Piano Forum logo

Pathetique Sonata 1st Movement Tremolos (Read 1068 times)

Offline pingshiyu

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 1
Pathetique Sonata 1st Movement Tremolos
« on: March 07, 2016, 05:34:54 PM »

I have recently started having a go at the Pathetique sonata, and so far I've learned most of the piece. However recently I noticed that my left hand thumb muscle sometimes gets painful when playing the tremolos - I did not notice this issue before. Just wondering if anyone knows what could be causing this problem or if this has occurred to anyone before.

Thank you for your time

Offline mjames

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2450
Re: Pathetique Sonata 1st Movement Tremolos
«Reply #1 on: March 07, 2016, 06:44:15 PM »
Post a video of your playing so you can get an actual response, because honestly the best anyone can do is guess what your problem is! What if it's your technique, or a medical condition? We can't know if we can't see your hands. :P

But I would wager that it has something to do with your technique:

Using your fingers and/or entire hand for tremolos while your arm is in a fixed position. You should use the rotation of your arms while your hands/fingers are in a fixed position. I feel like that's the only way I can comfortably play fast tremolos.

(Someone please correct me if I'm wrong or expand on it if my explanation is incomplete.)

Chopin's 4th ballade and 3rd sonata.
Scriabin Op. 42 no. 1, 2, and 3.
Bach Partita No.4

Offline dcstudio

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2423
Re: Pathetique Sonata 1st Movement Tremolos
«Reply #2 on: March 07, 2016, 08:28:10 PM »

so many have problems with that....   you are likely tensing your wrist in an effort to maintain the octave and also letting the keys come all the way up and that will wear you out after a couple of measures--they only come up about halfway before you strike again.  think of it as a sound effect...not a melody or bassline -- this is occurring because you are pushing yourself to play the tremolo faster... your mind says you must push harder--in actuality it's the opposite...

hope this helps... but Mjames is right.. I am only guessing.

Offline chopinlover01

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 2095
Re: Pathetique Sonata 1st Movement Tremolos
«Reply #3 on: March 08, 2016, 03:31:53 AM »
Yup. Having played this recently I can confirm he's right.
Use the natural rotation to "shake out" the tremolo from your wrist.
Jazz Ambassador 8)

Offline thirtytwo2020

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 78
Re: Pathetique Sonata 1st Movement Tremolos
«Reply #4 on: March 08, 2016, 08:43:37 AM »
Yes, the pain most probably comes from tensing the hand and wrist. As dcstudio pointed out, this is a very common problem in this piece.
I just want to add a few practice tips. Assuming we are right, what's the best way of getting rid of your excess tension? I would say, start by playing only a few of these broken octaves at a time, trying to find a technique that will allow you to "shake them out" effortlessly with the help of forearm rotation (which, btw, is the arm movement you use when turning a screwdriver or a door knob). Don't focus on a "fixed" hand position, this could make you even more stiff. Try to keep the hand and wrist supple. Rest frequently, and if possible, try to get a professional to evaluate the technique you are using.
Once you can play one bar of broken octaves with a technique you believe in, it shouldn't be too hard adding more and more bars. Allow this procedure to take some time. Meanwhile, you can practice the right hand to perfection ;D