The First Principles Of Pianoforte Playing

A complete playing tutorial for self learners or school use.

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8                                DIRECTIONS FOR LEARNERS.
your whole arm gradually until the keys give way, and they sound without your seeming to "do" anything. In this way you learn to weigh the keys exactly in the same way that you weigh or "balance" any other object. You can learn to do this balancing so neatly, that (for the sake of practice) you can even succeed in swaying the whole arm (from the shoulder) up and down with the keys, meanwhile not taking them down far enough to sound them.1
In any case, you must not rest satisfied until you succeed in letting the keys tell you with certainty the least amount of weight they require to make them sound at their softest through being thus weighed down. To succeed in this, you must give your attention to the key itself; you must not think of your arm, but you must try to feel "how much the keys want."
§ 28. In thus weighing the keys, you are aware that you are using Arm-weight, and that this reaches the keys through the finger and hand. Particularly notice now, that your finger and hand must therefore be doing something; in fact that you have to exert them very slightly (but sufficiently) to sup­port this slight arm-weight upon the keys. It is difficult at first to realise that this is so, as the whole combination of exer­tion and weight is so slight in this case.
§ 29. Try to understand next, that your finger, in thus acting downwards upon the key to support the weight, also re-acts upwards against the knuckle of the hand, and that it does so with exactly equal force. The hand itself, moreover, is also exerted downwards at the Knuckles, and it in turn again re-acts upwards against the arm at the Wrist-joint, and thus supports the arm there.2
If you succeed in thinking this out, you will learn, that all exertion made during the Act of Touch must feel upwards— and not downwards as you might at first expect. The exer­tions must feel upwards (by re-action from the keys), because
1 The movement should he hut slight; and the finirers and hand must of course not fail to convey the Weight upon the keys. Vide % 28. 1 Remember, these exertions are very slight indeed in pp.
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