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Thread: Best studies for accuracy (hitting right notes)?

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    Default Best studies for accuracy (hitting right notes)?

    Hi, I am pretty sophisticated musically. I play classical guitar at an advance level, have sung in choirs for years, etc. However, I am terrible at the piano! My biggest problem is hitting the right notes--if I have to jump to another position, I often miss. My eyes and brain can keep up with the music but the hands can't. I don't have the time now for lessons, but I was wondering if there were any suggestions on studies that can help with hitting the right keys?

    thanks,
    Chris

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    Senior Member Rasa's Avatar
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    Czerny, School of velocity

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    I can agree on that, Czerny is very good for technique. I play sometimes easy 12 tone music, when you have mastered all the scales and arpeggios, the 12 tone music makes you really think about each note, increasing the accuracy very much. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKu4MJNbsfI This guy could play Liszt, Chopin and Alkan, "easy!".

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    Haha, he's dressed like a prison-inmate gone crazy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hlolli View Post
    I can agree on that, Czerny is very good for technique. I play sometimes easy 12 tone music, when you have mastered all the scales and arpeggios, the 12 tone music makes you really think about each note, increasing the accuracy very much. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKu4MJNbsfI This guy could play Liszt, Chopin and Alkan, "easy!".
    The most ridiculous piece of music I have ever heard in my entire life.

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    OK, thanks for the responses. I actually have the Czerny Practical Method, op. 599, so I will try that for a while. One question on fingering--I notice that in this book and in many others, when there is a repeated note, you are told to use a different finger each time. What is the reason for this? Is it for speed, or legato playing, or just to make life difficult for beginners :-) ?

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    It's for speed.

    With one finger, you'd have to lift and let fall to repeat. These are two seperate events. However, with multiple fingers, the next one is falling as the previous one is lifted. This makes for a significant speed boost.

    [yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJDXrU3z4NU[/yt]

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rasa View Post
    It's for speed.

    With one finger, you'd have to lift and let fall to repeat. These are two seperate events. However, with multiple fingers, the next one is falling as the previous one is lifted. This makes for a significant speed boost.
    And accuracy and smoothness. Using different fingers for repeated notes even in slower parts can increase tempo accuracy.

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    However, it isn't necessarily the only technique for repetitive notes. As long as you have minimalized the necessary motions to play the notes, your technique is just fine.

    For example, try watching Aline d'ambricourt play:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLuYLN_k4lA
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    Senior Member Rasa's Avatar
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    I wonder if that isn't just possible because of the instrument's different touch. I imagine this would be quite straining on a piano mechanic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rasa View Post
    I wonder if that isn't just possible because of the instrument's different touch. I imagine this would be quite straining on a piano mechanic.
    You're right. That's a technique that should only be used by pianists who can first play repetitive chord studies without feeling tension because of uniformity in the rising and dropping motions and minimalizing of motion. The action on a piano is definitely harder.

    However, if you are capable if the technique and use it for repetitive notes, you will find that playing a separate line whilst playing repetitive notes is much easier, and that when you are required to do so by a difficult study you aren't out of your element.
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    I've heard of a technique though where, when playing quickly repetitive chords, one would make an additional motion with the wrist that should help stress relief. Never really seen it happen or managed to do it myself though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rasa View Post
    I've heard of a technique though where, when playing quickly repetitive chords, one would make an additional motion with the wrist that should help stress relief. Never really seen it happen or managed to do it myself though.
    That's a periodic wrist flick/roll kind of thing, and my teacher Jenna did that. Not sure whether or not it's the best habit.

    Shouldn't it suffice just to minimalize motion, hold the wrists correctly (and loosely), and rise and fall in a metered out uniform motion? I've never needed to do any more.
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    The trick in playing rapid chords (as in Scriabin's 5th piano sonata or Prokofiev's Toccata) is to get the arm involved. Let the arm "fall" into the keys, playing the entire series of chords in one rapid motion, in addition to having the wrist move very quickly up and down (in an actual performance, you can just barely see the wrist undulating up and down). You can't do it with just the wrists or you will get very tense, no matter how good you are. It also requires supreme strength of the fingers for proper voicing.

    Above all, you must have absolute flexibility in the arm and wrist.

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    @Ravellian: Well, I would say that a good litmus for chord attack is when your fingers actually touch the keys just before each time you depress a key with a finger. If you can minimalize your motion that much, then it shouldn't take very much arm motion to play repetitive chords. With that said, the arm and wrist position for that that I have seen espoused most well is a raised elbow with the wrist almost parallel to it, but pointed more upwards.
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