Piano Forum

Topic: 4/5 trills and downstroke versus upstroke in fingers  (Read 3260 times)

Offline Derek

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1884
4/5 trills and downstroke versus upstroke in fingers
on: February 19, 2006, 05:21:10 AM
How are your 4th and 5th finger trills?

For years I found it very easy in my left hand but very difficult in my right. However I am much more dextrous in the right hand.

I've been working at 4/5 trills in the right hand for quite some time now, almost all day every day every time I get a spare moment I practice all kinds of trills with combinations of fingers in each hand, including the 4/5 in my right.

I've finally found the secret. I dunno what it was. For the longest time I couldn't get my pinky to come UP when I wanted it to, but something CLICKED. I dunno if a bunch of neurons were wired up cause my brain was telling them: WE NEED SOME NEW MOTOR NEURONS FOR THE AS YET UNUSED "UP" FUNCTION IN THE PINKY   or what, but I can do really fast 4/5 trills in my right hand now!

I think part of it was, for the longest time I was focusing on the DOWN motion and never on the up motion. the UP motion when playing piano is just as important for technique as the downstroke, I'm realizing. if not more so! especially in fast, staccatto like passages, for example.

Also forgot to add I've been practicing just tapping individual fingers, including the pinky of my right hand. when it CLICKED I can now tap really fast with just the pinky of my right hand.

Also forgot to add I have been doing gentle stretches between some of the fingers in the right hand which tend to be more tied together than the left. I'm tryin to make sure never to strain...don't want a Schumann to happen to me

Offline lufia

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 115
Re: 4/5 trills and downstroke versus upstroke in fingers
Reply #1 on: February 19, 2006, 07:49:15 AM
is ur left hand 4-5 trills still faster than ur right? :-\
musicality

Offline Derek

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1884
Re: 4/5 trills and downstroke versus upstroke in fingers
Reply #2 on: February 19, 2006, 08:29:45 AM
not anymore! its like it just SNAPPED the other day. my pinky decided HEY I CAN DO THIS ::starts moving fast::

Offline quantum

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 6058
Re: 4/5 trills and downstroke versus upstroke in fingers
Reply #3 on: February 19, 2006, 08:36:00 AM
Interesting.  Are you right handed?

I remember reading somewhere on the forum a trick that Murray Perahia mentioned in a masterclass.  Instead of thinking of pressing down notes quickly for a trill, hold down the two trill notes and think of letting them up quickly. 
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline Derek

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1884
Re: 4/5 trills and downstroke versus upstroke in fingers
Reply #4 on: February 19, 2006, 08:39:36 PM
Yep I'm right handed. My left has always been much more flexible than my right.

Though, I have been playing guitar and piano about the same amount of time, and since I do most of the fingerwork/stretching with the left hand (much more than on a piano) this may explain why my left hand is more limber, I dunno.

I've also heard it suggested that gripping things with your dominant hand over a lifetime causes the tendons and things to be a bit more tied up.

Offline lostinidlewonder

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 6808
Re: 4/5 trills and downstroke versus upstroke in fingers
Reply #5 on: February 19, 2006, 11:35:31 PM
With 45 trills I have always imagines CIRCULAR MOTION. That is what keeps the movement of the two weak fingers going. The 5th is the bottom of the circle and when we play the 4th we push back up to the top of the circle, then the 5th brings us back down. This circle is like a big ring of air around our two fingers. If we play the trill slowly this circle is larger but as we speed up the circle becomes smaller, more compact around the fingers.

The reason why the 5th should be the top of the circle (before it plays) is so that we can almost trick our hand in believing that the 5th is dropping WITH gravity while the 4th pushes our hand back up so we can fall down again. Of course this is only a visualisation how we physically excecute it is much more subtle but along the same line.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
www.facebook.com/groups/348933611793249/

Offline quantum

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 6058
Re: 4/5 trills and downstroke versus upstroke in fingers
Reply #6 on: February 20, 2006, 05:22:43 AM
With 45 trills I have always imagines CIRCULAR MOTION. That is what keeps the movement of the two weak fingers going. The 5th is the bottom of the circle and when we play the 4th we push back up to the top of the circle, then the 5th brings us back down. This circle is like a big ring of air around our two fingers. If we play the trill slowly this circle is larger but as we speed up the circle becomes smaller, more compact around the fingers.

The reason why the 5th should be the top of the circle is so that we can almost trick our hand in believing that the 5th is dropping WITH gravity while the 4th pushes our hand back up so we can fall down again. Of course this is only a visualisation how we physically excecute it is much more subtle but along the same line.


Would you mind clarifing that?  In the first paragraph you say the 5th should be on the bottom.  In the 2nd paragraph you say the 5th should be on the top. 
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline lufia

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 115
Re: 4/5 trills and downstroke versus upstroke in fingers
Reply #7 on: February 20, 2006, 10:13:10 AM
the 4-5 trill is a mystery to me. I was very happy when 1 day my 4-5 trills decided to snap and i was able to trill very fast (same speed as 1-2). Then about a week later i couldn't do my 4-5 trills as fast as my 1-2 :'(
musicality

Offline Derek

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1884
Re: 4/5 trills and downstroke versus upstroke in fingers
Reply #8 on: February 21, 2006, 05:47:58 AM
I CAN DO IT I CAN REALLY DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA ::stares at right hand on desk as it does a 4-5 trill::   ::laughs like a madman::

I seriously thought I'd never be able to do it.


Watch out Liszt, here I come.

Offline rimv2

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 798
Re: 4/5 trills and downstroke versus upstroke in fingers
Reply #9 on: February 21, 2006, 07:03:31 AM
I CAN DO IT I CAN REALLY DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA ::stares at right hand on desk as it does a 4-5 trill::   ::laughs like a madman::

I seriously thought I'd never be able to do it.


Watch out Liszt, here I come.

Bunny pandemonium
(\_/)                     (\_/)      | |
(O.o)                   (o.O)   <(@)     
(>   )> Ironically[/url] <(   <)

Offline lostinidlewonder

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 6808
Re: 4/5 trills and downstroke versus upstroke in fingers
Reply #10 on: February 24, 2006, 02:01:07 AM
Would you mind clarifing that?  In the first paragraph you say the 5th should be on the bottom.  In the 2nd paragraph you say the 5th should be on the top. 

The 5th, BEFORE it touches the note is at the top of the circle, when it strikes it has reached the bottom. While we play the 4th we are also at the bottom but this finger almost pushes us back up to the top of this circle, so the 5th feels like it is falling with gravity. Urg tough to describe with words, and also only how I play it, some people don't like this idea but for me it is prety good.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
www.facebook.com/groups/348933611793249/

Offline demented cow

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 132
Re: 4/5 trills and downstroke versus upstroke in fingers
Reply #11 on: February 24, 2006, 03:15:54 PM
Questions for people who can do decent outer trills (ie. 4-5, 4-5 or 3-5):
1) if you were to play outer trills without other fingers holding down notes, can you play them with full arm weight, or are they easier if your bicep is taking some of the weight of the arm?
2) do you find it easier/harder to do outer trills when an inner finger (=1 or 2) is holding another key down (or playing other notes)? (This is related to question 1, since the inner fingers are taking some of the weight off the outer fingers.)
3) Are the fingers adjacent to the trilling fingers completely immobile while you're trilling?

I can't do outer trills to speak of, so I would be very grateful for any help.
Thanks,
The Cow

Offline Derek

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1884
Re: 4/5 trills and downstroke versus upstroke in fingers
Reply #12 on: February 24, 2006, 03:52:48 PM
1) I can play all my trills with full arm weight.
2) I find it harder to play outer trills while holding down any inner fingers. If I hold down 1, 2, 3, and try to do a 4-5 this is a bit slower in both hands. can still do it.
3) my 3rd finger moves a little bit with 4-5 trills in both hands, less so in the left but not very much in either.

My tips:
1) practice focusing on the upstroke more than the downstroke. like trill upwards as though you're hitting something above your hand rather than below it. Paradoxically, this leads to being able to put more arm weight into the trill.

2) practice in little bursts. daddledat.   daddledat.  daddledat.  then try to string those bursts together.

3) make one finger in a pair still and tap the other. switch, repeat.

4) relax as much as possible

5) do very gentle stretches between fingers that seem to be very tied to each other. never ever ever strain. GENTLE stretches.

I think all of these things are what led to my present sudden ability to do fast trills in 4-5 in my right hand.

I don't know when exactly I got obsessed with getting my 4-5 trills going, but it has been many many months of constant working at it. So, be patient with your hands. You'll get it.

Offline demented cow

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 132
Re: 4/5 trills and downstroke versus upstroke in fingers
Reply #13 on: February 24, 2006, 06:09:23 PM
Thanks for taking the time to explain this, Derek.
That's interesting about the arm weight because I find I'm better at outer trills when my thumb is held down, taking the weight off the trilling fingers. (I think this may be related to the fact that my weaker fingers sometimes collapse if I put full weight on them; probably something more fundamental needs to be done with my technique.)
Your 3rd tip reminds me of a suggestion I once read that practising trills involves practising repeated notes with a single finger as fast as possible. i guess that makes sense because if one of the fingers can't move up and down quickly enough, that will slow the trill down.

Offline lufia

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 115
Re: 4/5 trills and downstroke versus upstroke in fingers
Reply #14 on: February 26, 2006, 03:08:07 AM
derek is ur 4-5 as fast as ur 1-2 trills?
musicality

Offline Derek

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1884
Re: 4/5 trills and downstroke versus upstroke in fingers
Reply #15 on: February 26, 2006, 03:10:15 PM
dementer cow:

about the third tip. Another thing that tapping a finger while keeping the other still is that it makes you aware of whether the still finger is still trying to move. When you first do it you might find that the finger you are holding still is pressing or pulling in teh wrong direction. Focus on relaxing it so that the only motion is the independent tapping of the other finger.

Note that I am no expert on technique, I am an amateur, but I have a professional teacher with a pretty good reputation and I have found these things to work for me. He actually hasn't helped me specifically with 4-5 trills, but his advice about the upstroke in a different context inspired me to come up with these tips.

lufia:

Yes.

Offline lufia

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 115
Re: 4/5 trills and downstroke versus upstroke in fingers
Reply #16 on: February 27, 2006, 05:51:54 AM
congrats!! 4-5 trills is one of the many paradoxes of the art of piano  :P it is also one of many fears for concert pianist as some of them can't do it  :P u should name it the derek technique

 " practice focusing on the upstroke more than the downstroke. like trill upwards as though you're hitting something above your hand rather than below it. Paradoxically, this leads to being able to put more arm weight into the trill. "

hell yeah!!! 'rans off and practices'

musicality

Offline Derek

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1884
Re: 4/5 trills and downstroke versus upstroke in fingers
Reply #17 on: February 27, 2006, 05:26:43 PM
congrats!! 4-5 trills is one of the many paradoxes of the art of piano  :P it is also one of many fears for concert pianist as some of them can't do it  :P u should name it the derek technique


Thanks, Lufia! It took me many months of applying these things for it to work for me, so don't get frustrated if it seems to take a while. All the same, if your 4-5 trills improve because of this tip please let me know.
 

Logo light pianostreet.com - the website for classical pianists, piano teachers, students and piano music enthusiasts.

Subscribe for unlimited access

Sign up

Follow us

Piano Street Digicert