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Adaptive Strategies for Small-Handed Pianists$
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Lora Deahl and Brenda Wristen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190616847

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190616847.001.0001

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Technique and the Small-Handed Pianist

Technique and the Small-Handed Pianist

(p.54) Three Technique and the Small-Handed Pianist
Adaptive Strategies for Small-Handed Pianists

Lora Deahl

Brenda Wristen

Oxford University Press

Chapter 3 explores the three main areas of technical challenge for small-handed pianists: fatigue, power, and reach. Building on the examination of fundamental principles of movement in Chapter 2, this chapter equips readers with the analytical tools to critically evaluate the adaptive strategies discussed later in the book, tools which pianists may then use to develop additional approaches tailored to their own needs. Common maladaptive tendencies are discussed. A lexicon of facilitative techniques follows, delineating important strategies such as timing muscular release, choosing appropriate levers, cultivating alignment, combining basic movements into larger gestures, reducing the amplitude of movements and gestures, maximizing key speed, transmitting force through skeletal structures, using arm impulses, using the arm to navigate distances, using passive spread, and using vertical spans. The chapter concludes with a discussion of boundaries that should be respected.

Keywords:   fatigue, power, reach, maladaptive tendencies, muscular release, levers, alignment, gestures, key speed, force

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