Joe's Blog

{15} Translation of Axis in Space

May 9, 2017


When we have technical difficulty doing a particular series of notes along the horizontal plane of the piano keyboard, we can remove some of the difficulty by changing the axis of motion from horizontal to vertical.

We repeat the same series of muscular gestures that we would have made in the horizontal plane, but the hands are turned sideways, pinkies down.  The feelings in the muscles are different because gravity is pulling from a new direction relative to the hand.  If we wiggle the fingers in the air, first with the palms down, and then with the palms sideways, close introspection will show that the sensations are different, not only in the fingers but throughout the arm lever.

There are other differences as well.  The distance of the hand from the torso, instead of varying, as the hand moves left and right along the keyboard, now remains constant: we have simplified things by eliminating one ‘parameter’ of the motion.

The best benefit of changing planes is the new view we have of things.  It is not whether the motions seem easier or harder, but we see it in a new light.

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