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#1076466 - 01/03/05 04:13 PM fingering help
jasper_garcia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/15/04
Posts: 172
Loc: New York
Hey All,

I was practicing sight reading with some random sheet music that I downloaded and I was lost to say the least. The intervals are not very close and I have to stretch my hand almost completely to even play the right notes. I'm guessing in cases like this "standard" fingering goes right out the window and whatever works is what is done.

Below is a picture of the notes I was trying to find the most comfortable fingering for. It's written in the bass clef in case you're wondering, and the music is written in B flat.

My stab at it was using fingers 5-3-2-1, though the stretch between 3 and 2 makes the webbed skin between the two fingers stretch bigtime (a bad sign methinks). I also tried 5-2-1-2, which is a bit more comfortable, the only problem is that there are three sets of notes similar to this one, with closer intervals, where 5-3-2-1 works fine, and changing it up for this case seems to throw everything off.

So what are the general guidelines that are follow when one is assigning fingering to sheet music (when standard fingering fails)?

_________________________
Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it. [Salvador Dalí]
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#1076467 - 01/03/05 04:57 PM Re: fingering help
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
i would use 5212, but it also depends on what's before and after. maybe you could show us the whole bar for this.

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#1076468 - 01/03/05 05:34 PM Re: fingering help
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
Yeah, I agree with signa, 5212. It doesn't matter if a a set of notes are close to that arrangement and work better with 5321, you want to use the fingering that works best for the section in question. Of course if the next note is down low again, then 5321 might work best because then the pinky would available for that low note.

You'll find that this happens frequently. You may be used to a set fingering, for example with arpeggios, and then you come up against an arpeggio that doesn't work with that fingering because your fingers have to be ready to play something else or your fingers were busy with something else prior to the start of the arpeggio.

This fact is one of the points that Bernhard makes against pure technical exercises. You're practicing the exercises without any musical context and there are very, very few pieces that the exercise would fit into like a glove. Most of the time you have to change fingering, which changes hand and arm motion, which you then have to practice over and over to nail down pat anyway. So what was the point of the original exercise?

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#1076469 - 01/03/05 05:59 PM Re: fingering help
mikhailoh Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 4288
Loc: Cincinnati
My teacher has showed me how to pivot your hand on the end of your wrist(like a fan) to cover intervals too far to reach.. you might try that with the 5321..

(10 minutes later...)

I tried it and it did not help in this case. I think 5212 is the way to go..

UNLESS... you might use 521 and then the thumb of your right hand if it is in the neighborhood.
_________________________
Michael

====

He is so solemn, detached and uninvolved he makes Mr. Spock look like Hunter S. Thompson at closing time.'

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#1076470 - 01/03/05 06:09 PM Re: fingering help
ShiroKuro Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3515
Loc: not in Japan anymore
As others have said, it's important where you'll be going next, and to choose the fingering that is both comfortable for you in that passage and allows you to smoothly go into the next passage.

If you decide you want to use 5321, but the fingering feels awkward, maybe that just means you need to practice that fingering with these notes a little more than other sections. Sometimes fingerings that include 4 and then 3 or 3 and then 2 can sometimes be hard because we tend to be stiff in between these fingers, but loosing that up is really beneficial.

Do you do any stretching exercises for your fingers? You might try stretching your fingers gently (emphasis on gently!) while in the shower or after doing dishes (so that your hands are warm). Use your other hand to stretch horizontally between fingers 2 and 3, 3 and 4, and 4 and 5. You can also put your hand on the edge of a table to stretch between the thumb and 4, thumb and 5 and the other fingers. Stretching should always be gentle and slow, and you have to be careful not to overdo it.
_________________________
Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u




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#1076471 - 01/03/05 06:37 PM Re: fingering help
jasper_garcia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/15/04
Posts: 172
Loc: New York
Ahh, so I wasn't far off. The left hand plays pretty much a repetition of this for about 8 bars:



I would agree that my hand is probably not flexible enough. Since the sorrounding bars go well with 5321 I will try to keep it this way. I'll practice that way tonight and see how it goes, and tomorrow (with a fresh mind) I will try the other way. Then the day after that I'll settle on one. I'll give it some time.

Thanks everyone.
_________________________
Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it. [Salvador Dalí]
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#1076472 - 01/03/05 08:23 PM Re: fingering help
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
What comes next?

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#1076473 - 01/03/05 09:26 PM Re: fingering help
Vintagefingers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/22/04
Posts: 331
Loc: SE
Interestingly enough I am working on a piece that has almost the identical bass line, although 1/8 notes and in C major EBEFB repeat EBEFC and repeats with various accidentals thrown in but essentially the EBE stays the same. I am using a 52121 fingering which works best but again it depends what comes next.

The specific piece is Manha de Carnaval arranged by Edison Frederico a well known Brazilian pianist and arranger.

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#1076474 - 01/04/05 07:14 AM Re: fingering help
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
i'd use 5212 for both passages, which seems the most comfortable fingering. but you need to make the jump from 1st and 2nd passage smoother.

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#1076475 - 01/09/05 05:10 PM Re: fingering help
pianafetish Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/26/04
Posts: 139
Loc: Greenville, NC
i'm having the same problem. i can't play Vanessa Carlton' THOUSAND MILES [which i love] b/c the range is so big, and i have small hands, which is one of the biggest limitations in being a pianist. it sounds choppy when i play it. i wonder does anyone have any tips for stretching your hands to play something like this without it sounding choppy, even when i have the sustain pedal down.
and what about those notes that you play four of with one hand at the same time? how do you do the fingering?

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#1076476 - 01/09/05 07:21 PM Re: fingering help
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
I don't have that piece, (in fact I've never heard of it), so I can't provide any suggestions for playing it smoother. Do you have a teacher who can provide some tips?

"what about those notes that you play four of with one hand at the same time? how do you do the fingering?"

Too many variables. It depends on the notes, the key, the speed, the dynamic, and what comes before and after the chord. Basically you use whatever fingers work for you.

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#1076477 - 01/09/05 09:07 PM Re: fingering help
ShiroKuro Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3515
Loc: not in Japan anymore
Pianafetish, I love that Vanessa Carlton song! It's on my list of things I want to play in recitals this year (I often choose one "pop" song that I sing and accompany myself to in addition to more standard, classical solo pieces).

Do you have a solo arrangement or the original with vocals? I've only played through it just enough to confirm that I can sing it (so it's not one of my playables yet), but I don't remember there being any stretches greater than an octave. (assuming your sheet music is in the original key) And I assume you're talking about the right hand, especially at the beginning, right?

Do you have a hard time playing octaves? Can you get your fingers to reach that distance, even if it's just barely? If so you shouldn't have a problem. Even if you can't, you should be able to make it sound smoother by remembering which notes you want to accent (listen to the song again for great hints, because it's not on the score)

Practice playing octaves, and practice just the first 6 notes to get used to the feeling of the stretch. It's really fast, so make sure you choose good fingerings and stick to them from the beginning. Actually, you should read Chang about HS practice and cycling, because I think it applies perfectly to this section!

http://members.aol.com/cc88m/PianoBook.html

Hmm, I should also ask my teacher about this, she has very small hands (much smaller than mine), and an impossibly short thumb! But she can play much bigger stretches than I can (of course she can, that's why she's the teacher! :rolleyes:
_________________________
Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u




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#1076478 - 01/09/05 09:11 PM Re: fingering help
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
the point is to try out different fingerings which suit your hand most comfortably, require least hand shifting and are effective at the required tempo. my hands are small too with only one octave span, so the first thing i do to learn a passage is to figure out the best fingering for that, and be sure the chosen fingering is also connected to the passage before and after smoothly.

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#1076479 - 01/12/05 07:47 PM Re: fingering help
pianafetish Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/26/04
Posts: 139
Loc: Greenville, NC
-ShiroKuro, no i don't have the original piece. it's very similar to the original, but with a few mistakes. that's why i haven't bothered playing the song. the piece is something that someone transcribed on their website. [it doesn't even include guitar chords] they have the vocal and harmony part, but not the melody when the singing begins, so that sheet music has many mistakes, and i've wasted paper- and my money printing it out. but i've found the real thing and will print it out the next time.
-there are so many 16th notes, but they do have the ez piano version in C Major [the original key is B Major], and it tells the fingerings. and yes, i'm talking about my right hand.
- have small hands, but i know little kids that can rip up a classical piece, so that shouldn't stop me. and i can barely stretch my fingers over 8 keys, which is an octave, i think.

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#1076480 - 01/12/05 07:58 PM Re: fingering help
ShiroKuro Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3515
Loc: not in Japan anymore
pianafetish, I spent a billion dollars to buy the official song book for that album! I hate to do that, because A Thousand Miles is probably the only song out of there that I'll play, but I have never been one to make smart money decisions!

If you can make the stretch, work on it little by little and you will be able to get it. If you can, look at Chang's book, because he explains things much better than I could. Look at the stuff about HS practice (which I mentioned about) but also take a look at his discussion of chord attack (or parallel sets) and playing "infintely fast," I think this is probably the kind of practice you should do for these stretches...
_________________________
Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u




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#1076481 - 01/13/05 05:14 AM Re: fingering help
animato Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/12/05
Posts: 14
Loc: Sydney Australia
Use pivatage technique. using 5 4 2 1.

Make your 4th finger the main note, and just pivit your hands like a see saw kinda shape. This is a typical Chopin and Liszt "arpeggio".

Good Luck \:\)

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