Tag: Energy

Springs: Easily created, and then able to release a sudden surge of energy

Originally published on Facebook on 2.8.16

There is no technical or musical difficulty at the piano that will not yield to a sufficient application of energy. We must have, however, a reliable way to create such unstoppable energy, and create it at the moment we need it.

A spring is a way of storing up potential energy, usually in a gradual fashion, for the purpose of a sudden release, or sudden burst of energy. Many of the more difficult technical issues at the piano, which compared to what comes before and after in the same piece of music, require such a heightened release of energy, and though briefly, at an energy level much greater than the rate at which we are expending energy in our playing.

Playing situations requiring this sudden ability to release copious amounts of energy in a brief burst of time are: skips, extreme speed, and in general those technical situations that suddenly arise that are ‘dense’, where the hands and fingers feel somewhat lost in the keyboard and unable to navigate from note to note, or finger to finger, with alacrity.

The principle of the spring is fairly simple. It requires something that has the ability to be temporarily deformed and which will spring back to its original shape with great speed.

As it turns out almost any part, or even part of a part of the body can behave in this fashion.

In the future we will enumerate examples of these many springs.

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{9} ENERGY: THE UNIVERSAL REMEDY

{9} ENERGY: THE UNIVERSAL REMEDY

With sufficient ‘energy’ any technical or musical difficulty can be successfully overcome.  This includes any difficulty that can be described in terms of time (for instance speed), or motion in space.

The issue is how to suddenly generate the required amount of energy.   It can seem unfair when two consecutive measures of a piece sound quite similar, but the second one requires a much greater outlay of energy than the first.  Without that extra energy a listener will notice only that the two measures did not flow equally.  Only with the sudden increase will the listener approve in the negative sense of not noticing anything untoward.

‘Springs’, which we have talked about already (see entry #7), offer us one of the ways of suddenly generating a great amount of energy.  The force of a spring unwinding if compressed, or contracting if it is stretched, can be as small or large as one wishes.

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Practice Procedures: Part 15: Minimum Effort: The Principle of the Least Difference

A Starting Point:

While in a relaxed state of stillness in the body, regardless of what position or attitude the body is in, say to yourself “This is all that I have to do to play this passage”.   “I am in fact playing the passage right now just by holding still.”  “All I have to do is perpetuate this state.”

Another Starting Point:

While in the relaxed state of stillness, consider every joint, every part of the playing mechanism, one by one, and ask “is this joint capable of moving in response to slightest vagrant breeze, the slightest intention of moving.  If yes, then say: “This is all I have to do to play the passage”.  “I am in fact playing the passage right now just by feeling internally these minimal, nascent virtual gestures that are invisible from the outside.

A Third Starting Point:

I hold out my hands in front of me, turning the palms towards my eyes.  I look at my fingers, which should not be moving in any way – nor should be tense in any way to prevent them from moving.  Then I say to my fingers, as they remain in a quiet state: look, guys, all you have to do is … and then I say or sing the local passage … or simply speak its rhythm.   Then taking a leap of faith I do it a second time with no conscious difference from the first, but allowing the notes to sound at the keyboard as written.

The implication is that any effort, or put in a better way, any conscious addition of effort, is already too much effort.  That the proper measure of the activity does not feel quantitatively different than when I felt no activity in the hand.  That the difference is so slight (principle of least difference) that any conscious difference is already too much.

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