The First Principles Of Pianoforte Playing

A complete playing tutorial for self learners or school use.

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The Nature of Here is the place to point out, that the Glissando is only _,. ,              another and even simpler form of "transferred Weight*
Glissando.           touch."               In this case the Weight that is to over-
balance the key is applied through the back (the nail) of one finger; and the weight having reached the bed of the first key, and sounding it, this weight is then drawn along the key-board by a horizontal arm-movement. Glissando demands, that one or more phalanges of the finger (or fingers) employed, must be left in so gently elastic a condition, as to enable that portion of the finger to act the part of a ratchet, when the superincumbent gentle weight is drawn across the key-board. The phalanx or phalanges in question, must be suf­ficiently tense to permit of their supporting the Weight used without bringing the nail too flatly upon the keys. For unless the nail is sufficiently upright to form about an acute angle with the key, we cannot use it to surmount the suc­cessive keys in the required wedge-like fashion. But there must be no greater tenseness of the finger than will only just barely suffice for this purpose. Any greater tenseness, or the slightest arm-force applied, will inevitably jam the fingers immovably against the key-beds.
Glissando is therefore identical with the ppp--weight-transfer touch; and it even forms a most valuable and instructive channel through which to acquire the latter much-required touch ; the only difference being, that in the latter case the transfer has to be effected through a sequence of fingers, in the place of the solitary one, used as a ratchet. Crescendi, of a limited nature, are prac­ticable in both the Glissando and ppp-Transfer touch, by permitting slight in­creases to supervene in the resting and transferred weight,—a continuous weight, we must remember, in this solitary case, without any Added impetus. But such increments in continuously-resting weight must be but slight; and they must of course be accompanied by correspondingly slight increases in the gentle finger and hand forces applied.
A subtle variation of Species II., which forms a hybrid between Hand and Finger movement, is applicable to extremely rapid Octave-passages, such as in the Coda of the first movement of the " Waldstein" Sonata. Such passages cannot be easily performed glissando on the modern Piano. This hybrid touch can, however, give an almost identical effect. In it, all movement is almost entirely restricted to a movement of the fingers—to the extent of the key-depth. An extremely light glissando-like resting of the arm is thus caused to mount the successive keys, almost as in the true glissando.
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