Friday, June 11, 2010

Chopin and the Keyboard

Chopin advocated the unrestricted use of the thumb on the black keys, and often used it to strike two adjacent keys simultaneously, much to the dismay of the conservative pedagogues of the day; he would sometimes pass the longest fingers over the shorter ones without the intervention of the thumb if that would secure a better legato; he recommended a flat finger for a singing touch; he employed the organist's favorite device of finger substitution to sustain melodies; he favored a low piano stool, finding it more comfortable than the high one adopted by the hard-hitting virtuosos who liked to descend on everything from a great height. Above all, there was his "flutter pedalling," that continuous vibrating of the sustaining pedal, which cast a warm glow over everything he played, yet gave it at the same time its unusual clarity. He reacted strongly against the so-called "finger-equalization" schools of Czerny, Kalkbrenner and others, maintaining that each finger has individual characteristics, which are there to be enhanced, not equalized away. "The third finger," he would tell his pupils, "is a great singer," and he would then go on to unfold entire phrases with this finger taking the major share of the work.

From the Music Teacher by Alan Walker.

For more information about piano instruction NJ, contact Barbara Ehrlich Piano Studio.