce back from the keybed).

So maybe what she describes as double rotation being there without seeing or feeling is the fact that you don't use your extensors.

Does this sound reasonable?






Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ?
Jazz+ #1998773 12/13/12 06:34 AM
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I find the idea of not using the extensors at all a bit confusing. Were you told this by a teacher?

The fingers have to move, and I've never been told not to use their muscles to move them (except maybe in very early training, to get the forearm rotation going). But they need to move in coordination with the rest of the hand and arm, not in isolation.

I'm not sure I understand your examples--as has been said, it's hard to describe motions in words. But #3 sounds like isolating the individual fingers, which wouldn't be good.


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Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ?
Jazz+ #1998855 12/13/12 10:27 AM
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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.


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Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ?
Derulux #1998866 12/13/12 10:54 AM
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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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Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ?
Jazz+ #1998898 12/13/12 11:49 AM
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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.


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Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ?
Derulux #1998989 12/13/12 02:29 PM
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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.
Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ?
Derulux #1999013 12/13/12 03:13 PM
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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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Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ?
wouter79 #1999075 12/13/12 05:26 PM
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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.)



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Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ?
piano joy #1999293 12/14/12 07:36 AM
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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!


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Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ?
Jazz+ #2000211 12/16/12 11:21 AM
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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.

Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ?
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Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ?
chopin_r_us #2000288 12/16/12 02:29 PM
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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.

Re: Thoughts on Golandsky ?
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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.

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