I remember my first piano teacher had an interesting technique to help at difficult parts of a piece.

Instead of playing the actual rhythm, I would pretend it was (kind of) dotted 8th notes alternating with 16th notes. Then, I would do the same thing, but starting with a 16th note, alternating with dotted 8th notes.

I would do this only with separated hands and always ff. It was very useful because it helped muscle-memorize every note transition.

Is this a known technique??

1 Answer 1


It is indeed a known technique. Very, even.

Cortot was a famous proponent of it. You can find copious examples in his pedagogical editions. You can also find examples of famous pedagogues who disagreed with it. If memory serves, Neuhaus was lukewarm toward the method in his book.

I know of no universally accepted name for it. My teachers simply called it practising in rhythms.


In response to a comment asking for examples of this method of practice, I have added some excerpts from Cortot's edition of Chopin.

From the étude op. 25 no. 2,

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the suggested variants:

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Comments from the end of the fourth Scherzo including suggested rhythmic variations:

enter image description here

He writes that the rhythmic variations throw the accent away from the beat, developing the independence of the fingers.

  • Could we have the name of this technique? Maybe some sheet music showing it?
    – user45266
    Jul 11, 2018 at 3:46
  • Concerning the name of this technique, please read my third paragraph again. The suggestion to add examples is well made. I have added some images.
    – user48353
    Jul 11, 2018 at 4:13
  • Thank you for the answer! Adding examples was a great bonus.
    – coconochao
    Jul 11, 2018 at 13:08
  • Sorry, I was asking the whole community whether anyone knew and didn't mean to put you on the spot. Thanks for the images!
    – user45266
    Jul 11, 2018 at 19:59

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