THE FLAP IN THE PALM
November 9, 2020
The longest and the strongest mechanism within the hand as a whole.
If you look directly at the palm (or the ‘underneath’ side of the
hand), and flex fingers 2 – 5 simultaneously, you will notice an illy
defined and sometimes a very clearly defined crease in the skin
running laterally (left and right) across the width of the palm.
Usually the older you are the more pronounced is this crevice or
geological canyon running along the surface of the palm. Place the
length of the pinkie side of the other hand into the crevice. Try to
flap the original hand along the length of the crevice, using the
other hand to anchor, steady or define the motion. it may help to
juxtapose the sides of the adjacent fingers in the hand that is
flapping. IF you flap the hand without the external help of the
other hand, then by suddenly collapsing the around the crease, causing
the underneath sides of the fingers to slap down on the palm, you
should be able to produce a “popping” due to the sudden compression of
the air pocket in the bowl of the palm.
I learned about this feature of the body when I was about 18 from my
second teacher, Edwine Behre. Now that I’m 73, and the physiology of
my body has changed, not for the better, I found myself today reviving
the use of the “crease” in the palms. To steady the fingers
neurologically, I added to the “flap” an awareness of the weight of
the underneath of the finger about to play, but just the weight of the
underneath part of that finger and from just the third knuckle to the
second knuckle. I consciously used the muscles in that part of the
finger to lead and impel the motion of the rest of the finger
including the qtip of the finger as it approached and depressed the
key on the piano.
Playing while using the crease of the palm as the hinge of the action
full length of the fingers – which can then act as one – is one of the
techniques that serves the overall purpose of unifying rather than
separating or isolating the parts of the playing mechanism,
contributing to the overall harmonization and unification of the body
as a whole at the piano.