This week, the latest issue of Pianist Magazine arrived through the post with my article Confidence with Double Notes inside. Those of you who have seen the magazine will have noticed the indent Watch Graham Online, with the link to the video tutorial on the website (I have embedded the video later in this post).
I have to be very careful when I write about technique, as there are two distinct problems. The first problem is the multitude of different approaches, depending on what particular pianistic lineage you come from. Even though there will be many inefficient or even downright bad ways to play the piano, there is no one right way. The second problem is how to explain all this in writing clearly enough so as not to confuse. This is why a video demonstration is a very good idea, since the text can be backed up by seeing how it is done.
All we pianists know that playing an extended double note passage, especially when it’s fast, is one of the most difficult things to pull off. It requires a high level of finger independence and superfine coordination, which doesn’t usually come easily.
Double notes make demands of the weaker fingers on the outside of the hand, and can be dangerous if done incorrectly. This is why I stress wrist flexibility and correct alignment in my article and in my demonstration as being of paramount importance in all double-note playing. A locked or misaligned wrist is almost certain to injure you after a while. Exercises in double notes should come with a health warning for over-zealous students hoping that an hour a day of those Moszkowski exercises will turn them into a supervirtuoso. As with everything else, it depends on how you do them. Small but regular doses done with full attention are all that is necessary. Always check in with your body as you practise. If the hand feels stiff or tight then you are doing it wrong!
Here are my suggestions for practice:
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I am busy writing the next part of my ebook series, on technique. Meanwhile, you might be interested in the three volumes of practice tools.
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