A few years back I found this dual piano arrangement for Imperial March.


I noticed that in the original composition there are a lot of staccato triplets on the same note. This arrange replicates that flawlessly. When I was practicing at home, I noticed that it was impossible to do because the key simply won't bounce back up quick enough(cuz same note).

Is there a technique to this kind of thing?

  • Is your piano an upright piano or a grand piano?
    – Frank
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 5:50
  • I have an upright
    – Phantom
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 7:01
  • If you listen carefully, the triplets are far from "flawless" - but they are good enough to be convincing.
    – user19146
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 18:31
  • Related question: Proper repeated note fingering on piano?
    – Aaron
    Commented Dec 14, 2020 at 6:15

3 Answers 3


The key recovery time on grand pianos is much less than on uprights, due to a different mechanism, so it's more difficult to execute this on most uprights.Thumb,index and middle are the usual way, with the hand suspended over the key.


The "classical" technique for repeated notes, in twos or threes, is to "change fingers", e.g. fingering a fast triplet 1,2,3. This may be what Tim meant.


There is a link at the bottom on this page http://www.piano.christophersmit.com/repetitionMech.html which has an animation of how the repetition mechanism works in a grand piano action. I would expect a piano tech did a careful job of regulating those pianos before that performance!

The grand piano repetition action works well, and is consistent between the different notes on the keyboard, because it is basically "powered" by gravity acting on the weight of the moving parts. That isn't possible with an upright action, where almost everything in the action, except the keys, is rotated through 90 degrees.

The best you can do on an upright is to experiment to find out exactly where the repetition action "kicks in" when depressing the keys part way down, and then work on playing with enough force to operate the repetition action without pressing the keys right down to the key bed (except for the last note of the triplet, of course). There will probably be a tradeoff between "fast" and "loud" repetition (i.e. louder means slower repetition).

In an old upright piano, thoroughly cleaning the action and/or replacing some of the felt and leather parts, and carefully readjusting the repetition action, may help, but that is a long job and there is no way to know exactly how much improvement you would get before actually doing it. A botched attempt at regulating the repetition may make things worse, not better, if you aim for something that is too "good" to be realistically achievable.

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