Forearm movement - Piano Technique

Updated: Aug 11, 2019

Forearm Movement - Piano Technique

Definition and structure

The forearm movement is made of two very distinct stages -its positive and its negative movements-. The negative movement becomes its most important compound as it is paradoxically the one that requires the muscles to be enacted.


Negative movement

The elbow should be left completely relaxed forming a 90 degree angle (approximately) between the shoulder and our hand. All the job of lifting the forearm itself is left to be carried out mainly by the biceps and the triceps with the help of the finger/s as the trigger/s. The height reached by the hand and the forearm during the negative-movement-stage will depend on the sound we are aiming to obtain from the instrument: the higher the hand, the louder the instrument will sound.

Positive movement

The positive movement is the movement phase in which we are intending to produce sound. After we have reached the desired height, we have to allow the hand fall free onto the targeted note. The targeting finger will act as a shock-absorber and a spring to re ignite the forearm upwards during the beginning of the negative movement (as soon as the forearm is ignited upwards, the biceps and triceps will take over)


The hand position imposed to play using finger movement is the same one we use in forearm movement.

  1. The finger/s triggers the forearm upwards while

  2. The biceps takes over and lifts up the forearm

  3. The forearm reaches its maximum height

  4. The finger/s which needs to target becomes stiffer than the other ones which remain slightly lifted so they don’t impact on any undesired note in the landing.

  5. Biceps and triceps are relaxed so the hand can fall naturally on the keyboard.

  6. The targeting finger/s absorb the shock in the landing

  7. All the weight of the arm is supported by the finger itself.


Forearm movement is used in the following cases:

  1. Repeated single notes in fairly slow motion

  2. Not linked repeated or not repeated octaves in fairly slow motion

  3. Expressive single notes alternated or repeated

  4. Some chords that require certain specific pronounced tone

As all the other pianistic movements, forearm movement can be used in combination with other ones.

by Juan Rezzuto

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