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To play deep in the keyboard between Black Keys or not
#505960 01/01/09 06:34 PM
Joined: Apr 2003
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When I play scales, arpeggios, or any piece for that matter, I find myself avoiding playing between the black keys.

It seems it would be more efficient to keep my wrists the same distance (horizontally) from the keyboard while my fingers play white keys that are in between black keys and not in between the black keys.

My hand proximity in relation to the keyboard usually moves in an out as I play white keys and black keys.

For instance when I play the C major scale I only play the white keys. When I play the A major scale My hands move in and out of the keyboard as I play white and black keys. It seems more efficient to keep my hands the same distance horizontally from the keyboard (fingers playing notes in between black keys) as I play scales, arpeggios, and pieces that have sharp and flat notes.

The question. Is my technique for avoiding playing in between the black keys okay(normal), or should I strive to be able to play at any position on the keyboard with the same accuracy?

I hope my question makes sense. Thanks for your advice.

Re: To play deep in the keyboard between Black Keys or not
#505961 01/01/09 06:55 PM
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I think an ideal position for fast scalar passages is right at the ends of the black keys, so it's very easy to hit either white or black without moving in and out (which slows you down a lot). In such passages I don't go deep into the black keys because my fingers sometimes get stuck between them (I just checked playing through a few fast scales and found that usually my fingertips penetrate the black key zone only up to almost the first knuckle).

Otherwise, you should indeed become comfortable playing at any depth into the black keys. If you don't, an octave with other notes in the middle in which one or more of the notes is a black key will often be far harder to reach. 4 & 5 note octave chords with black keys will be nigh impossible. [Play a RH 4 note root position A-flat major chord for example - isn't your index finger most of the way to the fallboard and your middle finger nearly touching the fallboard?] Also, passages with overlapping hands would be impossible without one hand going much farther into black key territory.

Re: To play deep in the keyboard between Black Keys or not
#505962 01/01/09 07:38 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by MarkH:
I think an ideal position for fast scalar passages is right at the ends of the black keys, so it's very easy to hit either white or black without moving in and out (which slows you down a lot). In such passages I don't go deep into the black keys because my fingers sometimes get stuck between them (I just checked playing through a few fast scales and found that usually my fingertips penetrate the black key zone only up to almost the first knuckle).

Otherwise, you should indeed become comfortable playing at any depth into the black keys. If you don't, an octave with other notes in the middle in which one or more of the notes is a black key will often be far harder to reach. 4 & 5 note octave chords with black keys will be nigh impossible. [Play a RH 4 note root position A-flat major chord for example - isn't your index finger most of the way to the fallboard and your middle finger nearly touching the fallboard?] Also, passages with overlapping hands would be impossible without one hand going much farther into black key territory.
Well said. Also, there are some passages with intricate fingering where the only way to get through the notes at a rapid tempo is to move deeply into the black keys. I've developed my own notation for this: an up arrow written above the staff tells me to "grab" more of the keys.

I think there is no set or ideal position. Go where you have to go to play all the notes.


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: To play deep in the keyboard between Black Keys or not
#505963 01/01/09 08:20 PM
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I think the OP ignores the fact that (a)fingers are of different length and (b)your fingers can move horizontally in relation to the key without moving your hand(by how straight or curved the fingers are).

I think any necessary horizontal movements of the hand are natural most of the time. I've basically never thought at all about this in over 50 years of playing.

On the A major scale you mentioned, since the third finger is longer than the second, when you go from B to C# why would you have to move your hand horizontally? If you play an A major chord(A-C#-E-A), wouldn't you naturally curl your third finger more than the second finger?

Re: To play deep in the keyboard between Black Keys or not
#505964 01/01/09 10:11 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by pianoloverus:
I think the OP ignores the fact that (a)fingers are of different length and (b)your fingers can move horizontally in relation to the key without moving your hand(by how straight or curved the fingers are).

I think any necessary horizontal movements of the hand are natural most of the time. I've basically never thought at all about this in over 50 years of playing.

On the A major scale you mentioned, since the third finger is longer than the second, when you go from B to C# why would you have to move your hand horizontally? If you play an A major chord(A-C#-E-A), wouldn't you naturally curl your third finger more than the second finger?

Re: To play deep in the keyboard between Black Keys or not
#505965 01/01/09 10:15 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by pianoloverus:
I think the OP ignores the fact that (a)fingers are of different length and (b)your fingers can move horizontally in relation to the key without moving your hand(by how straight or curved the fingers are).

I think any necessary horizontal movements of the hand are natural most of the time. I've basically never thought at all about this in over 50 years of playing.

On the A major scale you mentioned, since the third finger is longer than the second, when you go from B to C# why would you have to move your hand horizontally? If you play an A major chord(A-C#-E-A), wouldn't you naturally curl your third finger more than the second finger?
Yes. We all don't have same hand size. So different strategies would work for different pianists.

I used A major as an example for no reason. You are probably right.

I will figure this issue out one note at a time. :-)


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