Double Octaves and Chords
If the student has a thorough working knowledge of the principles outlined in Chapter 1 of the Magic Touch, he should have no difficulty in applying them to the following extracts from the standard repertoire.
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♦ Double octave or chord passages should be learned first of all through the posture of the thumbs. Prepare and release firmness for each octave or chord. Release upward upon sound of black notes. Lower the wrists as far as they will go through sound of white notes. The follow through is essential. Slide hands and arms forwards to play the black notes, and back to play the white. Test wrists up and down often.
♦ Upon sound of every octave and chord, allow hands to rotate towards fifth fingers, and release notes other than those played by the fifth fingers which then support the hands and arms on the key bed. Test the lateral extension and contraction of the hands repeatedly. Employ a legato pedal.
♦ Double octave passages can be practiced as broken octaves, i.e. Thumbs alternate with fifth fingers.
The fear of negotiating risky leaps in double octave passages may be overcome if, at first, one uses the practice of silent finger substitution. This, in effect, reduces the width of the interval and locks the hand into the movement. Later, when these practices have become automatic, one is able to ignore them and play with confidence at increasing speed. The group (a) exercises are devised as a kind of formula for simple interval practice. The derivation of the (b) group compound interval exercises is obvious.
The formulae may be practiced at gradually increasing pace, beginning on any notes, and the range of the (b) group can be extended. Although substitution is not possible beyond a moderate tempo, it will be found that, at speed, the technical advantages remain.