The First Principles Of Pianoforte Playing

A complete playing tutorial for self learners or school use.

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2                               DIRECTIONS FOR LEARNERS.
§ 6. The louder you want a note to be, the more swiftly must you make the key move during its descent.
§ 7. If you want the sound to be beautiful in quality, you must set Key and String gradually into motion—however great the swiftness required at the last moment of key-descent.
§ 8. Whereas, if you want a less beautiful but more incisive and "brilliant" tone, you may depress the key suddenly,—you may then hit the String by means of the key, but still taking care not to hit the key instead.
§ 9. If the sound is to be exactly what you want as regards tone-amount and tone-quality, you must be careful not only to direct your effort wholly to the sound, and to that only, but you must also succeed in choosing that effort, rightly, for each note.
This you can only do, by actually feeling how much the key resists being moved.
§ 10. Since you must be able to judge Key-resistance, it follows that you must always reach the key gently. This you may do at the moment that you want the key to move down, or you may do so beforehand.
In this way, as you meet the key, and while you are moving it, you can judge its resistance, and can thus accurately judge how much force is required and how to use it.
§11. You will now understand why it is wrong to squeeze the key upon the "bed" beneath; for if you do so, you can­not "aim" your effort to the sound only. If you commit this error, your effort (chosen for a particular inflection of tone as it should be) will be partly spent upon the key-beds instead of upon the strings; hence the result thus obtained cannot represent the effect you intended; and your playing must hence sound un-musical, because the result is un-meant.
"Key-bedding" also tires your hands and fingers. Like­wise, it prevents agility, since it impedes your passage across the keyboard; and in the same way ruins your Staccato, since the key cannot then be free to rebound, as it should be for Staccato.
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