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#2262837 - 04/17/14 12:07 AM Re: Tired Fingers [Re: adanepst]  
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Originally Posted by adanepst
Hello all,

and thanks again for your ideas and suggestions.

bennevis and atrys - I appreciate each of your ideas; even if they might seem to contradict each other, for me this is not a problem. I think truth is very big and inclusive, permits seeming oppositions, and includes them! So all ideas are welcome.

bennevis: I am interested to learn of DOMS for the first time. I just did some reading about this on the internet. Usually "soreness" is spoken of, but sometimes also of "stiffness." I don't have soreness, but this still might be the same, or a related, phenomenon.

phantomFive: the feeling of fatigue is generalized; I simply notice that the whole mechanism is tired and that my dexterity is greatly reduced, I can't play things I can usually play, or not as well.

I'm looking forward to looking into all the suggestions that have been offered here. Thanks again.


Cool, good luck! Let us know if anything works!


Poetry is rhythm
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#2262876 - 04/17/14 02:01 AM Re: Tired Fingers [Re: adanepst]  
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Atrys and bennevis: I would recommend and request that the two of you begin another thread in order to continue your discussion, because my goal in starting this one is to find help, and the tone of your discussion may discourage other users from entering the thread. Would you agree to this?

Thanks in advance.

#2263338 - 04/18/14 03:37 AM Re: Tired Fingers [Re: adanepst]  
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Hi OP, from your posting I think you said that you have seen a neuro? Have you been to see a rheumatologist? I have haven't seen a neuro but I do/have seen a rheumatologist. I do suffer from weekness in my fingers also, accompanied by arm pain. I was told for years that I had tendonitis but have recently been told that my overall diagnosis is fibromyalgia, since I have neck pain and other reactive to touch pain points.

The more I practice the weaker I feel. I have been to see a hand physio who works with musicians and she has got me into the swimming pool to try hydrotherapy. My grip strength is abysmal, and I need to work to get a stronger reading.

I am hoping that things will improve, as I do love playing. My life doesn't depend on it. I guess everyone here on this forum can only offer their own experience and opinions. It does make up for a proper diagnoses. Maybe book into a rheumy and see if they can refer/help?

Good luck, hope you get to see my post in the midst of the great water drinking debate!

#2263424 - 04/18/14 09:21 AM Re: Tired Fingers [Re: adanepst]  
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Hi OP,

I just want to offer a possible non-medical idea (I'm sincerely hoping you're problem is not as severe as being dehydrated or having a disease, but I'm not a doctor):

My thought is that if a muscle gets tired, it's being worked hard. Piano playing should not involve hard work (I used to get tired sometimes. This never had anything to do with drinking, disease, weather, etc. but always with effort used to play the notes). Ideally, the effort used to play should be sustainable for hours on end without the use of endurance exercises. But how? Well, for me, I was caught up in arm weight use and interpreted it to mean that one must transfer the whole weight of the arm from key to key. Bad idea! This overloads the fingers, causing them to tire quickly. However, gravity can be used to our advantage! Our fingers have weight, our palms have weight, and our arms have weight. The key is to properly manage each weight to make ech not sound without effort (now don't get mechanical a la Taubman on me). Once you can feel the weight in each part of the hand, play the note NOT thinking about the bottom of the key, but only where the sound starts. Let your hearing anticipate each note rather than focusing on the physical act. Once the note is played, very little weight is needed to keep the note sounding. Find that minimal weight. Practically, the most effective way to acheive all this at the beginning is to aim for a mezzo piano, but beautiful, sound. Focus any weight in the fingertip, where tension is a good thing, and try to let everything else be light.

This is just on guy's idea. I hope it helps, as it did for me. If not, I'm sorry I couldn't help more. Good luck!


"Whoever is moved by music to the depths of the soul, and works on the instrument like possessed one, who loves music and his instrument with passion will acquire virtuoso technique; he/she will be able to recreate the artistic image of the composition; he/she will be a performer." - Neuhaus
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#2263477 - 04/18/14 11:22 AM Re: Tired Fingers [Re: adanepst]  
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Shabbat Shalom:

Interesting way to think about it, and a good shabbos to you, too.

I've run myself through the gamut this year, experimenting with just about everything, and also despairing when I lapse back into whatever it was I WAS doing if I don't pay complete attention.

But the first thing that really worked was recognizing that arm weight and drop was a huge thing I was not using AT ALL, and deliberately set about working it in. But at one point I was thinking, "good lord, my entire fingertip needs to be holding up however many pounds my arm is?" That didn't seem right, either.

Now, to be fair, I've not figured it out, but at slower tempos I now have a nice easy movement and it's somewhere in between fully weighted and suspended. Now I have to keep that and not seize up when the tempo goes up, and also make better use of lateral movements to get behind my playing.

I had better fix it soon, because after long practice sessions, I get some pretty bad pain running along the thumb and into the wrist. I had to take a day off last week and Mama No Fun when she can't play piano, the kids are figuring out.

#2263488 - 04/18/14 11:46 AM Re: Tired Fingers [Re: TwoSnowflakes]  
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I had a similar issue regarding weight in the fingertips. Two ideas that helped me: 1. Weight managment rather than full weight use all the time. Most of the time we don't need half the weight in our arms to acheive the appropriate sound. A great analogy I heard is that of a dart. It goes to its target and all energy is released into its target (in our case, I believe the target should be thought of as the beginning of the sound rather than the bottom of the keyboard). 2. If our energy is focused not down but rather in the direction the sound is going, left or right, it gets that lateral motion (fingers activating the arm) involved. The key, again, is to hear each sound having a tendency to go to the next, keeping our ears fully involved the whole time.

After years of being taught how to move and anatomical ideas of piano playing with little musical improvement, the idea that one's ears guide the technique has opened up worlds of possibilities to me. The only real tiring effort in piano playing should be in the head/hearing.


"Whoever is moved by music to the depths of the soul, and works on the instrument like possessed one, who loves music and his instrument with passion will acquire virtuoso technique; he/she will be able to recreate the artistic image of the composition; he/she will be a performer." - Neuhaus
#2263606 - 04/18/14 03:32 PM Re: Tired Fingers [Re: Shabbat Shalom]  
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Originally Posted by Shabbat Shalom
(in our case, I believe the target should be thought of as the beginning of the sound rather than the bottom of the keyboard.


Yes, absolutely right. Once the jack trips out from under the knuckle, the hammer flys on inertia. Any further energy you put into the key going down does nothing but make you tired.



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#2263637 - 04/18/14 04:11 PM Re: Tired Fingers [Re: adanepst]  
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This makes a lot of sense to me, and I'd already understood the general idea--I mean it's not a hard leap to figure out that after you've depressed the key there's no pressure necessary beyond preventing it from rising back up if you need it to stay down and there's almost nothing to that, but that doesn't mean I've been successful in putting that idea into any kind of practical use.

I'm glad to have at least passed the primary hurdle in that I've started to make better use of gravity and weight and have that contribute all it can before I start expending energy using anything else. It doesn't always work and I still seize up, especially as the tempo comes up, but it's better than it used to be. If I make myself just think "weight, weight" I can feel the muscles release and I don't feel like I'm playing through molasses. It's better than it was: even at slow tempos I used to just kind of suspend myself over the keyboard and make everything just come from finger action which is a highly tensed way to play just from the outset and results in some pretty poor sound control. But now I can be relaxed and fluid in increasing numbers of situations.

Still, like I said, it's hard to marshal everything together. The basic movement is so relaxed and natural when it's there, but yet so difficult to maintain.

I envy my daughter, who is learning from the get-go really efficient movement. Her teacher isn't doing what I see a lot of teachers doing (and what her first teacher did--we moved her after her first year when I started playing to the same teacher I chose for myself), which is to just get basic note playing coordination in there in lots of easy pieces before working on touch and movement, but working on arm, wrist, and body movement has been in there from the first day she was asked to play more than one note. She already has a fluidity that I'm jealous of just playing Bach's Minuet in G.

To be honest, I'm actually learning a certain amount simply being in the other room during my daughter's lessons and listening to the things she says to children to build good movement from the beginning. I'd love to be IN the room, haha, but I know how much my daughter would haaaaaate that. Fortunately our teacher does not know how to speak in a voice lower than "mid-shout" so she's not difficult to hear from several rooms away. smile

Last edited by TwoSnowflakes; 04/18/14 04:13 PM.
#2263769 - 04/18/14 08:09 PM Re: Tired Fingers [Re: TwoSnowflakes]  
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Originally Posted by TwoSnowflakes

I had better fix it soon, because after long practice sessions, I get some pretty bad pain running along the thumb and into the wrist.

Can you be more specific about where exactly it is hurting? If you can figure out which muscle it is, sometimes finding the cure is easy.


Poetry is rhythm
#2263793 - 04/18/14 08:50 PM Re: Tired Fingers [Re: adanepst]  
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I do use all the weight of my arm on the keys. It isn't strenuous, at least, it isn't strenuous as long as my finger isn't tensed-up in addition to what's needed to hold up my arm.


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#2263795 - 04/18/14 08:53 PM Re: Tired Fingers [Re: adanepst]  
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TwoSnowflakes Offline
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Originally Posted by phantomFive

Can you be more specific about where exactly it is hurting? If you can figure out which muscle it is, sometimes finding the cure is easy.

Um, if you spread your hand out, strongly, there's a dull ache that kind of radiates along the top of the thumb. It gets bad as I do octaves, if the other fingers have to be pulled up and the thumb down, so when I pull my hand back, my other hand wants to massage right there at the base.

Ok, probably easier just to take a picture.

Voila:

[Linked Image]

#2263804 - 04/18/14 09:03 PM Re: Tired Fingers [Re: hreichgott]  
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Atrys Offline
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Originally Posted by hreichgott
I do use all the weight of my arm on the keys.

You most certainly don't. This is a misperception caused by the teachings of the "arm weight school".

What you're actually perceiving is the sensation of maximally relaxed forearm extensors and flexors as the upper arm "hangs" from the shoulder in conjunction with coordinated movements such that a portion of the weight of your arm is used to transfer energy into the key.

Anyone taught under the "arm weight school" ought to be aware of this; just a small FYI.


"A good intention but fixed and resolute - bent on high and holy ends, we shall find means to them on every side and at every moment; and even obstacles and opposition will but make us 'like the fabled specter-ships,' which sail the fastest in the very teeth of the wind."
R. W. Emerson
#2263891 - 04/19/14 01:05 AM Re: Tired Fingers [Re: TwoSnowflakes]  
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Originally Posted by TwoSnowflakes
Originally Posted by phantomFive

Can you be more specific about where exactly it is hurting? If you can figure out which muscle it is, sometimes finding the cure is easy.

Um, if you spread your hand out, strongly, there's a dull ache that kind of radiates along the top of the thumb. It gets bad as I do octaves, if the other fingers have to be pulled up and the thumb down, so when I pull my hand back, my other hand wants to massage right there at the base.

Ok, probably easier just to take a picture.

Voila:

[Linked Image]


oh, that is good.

If you imagine the skeleton of your hand, can you see how the thumb bones have a joint near the base of the wrist?

Can you check to see, if while playing octaves, you are trying to hold that joint at the base of your thumb too stiffly? It should be relaxed and free.


Poetry is rhythm
#2269290 - 04/30/14 09:09 PM Re: Tired Fingers [Re: adanepst]  
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I have the same problem in Appassionata. I can play the 1st, 2nd and half of the 3 movement fine - but when I get to the very end, that coda is a killer! I am so tired, like the same athlete-tired you were talking about! The chords seem to exhaust my hands and by the time I get to the fast notes run upward, I just lose it. I don't know if this is a technique problem or what. I have been studying with a reputable professor who tells me that my technique is very good, so I am worried that it may just be muscle exhaustion. I am also a young pianist like you (18 yrs old) and am starting my studies in August. So maybe playing the entire Appassionata is just too much for me just like the Brahms practicing was too much for you. I don't know. But I hope you are getting better!
Best of luck!

#2269300 - 04/30/14 09:39 PM Re: Tired Fingers [Re: Fiona0424]  
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Originally Posted by Fiona0424
I have the same problem in Appassionata. I can play the 1st, 2nd and half of the 3 movement fine - but when I get to the very end, that coda is a killer! I am so tired, like the same athlete-tired you were talking about! The chords seem to exhaust my hands and by the time I get to the fast notes run upward, I just lose it. I don't know if this is a technique problem or what.

Try relaxing your wrist more on the chords. You might be holding them fixed, and that will give you problems.


Poetry is rhythm
#2269309 - 04/30/14 09:55 PM Re: Tired Fingers [Re: Fiona0424]  
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Originally Posted by Fiona0424
I have the same problem in Appassionata. I can play the 1st, 2nd and half of the 3 movement fine - but when I get to the very end, that coda is a killer! I am so tired, like the same athlete-tired you were talking about! The chords seem to exhaust my hands and by the time I get to the fast notes run upward, I just lose it. I don't know if this is a technique problem or what. I have been studying with a reputable professor who tells me that my technique is very good, so I am worried that it may just be muscle exhaustion. I am also a young pianist like you (18 yrs old) and am starting my studies in August. So maybe playing the entire Appassionata is just too much for me just like the Brahms practicing was too much for you. I don't know. But I hope you are getting better!
Best of luck!


If I were you, I would consult an expert in ergonomic technique. Many fine and reputable pianists are not well versed in this specialized area of study. This is one reason why many players become injured.

I remember reading a comment from Ilya Itin, that before learning the Taubman approach he would feel tired after playing and thought fatigue was just part of the deal.


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#2269316 - 04/30/14 10:09 PM Re: Tired Fingers [Re: Atrys]  
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Originally Posted by Atrys
Originally Posted by hreichgott
I do use all the weight of my arm on the keys.

You most certainly don't. This is a misperception caused by the teachings of the "arm weight school".

What you're actually perceiving is the sensation of maximally relaxed forearm extensors and flexors as the upper arm "hangs" from the shoulder in conjunction with coordinated movements such that a portion of the weight of your arm is used to transfer energy into the key.

Anyone taught under the "arm weight school" ought to be aware of this; just a small FYI.


To anyone reading this, I just want to point out the following from Atrys's 1st post in order to put things into a clearer perspective;

Originally Posted by Atrys
So I'm 20 years old and have been taking lessons for just the last 7 months at my university...there is no such thing as "playing with arm weight". This is simply a perception, not a reality...Those who believe otherwise simply do not understand the mechanics of the situation.

#2269320 - 04/30/14 10:17 PM Re: Tired Fingers [Re: adanepst]  
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Atrys Offline
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There is no contradiction between the two posts; the idea of "arm weight" as it applies to the successive playing of tones does not exist. It's simply used as a method of teaching, which is fine, but students ought to be aware that it is not actually true.


"A good intention but fixed and resolute - bent on high and holy ends, we shall find means to them on every side and at every moment; and even obstacles and opposition will but make us 'like the fabled specter-ships,' which sail the fastest in the very teeth of the wind."
R. W. Emerson
#2269321 - 04/30/14 10:20 PM Re: Tired Fingers [Re: Atrys]  
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Originally Posted by Atrys
There is no contradiction between the two posts; the idea of "arm weight" as it applies to the successive playing of tones does not exist. It's simply used as a method of teaching, which is fine, but students ought to be aware that it is not actually true.
Why? If it produces the same result in students and allows them to play freely, they could call it fairies spinning on a plate and it would be fine. Don't ask me where that came from.

OK, I know I'll regret feeding the troll.


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#2269323 - 04/30/14 10:23 PM Re: Tired Fingers [Re: adanepst]  
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Atrys Offline
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Originally Posted by Morodiene

OK, I know I'll regret feeding the troll.

You can operate under the false assumption that I'm "trolling", or we can have this discourse with civility.

Originally Posted by Morodiene

Why? If it produces the same result in students and allows them to play freely, they could call it fairies spinning on a plate and it would be fine.

Because it's misinformation. It's perfectly fine to teach in this way, but at the same time students ought to be familiar with the physics of the situation so that pedagogy doesn't spin its wheels too much in this area.


"A good intention but fixed and resolute - bent on high and holy ends, we shall find means to them on every side and at every moment; and even obstacles and opposition will but make us 'like the fabled specter-ships,' which sail the fastest in the very teeth of the wind."
R. W. Emerson
#2269325 - 04/30/14 10:26 PM Re: Tired Fingers [Re: Morodiene]  
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Polyphonist Offline
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
OK, I know I'll regret feeding the troll.

Yes, you might. But many of us have already fallen into the trap, so feel free to join the club. ha


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2269326 - 04/30/14 10:27 PM Re: Tired Fingers [Re: Atrys]  
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Originally Posted by Atrys
Originally Posted by Morodiene

OK, I know I'll regret feeding the troll.

You can operate under the false assumption that I'm "trolling", or we can have this discourse with civility.
We shall see.

Originally Posted by Atrys
Originally Posted by Morodiene

Why? If it produces the same result in students and allows them to play freely, they could call it fairies spinning on a plate and it would be fine.

Because it's misinformation. It's perfectly fine to teach in this way, but at the same time students ought to be familiar with the physics of the situation so that pedagogy doesn't spin its wheels too much in this area.
I don't think it's misinformation if it works. We are in the art of sound, not the science of it. That's another field.


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#2269328 - 04/30/14 10:27 PM Re: Tired Fingers [Re: Polyphonist]  
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Originally Posted by Morodiene
OK, I know I'll regret feeding the troll.

Yes, you might. But many of us have already fallen into the trap, so feel free to join the club. ha
LOL


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#2269330 - 04/30/14 10:32 PM Re: Tired Fingers [Re: adanepst]  
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Originally Posted by Morodiene

I don't think it's misinformation if it works.

Misinformation is information that is false or inaccurate. The assertion that one can play using arm-weight alone, or chiefly, is subject to the same true-or-false standards as any other assertion. It just so happens that this one is false, and it is therefore misinformation.

The ideas are not exclusive of each other. You can, at once, teach a student under the "arm-weight school" whilst remaining grounded in the physics of the situation.


"A good intention but fixed and resolute - bent on high and holy ends, we shall find means to them on every side and at every moment; and even obstacles and opposition will but make us 'like the fabled specter-ships,' which sail the fastest in the very teeth of the wind."
R. W. Emerson
#2269332 - 04/30/14 10:33 PM Re: Tired Fingers [Re: Atrys]  
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Originally Posted by Atrys
Originally Posted by Morodiene

OK, I know I'll regret feeding the troll.

You can operate under the false assumption that I'm "trolling", or we can have this discourse with civility.

That certainly leaves you out.

(There, I just fed the troll again. What's the matter with me?) grin


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2269334 - 04/30/14 10:37 PM Re: Tired Fingers [Re: adanepst]  
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Why don't you ever try to actually contribute to a discussion?


"A good intention but fixed and resolute - bent on high and holy ends, we shall find means to them on every side and at every moment; and even obstacles and opposition will but make us 'like the fabled specter-ships,' which sail the fastest in the very teeth of the wind."
R. W. Emerson
#2269335 - 04/30/14 10:38 PM Re: Tired Fingers [Re: Atrys]  
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Originally Posted by Atrys
Why don't you ever try to actually contribute to a discussion?

Life is full of mysteries...


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2269337 - 04/30/14 10:39 PM Re: Tired Fingers [Re: DanS]  
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 5,828
JoelW Offline
5000 Post Club Member
JoelW  Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2012
Posts: 5,828
USA
Originally Posted by Atrys
there is no such thing as "playing with arm weight". This is simply a perception, not a reality...Those who believe otherwise simply do not understand the mechanics of the situation.

Wrong.

#2269338 - 04/30/14 10:40 PM Re: Tired Fingers [Re: JoelW]  
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 9,138
Polyphonist Offline
9000 Post Club Member
Polyphonist  Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 9,138
New York City
Originally Posted by JoelW
Originally Posted by Atrys
there is no such thing as "playing with arm weight". This is simply a perception, not a reality...Those who believe otherwise simply do not understand the mechanics of the situation.

Wrong.

The troll is being fed left and right - which post shall he respond to next? ha


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2269339 - 04/30/14 10:41 PM Re: Tired Fingers [Re: JoelW]  
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 990
Atrys Offline
500 Post Club Member
Atrys  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 990
Originally Posted by JoelW

Wrong.

Can you offer reasoning or evidence to support your position? If not, you're the one who is wrong.


"A good intention but fixed and resolute - bent on high and holy ends, we shall find means to them on every side and at every moment; and even obstacles and opposition will but make us 'like the fabled specter-ships,' which sail the fastest in the very teeth of the wind."
R. W. Emerson
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