Did you know there are four different ways to play staccato on the piano?
First, “staccato” means “separated.” Not “short.” So you can have staccato notes that are a bit longer, but you definitely want them separated from the notes that follow.
The techniques for staccato are
- Finger-only staccato
- Wrist-staccato, using bouncy, light wrists
- Forearm-staccato, using the whole lower arm, firm wrist and fingers
- Whole arm and back-staccato, using the whole arm and shoulder to produce a big sound.
You’ll be blending these various techniques, moving from measure to measure. “Nothing in the finger without the arm; nothing in the arm without the fingers,” as a famous piano teacher used to say.
For Legato, know that “legato” means “connected.”
There are different ways to play Legato as well:
- Plain Vanilla – Raising the played finger, just as the next finger is playing, creating connection.
- Legatissimo – for melodies that sing. Keep the played finger down after the next finger, so the attack of the second note is masked by the previous note. Blended overlap
- Finger Pedaling or Overhold Touch – Hold keys down until they are needed again.
Here’s a nice video to demonstrate this: