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Re: Aren't flat fingers the secret? [Re: OscoBosco] #2841287
04/21/19 08:50 PM
04/21/19 08:50 PM
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Kharitonov has really great "modified flat" technique, I would say. Not totally flat or curved.



There are other approaches. laugh



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Re: Aren't flat fingers the secret? [Re: OscoBosco] #2841291
04/21/19 09:13 PM
04/21/19 09:13 PM
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(I'm "Mr. Video Poster," today. ha) I think this is the flattest pianist I have ever seen:







WhoDwaldi
Howard (by Kawai) 5' 10"
Re: Aren't flat fingers the secret? [Re: pianoloverus] #2841310
04/22/19 12:15 AM
04/22/19 12:15 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by outo
Unfortunately the thumb also must visit the black keys often... that can cause a collision with the fallboard...
With the thumb on a black key some pianists(even those who play with flat fingers at other times)will be forced to curve their fingers to some degree to avoid the fallboard whether it's a modern grand or Chopin's grand with shorter keys.

I have a more or less average hand size for a male with a reach of comfortable tenth. On my Mason BB with my thumb on a black key I can just avoid the fallboard with the rest of my fingers flat and on black keys. Those with larger hands would have to curve their fingers to some degree.


It's not simply a matter of size, but also shape. Our thumbs are not located equally. The tip of my thumb barely reaches the knuckle of my 3rd finger when my hand is relaxed.

Re: Aren't flat fingers the secret? [Re: pianoloverus] #2841312
04/22/19 12:20 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
That's one reason most excellent pianist's hands look similar when playing.


How odd that you would say this... Because I don't think it could be much further from the truth, the variation in the way their hands look is huge.

Re: Aren't flat fingers the secret? [Re: OscoBosco] #2841362
04/22/19 07:32 AM
04/22/19 07:32 AM
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I have tried flat fingers many times on and off over the years. Initially it feels easier for certain movements but after a day or two I find myself losing control and revert to my usual moderately curved position. Whether this is general or just me I haven't a clue. I don't consciously think about it while playing though.


"We shall always love the music of the masters, but they are all dead and now it's our turn." - Llewelyn Jones, my piano teacher
Re: Aren't flat fingers the secret? [Re: OscoBosco] #2841419
04/22/19 12:42 PM
04/22/19 12:42 PM
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I have been having a general thought about this: namely that the idea of "positions" itself is wrong. For example, if you've been taught to have round fingers, and you decide that you should have flat fingers instead, you're still in a world of positions - that there is a position. What if there isn't one? What if your hands and the whole playing complex (arms etc.) were one single shape-shifting amoeba that is constantly adjusting to what you are playing? What if any "rules" are simply some guidelines according to what gets seen in / or felt by, good players, for us to play with ... but not "shape ourselves according to"?

Re: Aren't flat fingers the secret? [Re: OscoBosco] #2841554
04/22/19 11:39 PM
04/22/19 11:39 PM
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Having been trained in both, curved & flat, I think flat is the more versatile technique. Flat isn't an end in itself instead it's more like an avenue to teach weight transfer, rotation, speed and tone control. Plus when you go flat you end up with a great deal of palm awareness which can look like you're "pulling" the sound out of the piano.

In classical music your hand has to take all sorts of shapes to navigate the keys. Curved feels intuitively correct and so most play curved. I play curved when I have to. There's nothing wrong with that. Everybody has to figure out what works best for them.


"the lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne." -- Chaucer.
Re: Aren't flat fingers the secret? [Re: OscoBosco] #2841581
04/23/19 04:53 AM
04/23/19 04:53 AM
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I'd like to add just as there isn't one technique that fits every pianist, there isn't one technique that fits every piece. Horowitz sometimes played with very curved fingers too.....https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezSD4i9YCTE

Re: Aren't flat fingers the secret? [Re: OscoBosco] #2841661
04/23/19 11:21 AM
04/23/19 11:21 AM
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My 1840's piano (notice my 3rd finger is touching the fallboard): [Linked Image]

Re: Aren't flat fingers the secret? [Re: chopin_r_us] #2841678
04/23/19 12:29 PM
04/23/19 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
My 1840's piano (notice my 3rd finger is touching the fallboard): [Linked Image]
I'm curious how long the visible part of the while and black keys are on your piano?

Re: Aren't flat fingers the secret? [Re: OscoBosco] #2841690
04/23/19 01:15 PM
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White 5 1/4" black nearly 3 1/2" . And there's me thinking a picture is worth a thousand words!

Re: Aren't flat fingers the secret? [Re: chopin_r_us] #2841698
04/23/19 02:02 PM
04/23/19 02:02 PM
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Victoria, BC
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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
White 5 1/4" black nearly 3 1/2" . [...]


On my Estonia 190: White = 15cm (5.9"). Black = 10cm (3.93")

Regards,


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Re: Aren't flat fingers the secret? [Re: OscoBosco] #2841714
04/23/19 03:24 PM
04/23/19 03:24 PM
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Connecticut, USA
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Try it and see if it works better.

Personally, I don't have much use for concepts about how my hands should look at the piano. There was a time I was obsessed with this. Then, I realized that the task here is to get the key to go down at the right time, not to "look" a certain way.

If you pay super-close attention to whether you're getting the results you're looking for, your brain will automatically learn how to get those results.

Re: Aren't flat fingers the secret? [Re: MichaelJK] #2841719
04/23/19 03:32 PM
04/23/19 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by MichaelJK
Personally, I don't have much use for concepts about how my hands should look at the piano. There was a time I was obsessed with this. Then, I realized that the task here is to get the key to go down at the right time, not to "look" a certain way.
But the whole idea of any technical approach or idea i(including flat vs. curved)is not how the hands look but how the technical approach aids what you want to be able to do at the piano.

Re: Aren't flat fingers the secret? [Re: chopin_r_us] #2841724
04/23/19 03:37 PM
04/23/19 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
My 1840's piano (notice my 3rd finger is touching the fallboard): [Linked Image]


You can get around that, depending on the context of what the left hand is doing, by moving the torso over toward the left so the thumb is closer to the fallboard and the rest of the fingers aren't bumping into it.

Re: Aren't flat fingers the secret? [Re: MikeN] #2841740
04/23/19 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by MikeN
Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
My 1840's piano (notice my 3rd finger is touching the fallboard): [Linked Image]


You can get around that, depending on the context of what the left hand is doing, by moving the torso over toward the left so the thumb is closer to the fallboard and the rest of the fingers aren't bumping into it.
Even if this works it's incredibly inefficient since it would involve constantly moving one's torso unless the entire piece was in one area of the keyboard. The simple solution is to curve one's fingers as much as needed to avoid the fallboard. Not many pianists play with totally flat fingers like in the picture.


Last edited by pianoloverus; 04/23/19 04:53 PM.
Re: Aren't flat fingers the secret? [Re: pianoloverus] #2841755
04/23/19 06:03 PM
04/23/19 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by MikeN
Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
My 1840's piano (notice my 3rd finger is touching the fallboard): [Linked Image]


You can get around that, depending on the context of what the left hand is doing, by moving the torso over toward the left so the thumb is closer to the fallboard and the rest of the fingers aren't bumping into it.
Even if this works it's incredibly inefficient since it would involve constantly moving one's torso unless the entire piece was in one area of the keyboard. The simple solution is to curve one's fingers as much as needed to avoid the fallboard. Not many pianists play with totally flat fingers like in the picture.



I assure you my suggestion is more efficient. Actually, in my experience and from what I've observed in other pianists, it's quite possible to make adjustments of the torso constantly throughout any piece of music and not tire.

If you observe carefully, it's unlikely you'll find any high level who isn't adjusting their torso throughout a performance. Some move more, some move less, but almost all of them do. Also, certain pieces are nearly unplayable without this movement. Chopin Op. 10 No. 1 and Op. 25 No. 12 come to mind.

Re: Aren't flat fingers the secret? [Re: MikeN] #2841775
04/23/19 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by MikeN
If you observe carefully, it's unlikely you'll find any high level who isn't adjusting their torso throughout a performance. Some move more, some move less, but almost all of them do. Also, certain pieces are nearly unplayable without this movement. Chopin Op. 10 No. 1 and Op. 25 No. 12 come to mind.
But in those pieces are they moving their torso to avoid hitting the fallboard or for the more usual reason, i.e. to be able to reach notes in the extremes of the keyboard easily and have their hand in a comfortable position? I think it's for the second reason.

Re: Aren't flat fingers the secret? [Re: pianoloverus] #2841782
04/23/19 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by MikeN
If you observe carefully, it's unlikely you'll find any high level who isn't adjusting their torso throughout a performance. Some move more, some move less, but almost all of them do. Also, certain pieces are nearly unplayable without this movement. Chopin Op. 10 No. 1 and Op. 25 No. 12 come to mind.
But in those pieces are they moving their torso to avoid hitting the fallboard or for the more usual reason, i.e. to be able to reach notes in the extremes of the keyboard easily and have their hand in a comfortable position? I think it's for the second reason.


I think your missing my point.

You suggest that constantly moving the torso is an inefficient movement if used in the context of avoiding the fingers hitting the the fallboard.

My point is that if one can constantly move their torso to reach extremes of the keyboard in a comfortable fashion in situations involving continuous, unrelenting passagework, how is it reasonable to say that one can't move their torso farther to the left so that one's fingers can avoid the fallboard in the situation presented in the image where the torso would be moving to a single stationary position?

Surely if the use of the torso in the more involved former situation is an effective and well used solution, surely the latter situation, which would require less movement, should not be consider ineffective, especially when the alternative involves using a potentially excessive curling of the fingers unless one raises the wrist to avoid this situation which would create a harsher potentially unwanted sound.

If the next chord or passage is in a higher register, then one can keep the torso more or less stationary while the arm and elbow move to the right, up the keyboard, to get there. If the next chord or passage is in a lower register, then one moves the torso further down the keyboard and likely farther back from the keyboard to accommodate the likely situation of the arms having to come in front of the torso as the left and right hands come closer together. Both are more natural to the hand and body than an unnatural curling of the fingers which would engage the muscles used when gripping something which inhibits the flexibility of the tendons.

Of course this is an oversimplification and finding the most reasonable solution would involve a more in depth consideration of what the left hand is doing.

Re: Aren't flat fingers the secret? [Re: MikeN] #2841783
04/23/19 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by MikeN
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by MikeN
Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
My 1840's piano (notice my 3rd finger is touching the fallboard): [Linked Image]


You can get around that, depending on the context of what the left hand is doing, by moving the torso over toward the left so the thumb is closer to the fallboard and the rest of the fingers aren't bumping into it.
Even if this works it's incredibly inefficient since it would involve constantly moving one's torso unless the entire piece was in one area of the keyboard. The simple solution is to curve one's fingers as much as needed to avoid the fallboard. Not many pianists play with totally flat fingers like in the picture.



I assure you my suggestion is more efficient. Actually, in my experience and from what I've observed in other pianists, it's quite possible to make adjustments of the torso constantly throughout any piece of music and not tire.

If you observe carefully, it's unlikely you'll find any high level who isn't adjusting their torso throughout a performance. Some move more, some move less, but almost all of them do. Also, certain pieces are nearly unplayable without this movement. Chopin Op. 10 No. 1 and Op. 25 No. 12 come to mind.


It took me a long time to accept it, but yes one needs to make constantly make torso adjustments all the time in order to account for every single change in direction in all three planes. This is not the same as needlessly waving around. It's often subtle and gradual and needed to account for the subtle changes in one's center of gravity that occur due to arm movement akin to what happens in gait. It's a constant act of perfectly timed and refined destabilization and stabilization in all three planes of motion, and arguably every articulation which involves entering and escaping a different sagittal plane (even on repeated notes with the same finger) should be an opportunity to do so. [Of course people, start balking at an approach that attempts to teach this, but that's another topic entirely. Admittedly, there are other issues going on that can't be solved by that approach alone.]

The reason people "tire" out is that they are stuck in certain neuromuscular, movement patterns that they can't get out of and end up fighting with compensatory movements. These patterns also happen to desensitize you to even "noticing" all those subtle torso adjustments and their necessity by using a strategy of over-stabilization in a single sagittal plane at the cost of movement in frontal and transverse planes.

Last edited by anamnesis; 04/23/19 08:50 PM.
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