Keyboard Concerto No. 4 in G, Hob. XVIII:4

Whenever I play this specific passage from Haydn's Piano Concerto No. 4 (image above), my upper arm starts to cramp up and sore. This is very inconvenient for me and I want to know possible causes of this problem and how to eliminate it.

I do not think I am doing anything wrong posture-wise, and I'm playing at a tempo of about quarter note = 120.


I would guess this is because you are trying to play everything "with your fingers". Find out what forearm rotation is, and practise it.

As a shortcut, try practising the first 8 bars (at full speed) fingered 1 5 1 5 1 5 1 5 ... That will almost force you to use your arm the right way.

For the last four bars, to free up your arm try fingering each bar 1 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 instead of using 3 4 and 5 for the 16th-notes, to make you stretch your hand instead of keeping your fingers bunched up together and tense.


Typically cramps and soreness from playing instruments happen because you're holding tension somewhere and clenching those muscles. Try consciously relaxing and loosening up all those common tension spots like your shoulders, neck, jaw, forearms, etc.


It could be a number of issues. Maybe you are trying to play from your fingers and not your pronator and supinator muscles. That pattern should all come from your elbow. Like turning a screwdriver or opening a door.

It could be that you are abducting. You can't use two muscles at the same time. Well, you can and that may be the problem. Try not to abduct and instead use the shoulder to place the hand where it needs to be rather than spreading out your fingers. A little movement from the shoulder or elbow can spell huge real estate gains at the hand.

You may lack an in/out or up/down motion which would get your playing in your arm and not your fingers.

You probably have a combination of all the above.

Ask a knowledgeable teacher to watch you play. They will probably spot the problem immediately.

If your teacher tells you that you need more practice or you need to build strength and endurance or special exercises, run fast and far from that teacher. Technique is about physics, not brute force.

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