Taubman rotation observations

Posted by: simson

Taubman rotation observations - 10/11/12 10:26 AM

Hi ,

I have watched the taubman videos for a while and came to this webpage when started having questions about how double rotation works at speed.

Watched the taubman video volume 2 on rotation again today and found that when Edna plays C major scale fast, her 3rd,4th,5th fingers are in air even after she has played D by index finger. This means two things for me:
1) because finger 3 is already in air , she is not doing the double rotation in the video. The whole point of double rotation is to avoid isolated finger lifting as she explains if I understand correctly. Here when playing fast if 3 is already in the air after the D, no need to lift it , and hence no double rotation is needed as per her own reasoning behind double rotation and she appears to just play it down. I do not see any double rotation.

2) after playing the note D, her 3,4,5 fingers should not be in the air in the first place because it causes dual muscular pull as she has explained and this is not like the natural hand position. This is when she is playing the scale fast. When she plays the scale at slow speed, 3,4,5 are touching keys when D is played which necessitates finger lifting hence double rotation.

of course, at fast speed, the fingers should be closer to the keys as they are in slow playing and should use double rotation for avoiding tension.

I watched the volume 2 and also the youtube video of her on rotation in slow motion and these are my observations .;) so far. If anyone has any opinion, comment, their observations would like to know about them!

I am a new member of the forum.Sorry for any mistakes in writing the post.

Just a question, when playing by 3,4 or 5, can we just play the key down by a downward action of forearm without any finger lifting. I think this is what I maybe doing when playing the scale fast and I haven't practiced the double rotation much.

Posted by: jdw

Re: Taubman rotation observations - 10/11/12 08:25 PM

I can't respond in detail about the video because I don't have it.

But, it seems to me that you may be over-focusing on finger movement. The idea of the rotation, as I understand it, isn't that it brings the finger down, but that the *whole arm and hand* move together. So I think the position of the finger in the air is not so relevant-- the rotation is sort of a 'reset' of the arm so that it will be supporting the finger movement and nothing is isolated. The fingers do need to move, though!

The other thing to be aware of is that the rotation is really not visible at speed. It's exaggerated in the videos for teaching purposes, just because otherwise you can't see it.

Hope this may be helpful.
Posted by: simson

Re: Taubman rotation observations - 10/11/12 09:30 PM

Thank you for your reply jdw.. I liked your use of the word reset and the explanation.
I was just about to post this when saw your post.;)

Realized that the shaping is bringing the fingers up in the air.
I also watched the shaping video again today and it looks like shaping may possibly replace rotation?? Her forearm comes up at D by 2 by shaping. Then the forearm -wrist-hand unit goes down to play E and so on. In this case the forearm is supporting the finger like she explained in the video.

I understand that shaping reduces rotation but wonder it could pretty much replace rotation in scale passage like C major. (i recently started lessons with a taubman teacher.)
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Taubman rotation observations - 10/11/12 09:46 PM

You should ask your Taubman teacher all these questions. It's hard to explain in writing without physical demonstration.
Posted by: jdw

Re: Taubman rotation observations - 10/12/12 10:27 AM

I agree that asking your teacher is best.

I think what you're seeing here is that the shaping is visible in the fingers, but the rotation (once fully learned and "minimized") happens invisibly in the forearm. Actually, one of the challenges of incorporating the shaping is to make sure it doesn't completely take over and wash out the rotation (which at that point has to be felt rather than seen). That's why it's important to have the rotation really solid first. This can take some patience.
Posted by: Derulux

Re: Taubman rotation observations - 10/13/12 01:37 AM

Originally Posted By: simson
Just a question, when playing by 3,4 or 5, can we just play the key down by a downward action of forearm without any finger lifting. I think this is what I maybe doing when playing the scale fast and I haven't practiced the double rotation much.


I'll defer to the other comments in here for your general inquiry, but wanted to address this particular question, which I don't think was answered directly.

What you suggest sounds "good" in principle, but can lead to isolation issues, which creates tension. Also, there is a paradox at the keyboard: the shorter distance your finger needs to travel, the faster it can play the notes. However, the shorter the distance your finger travels, the faster it must accelerate in order to hit the note. These quick bursts of acceleration require much more muscle capacity and activity than taking a longer path. The more muscle you have to use to hit the note, the more tension you build up in your hand/arm. So, there is a particular formula for the "happy medium" between distance/speed that creates the least amount of tension while allowing you to play the note in time and at the correct volume.

I wish I could say it was a simple question of mathematics, but as yet, I do not have a grand unified theory of finger distance for tension minimization formula handy. Perhaps it will be my nobel prize winning theory someday.. wink
Posted by: simson

Re: Taubman rotation observations - 10/13/12 08:31 AM

Thank you for the great answers jdw and Derulux. Absolutely!

I try to do infinitely small rotation in forearm away from piano. The smallest amount of rotation possible that I can make is visible. The only time it is invisible is when I am not doing it. Have to learn the to be felt rotations from the teacher!
Thank you all for the input.
Posted by: jdw

Re: Taubman rotation observations - 10/13/12 09:43 AM

This again is an issue for your teacher, but if you're just starting to learn rotation, it may be too soon to try to make it small. It's more important at first for it to be really free.