Flick fingers on the piano keys


Senior Member
Chinese - Mandarin
When a lady is playing piano, can I say "she is flicking her fingers on the piano keys" ?

I want to describe her fingers movements, she is moving her fingers up and down quickly, on the keys of the piano, can I use the word "flick" here?

  • Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I agree with SDGraham that "flicking" wouldn't be right. And I can't think of an alternative.

    I'm sitting here moving my fingers as if I were playing a piano, to see if a particular word comes to mind...but no. :(


    Senior Member
    Chinese - Mandarin
    "Flick his fingers across the keyboard", does it mean typing on the keyboard very quickly?
    "Flick his fingers across the piano keys", is it meaningless, or it does can have some meaning (but doesn't mean playing piano)?


    Senior Member
    Chinese - Mandarin
    So I am really curious about this sentance: "Flick his fingers across the piano keys". Even it doesn't mean playing piano, maybe it can mean moving your fingers quickly on the piano keys (without pressing down the piano keys).

    I just made a guess, I hope you can correct me.


    Senior Member
    American English
    Please do not make us click and search -- transcribe the passage for us (up to four sentences) so we understand the context:

    He felt the air in the room change; Violet had returned.

    "What's gonna happen when they get back? What do I say?" she came to sit next to him on the bed, staring at him hard.

    He ignored what he knew by now was a condescending look: apparently the way he typed bugged her to no end. How he was supposed to flick his fingers across the keyboard at the speed of light like she did was just beyond him.


    If you flick your fingers on the piano keys, you use something else to remove your (severed) fingers lying on the piano keys with a light, quick movement. It's a scene from a horror movie, not a daily occurence which I believe is what you try to describe. Some suggestions:

    Her fingers flit (dance, flow) across the keyboard.

    There must be better ways to capture the fingers' fluid motion playing a piano, but these three are all I can come up with for now. Hope it helps.


    Senior Member
    English - US
    If I have a speck of dust on my shirt, I put my index finger on my thumb tightly, put my thumb near the speck and press hard until my index finger slips and hits the piece of dust and flicks it away. That motion of flicking away a speck of dust is what I would call flicking my finger. I don't do that at all when I play the piano. :)


    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I playfully commented on a friend's typing (which was very poor) as such:

    Her fingers pranced daintily over the keyboard; a veritable ballet in miniature.

    Dance, prance, stroke, strike, hammer, carress, and others could describe the playing of the piano. The full name being pianoforte meaning "soft" and "loud".

    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piano

    ...The word piano is a shortened form of pianoforte (PF), the Italian word for the instrument (which in turn derives from the previous terms gravicembalo col piano e forte and fortepiano). The musical terms piano and forte mean "quiet" and "loud", respectively, and in this context refer to variations in loudness the instrument produces in response to a pianist's touch on the keys: the greater the velocity of a key press,...
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    Senior Member
    USA English
    How he was supposed to flick his fingers across the keyboard at the speed of light like she did was just beyond him.
    This is intentional nonsense and as such, should not be used as a guide to good English.

    Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

    irony /ˈaɪrənɪ/n ( pl -nies)
    • the humorous or mildly sarcastic use of words to imply the opposite of what they normally mean
    • an instance of this, used to draw attention to some incongruity or irrationality
    • incongruity between what is expected to be and what actually is, or a situation or result showing such incongruity



    New Member
    Mexican Spanish
    the writer Katherine Mansfield , wrote in "An Indiscreet Journey"..." I ran down the echoing stairs- strange they sounded, like a piano flicked by a sleepy housemaid- and on to the Quai".


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    To say it figuratively, you could use the verb fly.

    Her fingers flew along the keyboard.

    This verb is used in reference to computer keyboards a lot.
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