Practice Procedures: Part 12: Using the Hand as a Door with a Hinge: Opening and Slamming the Door Shut.
March 31, 2017
As our example, the right hand plays c4 and g4 at the same time, continues to hold the g4 while changing the c4 to d4. c4-g4 becomes d4-g4.
The hand as a whole is the ‘door’. The long axis or length of the pinky is the hinge for closing and opening the door. Causing the pinky to roll clockwise by ninety degrees, but otherwise maintaining contact with the keys, has the effect of ‘opening’ the door. The hand (or door) as a whole goes from a position of being horizontal with the keyboard to a position of being vertical relative to the keyboard, with only the pinky maintaining contact with the keyboard. The hinge may be spring loaded, so that once open, the door is ready to shut violently. This action of shutting, which reverses the opening procedure, maybe done slowly or, but what is more useful, done rapidly as if the ‘slamming the door shut’. The latter is a powerful action.
In our example. The pinky is on g4. The thumb in on c4. The door is opened, and the thumb rises in an arc above the keyboard (as do the second, third and fourth fingers). in the open position the thumb is aligned fairly vertically over the pinky. The door is now slammed and the thumb (or the second finger) is caused to approach, not the c4 key, but the d4 key.
The motion of the thumb, going from c4 to d4, is no longer a motion to the right. It is a motion upwards and downwards, and because it is a motion of the entire hand, it is a more powerful motion, far easier to control. An abundance of energy exists in place of a localized motion in the thumb muscles.
Almost any Bach fugue, or other polyphonic piece, contains numerous instances of this type of ‘oblique’ motion of one voice relative to another, and therefore benefits from the procedure described.