Technique --> the Fingers are the Soldiers:
They are the frontiers, executors. Fingers have the shortest lever starting from
the knuckle joints and have the weakest muscles. Fingers basically can only move
up-and-down. They are always being helped by the upper arm, forearm, wrist and
hand to reach play position. Fingers need to synchronize and coordinate with the
rest of the playing members. I do not recommend Hannon finger exercises etc.
because they not in accord with human physiology and are
mechanical. When there are so many good piano
literatures with technical patterns to choose from, why
should we waist time on these anatomic nonsense exercises which produce
poor piano sound?
No finger exercise will ever give us true
independence of the fingers unless each finger is helped by the proper placement and adjustment
of the forearm and upper arm.
-- Gyorgy Sandor " On Piano Playing"
However, fingers made the ultimate contact of the
piano keys and are rich in sensory receptors enabling them to send
feedbacks to the brain making them one of the most sensitive parts of the
Develop the Kinesthetic Sense
of the Finger Tip:
Nothing is more important in piano playing than the sense of touch.
All physical activity is finally focused in the finger tips as they
contact the keys and drive down to the key bed at varying
rates of speed. The pianist must accurately sense the key
resistance and then completely control the downward movement
of the key. The key is always gently depressed, never be
struck. Fingers are placed on the keys, they never fell nor
"I do not use a stroke in playing, either in runs or
in chords. In rapid runs there is no time for a stroke. If you wish to strike
something, your arm must be at a distance from it. You cannot strike when your
hand or arm is close to the object. So in rapid playing there is no time to lift
high and strike. The fingers must remain near to the keys. The tone made by
striking is not agreeable to me. I prefer the tone which is felt by the finger,
and it is impossible to 'feel' the note and also to strike it. " ---
Quote from Vladimir Horowitz
Fingers are moved quickly in to position by freely moving
arms, which are fully support by the shoulders. (see
The Pianist) Before any
note is played, the finger is in position with the tip in
contact with the key surface, After the finger is in
position, the key is depressed sole by the pulling notion of
"As the finger touches the key
surface, it feel as though it were grasping the key, not striking of hitting
Quote from Joseph Lhevinne
Of course, not all percussive touches are
always undesirable: but as a rule a high finger action is to
"The finger need not be raised more then necessary. This is the only method by
which the player can learn to generate tone and as it were to make the
instrument sing." --- Beethoven
Tone quality is
controlled by the way fingertip and key are accelerated.
Constant or increasing acceleration produces a legato touch.
An initial quick acceleration produces a staccato sound.
(see The Tone)
Flat Fingers vs.
Advantage of the flat fingers:
When play with flat fingers, the fingers move
from the knuckle joint only. it is faster and simpler in action than
using the other two smaller joints of the finger when play
with curl fingers.
The finger tip has more contact area with the
key, the flesh part of the finger tip under the nail are rich in
sensory receptors enabling them to send feedbacks to the brain.
Because the contact area with the key is bigger,
it has less opportunity in missing the key in long jumps, especially
in playing with the black keys.
The sound is deeper and mellower when
using flat fingers, it is good in playing melodies; However,
when playing on most the white keys or playing the pearl like
passages, curl fingers are used.
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