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#1047539 - 01/21/09 06:36 AM Odd fingering in Alfred's?
BazC Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/04/08
Posts: 711
Loc: Cambridgeshire, UK
Mom3gram brought this up in the Alfred's 1 thread and didn't really get any answers so I thought I'd see if any more experienced players had any thoughts about it.

In the Marine's Hymn a d is repeated five times and the fingering suggests that you play each note with a different finger. If it was an excercise I could understand it but in a melody/practise piece it makes no sense to me. Do you think there is a purpose behind this or is it an error in the notation?

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#1047540 - 01/21/09 07:55 AM Re: Odd fingering in Alfred's?
DragonPianoPlayer Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/06
Posts: 2368
Loc: Denver, CO
Hi Bazc,

Yes there are definite purposes for this.

- In pieces that are much faster then this, it allows you to play repeated notes faster than if you use the same finger on one note. Learning to get comfortable with this motion in a slower and easier piece gets you ready for using it when you really need it. The reason for it is anatomical (or maybe neurological), we can move two different fingers in consecutive motions faster than we can move the same finger twice.

- In the context of this piece, it moves your hand up so it is ready for the next position.

- Also note that the enter phrase you posted is just that a phrase played legato (as indicated by the slur line in the original music). Well, you can't really play five notes the same legato, but the closest you can come is helped a just a tiny bit by using different fingers.

- The next note is a B and you are told to use the middle finger (3). This is on purpose and is not intended to mean that you should cross the 3 over the 1 to play it. It is the end of one phrase and the start of another and you are supposed to break one phrase to start the other. Think of how you would sing it - you would pause and take a quick breath before starting the next line of the song. That is the effect you want to create there, and the fingering suggested helps.

- Historically, some older editions fingered every single instance of repeated notes marked using different fingers. It is not always necessary, I think they were just using something akin to the principle that if you always use this method then it becomes second nature when you have to.

- I think there are also some technique books that make this a rule for the same reason. It's not always considered necessary now, unless you are playing a piece at a fast tempo.

Does this help?

Rich
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#1047541 - 01/21/09 08:12 AM Re: Odd fingering in Alfred's?
BazC Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/04/08
Posts: 711
Loc: Cambridgeshire, UK
 Quote:
Does this help?
Certainly does! Thanks for the very thorough explanation, Rich! Sounds like an awkward technique that I'm going to struggle with but I'll persevere now I know the reason for it.

Cheers!
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#1047542 - 01/21/09 08:39 AM Re: Odd fingering in Alfred's?
mom3gram Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/26/08
Posts: 1132
Loc: New Jersey
Thanks for the explanation, Rich, and thanks for posing the question, Basc.

I find it VERY awkward, but I assumed that there was a reason for it, and have been practicing it that way. Sometimes I forget to change fingers. Sometimes I change fingers but accidentally change notes too. Sometimes I forget to play the LH chord, or play it twice. It's kinda like the "rub your tummy while patting your head" type of thing. But, if I go VERY slow and really focus, I can do it.

I understand the concept and the reasoning behind it, it doesn't look that difficult, but I feel so uncoordinated.
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ALFRED'S ADULT BOOK 1 GRADUATE


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#1047543 - 01/21/09 09:15 AM Re: Odd fingering in Alfred's?
DaveInMichigan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/17/09
Posts: 307
Loc: SE Michigan
Also, a pianist friend (non-professional though so I don't know if it is 100% correct) once told me that it allows you count easier.

Like in Fur Elise, you have repeated notes six time in a measure, and repeats for several measures. If you use the same finger, you have to count quickly while you play to know you have played it 6 times in each measure, but if you fingering as suggested (321 321) then you don't have to count that much. Two times 321 and you know it is a measure.
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#1047544 - 01/21/09 02:54 PM Re: Odd fingering in Alfred's?
TrapperJohn Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/11/08
Posts: 3571
Loc: Chocolatetown, USA
BazC - I remember this phrase when I worked on this piece some time back when I was working thru Book 1 - I too thought it was a little strange at first until I got it under control, and then I thought it was a pretty cool and fun technique.

The whole purpose of it is to make a transition in fingering in this middle measure from the measure before to the measure after, and to make it as smoothly as possible.

Notice that the 5 finger on the first D in this middle (transition) measure is a natural completion of the fingering in the preceding measure (1,3,5).

But notice in the last measure you are going to have to play a D followed by the G above the staff followed by the D again, and the easiest way to play this last measure is with the 1,4,1 fingering show.

So, in the middle measure you have to get from the 5 finger playing the D at the start of the measure to the 2 finger playing this same D at the end of the measure (so that the 1 finger is free to start the last measure).

You can do this either as shown, which once you get used to it is a smooth and logical transition, or you can, say, play the D 4 times with the 5 finger and then try to change to the 1 finger on the first beat of the last measure, which is a lot more awkward. Try it out.

This is a nice little arrangement of this tune once you get it up to tempo - a nice enhancement is to repeat the last 2 1/2 mesures at the very end , only just a tad more slowly - have fun with it.

Regards, JF
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#1047545 - 01/21/09 06:52 PM Re: Odd fingering in Alfred's?
waldstein11448998 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/15/08
Posts: 130
Loc: Connecticut
At the beginning of the Waldstein Sonata by Beethoven, your right hand alternates between E and C very quickly on 16th notes. The fingering is as follows: 4241 4241 etc. If you just stayed with 4242, it's almost impossible to count. But by alternating between the 2 and 1, it's very easy to count: 4241= one beat.

Just an example of this in a difficult piece of music. It's awkward at first, but the fingering suggested makes it much easier in the long run.

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#1047546 - 01/22/09 03:47 AM Re: Odd fingering in Alfred's?
BazC Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/04/08
Posts: 711
Loc: Cambridgeshire, UK
Thanks for the help folks!

Dave and Waldstein, yep I can see it would make counting easier.

 Quote:
Originally posted by John Frank:
You can do this either as shown, which once you get used to it is a smooth and logical transition, or you can, say, play the D 4 times with the 5 finger and then try to change to the 1 finger on the first beat of the last measure, which is a lot more awkward. Try it out.[/b]
Yup, I see what you mean John though I was playing the phrase 1-2-4-1-1-1-1-4-1 which in my opinion works better than the suggested fingering. Clearly the tune is notated to pave the way for later more challenging pieces so fair enough. I'll try and master it as written and wait patiently for the more interesting tunes at the end of book 1. I'm especially looking forward to book 2 where the tunes seem much more musical and entertaining!

Thanks for all your recording BTW John, they've been an inspiration!
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#1047547 - 01/22/09 10:28 AM Re: Odd fingering in Alfred's?
packa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1397
Loc: Dallas, TX
 Quote:
Originally posted by BazC:
I was playing the phrase 1-2-4-1-1-1-1-4-1 which in my opinion works better than the suggested fingering. [/b]
As time goes on changing fingers on repeated notes can become second nature. I do this more often than not on any repeated notes. It is not just for speed or counting either; even slow legato passages just flow for me more naturally with finger changes. In the fragment here, I would prefer the suggested fingering at any tempo and not just as an exercise for future pieces. I don't think I would ever repeat these notes with my thumb; that feels very unnatural to me.
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#1047548 - 01/23/09 04:22 AM Re: Odd fingering in Alfred's?
BazC Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/04/08
Posts: 711
Loc: Cambridgeshire, UK
 Quote:
Originally posted by packa:
As time goes on changing fingers on repeated notes can become second nature.[/b]
Thanks for the reassurance, it certainly feels unnatural at the moment lol!
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