Point of Sound

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Why S P?

As you can see, the six rules, and the understandings in the Taubman community about singles and doubles, engender the same motions of the forearm.

A motion does not a coordination make, however. Coordinations are not just about the appearance of movement, but involve a complex of synergistic muscular activities, with numerous muscles involved in a complex timing of contractions and relaxations. The coordinations we want for the prescribed movements will make maximum use of passive effects. 

Muscular contractions will have differing intensities accomplished by one of several mechanisms, and when muscles work synergistically certain muscles will be capable of picking up the slack, so to speak, of others. The old paradigm of one “agonist” muscle contracting while the opposing “antagonist” muscle stabilizes is highly oversimplified for most situations.  Here are some of the factors involved in muscular synergies:

  • Some muscles are innately stronger and designed for greater loads
  • Some are inherently faster
  • Some of their tendons are thicker and have more potential to store energy
  • Muscles do their best work between about 1/3 and ½ of their capacity
  • Muscles that are minutely stretched in advance of contraction work much more efficiently
  • Muscles that contract very quickly lack strength
  • Muscle contraction requires an energy outlay whereas muscle stretch is passive
  • Stretched muscle can store energy


We want to describe the organization of forearm movements in a way that makes it possible to develop desirable coordinations insightfully and efficiently. I propose that the six S P rules offer a variety of advantages over the single-double system for pianists who don’t already possess a high degree of coordination. Any descriptions leading to the motions prescribed by Dorothy could presumably be used interchangeably, so it’s reasonable to evaluate which would be most useful for developing not only the desired movements, but the desired coordinations.


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