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DouglasCorr

Involuntarily Arpeggionation

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I have just found yet another problem with my playing…. B)

 

I involuntarily arpeggionate. :o

 

This is noticeable if I play on black and white keys e.g. in thirds - the two notes do not sound exactly together!

I don’t know if this is new, or if I have always done it but didn’t notice. – Self examination is clearly very important!

 

Test yourself high up on the piano. :)

 

Is this common? Am I the only one? ;)

 

Comments/ suggestions?

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Guest Cynic
I have just found yet another problem with my playing…. B)

 

I involuntarily arpeggionate*. :o

 

This is noticeable if I play on black and white keys e.g. in thirds - the two notes do not sound exactly together!

I don’t know if this is new, or if I have always done it but didn’t notice. – Self examination is clearly very important!

 

Test yourself high up on the piano. :)

 

Is this common? Am I the only one? ;)

 

Comments/ suggestions?

*You are not the only one. Some pianists have turned this into a signature 'house style'.

[e.g. Arturo Benedetti Michaelangeli where a listener can get very tired of this effect.]

Agreed, it is a shame when such things are involuntary!

 

I am sure that if there is a cure, it is slow, thorough practice. At least you have noticed that you're tending to do it!

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Guest Lee Blick
I have just found yet another problem with my playing…. B)

 

I involuntarily arpeggionate. :o

 

This is noticeable if I play on black and white keys e.g. in thirds - the two notes do not sound exactly together!

I don’t know if this is new, or if I have always done it but didn’t notice. – Self examination is clearly very important!

 

Test yourself high up on the piano. :)

 

Is this common? Am I the only one? ;)

 

Comments/ suggestions?

 

I used to this a lot. To over come this I do lots of scales in thirds and sixths concetrating on the fingers going down together. Also chord placing. Playing three note chords making sure all the fingers go down all together but still with a light wrist action. It is dead boring but worth the effort.

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Easier said than done, I know, but I guess the first step towards curing it is to work out why it is happening. Keyboards with a light touch are not good news for finger control. Some toaster keyboards become awful with wear. I don't think you can expect to develop proper control without touch resistance. If you think this might be the reason, then I'd make sure I took the corrective action on a decent piano where the fingers have to exert some strength. Lee's advice sounds good to me. The danger is that you may however find a tendency to tighten the muscles in order to ensure precision. Any tightness or rigidity, however, should be avoided since you could end up straining something.

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Getting this right is a major technical progression; there is an old book (1920's ?) on pianotechnique (don't know at the moment who wrote it, must be here somewhere) on this matter.

FWIW, it's great help to me to LISTEN if notes are exactly together; listen, relax and concentrate on sound, don't focus on 'getting them exact'.

Good technique sits between your ears.

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Thanks very much for all the comments chaps.

 

 

Keyboards with a light touch are not good news for finger control. Some toaster keyboards become awful with wear. I don't think you can expect to develop proper control without touch resistance. If you think this might be the reason, then I'd make sure I took the corrective action on a decent piano where the fingers have to exert some strength.

 

My new (9 mths) Yamaha U3 piano keys must be around 70 gm resistance. My previous piano had very light keys (35 gm) and may have initiated things. :rolleyes:

 

As the problem is noticeable when I play chords involving black and white notes the crux of the problem must be that somehow I am not adjusting for the different height of the keys enough; maybe there is an age factor too - as I always have tired hands these days :P - no flowers please!

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Guest Lee Blick

I have to admit when I got my Yamaha piano last month (Ihad a keyboard before), the resistence in the action has helped the playing on my organ.

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My new (9 mths) Yamaha U3 piano keys must be around 70 gm resistance. My previous piano had very light keys (35 gm) and may have initiated things. :rolleyes:

If you have always had a proper piano with proper mechanical action, even if rather light, I would be inclined to think that the problem lies elsewhere. Muscle wastage can be a problem in old age. I've known people in their mid 70s suffer from this, but I have no idea how early this might start to manifest itself- not much before then, I would hope, but I don't know.

 

I'm thinking there are actually two problems here: 1) muscular control and 2) keyboard geography. I wonder: do you still practise scales and arpeggios? If not, I really would recommend a comprehensive revision course. Play them on the piano, not on the organ, in all the keys, concentrating particularly on getting your tone and volume smoothly even (paying particular attention to the black notes, of course). Play with the finger tips, not with the arm and keep your finger/wrist action smooth as well. Start slowly and over the weeks build up the speed, still keeping everything smooth. Serious work put into these is never wasted and if you have allowed them to lapse I think some work on them should help.

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This is a very interesting topic to see: this relates to a problem that I am told I have, which is not playing all the voices in a chord together at the same time, a much broader issue. Recently a well-known and respected organ teacher told me I was doing this while playing a Bach trio sonata and that was a fundamental problem: she gave such advice as making sure all the notes are covered before playing, and practicing one hand and pedal. However it seems to come down to listening and concentrating mainly...

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