2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2.9 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Find a Professional
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers

Advertise on Piano World

Who's Online Now
41 registered members (David J Staff, CyberGene, EVC2017, EssBrace, grd-dan, ChrisGoesPiano, aph123, Boboulus, Brahms4, 9 invisible), 232 guests, and 452 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano & Music Accessories
*Live Piano Venues
*Music School Listings
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Directory/Site Map
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords & Scales
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
What's The Greatest Technical Difficulty For Pianists? #2798581 01/04/19 09:34 PM
Joined: Sep 2018
Posts: 134
O
OscoBosco Offline OP
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
O
Joined: Sep 2018
Posts: 134
I really want to improve my technique and I was wondering about your thoughts on what is the greatest technical difficulty for pianists and how to overcome that challenge with like ex) exercises. Is there one specific challenge that the Greats have conquered that few ever reach or know of unless you dedicate a lot of time to the instrument? Many thanks in advance.

Piano & Music Gifts & Accessories (570)
Piano accessories and music gift items, digital piano dolly, music theme party goods
Re: What's The Greatest Technical Difficulty For Pianists? [Re: OscoBosco] #2798585 01/04/19 09:47 PM
Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 134
R
RmntcPianoLvr Offline
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
R
Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 134
The biggest struggle most pianists have, great or not, is finding the passion to keep on practicing and playing. Everyone goes through that problem, regardless of how great they are. For example, the great Horowitz took a decade long hiatus from performance from lack of enthusiasm in playing; but he came back stronger than ever, and still a classical sensation.

It's not something that you can just "train" yourself to do; you have to find that reason for pursuing mastery of the piano, or you'll lose motivation to practice and eventually make less and less progress. I myself had a 2-3 year period in my life where I contemplated whether playing piano was even worth it anymore; I hadn't had a teacher in many years, and I just wasn't making anymore progress, so I kind of gave up on it. For me, what got me back into the swing of things was listening to classical music again, and rekindling my love for the genre. When I became fascinated with the music itself again, that was motivation enough to get me back to practicing. And now, some years later I can go for 3-4 hours without a break and still be fine, whereas before I'd get bored after just 45 minutes. You have to find your reason like I found mine. Once you have the passion, the rest will come eventually.

Last edited by RmntcPianoLvr; 01/04/19 09:48 PM.
Re: What's The Greatest Technical Difficulty For Pianists? [Re: OscoBosco] #2798592 01/04/19 10:29 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 26,679
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 26,679
Originally Posted by OscoBosco
I really want to improve my technique and I was wondering about your thoughts on what is the greatest technical difficulty for pianists and how to overcome that challenge with like ex) exercises. Is there one specific challenge that the Greats have conquered that few ever reach or know of unless you dedicate a lot of time to the instrument? Many thanks in advance.
Why are you worried about conquering something only the greats have conquered? That might be appropriate if you presently play at a level just below the level of the greatest pianists or have already mastered every other aspect of technique except the hardest one(if such a thing existed)

Technique consists of many different things like playing very fast, octaves, thirds, scales, trills, chords, leaps. playing very softly or very loudly, tone production, pedaling, etc. ad infinitum. I don't think one can say that one aspect is harder than any other.

Re: What's The Greatest Technical Difficulty For Pianists? [Re: RmntcPianoLvr] #2798593 01/04/19 10:37 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 26,679
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 26,679
Originally Posted by RmntcPianoLvr
The biggest struggle most pianists have, great or not, is finding the passion to keep on practicing and playing. Everyone goes through that problem, regardless of how great they are. For example, the great Horowitz took a decade long hiatus from performance from lack of enthusiasm in playing; but he came back stronger than ever, and still a classical sensation.
While some great pianists have certainly lost interest in practicing or playing, I don't think that applies to the majority of them.

Re Horowitz I think it was mental problems that caused his hiatus...more than a lack of enthusiasm. While he was certainly a sensation when he returned, I think many/some would say his playing was less great than in his earlier years.

In any event, lack of interest is not a problem of technique but of the mind.

Re: What's The Greatest Technical Difficulty For Pianists? [Re: pianoloverus] #2798599 01/04/19 11:02 PM
Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 134
R
RmntcPianoLvr Offline
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
R
Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 134
[/quote]While some great pianists have certainly lost interest in practicing or playing, I don't think that applies to the majority of them.

Re Horowitz I think it was mental problems that caused his hiatus...more than a lack of enthusiasm. While he was certainly a sensation when he returned, I think many/some would say his playing was less great than in his earlier years.

In any event, lack of interest is not a problem of technique but of the mind.
[/quote]

I guess if you want to strictly speak technically, thirds, big arpeggios, and fast octaves seem to be the biggest. And of course, the trick to mastering them is proper posture of the hands, relaxed arms and wrists, and TONS of practice

Re: What's The Greatest Technical Difficulty For Pianists? [Re: OscoBosco] #2798618 01/05/19 01:06 AM
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 3,186
johnstaf Online Crying
3000 Post Club Member
Online Crying
3000 Post Club Member
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 3,186
I think the hardest part is probably very fast chords, and leaps. By leaps I mean like some of the trill endings in the Hammerklavier fugue, where a third hand would come in handy. There's also a couple of similarly challenging passages in the Diabelli Variations. Then of course you have the obviously virtuosic leaps like in the Schumann Fantasie.

For fast chords, to me the most obvious example is Prokofiev's Toccata.


Last edited by johnstaf; 01/05/19 01:07 AM.
Re: What's The Greatest Technical Difficulty For Pianists? [Re: RmntcPianoLvr] #2798628 01/05/19 02:50 AM
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 922
C
Colin Miles Offline
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 922
Originally Posted by RmntcPianoLvr
[
I guess if you want to strictly speak technically, thirds, big arpeggios, and fast octaves seem to be the biggest. And of course, the trick to mastering them is proper posture of the hands, relaxed arms and wrists, and TONS of practice


+1 and +lots for the TONS of practice.


Roland LX7

South Wales, UK
Re: What's The Greatest Technical Difficulty For Pianists? [Re: OscoBosco] #2798663 01/05/19 07:52 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 26,679
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 26,679
I think it makes no sense to say one type of technical challenge is more difficult than another. It's an apples to oranges type thing. Just like trying to decide if becoming a great tennis player is harder than becoming a great swimmer or great chef. For every type of challenge(the ones I listed and many more) one can find particular passages that are extremely difficult for almost every pianist.

Re: What's The Greatest Technical Difficulty For Pianists? [Re: pianoloverus] #2798702 01/05/19 09:59 AM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 3,485
NobleHouse Offline
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
3000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 3,485
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think it makes no sense to say one type of technical challenge is more difficult than another. It's an apples to oranges type thing. Just like trying to decide if becoming a great tennis player is harder than becoming a great swimmer or great chef. For every type of challenge(the ones I listed and many more) one can find particular passages that are extremely difficult for almost every pianist.


I believe pianoloverus is CORRECT!



[Linked Image]
Re: What's The Greatest Technical Difficulty For Pianists? [Re: OscoBosco] #2798719 01/05/19 10:50 AM
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 5,854
gooddog Offline
5000 Post Club Member
Offline
5000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 5,854
Pianoloverus has covered all the bases. Every pianist has different challenges and talents.

OscoBosco, there is no single answer because everyone's talents, available time, budget and physiology are different. If you want to improve your individual technique, practice hard and work with a top notch teacher who can pinpoint your weaknesses and help you work through them.


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: What's The Greatest Technical Difficulty For Pianists? [Re: RmntcPianoLvr] #2798733 01/05/19 11:44 AM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 9,664
Carey Offline
9000 Post Club Member
Offline
9000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 9,664
Originally Posted by RmntcPianoLvr
The biggest struggle most pianists have, great or not, is finding the passion to keep on practicing and playing. Everyone goes through that problem, regardless of how great they are. For example, the great Horowitz took a decade long hiatus from performance from lack of enthusiasm in playing; but he came back stronger than ever, and still a classical sensation.

It's not something that you can just "train" yourself to do; you have to find that reason for pursuing mastery of the piano, or you'll lose motivation to practice and eventually make less and less progress. I myself had a 2-3 year period in my life where I contemplated whether playing piano was even worth it anymore; I hadn't had a teacher in many years, and I just wasn't making anymore progress, so I kind of gave up on it. For me, what got me back into the swing of things was listening to classical music again, and rekindling my love for the genre. When I became fascinated with the music itself again, that was motivation enough to get me back to practicing. And now, some years later I can go for 3-4 hours without a break and still be fine, whereas before I'd get bored after just 45 minutes. You have to find your reason like I found mine. Once you have the passion, the rest will come eventually.
While your post has little to do with technique per se, I'm sure many of us can relate to your personal experience.


Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
Kawai K-500 Upright
Kawai CA-65 Digital
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo
Re: What's The Greatest Technical Difficulty For Pianists? [Re: OscoBosco] #2798741 01/05/19 12:16 PM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,118
T
trigalg693 Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
T
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,118
Sure, I'd say double notes in the left hand, large fast jumps are things that most pianists have trouble playing.

The problem with this kind of thinking ("I'll play the HARDEST piece to prove my technique is good!") is that there are many unrelated "areas" of technique that are all important. You need to work on all of them. It's a slow process, don't trick yourself into thinking you can make it faster by just practicing "the hardest" stuff.

I will say that fast dense chords are pretty much universally applicable, but they're also extremely hard for that reason. There's so many possible chords you can play this is just something you pick up over a long long time.

Last edited by trigalg693; 01/05/19 12:18 PM.
Re: What's The Greatest Technical Difficulty For Pianists? [Re: OscoBosco] #2799338 01/07/19 10:34 AM
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 6,268
J
JohnSprung Offline
Unobtanium Subscriber
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
Unobtanium Subscriber
6000 Post Club Member
J
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 6,268
Originally Posted by OscoBosco
I really want to improve my technique and I was wondering about your thoughts on what is the greatest technical difficulty for pianists .....


To improve your technique, work on your technical problems, not the ones that other people have. Do you have a clear idea of what your problems are? If not, you need a teacher to observe and advise.


-- J.S.

[Linked Image] [Linked Image]

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690
Re: What's The Greatest Technical Difficulty For Pianists? [Re: pianoloverus] #2799391 01/07/19 01:57 PM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 6,177
JoelW Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 6,177
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by RmntcPianoLvr
The biggest struggle most pianists have, great or not, is finding the passion to keep on practicing and playing. Everyone goes through that problem, regardless of how great they are. For example, the great Horowitz took a decade long hiatus from performance from lack of enthusiasm in playing; but he came back stronger than ever, and still a classical sensation.
While some great pianists have certainly lost interest in practicing or playing, I don't think that applies to the majority of them.

Re Horowitz I think it was mental problems that caused his hiatus...more than a lack of enthusiasm. While he was certainly a sensation when he returned, I think many/some would say his playing was less great than in his earlier years.

In any event, lack of interest is not a problem of technique but of the mind.

Yeah. Horowitz was still making some really great records during those 12 years.

Re: What's The Greatest Technical Difficulty For Pianists? [Re: OscoBosco] #2799396 01/07/19 02:04 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 4,383
H
Hakki Offline
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
H
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 4,383
It might also depend on the anatomy of the hands.

Rachmaninoff might be difficult for small hands whereas music that requires playing between black keys might be difficult for large finger widths.

Some hands might be flexible and have wide webs between fingers while others might have closely packed fingers with narrow webs.

All of this might make some passages harder than others for different pianists.

Re: What's The Greatest Technical Difficulty For Pianists? [Re: Hakki] #2799407 01/07/19 02:31 PM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 9,402
Tyrone Slothrop Offline
9000 Post Club Member
Offline
9000 Post Club Member
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 9,402
Originally Posted by Hakki
while others might have closely packed fingers with narrow webs.

That sounds like a candidate for gentle stretching exercises.


[Linked Image]
across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: What's The Greatest Technical Difficulty For Pianists? [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2799495 01/07/19 07:02 PM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 16
A
Alpacacino Offline
Junior Member
Offline
Junior Member
A
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 16
Currently mine is speed in arpeggios and scales and actually stamina. To improve, I'm currently working on etudes and relaxation techniques, and to be able to play with more effective movements. Not to mention, I've added a lot more time devotion to working on scales in all keys and arpeggios. Honestly, the "biggest" technical difficulty varies for each player and there is no one best way. However, I've found that to really improve, effective practice is really key. Also, it's better to master something cleanly with slow practice than to play something up to tempo but really messily. The metronome and slow practice (at least until you can cleanly play it at a slower speed) is definitely your friend!

Re: What's The Greatest Technical Difficulty For Pianists? [Re: OscoBosco] #2799904 01/08/19 08:58 PM
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 584
C
computerpro3 Offline
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 584
If there is one technique that I am not really confident in, it's extremely fast, legato, ppp octaves. My hands are small, so I struggle to be fast and clean using 4-5 fingering in the right hand when this is called for. Average speed is no problem, but when they need to be soft and fast the difficulty seriously ramps up for me.

With things like double thirds, leaps, etc, it's just a matter of practice. Sure, they are difficult, but that can be overcome in a straightforward way with work. With the octave situation, it's a physical limitation that I have to work to find a way around. It's a different type of difficulty than something that just requires drilling.

Re: What's The Greatest Technical Difficulty For Pianists? [Re: computerpro3] #2799908 01/08/19 09:17 PM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 9,402
Tyrone Slothrop Offline
9000 Post Club Member
Offline
9000 Post Club Member
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 9,402
Originally Posted by computerpro3
If there is one technique that I am not really confident in, it's extremely fast, legato, ppp octaves. My hands are small, so I struggle to be fast and clean using 4-5 fingering in the right hand when this is called for. Average speed is no problem, but when they need to be soft and fast the difficulty seriously ramps up for me.

Dr. Andrew Aarons made a video just about playing simultaneously soft and fast:


[Linked Image]
across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14

Moderated by  Brendan, Kreisler 

What's Hot!!
News from the Piano World
Our January 2020 Newsletter Available Online Now...
Free Piano Newsletter
----------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
Shop our Store for Music Lovers!
(ad)
Pianoteq
PianoTeq Bechstein
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Yamaha YDP s52 or Casio CDP 220R
by Love4Music - 02/18/20 09:11 PM
Kawaii K-200 vs Geyer GU-123
by ckm99 - 02/18/20 07:33 PM
Forum Statistics
Forums41
Topics197,054
Posts2,927,317
Members96,039
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers


Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers


 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


copyright 1997 - 2019 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.3