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Building left hand technique (Read 1144 times)

Offline bernadette60614

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Building left hand technique
« on: May 05, 2018, 02:54:28 PM »
My left hands seems to be only 1/3 as "nimble" (best word I can think of at this moment) than my right.

I'm working on the Rondo from Beethoven's Opus 13, and the left hand is challenging for me.

Any practice tips would be much appreciated. Thank you.

Piano Street's Digital Sheet Music Library

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


Offline themeandvariation

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Re: Building left hand technique
«Reply #1 on: May 05, 2018, 05:45:29 PM »
Hi Bernadette.  You mentioned about working on a Bach piece - (in another thread).
Not to belabor a point, but, playing Bach is perhaps one of the Best ways to empower your LH to gain more control and suppleness.. (In much of Bach, the left hand is on equal footing with the RH, treating it as it's own 'voice' - (or sometimes voices - as one hand can even manage more than one voice). 
 Much of the compositions for piano treat the LH as more a supportive role to the RH, and thus de-emphasizing it's role (and ability) to a certain degree..   

4'33"

Offline louispodesta

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Re: Building left hand technique
«Reply #2 on: May 05, 2018, 11:10:09 PM »
My left hands seems to be only 1/3 as "nimble" (best word I can think of at this moment) than my right.

I'm working on the Rondo from Beethoven's Opus 13, and the left hand is challenging for me.

Any practice tips would be much appreciated. Thank you.
After all you have said, said, and done, I do not know why I bother.

Why?  I just recently memorized the 1st Movement of the Rach 2nd.  And, given the fact that I had to have major surgery to restore the normal use of my left hand, that is a big deal.

Accordingly:

1)  You need to take an elongated rest for about two weeks (or more).  During this time, you should analyze just what you do with your left hand, from the time you wake up and then go to bed.

2)  Why?  Somehow, you have stressed/injured your left hand, and if that is not corrected you will not solve your PROBLEM!  Due not assume (and, it might be) that the piano was the sole reason.  It could be it or a combination of things.

3)  I was going to recommend a strengthening Piece but, until you have identified the problem, that would not help.

All the best.

Offline bernadette60614

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Re: Building left hand technique
«Reply #3 on: May 06, 2018, 01:48:16 AM »
Thank you.  I am developing a great fondness for Bach (I think it is easily going to become an obsession!).

Possibly I have strained my left hand in some way.  My new teacher has indicated to me that my posture and the way I move my body when I play are not all that they should be.  I was taught in my early years to keep my entire body still and just play only with my hands.  In my last lesson, she demonstrated how I could "open up" my arm so that I achieve more rotation.

I appreciate everyone's input. Thank you very much.

Offline mjames

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Re: Building left hand technique
«Reply #4 on: May 06, 2018, 02:17:27 AM »
Whoever taught you that was an idiot. Like how the hell would you play huge arperggios quick tempi??

Err, left hand pieces. Scriabin Op. 9, and um Chopin Op. 25 no. 7. And yeah Bach, his partitas are helpful and also beautiful, so you won't be bored.

Rapid scale and arperggio runs before every practice session.

Online brogers70

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Re: Building left hand technique
«Reply #5 on: May 07, 2018, 01:02:27 AM »
I found these exercises for the left hand by Berens very helpful...

http://imslp.org/wiki/Die_Pflege_der_linken_Hand,_Op.89_(Berens,_Hermann)

Also, and both more difficult and more interesting, Brahms' arrangement of Bach's Chaconne from the D minor solo violin Partita for the left hand alone...

http://ks.imslp.info/files/imglnks/usimg/0/0b/IMSLP64516-PMLP04292-Bach_-_Chaconne_(arr_Brahms)_for_piano_solo_LH_Leipzig.pdf


Offline keypeg

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Re: Building left hand technique
«Reply #6 on: May 07, 2018, 01:33:00 AM »
I was taught in my early years to keep my entire body still and just play only with my hands. 
akh!  :o

Offline j_tour

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Re: Building left hand technique
«Reply #7 on: May 07, 2018, 07:29:15 PM »
Well, playing scalar lines mixed with wide jumps has been my bugbear for a long time.

Still haven't got the Chopin Op. 10 no 3 (G major) working, but it's coming along.

I have a fondness for Moszkowski's G minor étude -- it really works 345 in the LH, but I have no interest in playing it as an entire piece.  Just the bits that can help me.  Not that the sections beyond the "A" part aren't worthwhile and interesting, just a matter of concentrating on what I need technical woodshedding on -- can't do it all.

As a concert piece, I'd play that any day over the Revolutionary Étude, it's just fresher to my ear.

Beyond that, just scalar work, like Czerny's Op. 740 no. 5. That one's all cribbed out of real Beethoven repertoire, but you don't need as much brain power to play it. See the *Diabelli*, for example, for loads of examples where Czerny took a Beethoven pattern and just made it into a little exercise.

It takes me a long time to decide on an approach an execute it, but for me, that modest set, coupled with just scales and things like Beethoven's Op. 27 #1 (1st movement Allegro section, and last movement) sort of keeps me moving forward.

I guess it doesn't make much too much of a difference, so long as it's musical and is something you can work progressively on w/ LH.

No neg on the "Revolutionary Étude" -- I know somebody who worked hard on that and wouldn't have done the Moszkowski, just because...I don't know, he liked the piece for some reason and/or wanted to have that in his book.  Couldn't pay me enough to play it, AND YET, I still do the octave runs from time to time...I don't know, just to prove I could if I had a head injury and missed Wapner in 10 minutes.  It's not its raw techique, it's just deceptively long and tedious (IMHO!), and I'd rather just play a boogie/rock and roll than spend time on a piece I have heard more than enough times to last a lifetime.

:)

///ETA yeah, in a completely different vein, just screwing around, I like to play jazz heads, like various rhythm-changes tunes (Eternal Triangle, Anthropology, Oleo) or simple ones like "Parisian Thoroughfare" in the LH and occasionally make an exercise out of it, like, I'll drop one melody note in the RH and try to keep the LH going without dropping a beat.  

That could probably apply to any kind of scalar/melodic pattern.  

Not great at it, but it's entertaining and gives the brain some little task to do.

EETA And I wouldn't discount some of the running LH passages in various, even to having  quick glance at the Bach-Busoni Chorale-Preludes.

Even just the second movement from Beethoven's Op. 26 -- maybe a little elementary, but that's IMHO straight out of Bach, like you see in some of the later Beethoven.  From there, who knows?  That could be a feature of your own improvisation someday.  Certainly a legitmate style.
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Offline beethovenfan01

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Re: Building left hand technique
«Reply #8 on: May 09, 2018, 12:56:10 AM »
Quote
Still haven't got the Chopin Op. 10 no 3 (G major) working, but it's coming along.

Did you mean prelude Op. 28 No. 3 in G? That's the one with the technique you're talking about  ;D

Honestly one thing that's helped me improve my left hand a lot is to get away from the whole "melody and accompaniment" mindset. Instead, in most pieces, there is always something to appreciate about the left hand--and if the left hand is really hard, there definitely is.

Case in point: The left hand runs at the beginning of the C-sharp minor section of Chopin's 3rd Ballade. I was so ticked that Chopin wrote something so infuriatingly hard, until I realized that the left hand is actually its own melody line--and a very interesting one at that! As a practiced it different ways, experimenting with how to layer the two melodies on each other, the passage grew significantly easier mentally.

So, to the OP, I wonder if your issue is as much mental as it is physical. The mantra here would be--if it's boring (like an endless alberti or a tremolo), then it's probably pretty easy. But if it's challenging you, then odds are there's something to appreciate about it, and changing to this mindset really helps.

But if it's causing you pain, seriously don't strain yourself and play it slower. I don't know if the 2-week break Louispodesta recommended is quite warranted yet, but if you try to play too fast, too soon, and too tense, it will be. Take it easy. Tough left hand parts are nothing to sneeze at.
Practicing:
Bach Chromatic Fantasie and Fugue
Beethoven Sonata Op. 10 No. 1
Shostakovich Preludes Op. 34
Scriabin Etude Op. 2 No. 1
Liszt Fantasie and Fugue on BACH