Piano songs - Rondo Alla Turca

Piano songs can be performed better with some understanding of the structure of the wrists, the pianist who practises them gains flexible and supple wrists

The phrase from Rondo Alla Turca shown in Image 1 below is notably captivating. If I could only get my 5th finger to behave better, the phrase would have been played to perfection. Pretty much, I can play the phrase well enough, I got the rhythm, tempo and speed mostly right. I have reduced hesitation in hitting the keys accurately except when it was the 5th finger doing it. The 5th finger and its equally stubborn buddy the 4th finger are often the culprit that ruins a phrase. 


...the phrase above continues as below...

Power fingers for piano songs

They can be made skilfully obedient with a suitable cocktail of practise regiments. One that I am applying is while placing the 5th finger of the left hand on C and the rest of the fingers on the subsequent keys, press the 4th finger on D and hold it. Then, play the other keys one at a time while the 4th finger remains pressed on D. 

With the right hand, while placing the thumb on C and the rest of the fingers on the subsequent keys, press the 2nd finger on D and hold it. Then, play the other keys one at a time while the 2nd finger remains pressed on D. Practise both hands together. 

The primary goal is to strengthen the 4th and 5th fingers, however to instil a sense for conjuring the artistic image of piano songs, even simple melodies should be played with expression. Join the notes to play them in legato. We do this by lifting the finger off the key at the last moment after the next finger lands on the key which comes after it.  

Vary the tone from pianissimo to fortissimo and speed by practising the notes in the exercise as crotchets, substituting them with quavers then semiquavers. Even with simple melodies I can be creative in experimenting with the variety of elements such as tone, speed, tempo and touch.  

While doing so, I kept my inner hearing sensitive to check on the quality of sound and my own movements. Making corrections immediately upon finding one. As a result, the image I conjured up with my creativity, imagination and understanding of the melodies becomes a performance.

Not fingers, but wrists play piano songs

The piano is not played with the fingers, but with the rotary movement of the wrists and thrusts of the arms. When the 3rd finger or the 5th finger presses a key, the wrist and the arm should be in a position where they are lined up on a straight line. Leaving me with the opportunity to use the wrist’s freedom of lateral movement to guide the hand so that the thumb and 2nd finger can press their keys with ease and without tension. 

Having an understanding on the structure of the wrists helped me to acquire better flexibility. There are 3 joints in the wrist.

Illustration : Structure of wrist

Carpometacarpal articulation (or joints) connect the bones in the hand to the distal row of wrist bones . 'Distal' is an anatomy term meaning situated farthest from point of attachment or origin. There are five joints, one for each finger.  Intercarpal articulation (or joints) connects the two rows of wrist bones. Distal radioulnar articulation (or joints) connect 1 row of wrists bones to the radius .

The wrist is a flexible structure two rows of small bones connecting the arm and hand. Distal radioulnar articulation (or joints) governs the up and down movements and sideways bending of the hands. The widest range of wrist movement happens at the distal radioulnar articulation (or joints) but significant movement also happen at the other joints.

To project a phrase’s abundant artistic value in full such as the one from Rondo Alla Turca shown in Image 1, practise playing with expression even with simple melodies. During practice concentrate not only on technique but also on your intellectual and emotional reactions to the music.  

Ask yourself am I going too slow or too fast? Is the note soft enough? Am I overlooking the nuance somewhere? Use inner hearing to make adjustments to the sounds according to your intellectual and emotional interpretations.

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