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Coronavirus Etude - A New Viral Piano Piece
A classic viral piano piece, "Dusting the Piano" has finally got a follow-up. While Dusting the Piano should be managable for players of ABRSM grade 1 and suitable for performances during less critical times, the new Coronavirus Etude is more complex (around ABRSM grade 5) and aimed to be more effective against viruses. Read more >>

Topic: forearm tension  (Read 2298 times)

Offline phillipfawcett

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forearm tension
on: April 21, 2002, 07:26:57 PM
I have reached an impasse with tension in the forearms.  This is obvious when attempting Chopin etude 24 in c minor for example .. cannot get through it at speed without excruciating tension and tiredness in the forearms  :-/. How can u achieve the necessary freedom and relaxation to play this repertoire?!!!
phillip uk

Offline robert_henry

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Re: forearm tension
Reply #1 on: April 21, 2002, 09:14:28 PM
It's hard to diagnose the problem without seeing you play, but I would have to guess that if your forearms are tight then you are using your fingers to produce the sound rather than your larger muscles in your arms and shoulders.  

You have think of an impulse (provided by your shoulders) on the the bottom of the arpeggio that supplies all the energy you need to play each two bars. I have a feeling that as soon as you play the bottom note (the melody) that you immediately think of all those sixteenth notes.  Don't.  They should ride off those bottom notes like a rock skipping across the lake.

At the top of the arpeggios (the turn-around place), a slight rotation, even a circular motion of your wrist is crucial.  It should feel as though you are throwing your arm off the end of the piano, but of course you don't.  

Remember that the piece is marked F and FF...that doesn't mean that every sixteenth is F and FF; it means that the TOTALITY of the sound you are producing is F and/ or FF.  

Lastly, as you are climbing and decending your wrist should be loose, as if it's floating in a bubble of liquid.  90% of the solution to this problem is the proper use of your wrist.  USE IT.  

Remember, your body provides the power to play...your fingers just AIM.






Offline phillipfawcett

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Re: forearm tension
Reply #2 on: April 21, 2002, 11:24:57 PM
Many thanks, i am sure you have diagnosed the problem correctly, i will keep you informed when i have practised it.  Much of what u say is familiar to me from my college days, but i've never quite been able to coordinate the stronger body impulses correctly.  The shoulder impulse each two bars and the rock skipping across a lake! .. may well help give me the necessary sensation.  My wrists i have always used correctly i think, but i know my fingers work far too hard.
phillip uk

Offline JonE

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Re: forearm tension
Reply #3 on: April 24, 2002, 07:37:39 AM
Try grouping the motions (ie weight of arm transfered across fingers) rhythmically, starting with smaller groups at a slow tempo (even just 2 16ths at a time), progressing to larger groups (4, then 8 16ths) at a time; its difficult to organize the weight transfer if you try to do the entire arpeggio up and down in one group.

Offline goansongo

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Re: forearm tension
Reply #4 on: June 10, 2004, 11:34:29 AM
You could try sitting a bit higher so that your arm does more of the work than your fingers.  The lower you sit, the more you'll be working your forearms.  The higher you sit, the more free your fingers and arms will be.  

Offline donjuan

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Re: forearm tension
Reply #5 on: June 13, 2004, 04:20:26 AM
But the higher you sit, the lousier your technique will be...
 

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