Advanced Piano Coaching Online

The whipping movement

When you learn to use the “whipping movement” correctly,
you’ll be astonished how easy it is to play the piano!

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1. The whipping movement is a member of the family of projected movements. Cz. Sielużycki (►Bibliography) also compares this to the riding crop*. The whip “cracks” at the moment its tip exceeds the speed of sound. Obviously a pianist's fingers never attain such speed. Nonetheless by using very complex movements, resembling the crack of whip, the pianist can create a particularly useful “booster” mechanism which transforms an initially, very limited effort into a considerably stronger strike, because “an active movement of the forearm from a distance of only 2 cm already gives a force equal to fortissimo (Gát) and is comparable to a passive movement of the hand from a height of 20-25 cm. (Leimer, Neuhaus)”.**

*Czesław Sielużycki - “The pianist’s hand” p. 173, PWM, Cracow, 1982
**Op. cit. p. 142

The three techniques - whipping movement,rotation of the arm and shaking of the arm - can be used in various combinations, even all the three simultaneously.

2. In the video below, I play nine excerpts requiring the use of the whip movement. This technique is widely used by professional pianists in a way that it is hardly visible or even unnoticeable. Here I present it at a slow tempo and deliberately exaggerate the movements of the hands and arms.

Phone: open this video in a new window.

Here are direct links to each example in this video:

3. Below are four videos showing examples of whipping movements executed at full speed by great pianists:

Phone: open this video in a new window.

Phone: open this video in a new window.

Phone: open this video in a new window.

Phone: open this video in a new window.

4. Of course, these two pianists are not the only ones who use the whipping movements. I’m showing these videos here because they illustrate these movements best, but all other pianists use these movements in a more or less discreet way, invisible to the inexperienced observer.


For subscribers, my article is available in PDF format:
Whipping (throwing) movement - “Fly swatter” 1


While the “big-throwing” technique, i.e. strong, powerful whipping movements, can be considered a separate technique, “micro-throwing” movements are so currently used that they should be classified as part of the general technique.

a. This means that all the movements I recommend work as I describe them, but, to optimize their performance, it is essential to use micro-whipping movements at the same time.

b. You must also know that micro-whipping movements can be performed not only from the wrist, but also from the metacarpus and even from the fingertip. It all depends on the musical text and the speed of its execution.


More details in the PDF article Whipping micro-movements (available to subscribers).


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