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Topic: When playing the piano how often do your fingers contact the headboard?  (Read 2097 times)

Offline HarleyMan

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Today, I was asked, "When playing the paino, how often do your fingers touch or contact the headboard of the piano?"   

I am a beginner.  My answer was, "Never.  I play the front edge of the keys all of the time."   And now I am very curious about the question....

Should I be playing with my fingers more toward the headboard?  If so, why?



HarleyMan

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HarleyMan

Offline bardolph

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I have a Yamaha YDP-123 whenever I play octaves or certain big chords on the black keys, fingers 2 and 3 frequently bangs into the retracted keyboard cover (which is where the headboard is of course).  As if this weren't bad enough, the cover has a lip, so it is shaped like a tubular surfer's wave seen in cross section, and those fingers get trapped under it a bit.  I'm not an advanced pianist yet though, so I have no way of knowing whether this would annoy a real pianist at all, but I'm tempted to take the piano apart and remove the damned keyboard cover  ;D



Offline Motrax

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Yes, this problem annoys "real pianists" immensely when it happens. Personally, I've found that most pianos has the same length of keys (that's out in the open, anyway) as my piano, so things are fine. But for a few uprights, and the occasional baby grand, the headboard seems much closer, and this inhibits my playing to a great degree.

Unfortunately, there isn't a lot you can do about it. I would say that it's very important to be able to play on keys near the headboard in order to use efficient movements to their fullest.
"I always make sure that the lid over the keyboard is open before I start to play." --  Artur Schnabel, after being asked for the secret of piano playing.

Offline chopinguy

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Usually I also tend to play towards the outer edges of the keys, one of the reasons being so that I get slightly more control over the keys, as you get better leverage at the edge.  You might ask, well, what do you do to play black keys?  The answer is to open your finger, not totally staight, but straigter than it would be on a white key.  Of course you'll have to play near the headboard sometimes, but here are two reasons why I tend to play towards the outside edges of the keys.

1. So that I don't have to move my hand in and out so I can switch between black and white keys.

2. So that when I drop my fingers on the keys, finger-to-white-key distance is the same as finger-to-black-key distance.

About #2 there, I'm not sure how many people know that technique, and it's one that I learned fairly recently, where you drop your fingers on the keys with the weight of the arm behind them as opposed to just pressing the keys down with the fingers.

If anyone doesn't understand #2, I'll attempt at putting a clearer explanation here.  Imagine putting your hand on a regular set of white keys, one next to the others, (such as D-E-F-G-A).  Your fingers are curved as if they are holding a ball.  Now, say you want to play that F# with your 3rd finger (which was on F before).  You could keep your finger curved the same way, but just move your whole hand in towards the headboard so that you can play the F#.  But, you could also keep your hand in the same spot, but just extend your third finger out to the F# by straightening it a bit.  I won't get into the details on why opening the finger to play the black keys is better than keeping them curved, but there's the basic idea.  Less movement = more efficient playing.

Hope all of that makes sense!  If anyone's got a better explanation (i'm sure there's some other ones out there) then post it here!

Offline willcowskitz

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I'm not sure how many people know that technique, and it's one that I learned fairly recently, where you drop your fingers on the keys with the weight of the arm behind them as opposed to just pressing the keys down with the fingers.

Can such a trivial thing be called a "technique"? I was never told of it before I had discovered the strength of help from gravity, experimenting on the keyboard, gaining consciousness over my hands.

Offline bardolph

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muaAHAHAHA... I have just removed the keyboard cover from my YDP-123!  I also moved the top (which now constitutes the headboard, and is still too close) back a little.  Now it feels like my old digital piano; if I go too far into the keys, my fingers will still hit the board, so I shouldn't develop a habit that can't be transferred to other pianos.

Now to remove the pedal assembly and fix all the nasty clicking and noise...I also had to do that with my last digital, a Kawai.  The operation was successful that time :)

I have to say, much as I like this piano, I wouldn't recommend it.  Incredibly noisy pedals and the headboard (actually combination of top and retractable keyboard cover) is too close to fingers and fingers also get caught under the lip.

So folks, when shopping for a digital, in addition to all the other considerations, try all the pedals carefully and thoroughly; do they work properly?  Do they make noticeable mechanical sounds like clicking and creaking?  And then play black key octaves and chords and consider the headboard; do your fingers hit the board more than with most pianos?  Compare this aspect with standard pianos.

Offline chopinguy

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Can such a trivial thing be called a "technique"? I was never told of it before I had discovered the strength of help from gravity, experimenting on the keyboard, gaining consciousness over my hands.


Well, technique is just the way that people play a piano, so I guess it would be one.  Whenever you're playing the piano, you're using a technique.  Good, bad, whatever, it's a technique.

Offline gyzzzmo

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Hi,

i almost never contact the headboad.
Only with op.25#9. The fun is, that i have a digital piano and i often hit one of the buttons, like vibraphone, witch gives a bit funny effect. ;)

Gyzzzmo
1+1=11

Offline willcowskitz

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Well, technique is just the way that people play a piano, so I guess it would be one.  Whenever you're playing the piano, you're using a technique.  Good, bad, whatever, it's a technique.

I see "a technique" in this reference as optimal means to physically achieve the best results in something, bad technique would then just be lack of technique. Of course there are much more obvious "techniques" than using the mass of your hands to press down keys which people don't have to elaborate on (and which I wouldn't even call "a" techniques), but nonetheless it just amazes me sometimes how little people try to get *into* the playing and *into* the technical performance of their playing by theirselves. Although the keyboard of piano is not anatomically the greatest invention, it is not that demanding to find the shortest routes from a key to key, or a chord to chord, or from the mind to body to keyboard. Its all just a matter of chopping movements into smaller bits, mastering the bits, then applying the control over the details to the big picture.

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