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Re: Comment on my technique? And testing slow motion recording [Re: Allan W.] #2168545
10/19/13 01:29 PM
10/19/13 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Allan W.
So you're saying that someone with the right technique but hasn't been using the right hand pinky as heavily as it is used in this etude, can start learning it, practice it for hours at a time at high tempo, and not feel any fatigue? i.e. there's no training of the muscles to get stronger in preparation for playing this without fatigue?
Well, yes and no. "Practice it for hours at a high tempo" would only occur once the person was ready to play it at that tempo. A lot more practice happens under tempo, especially in the beginning stages of learning a new piece.

And what muscles are you referring to that need to be made stronger? Presumably the hypothetical person here is ready to study this piece. That means they have invested in their training up until now, so the muscle used in playing are already strong enough. However, playing is more about tendons and arm weight than it is muscle though.

Quote
Yes, my arm did look a little low in the video. But if I raise my bench then I feel like my back might be slouching more, [b]since I don't need to sit up straight[b/].
I'm not sure I understand what you mean.


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Re: Comment on my technique? And testing slow motion recording [Re: Allan W.] #2168563
10/19/13 02:22 PM
10/19/13 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Allan W.
[...]But if I raise my bench then I feel like my back might be slouching more, since I don't need to sit up straight.


Why do you say that you do not need to sit up straight? Good posture is essential to good playing (exceptions noted!) and continuous slouching is one of the major contributors to long-term - if not permanent - back pain.

Regards,


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Re: Comment on my technique? And testing slow motion recording [Re: Allan W.] #2168564
10/19/13 02:35 PM
10/19/13 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Allan W.
Yes, my arm did look a little low in the video. But if I raise my bench then I feel like my back might be slouching more, since I don't need to sit up straight.

I understand. But if you can keep your posture good regardless of bench height then you'll be able to get your body aligned properly. Of course as I mentioned in the other post, we can't tell for sure from the video.


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Re: Comment on my technique? And testing slow motion recording [Re: Allan W.] #2168619
10/19/13 04:54 PM
10/19/13 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Allan W.
So you're saying that someone with the right technique but hasn't been using the right hand pinky as heavily as it is used in this etude, can start learning it, practice it for hours at a time at high tempo, and not feel any fatigue? i.e. there's no training of the muscles to get stronger in preparation for playing this without fatigue?



If one possesses the correct technique, there will be no need to use the pinky "heavily", nor will there be a need to practise it for hours at a time. You ask, if there is no training of the muscles to get stronger for playing this etude without fatigue and I've already given you the answer above. Acquiring the necessary technique IS the training.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

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Re: Comment on my technique? And testing slow motion recording [Re: musicpassion] #2168621
10/19/13 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by musicpassion

I understand. But if you can keep your posture good regardless of bench height then you'll be able to get your body aligned properly. Of course as I mentioned in the other post, we can't tell for sure from the video.


Bench height is part of keeping your posture at the piano correct. Regardless of how well you think you've kept your posture your body won't be "aligned" properly, if the bench is too high, or too low.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

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Re: Comment on my technique? And testing slow motion recording [Re: Allan W.] #2168623
10/19/13 04:59 PM
10/19/13 04:59 PM
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Might I also add that you really should get yourself a good teacher who can help you firsthand with these things, Allan.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

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Re: Comment on my technique? And testing slow motion recording [Re: stores] #2168659
10/19/13 06:41 PM
10/19/13 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by musicpassion

I understand. But if you can keep your posture good regardless of bench height then you'll be able to get your body aligned properly. Of course as I mentioned in the other post, we can't tell for sure from the video.


Bench height is part of keeping your posture at the piano correct. Regardless of how well you think you've kept your posture your body won't be "aligned" properly, if the bench is too high, or too low.

Yes, the bench height is a big part of it. I didn't mean to imply otherwise. However there can be adjustment periods where one does need to focus on posture etc. and in the end will have a better result.


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Re: Comment on my technique? And testing slow motion recording [Re: BruceD] #2168705
10/19/13 09:19 PM
10/19/13 09:19 PM
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Allan W. Offline OP
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Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by Allan W.
[...]But if I raise my bench then I feel like my back might be slouching more, since I don't need to sit up straight.


Why do you say that you do not need to sit up straight? Good posture is essential to good playing (exceptions noted!) and continuous slouching is one of the major contributors to long-term - if not permanent - back pain.

Regards,


I've been making a conscious effort to straighten my back while playing. I meant that if I raise my bench height to increase my arm height and straighten out my upper arm, then it is more difficult to sit up straight since it feels like I'm sitting pretty high.

Anyway -- I will raise my bench one notch while still trying to maintain sitting up straight.

Last edited by Allan W.; 10/19/13 09:25 PM.

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Re: Comment on my technique? And testing slow motion recording [Re: stores] #2168706
10/19/13 09:27 PM
10/19/13 09:27 PM
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Maryland
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Originally Posted by stores
Might I also add that you really should get yourself a good teacher who can help you firsthand with these things, Allan.


I had a good teacher a month ago who said my posture looked mostly fine. I think I'll try to switch to a piano performance PhD student at my nearby university because they'll have more experience working on advanced repertoire.


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Kawai MP-10
Previously: 2012 Young Chang Y175, which was quite impressive for the price
Re: Comment on my technique? And testing slow motion recording [Re: stores] #2168719
10/19/13 10:31 PM
10/19/13 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by Arghhh
Originally Posted by Allan W.

2) Yes, it is tiring to practice this, especially on heavier actions like the Kawai MP-10 I have or my grand. After 20-30 minutes of playing my pinky muscle area is fatigued and so is my forearm. But I think it's OK since there's no tingling and it's not painful. It seems like it's just training the muscles, especially since it's fast and the notes need to be played forte.


Fatigue usually comes from prolonged muscle usage. I feel piano playing is a lot more of quick muscular bursts than continual force. I can see why your pinky muscles would be tired. If you look at your pinky finger, it is constantly held up and the last joint is actually hyperextending. I can't even do that, but if I try, it automatically makes the rest of my hand stiff as well.


It doesn't come from prolonged muscle usage. It comes, because those muscles aren't trained yet. One with solid technique won't feel any fatigue, whatsoever, when playing this etude.

On the first part of this, sir, you are wrong. Muscles tire because they are used, not because they are not used.

The second part, however, is correct. One with solid technique minimizes the use of those muscles, so they do not feel as fatigued as someone whose technique causes muscle strain. Typical fatigue is caused by muscles overworking to correct for poor alignment and/or coordination of movements. This is sometimes simplified (even by me) as "lacking proper technique".

So, to comment on another portion of the discussion, it is not necessary to "build up muscles" to play the piano. A certain degree of endurance notwithstanding (and which can be acquired through the regular course of practice), if you are strong enough to press down the keys (which only takes a few ounces of strength), then you need no more muscular strength at all.

This is a great comment from stores, and is worth repeating:
Quote
Acquiring the necessary technique IS the training.


Essentially, I think we all seem to be saying this in one form or another.


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.
Re: Comment on my technique? And testing slow motion recording [Re: Derulux] #2168740
10/19/13 11:47 PM
10/19/13 11:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Derulux



On the first part of this, sir, you are wrong. Muscles tire because they are used, not because they are not used.



I think it is obvious where I was going. I didn't say that the fatigue is a result of the muscles NOT being used. I said it is because those muscles are not yet trained (to carry the workload). I realise that muscles tire, because of use, but, if you've not ever used said muscles in a particular way, fatigue will set in faster. It would seem we're actually on the same page here, but perhaps I should have worded things so as not to be confusing to anyone.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

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Re: Comment on my technique? And testing slow motion recording [Re: Derulux] #2168806
10/20/13 06:20 AM
10/20/13 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Derulux

So, to comment on another portion of the discussion, it is not necessary to "build up muscles" to play the piano. A certain degree of endurance notwithstanding (and which can be acquired through the regular course of practice), if you are strong enough to press down the keys (which only takes a few ounces of strength), then you need no more muscular strength at all.


Somewhat OT, in a sense, this is true.

But what is also true is that among virtuosi, men play with markedly more power than women, which is purely down to their greater strength, not superior technique. You can even hear the difference in recordings, e.g. if you compare two famous Tchaik 1 recordings - Van Cliburn's and Argerich's. But it's in piano competitions where this is most obvious, because you get the opportunity to listen to male and female pianists of similar age and accomplishment playing the same pieces, one after the other.

This is not to imply of course, that budding virtuosi should embark on a strength-training regime wink . But it is true that with regular piano playing of music that involves loud dynamics (especially octaves and chords), you will develop stronger muscles in your forearms, because they are principally responsible for moving the fingers (both flexion and extension). But you'll also develop the small muscles of the hands, as well as the big muscles of the upper arms (which move the forearm).


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Re: Comment on my technique? And testing slow motion recording [Re: bennevis] #2168842
10/20/13 08:15 AM
10/20/13 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by bennevis

But what is also true is that among virtuosi, men play with markedly more power than women, which is purely down to their greater strength, not superior technique.


It's not about "strength", per se, it is about several different elements, one of the most important of which is height (and, related to that, hand span). AFAIK, there's never been a woman pianist on the international circuit as tall as either Van Cliburn or Garrick Ohlsson.


Re: Comment on my technique? And testing slow motion recording [Re: wr] #2168844
10/20/13 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by bennevis

But what is also true is that among virtuosi, men play with markedly more power than women, which is purely down to their greater strength, not superior technique.


It's not about "strength", per se, it is about several different elements, one of the most important of which is height (and, related to that, hand span). AFAIK, there's never been a woman pianist on the international circuit as tall as either Van Cliburn or Garrick Ohlsson.


OK then, compare Argerich's Rach 3 with Ashkenazy's. wink

They're the same height, and have similar hand spans. One is female, the other male. (I'll leave you to guess which is which grin ).

Whose fortissimos have got more power and heft behind it?


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Comment on my technique? And testing slow motion recording [Re: wr] #2168846
10/20/13 08:32 AM
10/20/13 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by bennevis

But what is also true is that among virtuosi, men play with markedly more power than women, which is purely down to their greater strength, not superior technique.


It's not about "strength", per se, it is about several different elements, one of the most important of which is height (and, related to that, hand span). AFAIK, there's never been a woman pianist on the international circuit as tall as either Van Cliburn or Garrick Ohlsson.

I think height does come into play. However, my former teacher is very small in stature (maybe 5') and her grad teacher told her she would have to lift weights to become more substantial. She doesn't get a huge sound, but it projects well enough.

Anyways, I don't think that size of sound is a big issue with the OP, and building muscle mass is not usually what playing piano is about - especially in the fingers (since there aren't any muscles in the fingers to begin with). Even endurance, when I've played piano for a while my fingers don't get fatigued, it's usually my whole body that loses energy and I just need to eat something to replenish the used energy. My mind probably fatigues more than anything!


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Re: Comment on my technique? And testing slow motion recording [Re: Morodiene] #2168856
10/20/13 09:00 AM
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I don't want to turn this into a battle of the sexes, but I found an interesting quote by the esteemed Canadian pianist Janina Fialkowska:

"....the vast majority of men have a higher volume level than their female counterparts. There are exceptions, naturally, but on the whole, if a 'normal' male pianist attempts a long, fortissimo octave passage, he'll generally find it easier to do so and will achieve it with a louder sound than a 'normal' female pianist."
(International Piano)

Maybe strength training isn't such a bad idea after all, unless you intend to specialize in the Baroque and early classical..... wink


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Comment on my technique? And testing slow motion recording [Re: Pathbreaker] #2168861
10/20/13 09:12 AM
10/20/13 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Pathbreaker
Originally Posted by Alan Lai
I would like you to watch these videos, watch closely at the pianists' hands, and then ask yourself this same question again.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpZr_cbYbXo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdCObCqE7ek


These two examples are really interesting in that there is a huge difference in the amount of movement between Ashkenazy and Ohlsson. Can someone comment on that (a significant amount of rotation from Ohlsson)? It's not that there is none from Ashkenazy but it's not very noticable.

It's due to different hand construction between those two pianists. Everyone's hands are different.

Re: Comment on my technique? And testing slow motion recording [Re: bennevis] #2168922
10/20/13 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by bennevis


But what is also true is that among virtuosi, men play with markedly more power than women, which is purely down to their greater strength, not superior technique.


Bah!



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $

Re: Comment on my technique? And testing slow motion recording [Re: Allan W.] #2168941
10/20/13 12:37 PM
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If you do go to a piano performance DMA student for your next teacher(piano performance people get a Doctor of Musical Arts degree instead of a PhD), make sure that they have experience teaching. There are many who have only been playing piano and have never tried to teach anyone - and those are two different things.


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Re: Comment on my technique? And testing slow motion recording [Re: stores] #2169006
10/20/13 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by Derulux



On the first part of this, sir, you are wrong. Muscles tire because they are used, not because they are not used.



I think it is obvious where I was going. I didn't say that the fatigue is a result of the muscles NOT being used. I said it is because those muscles are not yet trained (to carry the workload). I realise that muscles tire, because of use, but, if you've not ever used said muscles in a particular way, fatigue will set in faster. It would seem we're actually on the same page here, but perhaps I should have worded things so as not to be confusing to anyone.

Yeah, I didn't realize that until after I posted, and partly because I had to think about it more as I was responding. I probably could have kept silent on this one and still contributed as much as I did by speaking. grin

Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by bennevis


But what is also true is that among virtuosi, men play with markedly more power than women, which is purely down to their greater strength, not superior technique.


Bah!

I actually agree with stores on this. I know many women who can get every once of sound out of the piano. I'm sure the biographers in here, who have a quantity of intimate knowledge about major performers that I couldn't begin to touch, would be able to articulate just how many women have been able to play loudly enough to break strings (which is more power than you need, really). wink


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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