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Clear, incisive, resonant, and powerful, or beautifully shaded chord-playing is not very commonly heard. In addition to the proper muscular conditions and the mode of attack, which should be carefully considered, good chord-playing requires a proper shape of the hand and fingers. The hand should be well arched so that the metacarpal joints are elevated considerably above the second joints. The wrist must be held high, and the fingers well rounded, their third joints being perpendicular to the keys. With the hand in this position the fingers must be trained to resist a very heavy pressure, as at the moment of attack in heavy chord-playing the weight of the body is thrown forcibly upon the finger-tips. At this instant there must not be the least give or weakening in any of the joints of the fingers, the elasticity and looseness being in the muscles of the wrist and arm. The playing fingers should be firmly set, while those not playing must be well extended, in order to avoid the accidental striking of adjacent keys. If the hand is kept in the shape described, all the tones of the chord played will be of equal power, and when the hand and arm are raised the dampers will fall upon all the strings which have been struck at the same instant, a thing that rarely happens in most of the chord-playing that one hears.

In playing a succession of chords the fingers must be shaped in the air while going from one chord to the next, and this shaping must not in the least interfere with the solidity of the hand or the proper condition of the muscles.

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You are reading Chord-Playing. from the March, 1900 issue of The Etude Magazine.

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