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Are my fingers weirdly fat or why can't I play like Uchida? (Read 1337 times)

Offline bernadette60614

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I"m working on the Rondo from Beethoven Opus 13, and I find it difficult to achieve the left hand lightness--it is as if the fingers on my left hand have suddenly tripled in thickness.

I'm a week into practicing, so any practice tips would be much appreciated.

Piano Street's Digital Sheet Music Library

Beethoven: Sonata 8 (Pathétique), opus 13
piano sheet music of Sonata 8 (Pathétique)


Offline furiouzpianist

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Re: Are my fingers weirdly fat or why can't I play like Uchida?
«Reply #1 on: May 03, 2018, 02:39:57 PM »
Go sit kneel and pray thanks to our Lord that you can’t play like the Ughida (sic) due to your impressive (finger) Girth

Offline perfect_pitch

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Re: Are my fingers weirdly fat or why can't I play like Uchida?
«Reply #2 on: May 04, 2018, 11:32:47 PM »
I'm trying to figure out if that's a contentious & sarcastic remark about the poster, or a pathetic jab at Mitsuko Uchida - who has easily shown she's a world class pianist.

If it's the former - you need to have a little humility and respect that some people come here to ask for help... not to advertise like a prostitute on the city streets.

If it's the latter, then you of all people don't get to criticise her. She's won the respect of many establishments and institutions... and all I can is your post reeks of...


Offline furiouzpianist

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Re: Are my fingers weirdly fat or why can't I play like Uchida?
«Reply #3 on: May 05, 2018, 01:24:40 AM »
 8)

Offline bernadette60614

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Re: Are my fingers weirdly fat or why can't I play like Uchida?
«Reply #4 on: May 05, 2018, 02:29:52 PM »
Okay, I don't know why this got off track so quickly, perhaps I should have not tried to be so whimsical in the subject line.  I'll repost this elsewhere. Thanks.

Offline louispodesta

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Re: Are my fingers weirdly fat or why can't I play like Uchida?
«Reply #5 on: May 08, 2018, 10:52:03 PM »
I"m working on the Rondo from Beethoven Opus 13, and I find it difficult to achieve the left hand lightness--it is as if the fingers on my left hand have suddenly tripled in thickness.

I'm a week into practicing, so any practice tips would be much appreciated.
Dear Bernadette:

1)  I have never played on an Original Pianoforte, or a Re-Constructed Model.

2)  Nevertheless, Maestro Beethoven never played on a Hammerklavier in his life!

3)  Even though Beethoven's Piano Manufacturer probably sent him one, he never EVER! played on anything other than an advanced Pianoforte with a

Offline tenk

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Re: Are my fingers weirdly fat or why can't I play like Uchida?
«Reply #6 on: May 10, 2018, 04:57:37 PM »
Dear Bernadette:
1)  I have never played on an Original Pianoforte, or a Re-Constructed Model.
What does this have to do with the OP?

2)  Nevertheless, Maestro Beethoven never played on a Hammerklavier in his life!
What does this have to do with the OP?

3)  Even though Beethoven's Piano Manufacturer probably sent him one, he never EVER! played on anything other than an advanced Pianoforte with a
What does this have to do with the OP? Also should I call for medical assistance?

Offline indianajo

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Re: Are my fingers weirdly fat or why can't I play like Uchida?
«Reply #7 on: May 11, 2018, 04:45:22 AM »
The inactivity of the moderator here is perhaps one reason this forum is declining in popularity.  I suspect furiouzpianist is a bot,not a human. And Louis P always says the same things, he may as well have silicon for a brain.  
The alternative forum, Pianoworld, requires a real birthdate to participate.  They will have to pay for a credit report for that information, I'm certainly not giving it away.  Same with facebook & twitter, ***** em. Besides world is run by a piano repair shop and stifle discussions of diy piano repairs.  
Be careful what you ask for. I have exceedingly slender fingers, and it pretty much means I can't play any concert grand at this age.  I can't even ride a bicycle without modification, fiddling with the Shimano thumb shifter caused a huge cyst over my thumb tendon. So exercise to build strength would NOT , but instead inflame the tendons & joints.  
Guitarist Charlotte Caffey has slender fingers, and had to quit performing at the height of popularity.  She used a specially narrow necked guitar, but developed hand injury anyway.  

Offline louispodesta

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Re: Are my fingers weirdly fat or why can't I play like Uchida?
«Reply #8 on: May 13, 2018, 11:10:21 PM »
The inactivity of the moderator here is perhaps one reason this forum is declining in popularity.  I suspect furiouzpianist is a bot,not a human. And Louis P always says the same things, he may as well have silicon for a brain.  
The alternative forum, Pianoworld, requires a real birthdate to participate.  They will have to pay for a credit report for that information, I'm certainly not giving it away.  Same with facebook & twitter, ***** em. Besides world is run by a piano repair shop and stifle discussions of diy piano repairs.  
Be careful what you ask for. I have exceedingly slender fingers, and it pretty much means I can't play any concert grand at this age.  I can't even ride a bicycle without modification, fiddling with the Shimano thumb shifter caused a huge cyst over my thumb tendon. So exercise to build strength would NOT , but instead inflame the tendons & joints.  
Guitarist Charlotte Caffey has slender fingers, and had to quit performing at the height of popularity.  She used a specially narrow necked guitar, but developed hand injury anyway.  
I am many things, and the full name is Louis Podesta!  However, as a Pianist/Philosopher (who normally exposes Hypocrisy), this Post is no different.
Therefore, the "Inactivity Of The Moderator," is the operative phrase.

Accordingly, when one "Uses" Bernadette or "Uses" Keypeg, then all is fair play.  That means:   when anyone is going to generate a "False Post," and it is obvious that they have done so, then any criticism is fair game.




Offline keypeg

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Re: Are my fingers weirdly fat or why can't I play like Uchida?
«Reply #9 on: May 14, 2018, 12:07:23 AM »
I am many things ......
Accordingly, when one "Uses" Bernadette or "Uses" Keypeg .............
Louis, the forum is "student's corner", and a question has been asked about difficulties in playing a particular section of a particular piece.  The fact of what your name is, does not help the asker with her question.  It does not help any other student who may try to get information about the same thing.

Your original response was to tell us what kind of piano you have never played, and what kind of piano Beethoven played.  Maybe you were trying to help, by suggesting that when Beethoven wrote the piece, the action was different, so playing was different, so difficulty would be different.  Whatever it was, you did not spell it out enough for it to be understandable - to be used in solving the problem  All we have is the fact that you don't own a particular type of piano.

We are not discussing persons.  We are discussing how to play certain things, difficulties with the same, the question being asked by a student in a student forum, with other students like myself reading what is presented here.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Are my fingers weirdly fat or why can't I play like Uchida?
«Reply #10 on: May 14, 2018, 12:19:33 AM »
In regards to all being "fair play" if someone uses a certain handle --- "Fair play" is a thing that happens in competitions and battles. There is no competition and no battle.  There are students here.  I am one of them.  I will not accept a stance that sets out to intimidate students.  If you want to go into aggression and intimidation, then go some place where people actually wage battles.  Not students trying to learn. It is hard enough to be a student starting at an older age.  It is extremely difficult, in fact. 

Offline keypeg

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Re: Are my fingers weirdly fat or why can't I play like Uchida?
«Reply #11 on: May 14, 2018, 12:57:09 AM »
Bernadette - I didn't respond to your question because I'm a student, and my biggest challenges are in the area of physical playing.  I had a bad start because when I was young I was given a piano, hand-me down music from a grandparent, and "went to it".  They were all sonatinas, mostly Clementi - between the repertoire and lack of instruction or any model, it did a number on the "technique" I ended up with.  35 years of not having a piano, and when I finally did, trying to revamp all of that. So I don't try to give advice on these kinds of things.

That said - my first thought, from my own experience of being a student, was for you to pose this question to your teacher.  What is it that is causing that "fat feeling", or conversely, what is it that promotes "lightness" - what is it that she sees or knows?  I looked at the opening bars of the music and I knew that if I tried to play the LH using the kinds of motions I used to have, I'd be in trouble even at way below tempo.  These are the kinds of things being sorted out in my own playing.  It can be all kinds of things.  For example, trying to span all the notes of an open chord with the hand, with too little movement of wrist, arm, or whatever; even the geography of moving in and out of black keys, and in my case it can even be keeping tension in the lower back because of how I am "seated" or "too seated".  That's why I suggest that you ask your teacher to examine what is going on.

Have you been able to solve any of it since writing in?

Offline bernadette60614

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Re: Are my fingers weirdly fat or why can't I play like Uchida?
«Reply #12 on: May 14, 2018, 06:52:03 PM »
Dear KeyPeg:

I think we've had somewhat parallel musical developments.  I started lessons at age 12, my teacher quickly moved me into very advanced pieces (Moonlight Sonata, Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6, if I recall, Schubert Impromtus), but I learned nothing about:  counting, physical mechanics, pedaling, expression.  Decades without playing (I stopped at 18), then 4 additional teachers, all of whom gave me pieces to play, but taught me nothing about the aforementioned.

I then decided to pursue the ABRSM, which has proven to be like walking into a beehive unshielded (okay, not quite that bad...but, oh, my somedays.)

Now, to respond to your question:

My teacher tells me I play from "the joint" down..that joint right above the fingers. The rest of my hand/wrist/arm are still (this was the way I was taught.)  We have begun two new pieces...and I predict it may take me a year to learn them...because along the way I am learning how to "roll" my hand when I'm playing passages which call for a quick light sound, how to drop my hand down on the piano when I want a clear staccato and so on.

This weekend I saw Kissin, and since my seats are on the terrace directly behind him, I get a terrific view of his hands and I noted how his hand mechanics (is that it?) changed. He played the Hammerklavier, and the quick passages were on his fingertips seemingly using out the knuckle above. The quick and loud passages were those fingertips, but with a lift of his wrists.  And, in the slower movements his fingers were flatter and seemingly totally relaxed.

It was a beast of a program with the Beethoven sonata, and multiple Rachmaninoff preludes so I'm speculating the hand mechanics were different than what I would see with a program of early Mozart sonatas.

And, all of the above should be taken with:  In my humble opinion...and just bashing around trying to figure it all out.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Are my fingers weirdly fat or why can't I play like Uchida?
«Reply #13 on: May 15, 2018, 12:03:01 PM »
Bernadette, what you say makes sense to me, and it also seems my guess was not that far off.  Well, just going by what I know and have experienced it makes sense.  Yes, we seem to be on similar journeys.  When I came into this, I already knew from what happened with my lessons on another instrument, that returning to piano, I'd want to get what was underneath.  I had figured out there was an underneath.

The biggest challenge for me has been any music that resembles the type I played when self-taught as a child.  The first "fixes" for me was done via music that had sold chords, since that is what I had hardly ever touched.  Last year I dared touch my first sonatina, which had Alberti bass, and within three minutes my left hand had become stiff and unwieldy: I was moving as I had done back then.  So I first relearned how to move for A.bass - an entirely different way than what I had done in the past.  I think that what I had learned via solid chords, which taught me something about moving more than fingers, contributed. But this is an example.

In general, I am not learning specifics such as you described, but general principles.  For example, "everything must be free to move at least a little bit; nothing should ever be locked".  To remain well balanced over gravity, which is a mobile thing, rather than sitting up stiffly upright in a pose, as if your picture is being taken with a slow camera.  To move 3 dimensionally, in and out of black keys, up, down, sideways, with all joints able to move.  That sometimes you might have more movement in the smaller parts (fingers, hands), sometime more in the larger - and that everything interconnects.  Stiff fingers can create stiff shoulders: and vice versa.  This idea of "principles" then gives a chance to experiment with the variables.

Time and timing are also variables.  For example, one person I worked with secondarily (with my teacher's approval) observed a kind of stop-start.  Play note: stop on that note: move to next note: stop on that note: etc. If you drove a car that way, you'd soon wear out the mechanism.  In actual fact, as you're on one note, you can already start moving to the next one, even if it's a shifting of balance.  Like when you walk your foot rolls, your weight shifts.  This is also a variable.

Tons of stuff.  :)