Piano Technique: Staying CONNECTED while playing staccato

I’ve picked the B Major Scale with 5 sharps distributed through double and triple black note sequence, to demonstrate wrist, forearm, and finger staccato. In these forays through detached notes, I emphasize how to stay “in touch” and not lose a basic connection to threads of notes.

Many ingredients contribute to the creation of a smooth, secure, and relaxed staccato. For one thing, the player cannot become panic-stricken at the thought of lifting off the keys. In reality, a relaxed and well-shaped LEGATO (where notes are connected) can be SNIPPED into a beautiful STACCATO–that is, if the legato has been well prepared through a series of baby steps.

In B Major, blocking out “chunks” of double and triple black notes with thumbs meeting in between is a good preliminary–with the thumbs nicely swiveling under the ebony tunnels without tension. It might be a good idea, therefore, to pivot toward the black note CLUSTERS or CHUNKS with a wrist forward motion. As far as the thumbs are concerned I think “LIGHT” so they don’t crash or interrupt the flow of a well spun-out scale in Legato.

SNIPPING out the legato scale, that should have undulating wrists on its journey through three octaves in TRIPLET 8THS, will produce a satisfying WRIST staccato.

For the Forearm generated staccato, I think more VERTICALLY in my approach to the keys, but I still stay CLOSE to them. If I want a big FORTE sound, I think heavier arms.(Note that my wrists are never locked even with forearm staccato) There’s always a spongy give to the wrists so they keep their flexibility.

For finger staccato, I lighten my arms, and think tips of fingers, knowing my fuel supply always comes down my arms while my wrists stay supple.

But above all, knowing in advance what one wants to hear before playing is intrinsic to a beautiful staccato outcome. In so many words, the musical merges with the physical in all well-shaped playing, regardless of articulation.

The video below models the staccato forms I’ve described above.

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