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Joined: Apr 2005
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Many young pianists get concerned about
their hands sweating when they play. But
that is actually good. It reduces friction
between the fingertips and the keys and
makes playing easier. Sweating hands
are a sign of youth and good health and
are something to be grateful for. As you get
older, years of use of soap and detergents
and alcohol-based products will destroy
the sweat glands in your hands, and then
you'll have the opposite problem, hands
that are too dry, which increases the
friction between the fingers and keys
and makes playing difficult.

You need to stop this habit of constantly
removing the ends of your fingernails,
because that removes the protection for
your fingertips, which is why you're having
the pain. Also, stop washing
your hands before playing. There's no
need for it, and it just makes playing
more difficult.

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Quote
Originally posted by Varcon:
Question: What is a DP?
Digital piano. I learned the expression here. smile

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Keystring: Thanks! I really hate acronyms--there are so many and, while some are obvious, others evade me. That makes your response much more intelligible! smile

I doubt that Pedrotome's instrument has the feel of a piano. Now if someone could tell me how one can play 'below the keys' I would certainly appreciate that as well. It seems like a physical impossibility to me as the felt on the guide pin stops the key from further travel and the release of the hammer is in the action--not the key.

Now to find the oil and sweat and dirt to bring my playing up to real artistic standards! Can you believe it? I wash my hands pretty much every time--at least rinse them--before playing or practising. I had no idea I was hampering my progress by doing that. Wow!

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Quote
Originally posted by Varcon:
Now to find the oil and sweat and dirt to bring my playing up to real artistic standards! Can you believe it? I wash my hands pretty much every time--at least rinse them--before playing or practising. I had no idea I was hampering my progress by doing that. Wow!
I kind of liked the impersonal image I previously had of Gyro playing his big-time concerto movement at 75% speed. I guess now I have to visualize dirty hands and untrimmed nails, too. Dang. frown

Steven

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Quote
Originally posted by sotto voce:
Quote
Originally posted by Varcon:
[b]Now to find the oil and sweat and dirt to bring my playing up to real artistic standards! Can you believe it? I wash my hands pretty much every time--at least rinse them--before playing or practising. I had no idea I was hampering my progress by doing that. Wow!
I kind of liked the impersonal image I previously had of Gyro playing his big-time concerto movement at 75% speed. I guess now I have to visualize dirty hands and untrimmed nails, too. Dang. frown

Steven [/b]
eek help


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I do believe marshal artists punch their open hands into a bucket of sand to strengthen them. Maybe they don't wash afterwards either?

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Quote
Originally posted by Gyro:


[...]

You need to stop this habit of constantly
removing the ends of your fingernails,
because that removes the protection for
your fingertips, which is why you're having
the pain. Also, stop washing
your hands before playing. There's no
need for it, and it just makes playing
more difficult.
If you don't ever trim your nails, how can you play? Playing with untrimmed/unfiled nails is just as difficult as with exposed quicks.


After years of filing my nails close to facilitate both piano and guitar, my fingertips are tough. I never have this trouble. IMHO, you should file instead of trim; filing allows better control of nail removal so you don't go too far. And take up guitar; nothing toughens you fingertips better. Only if you do fingerstyle guitar, of course! [Linked Image] I play classical guitar and electric guitar. Classical is fingerstyle by definition, but I use a thumbpick and fingers to play electric. Along with nail hardener to prevent RH nail wear on the steel strings, nothing does a better job IMHO of making your fingertips immune to soreness.


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Playing below the keys:

This means that you are reversing your movement too late, as if the keys were lower and as if you wanted to push the keys lower as they can go.

The correct version - playing the keys to the ground - as I learned it has two parts: One is to push the keys down to the lowest position and the other one is to push up the hand with the acting finger (it actually doesn't act before that, it is moved by the hand which is moved by the arm). This is a little bit like pushing away from the side of a swimming pool after a turn.

In other words: Playing the keys to the ground is good timing and playing below the keys is bad timing (and might hurt).

I doubt that washing or not washing your hands makes a difference but I know that dry skin on the fingertips from dehydration especially during the winter can be very sensible.

PS: Martial artists make their finger bones more durable by hitting walls frequently with their fingertips but as others already said, feeble fingertips are not the reason for your pains. There must be another reason that you have to find. Good piano playing does not cause physical pain!

PPS: Playing guitar causes callous on the fingertips of the LEFT hand mainly because the RIGHT hand is playing with the fingernails. And for your pains, it would have the same effect as putting a hard plate on top of the keys - none! The callous from guitar playing is caused by the strings pushing hard into your fingertips, which can be very painful at first. there callous helps because it diverts the pressure to a wider area.

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Quote
Originally posted by Guendola:
[...]
Playing guitar causes callous on the fingertips of the LEFT hand mainly because the RIGHT hand is playing with the fingernails. And for your pains, it would have the same effect as putting a hard plate on top of the keys - none! The callous from guitar playing is caused by the strings pushing hard into your fingertips, which can be very painful at first. there callous helps because it diverts the pressure to a wider area.
Sorry I wasn't clearer, but I meant the electric when I said guitar helps both hands. Because of a much narrower string spacing, you can't use your nails in the same way as on a classical guitar; you inevitably get your RH fingertips into the strings when you play electric with a thumbpick & fingers. This forms callouses that are lighter than those one the LH, but still protect the fingertips.


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Guendola:

Thanks for your explanation tho it still doesn't make sense to me. 'Playing below the keys' simply doesn't follow logic as I see it. I'm open to a rational explanation of what might be occurring. I sort of get your meaning but it isn't what I would call 'playing below the keys.' I think I would simply call what you have explained 'pounding.'

And that, pounding, would simply be harsh tonal quality as a result with little musical value. And I could see that it would lead to arthritis, jammed joints, and wrist damage. Well, for me it will most likely remain a mystery but I do appreciate your attempt to make it clear.

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It is not even close to pounding because the hammer goes off before you bump into the key bottom. Perhaps the idea of an airbag with too little air is clearer: It stops you but the stop is not soft. Definitely, there is no magic or philosophy involved wink .

Horowitzian: I never got any callous on my right hand from playing electric guitar (without pick!). But anyway, callous protects against cuts and stings but not against bumps.

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Quote
Originally posted by Guendola:
It is not even close to pounding because the hammer goes off before you bump into the key bottom. Perhaps the idea of an airbag with too little air is clearer: It stops you but the stop is not soft. Definitely, there is no magic or philosophy involved wink .

Horowitzian: I never got any callous on my right hand from playing electric guitar (without pick!). But anyway, callous protects against cuts and stings but not against bumps.
It's not really a "callous" like your LH fingers get; it's more of a "toughening", for lack of a better term. In other words, it is not as thick. Hope that makes sense. [Linked Image]


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Wow callouses on pianists fingers. I've heard about that for guitarists, but most pianists I find have baby soft fingers wink I've played my whole life and my fingers are soft.

If your finger tips are getting sore then I could imagine one of your problems are that you are poking at the notes, not pushing them down. That is you do not make contact with the key without depressing it before you push it down. Piano playing should feel "like honey" on the fingers, as Mozart suggested wink


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