Somebody once said that it requires more force to sound a note gently on the piano than to lift the lid of a kettle. A German musician has just proved it. He has calculated that minimum pressure of the finger playing pianissimo is equal to a quarter of a pound. Few kettle lids weigh so much. The German’s calculation is easily verified if one takes a small handful of coins and piles them on a key of the piano. When a sufficient quantity is piled on to make a note sound, they can be weighed. If the pianist is playing fortissimo a much greater force is of course needed. At times a force of six pounds is thrown upon a single key to produce a solitary effect. This is what gives pianists the wonderful strength of finger so often commented on. A story used to be told of Paderewski that he could crack a pane of French plate-glass half-an-inch thick merely by placing one hand upon it, as if upon a piano keyboard, and striking it sharply with his middle finger. Chopin’s last study in C minor has a passage which take two minutes and five seconds to play. The total pressure brought to bear on this has been estimated as amounting to three tons.
Enjoy Natalia Bezuglova's performance of Chopin's Piano Etude in C Minor, Op. 25, No. 12:
THE ETUDE MUSIC MAGAZINE – May 1908