Category Archives: Lessons

More on arm weight

The arm should move in playing… The error arises when the arm’s natural momentum is consistently used to produce the tone of a single note rather than phrase movement or rhythmic impulse.

Some Problems in Tchaikowsky Concerto

Piano technique secrets: how to make the opening chords of Tchaikowsky concerto juicy and clangorous

In the original chordal passage (m. 5 and following), we avoided placing the hands on the next chord prematurely – this would create an extra movement that cuts the musical line. You may be tempted to do just that in order to be sure of your notes. This is “sight-reader’s syndrome”: get there early in order to be sure you’ve got there! But resist the temptation: hang on to each chord as long as possible to juicen up the tone. Physically feeling the duration of each clangorous chord by staying in the key bottoms will enrich its tone immeasurably. Then when you finally do leave the chord, don’t tense your hands in the effort to form them to the shape of the next one. Instead, leave them loose and let them move into that shape in the instant you are already entering the keys. It’s a series of very delicate adjustments that takes place constantly even amongst all the effort and brouhaha of this thunderous concerto opening. You can further cultivate this feeling of really joining the chords physically, eliminating any movement that would break that join, by playing without the sustain pedal, using your fingers to create the impression that there is no air at all between the chords but a continuous flow of sound, as if the sustain pedal was being used.

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Arnold Schultz on Legato

The Riddle of the Pianist’s Finger

Arnold Schultz wrote this book in 1936, and it still makes excellent reading. His penchant to wax poetic about the advantages of legato are so captivating that I quote several paragraphs verbatim here. You can’t say it better than this!

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