Arm & wrist octaves--staccato & legato - Technique tips wanted

Technique, methods and advice for learners

Postby presto » Tue Sep 02, 2008 6:47 pm

Well, the topic of this thread pretty much says it all. I wonder if anyone, particularly the more experienced pianists belonging to this forum, could explain the science behind the arm and wrist octave techniques, and give some tips on playing them staccato and legato.

As a piano student, I find these to be two of the hardest parts of required technique I have encountered so far. In the past, for other things, such as arpeggios, a little advice and a lot of getting "into the keys" and various attempts at sounding smoother (thinking musically worked for me) were all I needed to make progress. Here, for some reason, everything I've tried to date has only taken me so far, which isn't as far as I need to go, and I'm beginning to wonder if I'm missing a piece of the puzzle (some important nugget or two of knowledge) and don't know it.

Can anyone help set me straight? I'd more than appreciate it.
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Postby Tranquillo » Wed Sep 03, 2008 7:10 am

presto wrote:As a piano student, I find these to be two of the hardest parts of required technique I have encountered so far. In the past, for other things, such as arpeggios, a little advice and a lot of getting "into the keys" and various attempts at sounding smoother (thinking musically worked for me) were all I needed to make progress. Here, for some reason, everything I've tried to date has only taken me so far, which isn't as far as I need to go, and I'm beginning to wonder if I'm missing a piece of the puzzle (some important nugget or two of knowledge) and don't know it.

Can anyone help set me straight? I'd more than appreciate it.

I agree with you I had the same problem. My wrist used to really hurt after doing staccato double in octaves ... and I told my teacher this immediately and I was told to rest, and not do it until he saw me. Turns out that my action was not from the fingers, instead I used my hand as a a 'hammer' lifting it all up in a locked clawed position and striking it down. Basically the words that are continuously drummed into me are "grip with the fingers" - what I was told intially was that the shoulder, arm, elbow, wrist has to be relaxed before anything happens. Tension restricts movement and hence there isn't much freedom in playing ...

well I hoped that bit helped, I haven't looked into arms in double octave staccato but I can almost predict how I would react
:;):
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Postby presto » Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:31 pm

Thanks--any advice is much appreciated, especially when it comes from firsthand experience rather than hearsay. I'm going to try to keep relaxation foremost in mind next time!

Anyone else have any further thoughts?
88 keys--
10 fingers--
No problem!
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Postby Tranquillo » Fri Nov 21, 2008 6:09 am

I was told to sit closer when playing in staccatto but that has much to do with my height.
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