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Hard Piano composition - Should i use Anchor points? #2932652 01/11/20 03:35 PM
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interstellar Offline OP
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Hi,
I am learning The Last Samurai on Piano and I have a general question regarding "anchor points" or "contact points" especially 1:33 minutes into the composition.


In order for my left hand to move into the correct positions when doing arpeggios for the different chords I would assume certain fingers
need to just lightly touch certain keys in order for my hand to know where it is in 3-dimensional space? I call this "anchor points" I'm not sure if
there is a better word like "rest-point" or "contact-point". So my question is, are there certain general rules for
where it is smart to have these contact points for all 12 Chords when doing arpeggios up and down? Is it nessecery to have those contact points or
would practicing arpeggios enough just be enough for the hands to know where to go? How do you go about doing this?

I can see that the Composer often keeps fingers resting in-between the white space BC and EF for certain left hand arpeggios.
Your help is much appreciated smile


Last edited by interstellar; 01/11/20 03:36 PM.
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Re: Hard Piano composition - Should i use Anchor points? [Re: interstellar] #2932743 01/11/20 08:48 PM
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I think relies have been slow in coming because this is primarily a classical forum with readers of musical notation, not midi.

In answer to your question, playing the piano is not like typing where you anchor your 2nd fingers over the nubs on F and J. The piano keyboard is too large for that. You must be able to play everywhere on the keyboard, often without looking and without anchors. Your suggested anchor points are too limiting if you are going to master 88 keys. With long practice you will eventually be able to move quickly from any note to another, without hesitation or looking. It might be helpful to practice leaps without looking, over and over until you get them right every time. Learning the geography of the piano is a necessary skill that takes long practice to master. Keep at it.


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: Hard Piano composition - Should i use Anchor points? [Re: interstellar] #2932793 01/12/20 05:00 AM
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Thank you for the reply! I really appreciate it. I didn't know that professionals didn't use Anchor points. I know from Guitar and when I look at performers that they keep the Pinkie finger on the guitar-body as a reference. Okay so just forget the idea of anchor points and just try over and over?

Re: Hard Piano composition - Should i use Anchor points? [Re: interstellar] #2932858 01/12/20 11:23 AM
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Organists use anchor points for the pedals. You know approximately where the notes are, but to get exact you can put your foot in the black key gaps. I use this on piano also. You can quickly move, say, your left hand to E flat and feel the gap to F sharp. Sometimes you have time to feel two or three adjacent black keys to confirm placement. Try it!

Re: Hard Piano composition - Should i use Anchor points? [Re: interstellar] #2932890 01/12/20 12:56 PM
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Develop proprioception for the topography of the keyboard - and avoid 'sticky fingers'........


"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: Hard Piano composition - Should i use Anchor points? [Re: interstellar] #2932987 01/12/20 05:29 PM
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Yes, you are correct in that the hand needs to know where it is in 3-dimensional space, and that there are subtle cues it uses in order to determine this information. However, many of them might be too subtle for one to understand intellectually. This is the kind of thing you need to learn with practice. Remember how you learned to walk?

The pianist in the video is not resting his hands anywhere. You might find it useful to think that the entire arm is moving constantly, with the aim of positioning the fingertip over whichever key needs to be played at any given moment.

So, the question is: how do you get to the point where your hands know how to do this? Yes, trying over and over will work, if and only if you are practicing the right way! If I saw you practicing, I could tell you if what you're doing is likely to get you there.

Re: Hard Piano composition - Should i use Anchor points? [Re: interstellar] #2933076 01/12/20 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by interstellar
Thank you for the reply! I really appreciate it. I didn't know that professionals didn't use Anchor points. I know from Guitar and when I look at performers that they keep the Pinkie finger on the guitar-body as a reference. Okay so just forget the idea of anchor points and just try over and over?

I'm not a profession, just an obsessed amateur. That is correct, no physical anchor points. Of course, when you begin a piece, you must look at the keyboard to know where to start. After that, with practice, you will learn to move your hands/fingers to the exact right place without looking or with just tiny orienting glances. I don't know what you piano goals are, but to play advanced classical music, the motions are too fast to look every time and there is too much geography to cover to use anchor points. I've practiced blind leaps over and over to get them just right because there was no time to look or because both hands are leaping. Yes, just try over and over. I am guessing that you can type on a alpha-numeric keyboard without looking. Playing the piano is similar but much, much wider.


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: Hard Piano composition - Should i use Anchor points? [Re: interstellar] #2933092 01/12/20 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by interstellar
Thank you for the reply! I really appreciate it. I didn't know that professionals didn't use Anchor points. I know from Guitar and when I look at performers that they keep the Pinkie finger on the guitar-body as a reference. Okay so just forget the idea of anchor points and just try over and over?


I’ve never see a professional classical guitar player use a pinky on the right hand as an anchor point on the guitar body. That will keep them from moving the hand over the fretboard, sound hole, or closer to the bridge to vary the quality of the sound, something which is done all the time. Plucking six strings in the right hand is generally an easier thing than organizing and moving the left hand to fret on many different strings, and, generally speaking, there is no anchor for the left hand either. There can be guide fingers for the left hand that help with shifting between positions. A guide finger is a finger that stays on the same string and slides up a number of frets and then the new shape is formed around that finger.

Trying over and over again is a valid way to learn how to move on an instrument. That’s how I learned to shift on the violin and the violin has no frets.

As for the piano, I’ve been told to move quickly to the approximate place and then adjust slightly, if necessary. With practice, you’ll get more accurate.

Last edited by LarryK; 01/12/20 10:28 PM.

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Re: Hard Piano composition - Should i use Anchor points? [Re: interstellar] #2933173 01/13/20 05:38 AM
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Practicing arpeggios is not enough, because I’m any situation, you might play a chord that starts on a note in the middle of the arpeggio, or a combination of notes that is not a standard 1-3-5 chord, such as a 7th, or something even different.

For that reason, it is good to practice block chords and broken chords up and down the piano in every configuration. For example, C-E-G-C, then E-G-C-E and so on, both hands. You can do this for all major and minor chords. Practicing 7ths and Dim 7ths also helps.

Learning a song by practicing until you can move around with only a quick glance helps. After you can do this with one song or classical piece, you learn another. After you can play a dozen or so, you’re getting better. After you can play a hundred or so, you’re pretty good. By a thousand, I’d imagine one would be very comfortable with nearly anything.

It takes practice - a lot of it.


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Re: Hard Piano composition - Should i use Anchor points? [Re: interstellar] #2934248 01/15/20 12:56 PM
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You don't need to see or feel anything to hit the right place (although seeing your had in the corner of your eye might be helpful).

I'd typicially start mastering such 'long jump' first by focusing the look on what I'm doing, and slowly practicing the move alone, then faster, then connecting it to surrounding fragments of the piecese. Then practice looking only with a corner of my eye, or not looking at all first slowly, then faster. If a mistake is made, then back to square one, slowly, slowly, untill the muscle memory is mastered.

The muscle memory should know well enough were to guide your hand and fingers. I can also imagine that good pianists almost see their fingers in their minds, moving around piano.

Move your hands, and do some casual moves behind you, so that you can't see your hands. You can tell where exactly are they, can't you?

Re: Hard Piano composition - Should i use Anchor points? [Re: interstellar] #2934265 01/15/20 01:31 PM
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The way my teacher taught me to practice long jumps, remembering that the goal is to develop spatial awareness so that your body knows where the note is:

Start where you are. Don’t look at the new note, closing your eyes if necessary, move your arm (and fingers) to where you think the new note or chord should be. Don’t play it but now look and see how close you are.

Repeat the exercise until your body consistently feels how far to move your arm. Every time you repeat, you will get closer. Don’t play it unless you are correct

You want to consistently play the right note with no more than a sideways glance but that means you need to work on the proprioception first. This does not to be anything but snail speed until you have mastered it.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
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Re: Hard Piano composition - Should i use Anchor points? [Re: interstellar] #2936605 01/21/20 07:33 AM
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I am not certain of every detail of your question. However, some points possibly of use:

1. Anchor-Position-Of-Hand, Maybe: If you are playing the same chord but jumping to different octaves, or playing an arpeggio that spans octaves, you may want to have a certain basic shape you keep your hand in when you get to position. With an arpeggio, once you return to the base of the arpeggio (but higher or lower register), you want the. Probably the different notes of the arpeggio should have somewhat different approaches, but it might be good to find a way to not change much. Supposedly, you can try to move your hand really quickly at the finger-crossing part, instead of changing the basic position of your fingers, but, eh, ask someone else.

2. I suspect that sometimes notes in the music, including repeated ones, really may keep/pull your hand to the logical place it needs to be in order to play the rest of the notes. If you have some wave-back-and-forth accompaniments in a nocturne, there may be notes that recur and keep you where you need to be.

3. For jumps: It might be good to memorize where you are jumping to well enough that you don't have to pause and wonder.

3b.
Relatedly, once you have enough (subconscious?) notion of the keyboard, generalizing the following advice from a teacher might be of some benefit. (Perhaps only sum.)

I was playing a piece with a scale in it, and then I have to jump somewhere (perhaps to a chord)--but the melody note that I jump to is still just the next note in the scale, but at a different octave. So my teacher of that piece told me that in a way, even though I was jumping, the new note was 'close' because it was the next note of a scale (1 away) even though it was at least 7 notes away technically.

So find a pattern to make the note you are jumping to 'close' to the one you just left.

Re: Hard Piano composition - Should i use Anchor points? [Re: interstellar] #2936606 01/21/20 07:35 AM
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3b is potential helpful but not per-se enough. And ask someone else about arpeggios, as I mainly relate hearsay, and mostly from writing instead of physical demonstration!
(Actually, (2.) is my haziest comment.)

Last edited by winterflower; 01/21/20 07:37 AM.
Re: Hard Piano composition - Should i use Anchor points? [Re: interstellar] #2936630 01/21/20 09:13 AM
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There are times when an "anchor point" might be useful, though, as in when a few arpeggios are played that are really close but not the same. For instance, in Milonga Del Angel, M7-8, I keep my 3rd digit on that A for M7 and half of M8. In this case, however, it is brief and only for a specific passage; it may change elsewhere in the piece or even in the next measure.


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