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Topic: Playing Chords Fast  (Read 1469 times)

Offline Glyptodont

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Playing Chords Fast
on: May 09, 2005, 04:21:56 PM
I am presently working on "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring" in the Myra Hess arrangement.  Sometimes I play it pretty well, and then other times I make too many mistakes. 

I have figured out that technique is pretty important here.   I have changed my hands technique and it seems to help a lot.

To play it accurately at any sort of speed I need to keep my hands arched and incorporate some wrist and arm.  This results in sort of popping or snapping the chords rather than just pressing the keys.  It also brings me off each chord with a little bounce, getting my hands high enough to easily reposition for the next chord. When I do this right, it almost seems like I am kind of "bouncing" from chord to chord.   I seem to get good speed and good accuracy, and a kind of cleanness to the sound.  It also helps with timing, because there's a kinetic feedback as these little "bounces" take place.

On the contrary, If I let my hands flatten out and just press keys, without using any wrist,  I don't get enough elevation coming off the chords and my fingers tend to "drag" when I reposition for the next chord.  Then I start missing chords and making mistakes. 

Another advantage of  using more wrist is that I  get all the notes in the chords to sound at exactly the same time -- making for a cleaner sound.  [Proper use of the pedal avoids an unwanted stacatto effect.]

I will have my lesson tomorrow and will discuss this with my teacher.  In the meanwhile, does anyone have any comment?

Sometimes I think -- I imagined certain pieces were way beyond my ability, but perhaps this is partly because I was not using good technique.

There is a point where youthful students playing simple method books at Level I and Level II are not taught much hand technique.  Or even if they are, they are not encountering material that illustrates its importance.  Then -- perhaps years later --  they more into more difficult material and lack the technique that would make difficult pieces more accessible. 

Perhaps this is another good argument that a teacher is worth his/her pay, even for adults who have the basics of sight reading and probably "could" struggle on as self-taught in some fashion or other.