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Moving to a heavier touch piano #2865851
07/04/19 07:11 AM
07/04/19 07:11 AM
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 46
S
Solon Offline OP
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Solon  Offline OP
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S

Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 46
Hi

I am not a teacher so I apologize if I am intruding here. I have no one else to ask.

I am used to an acoustic upright and am thinking of getting an instrument that has heavier touch, in this case a Yamaha Avantgrand with a grand piano action but it could have been any other grand or upright with heavier touch than my present piano.
I have tested it and like it but find it hard to play fast and at the same time with low volume and control. E.g. the delicate middle voice in Schubert´s g-flat major impromptu or maybe the lyrical middle part of Rachmaninov´s g-minor prelude op. 23:5 with it´s arpeggiated accompaniment in the left hand. That was hard for me to play on the Avantgrand without it sounding clumsy and insensitive.

I understand of course it is impossible to predict if I can adapt to the new instrument, but in general, what could be expected? Does people in general quickly adapt to heavier touch and develop the technique and strength needed. Is there a bigger risk for injuries with heavy touch? What to think about in the beginning before I have got used to it? And perhaps there are advantages, e.g. possibility for playing with greater expressivity when having adapted to the new instrument? Maybe it is just what I need and after a while I will just laugh at my worries and be glad I got it?

It is a big investment and I don´t want to find out after a while that I can´t adapt to it.
Any thoughts around this would be much appreciated.

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Re: Moving to a heavier touch piano [Re: Solon] #2865860
07/04/19 08:00 AM
07/04/19 08:00 AM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 12,225
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bennevis Offline
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B

Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 12,225
Originally Posted by Solon
Hi

I am not a teacher so I apologize if I am intruding here. I have no one else to ask.

I am used to an acoustic upright and am thinking of getting an instrument that has heavier touch, in this case a Yamaha Avantgrand with a grand piano action but it could have been any other grand or upright with heavier touch than my present piano.
I have tested it and like it but find it hard to play fast and at the same time with low volume and control. E.g. the delicate middle voice in Schubert´s g-flat major impromptu or maybe the lyrical middle part of Rachmaninov´s g-minor prelude op. 23:5 with it´s arpeggiated accompaniment in the left hand. That was hard for me to play on the Avantgrand without it sounding clumsy and insensitive.

I understand of course it is impossible to predict if I can adapt to the new instrument, but in general, what could be expected? Does people in general quickly adapt to heavier touch and develop the technique and strength needed. Is there a bigger risk for injuries with heavy touch? What to think about in the beginning before I have got used to it? And perhaps there are advantages, e.g. possibility for playing with greater expressivity when having adapted to the new instrument? Maybe it is just what I need and after a while I will just laugh at my worries and be glad I got it?

I'm not a teacher either, but when I was a student, I never once played on a grand (not even for my annual piano exams) until eight years into lessons, when my new teacher had two 6-foot grands in his home, where I had lessons. One had a rather heavier action than the other, but both were heavier than any piano I'd ever played. But I was still practicing on uprights, in the university's practice rooms. In the first few weeks, I kept playing 'ghost notes' and couldn't manage ff.....

It took me a while (as in 2-3 months) to get used to those grands, but bear in mind I only had access to them during my lessons, i.e. one hour a week.

Since then (after university, and having finished with lessons), I'd played on all sorts of pianos, from broken-down spinets to 290cm concert grands, and got used to being able to adapt to any instrument within minutes.

These days, I practice on a digital (with a lighter action than the AG) but play my recitals on a six-foot C.Bechstein grand, with no problems switching whatsoever......in fact, the grand's action is no heavier than my digital's. When I'm downtown, I play on Fazioli grands (which BTW have smooth buttery actions, unlike the AGs) in showrooms whenever I can.

If you want to be a decent all-round classical pianist, sooner or later, you'll have to get used to playing different pianos, so you might as well start now. Take things easy at the beginning - don't go flat out with speed and power (no Chopin Op.28/16 or Rach Op.23/2 for instance wink ) on the AG until you can play scales and arpeggios smoothly and evenly on it without tension, then try mastering voicing chords on it to get your pinky used to the weight & inertia required to bring out melodic notes.....otherwise you might find your RH pinky's joints aching with D899/3.


"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: Moving to a heavier touch piano [Re: Solon] #2865962
07/04/19 01:19 PM
07/04/19 01:19 PM
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 308
Tallahassee, FL
Chopin Acolyte Offline
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Chopin Acolyte  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 308
Tallahassee, FL
I used to play on an upright I have in Europe and since I'd moved to Florida I've been playing on a grand piano with action that feels like pushing a truck. Well, not so much after a few weeks.

I'd say, if you have such option, always get accustomed to playing on something very heavy on daily basis, that way you won't struggle if you switch to any other action.

Re: Moving to a heavier touch piano [Re: Solon] #2866047
07/04/19 05:48 PM
07/04/19 05:48 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 5,463
*sigh* Salt Lake City
malkin Offline
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malkin  Offline
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I predict that you will be able to adapt.
It may take a while, but if you keep at it, you'll work it out.


Learner
Re: Moving to a heavier touch piano [Re: Solon] #2866123
07/04/19 09:08 PM
07/04/19 09:08 PM
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 159
Detroit
F
Fidel Offline
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Fidel  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 159
Detroit
By the time you get to 7' grands you are essentially playing a concert grand action in terms of mass excepting the lowest 20 or so notes.

The inertia of these actions is quite high and if you're not used to them they are difficult to control/voice. Sometimes their touchweight is quite high too. If it's above 60 grams you might get hurt if you're coming from a sub-50 gram kbd.

The heavier the action the harder it is to control and the harder it is on your joints. So work it in gradually and in a month or two it will feel "normal". I wouldn't worry about it unless the touchweight goes above 70grams. The standard concert grand is 50 grams but it varies...wildly.


"the lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne." -- Chaucer.
Re: Moving to a heavier touch piano [Re: Solon] #2866479
07/06/19 05:00 AM
07/06/19 05:00 AM
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 46
S
Solon Offline OP
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Solon  Offline OP
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Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 46
Thank you very much for the replies, it is valuable information for me. If you have been able to adapt to heavier actions, why shouldn´t I?
After careful practise and patience I hope I will also be able to tame the new beast eventually and make it do what I want. Especially playing fast and soft with control and without tension.

And after all, these Avantgrands have been around now for a number of years and Yamaha has of course invested a lot in them and can not risk making pianos impossible to adapt to.

Re: Moving to a heavier touch piano [Re: Solon] #2867170
07/07/19 09:00 PM
07/07/19 09:00 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 25,776
New York City
pianoloverus Online content
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Joined: May 2001
Posts: 25,776
New York City
Explain your problem to the dealer. Then ask for several long tryouts of the AG. That may give you more confidence you will be able to adapt. I'm sure the AG is not overly heavy because it has the same action as an acoustic Yamaha.

Also, make sure you're playing the AG with the proper settings. I tried an AG once and was having difficulty because I didn't know about the different settings and the volume setting was turned down very low. It felt more normal when one if the salesmen came over and made some adjustments.

Re: Moving to a heavier touch piano [Re: Solon] #2869429
07/15/19 08:06 AM
07/15/19 08:06 AM
Joined: Jul 2019
Posts: 11
Surat
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Jays Octave Offline
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Joined: Jul 2019
Posts: 11
Surat
Originally Posted by Solon
Thank you very much for the replies, it is valuable information for me. If you have been able to adapt to heavier actions, why shouldn´t I?
After careful practise and patience I hope I will also be able to tame the new beast eventually and make it do what I want. Especially playing fast and soft with control and without tension.

And after all, these Avantgrands have been around now for a number of years and Yamaha has of course invested a lot in them and can not risk making pianos impossible to adapt to.


That's Great... But make sure you will playing with complete setting.


Moderated by  Ken Knapp 

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