Robert Estrin - piano expert

What is a "Quiet Hand" in Piano Playing?

Learn the concept of "quiet hand" in piano playing

In this video, Robert teaches you how to use this very unique technique to reach new levels of expressiveness in your piano playing.

Released on October 26, 2016

  
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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hi, this is Robert Estrin, welcome to livingpianos.com and virtualsheetmusic.com. Today's questions is, what is meant by having a quiet hand in piano playing? I don't know if you've ever heard the term but my father Morton Estrin, who was my teacher until I went away to conservatory, used to talk about this concept, and it's very important for achieving true expressive playing on the piano. So I'm going to describe first what it is and show you the benefits to your playing.

Okay, when playing piano, of course there are many different parts of the body involved as I've described in other videos. For really massive playing with the utmost of strength indeed you use your arms on the piano. When you need power and speed the wrists for example with octave technique. But when you're playing a melody, a fast melody or even a slow melody, it's the fingers and the transfer of weight from finger to finger, the weight of the arm, that achieves a smooth line. The idea of a quiet hand is so you can achieve total control. Watch how I play the beginning of the F minor Nocturne of Chopin and I'm not going to use a quiet hand. In fact, my hand will be moving around quite a bit and listen to how it kind of interjects different expressive things in the playing that are unintended.

[Piano Music]

Robert: Now I was playing with dynamics but there's no real control. Why? Because the whole arm is moving. How can you possibly control the sound? If you caress the keys, just with the fingers and leaving the hand just free just to glide effortlessly from note to note without excessive motion, listen to the expressive possibilities.

[Piano Music]

Robert: And it's not just one way you can play. You can achieve anything you want, provided you don't ruin the continuity of the line with extra motion. So that is what is meant by having a quiet hand. Avoid unnecessary, unproductive hand motion. Focus on being over the right keys and transferring the weight smoothly from key to key and you will get the illusion of a singing line out of a piano. An instrument that technically can't produce a singing line because every note is fading out the moment you play it. But with this technique you can achieve the beauty of melody lines through lyricism. Thanks so much for joining me, Robert at livingpianos.com as well as virtualsheetmusic.com. I'll see you next time.
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Oluwaseun Collins on October 26, 2016 @1:37 pm PST
This is a great topic, thanks.
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