The First Principles Of Pianoforte Playing

A complete playing tutorial for self learners or school use.

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16                              DIRECTIONS FOR LEARNERS.
You are very likely to confuse a partial down but sideway action of the fore-arm for the true rotary exertion; try at once to distinguish between the right and the wrong exertions in this respect: With the true Rotary-exertion (or lapse) there is no displacement of the wrist when rotary movement is allowed to arise,—the wrist merely revolves partially on its own axis to a smaller or greater extent, like the axle of a wheel.
We must clearly realise that visible or invisible rotatory exertions or relaxation* are required practically for every note we play. The direction of this exertion or relaxation is determined by the position of each playing finger relatively to the hand when compared with that of the finger last used. In a word, the necessary short­lived rotatory change is always towards the required finger and from the direction of the finger last used, and this applies even when a finger is turned over the thumb, and vice versa ; the rotatory adjustment is in the nature of an exertion when the progression is towards the thumb-side of the hand, and. is a relaxation when it is towards the little finger side of the hand. The principle applies everywhere, even in learning our first five-finger exercise, even in playing a single unbroken octave with one hand ; for the natural position of the hand (minus rotatory exertion) is side­ways—with the thumb upwards. See the author's pamphlet on "The Rotation Element and its Mastery" (Joseph Williams).
THE AUTOMATIC CESSATION OF WEIGHT:
§ 50. You have learned (§ 26) that for Legato the second or heavier form of "Resting" must be transferred from finger to finger, making this transfer occur by carefully ceasing the supporting action of the finger last used, and timing this last-used finger to "give way" at the very moment you want the new finger to start its key-depression;—the previously used finger thus leaving the Resting-weight "in the lurch," and the Legato consequently as it were "doing itself," or becoming almost automatic.
You must next learn, also to cease the operation of the Weight used in Species III in a similarly automatic way. For you must be careful not to try to take the weight off when you reach sound in key-depression; on the contrary, you must leave the weight "in the lurch" by carefully timing the exertion of the finger and hand to cease as you reach sound, and you will find that the arm will then automatically save itself from falling— the supporting-muscles of the arm will come into operation unconsciously. If you succeed in thus causing the arm to re-support itself owing to its suddenly being "left in the lurch"
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