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Thread: Should we all be playing with flat fingers?

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Should we all be playing with flat fingers?

    Art Tatum, Horowitz, Glenn Gould, and apparently Liszt and Chopin all used flat fingers to play the piano so why has it become common practice to use curved fingers?

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Never copy the exception

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    I can’t speak for Chopin and Liszt obviously, but as for Glenn Gould, master though he was, that is not a technique that should be emulated. Too idiosyncratic. One would only end up sounding like a third rate Gould. In fact each player you named is wildly idiosyncratic. There will never be another Horowitz, Gould, Tatum, Chopin or Liszt.

    I am naturally inclined to playing with flat fingers. My teacher has to drill into me about curving my fingers all the time, and every time I do, awkward as it might feel, my tone improves.

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    I find playing with curved fingers increases my accuracy - if they are flat I seem to catch adjacent notes too easily. When I started learning many many years ago I had to play holding a scrunched tissue and then a tennis ball!

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    Not sure that it is intentional decision
    Perhaps for many people it is "easier" to play with curved fingers

    It seems the main factor is the insistence of authoritarian piano teachers who don't know better than to force their students to conform to their "curved finger" model, passed down from teacher to incompetent teacher, without any regard for the possibility that flatter fingers may be more suitable based on the individual... Of course, for some, there is good reason to stick to curved fingers, but I'm sure many pianists do this not because it is objectively a better method but instead because it was ingrained in them by their first teachers.

    My first teacher didn't do much to change my "flat-fingered" approach, and that's the approach i adapted to, but when I was switched to another, extremely self-confident teacher- and boy was she arrogant- I was forced to bend my ways (and my digits). of course, this didn't really help all too much since I'd already adapted to "flat fingers". Needless to say I departed from this stupidity once I quit from her.

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