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Most pupils have few problems negotiating rapid legato scales, but short detached passage work at speed rarely feels comfortable, hence staccato scales are sometimes taken much slower than the intended tempo. As with so many areas of piano playing, tension can rear its ugly head and ruin even the best intentions.

However, in this post, I will deal with finger staccato , and how to achieve crisp, clear and even note groups, helping those who are working at their scales, exercises, or simply wanting to produce neater articulation.

Level 1: Articulation and the Wrist

Finger staccato implies that only the fingers should move. Start by ensuring complete freedom in the upper body. As with many technical challenges, focus on how your body feels when playing, not just on what is being played.


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As with most techniques, starting slowly often produces the best results. Combine this with a free wrist at all times; letting go of tension at designated places. Practice passage work in different rhythmical groups; groups of four semi-quavers can be accented slightly on every first beat of the group, to improve co-ordination if hands are playing together.

If tension does build, stop immediately, and only practice a few notes at a time. Divide passages into small sections to begin with, building up as and when strength is acquired. The deeper and heavier fingers are worked whilst practising slowly, the less the eventual effort when playing fast, light and crucially, detached.

Finger Staccato

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5 Top Tips to Improve Finger Staccato

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  7. A push into the ball came from the forearm, backed up by the whole arm , so tightening the wrist was to no avail. The wrist belonged to the total anatomical assembly— a source of fuel to spur smooth motor movements. Forearm staccato, regarded as an isolated physical universe separated from the wrist and fingers was for me, counter-intuitive. All levers and muscles worked together, but one might be enlisted with particular emphasis in various musical contexts. When I played the A minor Natural form scale in rapid 16ths, staccato, soft piano I released the dead weight of the forearm to my imagined finger tips, but I still had the support of my whole arm, a relaxed, wrist and forearm behind my fingers.

    The imagination played no small role.

    5 Top Tips to Improve Finger Staccato – Melanie Spanswick

    The short video below demonstrated the unity of muscles and physical levers as I played staccato scales in a contrasting dynamic range, but specifically juxtaposing the forearm versus finger emphasized staccato. You are commenting using your WordPress.

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