Robert Estrin - piano expert

How to Play Chords on the Piano - Part 2

Master the correct technique to play fast chords on the piano

In this second video of a two-part series, Robert extends his teaching to fast chords, and how to approach them for a commanding performance.

Released on December 25, 2013

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Video Transcription

Welcome to and I'm your host, Robert Estrin, with the second in a two-part series, "How to Play Chords on the Piano." Last time I showed you how to play loud, slow chords, as well as how to delineate the melody in quiet chords. Today we're going to talk about fast chords. Whereas in slow chords you can use the arm weight to get a beautiful sound, there isn't the speed with the arm sometimes for rapid chords. I've chosen the second section of the Liszt, "Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6" because it has a very fast chord section. And the secret to playing fast chords is to utilize the wrist.

That's right. Sometimes the arms just can't go fast enough. And I'll demonstrate and show you. And I will play it correctly the first time and then I'll show you the mistake of trying to play it with the arms because it's virtually impossible to get the tempo fast enough with the arms. Just too much mass to move. So here's utilizing the wrist. You can play fast chords in Liszt and other composers.


So that's right. It's all in the wrist. As a matter of fact, I do have a video on that subject that you might want to reference because the wrist is responsible for many aspects of piano playing where these too quick for the arms to accomplish it but there's too much power for the fingers alone. Here is where the trouble begins. If you try to play with your arms, anywhere close to that tempo, watch what happens.


It's virtually impossible to play it up to speed with the arms. There's too much motion. Just simple physics. If you have too much mass, it takes a tremendous amount of energy to move it. With small mass, that is just moving this much, just the hands, moving the wrist instead of the whole arm. You can get tremendous speed out of your chords as well.

Thanks so much for joining me. Robert Estrin here at and
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