\"\"
Piano Forum logo

How to play very fast octaves? (Read 21972 times)

Offline pianoplayjl

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2072
How to play very fast octaves?
« on: February 11, 2012, 01:26:08 PM »
I seriously don't know how to do it! tell me the secrets to success in playing fast octaves. Every time I play extended octave passages (e.g. scales) my pinkies would hurt a bit. When I stop the pain stops. How do you DO IT?

JL
Funny? How? How am I funny?

Offline nyiregyhazi

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4267
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #1 on: February 11, 2012, 01:36:36 PM »
I seriously don't know how to do it! tell me the secrets to success in playing fast octaves. Every time I play extended octave passages (e.g. scales) my pinkies would hurt a bit. When I stop the pain stops. How do you DO IT?

JL

I know this runs totally against what most people say, but start from the hand and work backwards. The more I move my thumb and 5th, the faster it becomes possible to go. The traditional explanation says to brace them (while providing all movement from the wrist), but taking this literally is disastrous. I'm working to avoid bracing altogether and replace it with movement through the keys. I couldn't do the Liszt 6th rhapsody style of repeated octaves until I learned to move the hand and make the arm bounces a passive response.

Offline megadodd

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 211
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #2 on: February 11, 2012, 02:36:31 PM »
I only do octave runs for warm-up routine, but I got it down pretty "quickly".
I'm guessing, as in many cases that it's easy to tense up when playing octaves, this dosn't give you much control and it hurts to try and go fast for a long scalerun over the whole keyboard up and down.
I heard somewhere that people said that it looked like Liszt shook his octaves out of his sleeves.
I've been experimenting with this a little, just relaxing and "shaking" my arm while just aiming at the notes. With a relaxed wrist your hand bonces up and down when shaking the arm, just like you would do if you wanted something out of your jacket sleeve.
Think of it like, stabbing with a knife kind of movement.

It dosn't have to be big movements, and this is not something anyone has told me, just the technique I'm using at the moment as I've come up with nothing better.
Repertoire.
2011/2012

Brahms op 118
Chopin Preludes op 28
Grieg Holberg Suite
Mendelssohn Piano trio D minor op 49
Rachmaninoff Etude Tabelaux op 33 no 3 & 4 op 39 no 2
Scriabin Preludes op 1

Offline nyiregyhazi

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4267
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #3 on: February 11, 2012, 03:29:25 PM »
I only do octave runs for warm-up routine, but I got it down pretty "quickly".
I'm guessing, as in many cases that it's easy to tense up when playing octaves, this dosn't give you much control and it hurts to try and go fast for a long scalerun over the whole keyboard up and down.
I heard somewhere that people said that it looked like Liszt shook his octaves out of his sleeves.
I've been experimenting with this a little, just relaxing and "shaking" my arm while just aiming at the notes. With a relaxed wrist your hand bonces up and down when shaking the arm, just like you would do if you wanted something out of your jacket sleeve.
Think of it like, stabbing with a knife kind of movement.

It dosn't have to be big movements, and this is not something anyone has told me, just the technique I'm using at the moment as I've come up with nothing better.

Personally, I'm convinced that this is a subjective illusion- or at least that it depends on having already acquired highly reflexive hand movements. I tried this shaking approach for years but never made any real ground. I could survive short bursts but the 6th rhapsody was just impossible to do for more than a few bars of at a time- and my octaves were never exactly quick. Since concentrating on using the thumb and fifth to bounce my hand not into but AWAY from the piano, my endurance has improved beyond measure. Traditionally everyone talks about actively instigating movement from the arm, but I'm not convinced this is the answer. Until the hand is able to bounce the arm away, any active downward arm movement just increases the likelihood of seizing the hand up stiffly to avoid the past collapsing into a cluster. In cases of stiffness, the first step is to stop fixing the fingers and learn to move them from a responsive arm.

Offline birba

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3738
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #4 on: February 11, 2012, 03:42:54 PM »
I think nyhiregyhazi (where did you get that from?) is right.  Octaves always include a certain amount of fingerwork.  And a lot of very minute wrist movement.  The forearms and upper arms come into play the greater the sound required.  e.g. tchaikowsky  But it's the supple hand that's going to give you speed and endurance.

Offline keyboardclass

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2009
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #5 on: February 11, 2012, 05:32:37 PM »
I heard somewhere that people said that it looked like Liszt shook his octaves out of his sleeves.
I've been experimenting with this a little, just relaxing and "shaking" my arm while just aiming at the notes. With a relaxed wrist your hand bonces up and down when shaking the arm, just like you would do if you wanted something out of your jacket sleeve.
Think of it like, stabbing with a knife kind of movement.

It dosn't have to be big movements, and this is not something anyone has told me, just the technique I'm using at the moment as I've come up with nothing better.
+1

Offline virtuoso80

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 218
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #6 on: February 11, 2012, 08:59:46 PM »
I find the first step with this is the same first step with a lot of piano: Relax, and don't force it. First, work on playing octaves slowly with lots of ease. Try lots of variations, rhythms, jumps, etc. but always keep it feeling easy. Always the thought of, "I have to get there FAST!" leads to tension. Instead, think, "I have all the time in the world." Also, like a drummer, take advantage of the 'bounce back' of the key to propel you onward to your next destination.

Offline drexo

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 134
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #7 on: February 12, 2012, 12:02:29 AM »



This is the Taubman method which work pretty good for me.

Offline nyiregyhazi

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4267
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #8 on: February 12, 2012, 05:25:05 PM »
I find the first step with this is the same first step with a lot of piano: Relax, and don't force it. First, work on playing octaves slowly with lots of ease. Try lots of variations, rhythms, jumps, etc. but always keep it feeling easy. Always the thought of, "I have to get there FAST!" leads to tension. Instead, think, "I have all the time in the world." Also, like a drummer, take advantage of the 'bounce back' of the key to propel you onward to your next destination.

There's a real problem with general intent to be relaxed though. It can actually cause tension in the long run- unless there is specific understanding of how the fifth and thumb need to move. This might sound counterintuitive but the logic is actually very simple when you break it down. Nobody is willing to collapse their palm into the keys- so something must stop that. If the fingers start relaxed, the hand must tense heavily to prevent the palm cluster. If they move instead, the effort is lesser. Thinking about relaxing without realising that often causes a moment of emergency tension followed by relaxation AFTER. This is survived in slow playing, but in faster speeds it leaves permanent tension due to no time to relax. To see this in action look at the film of Grieg on keyboardclass's channel. The 'relaxation' guru is fixed in permanent stiffness. It's essential to understand what must move, before generic intent at relaxation- otherwise the results are the very reverse of the intent. Without it, intent to relax is futile optimism and can even take a person further away from necessary movement. It hinges on a positive act of movement- not hoping to relax without a clear plan about how to do so without a palm collapse.

For birba, this is nyiregyhazi:

 www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9_bDhMPoGU&feature=related

Offline birba

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3738
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #9 on: February 12, 2012, 06:24:29 PM »
Yes, I remember now.  The story, I mean.  I had forgotten his name.  Something to think about...

Offline keyboardclass

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2009
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #10 on: February 12, 2012, 07:27:10 PM »
Thinking about relaxing without realising that often causes a moment of emergency tension followed by relaxation AFTER. This is survived in slow playing, but in faster speeds it leaves permanent tension due to no time to relax.
Rubbish!  The art of anything is learning the instant relaxing of the appropriate muscles until it becomes a reflex.  As for N's comments on my playing - he sees and hears what he wants to.

Offline thalbergmad

  • PS Gold Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 16203
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #11 on: February 12, 2012, 08:08:48 PM »
The art of anything is learning the instant relaxing of the appropriate muscles until it becomes a reflex. 

That is what my golf coach told me years ago ;D

I guess it applies to piano.

Thal
Curator/Director
Concerto Preservation Society

Offline ajspiano

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3392
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #12 on: February 12, 2012, 10:43:38 PM »
I might aswell jump onto this..

Power come from the weight of the arm. Speed comes from the supple hand and the finger motion that rebounds you to the next note. Arm motion is not straight up and down, rather turning very slightly toward the thumb.

All of which has been said already, - so I guess we must all be onto something.

Offline nyiregyhazi

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4267
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #13 on: February 13, 2012, 12:40:10 PM »
Rubbish!  The art of anything is learning the instant relaxing of the appropriate muscles until it becomes a reflex.  As for N's comments on my playing - he sees and hears what he wants to.

On your 2nd point, I'm not going to bother arguing- as the video speaks for itself. Anyone watching can decide for themself who is seeing and hearing what they want to.



Regarding your first point, I'm not sure if that was a willfull strawman argument, or if you simply missed my point. Either way, I didn't say there's no relaxing of the appropriate muscles. I pointed out that you have a choice between either trying to rigidify your hand against collapsing as an emergency reflex, or simply moving it. If intent at relaxation is not coupled by precise understanding of the necessary movements, the inadequacy of a relaxed hand means that reflexes will kick in with a moment of seizure against collapse. So rather than resulting in greater relaxation, blind intent at relaxation forces severe emergency tensions that must urgently be relaxed from. When you simply move instead, there's no tension to relax from.

Without due focus, intending to stay as relaxed as possible forces emergency tensions that are way more crippling than focussed movements. The art is in intending to stay as comfortable as possible- while understanding how to get the individual fingers moving rather than fixating.


Offline nyiregyhazi

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4267
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #14 on: February 13, 2012, 12:56:09 PM »
That is what my golf coach told me years ago ;D

I guess it applies to piano.

Thal

I've got to say that I find this extremely surprising from a golf teacher. Golf strikes me as the ultimate example of something where there should be no perceptions of tensions to relax from whatsoever- but simply a single flow of comfortable movement. How on earth can you hit the ball well if you perceive a tension during contact, and need to willfully "relax" it during the follow-through? It's too late by then. There need to just be a flow of comfortable movement. Obviously the most active input occurs through the ball, but what is to relax from after, in a good swing? Anything that is perceived as needing to be turned off again should never have been there. It's just a matter of letting the movement go naturally and freely. The best players control the club very precisely even during the follow-through. They are neither tense nor relaxed and they particularly don't make violent changes between extreme versions of both states. It's a steady progression. If relaxation is taken to mean comfort it's there at all times- not only after contact. If it's taken to mean complete limpness, it's never part of the swing.

I can't imagine how any good golf-swing could possible be conceived with reference to tension and release. A good grip on the shaft (neither needlessly firm not too limp to control the club) should feel the same at just about any moment in the swing, in my opinion.

Offline thalbergmad

  • PS Gold Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 16203
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #15 on: February 13, 2012, 03:40:27 PM »
I've got to say that I find this extremely surprising from a golf teacher.

Well, I went from a 15 to a 3 handicap in 2 months.

Thal
Curator/Director
Concerto Preservation Society

Offline keyboardclass

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2009
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #16 on: February 13, 2012, 04:21:33 PM »
So rather than resulting in greater relaxation, blind intent at relaxation forces severe emergency tensions that must urgently be relaxed from. When you simply move instead, there's no tension to relax from.
Without tension there's only stillness - no 'simply move' Mr Troll!
intending to stay as relaxed as possible forces emergency tensions
More rubbish!  On an esoteric level, yes, even intention is not stillness, but that's not something you'd have any knowledge of.

Offline nyiregyhazi

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4267
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #17 on: February 13, 2012, 04:45:39 PM »
Without tension there's only stillness - no 'simply move' Mr Troll!More rubbish!  On an esoteric level, yes, even intention is not stillness, but that's not something you'd have any knowledge of.

Tension as in fixation. Muscles work far harder when they clench to keep a joint static, than when they move. If someone is about to push you over, the best thing you can do is start moving towards them before they get to you. If you try to stay relaxed and wait until they contact you, your body will have to clench harder but it will be too late. Similarly the hand needs to make preemptive movement. Neither fixation nor relaxation (which translates to the former as soon as contact is made) work. Movement is more effective and leaves no stiffness to relax from.

Offline nyiregyhazi

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4267
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #18 on: February 13, 2012, 04:49:30 PM »
Well, I went from a 15 to a 3 handicap in 2 months.

Thal

Could you explain in more detail? Specifically what would be felt to be tense at impact but then relaxing after? Surely maximum freedom needs to be in place throughout the whole action? I cannot see how there can be any counterpart to landing stiffly at a keybed and relaxing after. Any sense of clenching through impact destroys a golf swing- just as emergency fixation-relaxation destroys piano technique.

Offline keyboardclass

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2009
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #19 on: February 13, 2012, 05:34:58 PM »
If you try to stay relaxed and wait until they contact you, your body will have to clench harder but it will be too late.
Rubbish again.  You use your relaxed state to 'steer' their impact away from you.  Basic Martial Arts 101.

Offline thalbergmad

  • PS Gold Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 16203
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #20 on: February 13, 2012, 06:42:16 PM »
Could you explain in more detail?

No, I can't, and even if I could I wouldn't.

Some of us are just happy that something works, without reducing it to a cellular lever to find out why.

Thal
Curator/Director
Concerto Preservation Society

Offline nyiregyhazi

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4267
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #21 on: February 13, 2012, 06:49:57 PM »
Rubbish again.  You use your relaxed state to 'steer' their impact away from you.  101 Basic Martial Arts.


The point was made in analogy to piano playing. When contacting an octave there is no equivalent to what you describe. In piano playing you have to meet the resistance to sound the key- so steering someone over your shoulder has no equivalent. Either you must stiffen against collapse, collapse, or move directly into the oncoming force- which is by far the least effort. I wasn't commenting on martial arts technique. I was illustrating that moving into an oncoming force (in a situation where there is no option but to meet it head on) is less effort than trying to stiffen against it.

Offline nyiregyhazi

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4267
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #22 on: February 13, 2012, 06:58:14 PM »
No, I can't, and even if I could I wouldn't.

Some of us are just happy that something works, without reducing it to a cellular lever to find out why.

Thal

I enquired about some basic details. I didn't ask for a cellular reduction. I'm guessing that the advice was not to allow tensions while you hit the ball and then severely relax your grip instantly afterwards? Unless it was, I'm really not seeing any obvious parallels to a stiffen to play each note and then relax attitude to piano playing.

Offline keyboardclass

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2009
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #23 on: February 13, 2012, 07:09:44 PM »
I'm really not seeing any obvious parallels to a stiffen to play each note and then relax attitude to piano playing.
Stiffen just enough to resist the inertia.  Makes sense in any activity.

Offline nyiregyhazi

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4267
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #24 on: February 13, 2012, 07:40:58 PM »
Stiffen just enough to resist the inertia.  Makes sense in any activity.

Well it would make sense. It were it not for the fact that moving in the opposite direction is both less effort and does a more effective job of preventing collapse. At the piano, it also redirects momentum away from a heavy landing. That makes for better absorption at landing than either a flaccid hand or a stiff one.

Just look at how Rubinstein normally moved other than in your selective clip. There's no moment of stiffness but an active movement in the hand. Congratulations on finding a rare isolated incident on which he stiffened through impact rather than cushion the landing. T

Offline thalbergmad

  • PS Gold Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 16203
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #25 on: February 13, 2012, 07:44:57 PM »
Stiffen just enough to resist the inertia.  Makes sense in any activity.

Indeed, as was clearly illustrated during my last visit to Amsterdam.

Thal
Curator/Director
Concerto Preservation Society

Offline costicina

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1062
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #26 on: February 13, 2012, 08:05:47 PM »
Indeed, as was clearly illustrated during my last visit to Amsterdam.

Thal
::) ::) Do you mean what I think you mean, or is just a problem of my poor English (and of my impure thoughts? ;D)

Offline keyboardclass

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2009
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #27 on: February 13, 2012, 09:01:16 PM »
::) ::) Do you mean what I think you mean, or is just a problem of my poor English (and of my impure thoughts? ;D)

Well I did say any activity.

Offline symphonicdance

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 287
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #28 on: February 14, 2012, 04:00:07 AM »
Any one can help and show me (youtube?)  the correct and efficient way regarding octave run (esp. left hand) in Chopin's heroic polonaise?  Thanks.  Always feel that there is a way I could work out better, not only the fast tempo but also the varying sound volume.

Offline pianist202

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 10
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #29 on: February 23, 2015, 03:03:20 AM »
LOOSE WRIST

Offline pencilart3

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2057
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #30 on: February 23, 2015, 11:33:46 PM »
It works for me to imagine each note is played by springing my hand up, instead of pressing the note down. The most common mistake people make is by thinking of every note being played down, so they don't pick their hand up fast enough/high enough. Spring your hand off the note as if that's the way the sound comes out. ;D
youtube.com/noahjohnsonpiano

Offline mmm151

  • PS Gold Member
  • Newbie
  • *****
  • Posts: 16
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #31 on: February 25, 2015, 03:17:06 AM »
For fast octaves, try the following practice strategies at a slow speed: Play each octave with wrist staccato ie with the hand only moving in a waving action from the wrist. Next do the same, but include a bounce involving the whole arm as well as the hand waving. The wrist will be seen to have an undulating movement creating a "hill" effect when the wrist goes up & a "valley" as the wrist goes down. Now add to these 2 movements a small grasping action with the thumb and 5th finger. Be patient, trying the passage quite a few times in the above fashion. At speed these movements will morph into a sense of general freedom especially at the wrist as well as an easeful command of the passage.
In general, the arm & hand will be at a normal playing height for white note octaves, but higher for black note octaves, so be sure to make this arm adjustment when playing octaves at a faster speed.
Also for speed in any type of passage, there will be an impulse at intervals with a downward arm movement, usually on the beat, or at the beginning of the technical pattern eg see RH of Chopin Etude Op 10, No 1. In addition, all passages at speed have a shape, eg the fast LH octaves in the Polonaise Op 53 go up & over for octaves from bar 83-94 & down & under from bars 95 onwards involving the c double sharp.
Another relaxing & effective exercise for octaves to involve the whole arm is to flip out the elbow and land with whole arm descent on each octave slowly. This is good for strong, more commanding, octaves.
Lastly, here is another example of a technical pattern (alluded to above): In Chopin Etude Op 25, No 10, the playing mechanism-hand & arm-goes down on the 1st octave & up on the 2nd & 3rd octaves in each group of 3 octaves. Look for similar groupings & impulse (controlled tension-energy) downwards on the 1st note or octave in each group in this way. NB Practice slowly several times, then once fast and repeat this process & you will eventually succeed.


Offline mmm151

  • PS Gold Member
  • Newbie
  • *****
  • Posts: 16
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #32 on: February 25, 2015, 03:36:38 AM »
One more thing: After the downward impulse on the beat or 1st note or octave in a technical grouping, be it on the beat or off the beat, be sure to release all that energy from the downbeat with an upward movement of the hand & arm on non-downbeats (ie totally empty the playing mechanism of all energy so that it feels as light as a feather). This, along with active finger work is, in my opinion, the essence of all virtuosity).

G Sandor's book "On Piano Playing" extensively illustrates the technical groupings & down or up arm & hand movements in numerous pieces, so check this out too.

Offline thalbergmad

  • PS Gold Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 16203
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #33 on: February 25, 2015, 07:18:29 PM »
Stiff wrist and rigid forearm and play them as a nervous impulse.

Thal
Curator/Director
Concerto Preservation Society

Offline therealfolkblues

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 8
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #34 on: March 03, 2015, 12:56:23 AM »
Well, I went from a 15 to a 3 handicap in 2 months.

Thal

A 15 to a 3 in 2 months..? A fifteen to a ten,, ok. an 8?> alright.. hell .. Even a six.. sure, you had the revelation to end all revelations within your game, but a 3...
sorry mate.. thats a bit of a stretch methinks.

I know a bit of a weird first post . Greetings and Felicitations All.

Offline thalbergmad

  • PS Gold Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 16203
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #35 on: March 03, 2015, 06:10:46 PM »
I cannot recall what bullcrap i was rattling on about over 3 years ago.

Thal
Curator/Director
Concerto Preservation Society

Offline mrcreosote

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 166
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #36 on: June 23, 2016, 12:44:23 AM »
Personally, I'm convinced that this is a subjective illusion- or at least that it depends on having already acquired highly reflexive hand movements. I tried this shaking approach for years but never made any real ground. I could survive short bursts but the 6th rhapsody was just impossible to do for more than a few bars of at a time- and my octaves were never exactly quick. Since concentrating on using the thumb and fifth to bounce my hand not into but AWAY from the piano, my endurance has improved beyond measure. Traditionally everyone talks about actively instigating movement from the arm, but I'm not convinced this is the answer. Until the hand is able to bounce the arm away, any active downward arm movement just increases the likelihood of seizing the hand up stiffly to avoid the past collapsing into a cluster. In cases of stiffness, the first step is to stop fixing the fingers and learn to move them from a responsive arm.

It is interesting that I came up with the same approach, but not knowing if it would bear fruit, I just noted it, set it aside, and continued to "research" very fast octave technique and proper practice.

As far as explain this bounce method, my visualization was that I'd be resting my full arm weight on the octave and then I'd use my fingers/wrist to leap or jump to the next octave.  It would be like my fingers/hand were frogs carrying the weight of my forearms on their backs.   :)

What is interesting about this is that this leaping action is clearly restricted to fingers and hand/wrist - a small group of muscles.  Conversely, if muscle action is used to press the keys down, it gets very complicated.  It now involves opposing muscle groups which is a formula for tension disaster.

Offline sumpianodude

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 106
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #37 on: June 29, 2016, 05:09:13 AM »
so... are we talking about waldstein 3rd octave glissando speed here???... :o
excuse pleeze de gremmar and spelling and CapItALizaShuns

Offline xdjuicebox

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 281
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #38 on: July 08, 2016, 07:28:42 PM »
Try pretending you don't have arms, that did it for me
I am trying to become Franz Liszt. Trying. And failing.

Offline louispodesta

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1074
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #39 on: July 10, 2016, 10:55:17 PM »
Try pretending you don't have arms, that did it for me
Actually, my coach, (Dr. Thomas Mark) teaches this exact same concept with a different metaphor.

Except, he teaches that, initially:

1)  One should sit very quietly at the piano with hands in the lap.

2)  Then, the pianist should, in one fluid motion, strike an octave chord and then return to hands in  the lap.

3)  After a very brief rest (and I mean rest in terms of heartbeat and breath), you strike two octaves in a row.

4)  Then after repeating this process, very slowly over many weeks, you will eventually get what I call a "Whole Body Feel," for playing consecutive octaves.

5)  Once you have reached this point, then I can school you on how to make them fast by PM.

However, you can't fly before you can crawl, and then eventually walk.

Offline pencilart3

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2057
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #40 on: July 11, 2016, 08:07:51 AM »
Try pretending you don't have arms, that did it for me

I ended up in the psychotic office :/
youtube.com/noahjohnsonpiano

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2337
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #41 on: July 11, 2016, 01:19:13 PM »
A good general rule is to avoid tension whenever possible and to keep the hand as near to the keys as possible, minimising unnecessary vertical movements and also "in-out" movements when going from white to black and from black to white notes. When playing chromatic octaves scales it should be feasible to do it whilst the thumb's in-out motion covers no more than about a quarter of the distance between front and back of a white note. Minimising such motions reduces fatigue and stress and enables velocity.

In the very special case of the Liszt HR6, some may find it useful as a tension-reducing device to do 14 / 15 / 14 / 15 on the repeated white octaves: because you are setting up other micro-motions within the hand it considerably reduces the chance of the wrist becoming locked (which is an absolute no-no in terms of tension/fatigue).

Offline xdjuicebox

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 281
Re: How to play very fast octaves?
«Reply #42 on: July 12, 2016, 02:17:23 AM »
I ended up in the psychotic office :/

Funnily enough, I did too
But it was worth the octaves

I would give it all up for the octaves
I am trying to become Franz Liszt. Trying. And failing.