The First Principles Of Pianoforte Playing

A complete playing tutorial for self learners or school use.

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DIRECTIONS FOR LEARNERS.                               5
§ 18. Next recognise: that such a combination also applies to running passages taken Staccato; for unless you also rest on the keys in Staccato, you can neither feel where the keys are, nor how much force they require to move them.           But
this continuously-resting weight must be lighter than in Legato. It must be so light that it does not compel the fingers to con­tinue holding their keys down. And if you want Staccato, you must also be careful to remember the rule given in § 15—to leave the Key free to rebound.
§ 19. In fact, you now see that this process of "Resting" can be of two kinds, and that it forms the physical difference between Staccato and Legato:—
(1)  In Staccato, the "Resting" must continue at the surface-level of the keyboard—for the keys will then be instantly free to rebound, provided you accurately time the cessation of each key-depressing action.
(2)  In Legato or Tenuto, the "Resting" must be very slightly heavier, but not more so than just suffices to compel the finger to retain its key depressed.
§ 20. Realise meanwhile, that the something you do to each key during its flash of descent must be different for each kind and degree of sound. We call this short-lived act "the Added-impetus," because it is added to the "Resting." Always remember that the duration of this "Added-impetus" must in no case be longer than in the shortest Staccato,—it must cease the moment that sound is reached in key-descent.
§ 21. The force or weight required to keep a key depressed in Tenuto or Legato (vide § 16) is very slight indeed. You can tell how slight, if you carefully weigh the key down. To do this, you must allow your whole arm to relax (from the shoulder) until the key is just overbalanced, and in giving way thus, it sounds at its very softest. You here realise how slight is the force required to retain a key depressed.
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