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Piano Technique: A Legato to staccato arpeggio with “rolls and snips”

When playing a three-note (root, third, fifth) arpeggio over a spread of 3-4 octaves, the ROLLING motion that permeates a Legato rendering in triplets, can nicely snip into a buoyant staccato, if the arm, wrist and fingers are unimpeded by tension.

I’ve found the wrist, in particular, to be pivotal in sculpting a satisfying legato AND staccato. The rolling-in motion that ignites the very first three notes has a sustaining energy that culminates in a curve around at the peak note, rolling back to the tonic. (first note) A slightly lower wrist at the start might help produce the very first roll forward into a chain link of triplets making smooth and connected playing allied to a detached approach.

In a lesson-in-progress with an adult student, “roll” and “snip” cues wedded to fluid physical motions are explored and demonstrated. (A minor arpeggio–A-C-E-A, etc.)

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