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Piano Technique - Theory

9. The Whipping Movement

When you learn to use
the “whipping movement” correctly,
you’ll be astonished
how easy is to play the piano!
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, Polish Music Edition, 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.
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.
Here are four videos with the whip movement performed in full tempo:
M.Argerich       F.Gulda 1       F.Gulda 2       F.Gulda 3


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