The First Principles Of Pianoforte Playing

A complete playing tutorial for self learners or school use.

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§ 1. Regard the Pianoforte as consisting of two distinct portions: (I) the instrument itself, which can be made to sound—being the Strings and connected Sounding-board; and (II) the machine, or Tool, by which it is made to sound— being the Key and its mechanism, ending with the felt-covered hammer.
§ 2. When you move the key down, its other (hammer) end tilts up,1 like a see-saw, and in rising it gives up to the String any motion which you may have succeeded in imparting to the key while you were moving your end of it down.*
§ 3. The hammer reaches the String when your end of the key is nearly down, and the mechanism allows the hammer to fall back at that very moment. Any motion you wish to give the String through the hammer must therefore be imparted to it before that moment.
§ 4. You can best become aware of that moment by listen­ing for it, for it is the beginning of the sound.
Anything you do to the key after that moment carmot possibly help to make the sound in any way.
§ 5. The strings will however continue sounding (more and more faintly) until you let the key rise, when the descend* ing Damper at once stops the sound.
1 An Upright, unlike a Grand piano, has its strings placed upright; hence the hammer itself moves horizontally to reach the strings. Nevertheless the hammer-end of the key (and connected mechanism) does " tilt up " just as in the case of the Grand-action.
* Listen for this moment.
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