-- Play Piano Nature's Way

 The Piano
 The Tone
 The pianist
 The Music
 The Technique
 Brain and Ear
 Upper Arm
 Hand & Wrist
 Greatest Pianists
 Great Lived pianists
 Great Literatures

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 playing mechanism.

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 thrown.

"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 the finger.

"As the finger touches the key surface, it feel as though it were grasping the key, not striking of hitting it."                      --- Quote from Joseph Lhevinne

Of course, not all percussive touches are always undesirable: but as a rule a high finger action is to be avoided.

"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. Curl Fingers:

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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