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#2052595 - 03/22/13 04:32 PM Help Getting 3rd Finger Out of the Way
TheloniousPunk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/03
Posts: 824
Loc: US
I quit playing in '07 because I kept forgetting songs I had learned. Now I'm playing again, as part of an effort to get better at writing music. I've been composing tunes, and I want to be able to write the music down without having to have a keyboard or a computer handy.

That being said, I could use some advice. I've been fiddling with "Linus and Lucy," and I have realized that when I use the index and ring fingers of my right hand simultaneously, I tend to bend my middle finger so it plays an extra note. If I play very slowly, I can either arch the middle finger up out of the way, or I can curl it back out of the way. Curling it is slower.

What's the best way to fix this problem? I'm thinking that if I practice arching the finger every day while playing Eb and Bb with the other two fingers, sooner or later my body and brain will start to see this as a normal voluntary movement.

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#2052606 - 03/22/13 04:46 PM Re: Help Getting 3rd Finger Out of the Way [Re: TheloniousPunk]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5353
Loc: Philadelphia
My hand can't comfortably stretch a 5th with 2-4. (Unless you meant Bb-Eb, which is a 4th. That, I can stretch.) So that could be part of the issue.

Don't think so much of getting your finger out of the way, as think of actively playing with the other fingers. And definitely don't curl your 3rd finger under. Ever. It's not only too slow, it causes tension that could lead to injury, especially as you begin to pick up the tempo.
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2052610 - 03/22/13 04:54 PM Re: Help Getting 3rd Finger Out of the Way [Re: Derulux]
TheloniousPunk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/03
Posts: 824
Loc: US
Man, now I'M confused! I had to turn on the piano and check. It's Eb with the 2nd finger and Bb with the 4th. It's a perfect 5th.

If I hadn't been doing ear training lately, I wouldn't have known that. I guess some of this stuff is paying off.

Judging from what other people say, my hands are exactly average size. I don't think I'd have this problem if they were slightly bigger. This doesn't feel like a stretch, but if it were REALLY easy, I might be able to move around more.

I'm inclined to go with lifting the finger. If I can do it voluntarily at a very slow speed, presumably I will eventually be able to do it when I'm playing at tempo.

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#2052620 - 03/22/13 05:12 PM Re: Help Getting 3rd Finger Out of the Way [Re: TheloniousPunk]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Like it's been said in other threads lately (http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/2039263.html#Post2039263), your time is better spent working on better fingerings (having to try and reach a perfect 5th with fingers 2 and 4 sounds pretty ridiculous and unnecessary), or on rare occasion, re-arranging music and leaving out notes, playing large chords arpeggiated, etc.

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#2052636 - 03/22/13 05:41 PM Re: Help Getting 3rd Finger Out of the Way [Re: Bobpickle]
TheloniousPunk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/03
Posts: 824
Loc: US
I think that's great advice, but I will note that this is the fingering most of the people I consulted said to use.

I'm not sure we're talking about the same stretch. The index and ring fingers aren't stressed at all. Just to be clear, index on Eb and ring on Bb, 7 keys higher. It's where the hand would fall naturally if I put my thumb on C.

Some people use the thumb on Eb, moving it there from C. Maybe you have the right idea and I should give that a whirl.

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#2052639 - 03/22/13 05:48 PM Re: Help Getting 3rd Finger Out of the Way [Re: TheloniousPunk]
TheloniousPunk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/03
Posts: 824
Loc: US
Well, now the problem seems to be going away. Go figure.

I've only been back at the keyboard for a couple of weeks. Maybe I just have some kinks to work out. Thanks for the suggestions.

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#2052702 - 03/22/13 08:19 PM Re: Help Getting 3rd Finger Out of the Way [Re: TheloniousPunk]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5353
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: TheloniousPunk
I think that's great advice, but I will note that this is the fingering most of the people I consulted said to use.

I'm not sure who you're consulting, but Bob's right. I can count on one hand the number of times I played a perfect fifth with 2-4. And I can tell you it was extremely uncomfortable every time I had to do it.
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2052711 - 03/22/13 08:35 PM Re: Help Getting 3rd Finger Out of the Way [Re: TheloniousPunk]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2437
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Am I missing something?

C minor 7th, thumb on C, index on Eb, middle on G, ring on Bb, little on top C. This is common enough and I've made bigger stretches in Liszt and Bach.

I can't make a tenth without care and attention, so I don't have big hands.
_________________________
Richard

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#2052722 - 03/22/13 08:55 PM Re: Help Getting 3rd Finger Out of the Way [Re: TheloniousPunk]
findingnemo2010 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/09
Posts: 1511
I need help getting myself out of the way of my studies haha if that makes any sense to anyone..
_________________________
music to me is kind of like putting together pieces of a puzzle
i call it the paino because its where i put all my pain

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#2052744 - 03/22/13 10:34 PM Re: Help Getting 3rd Finger Out of the Way [Re: zrtf90]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5353
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Am I missing something?

C minor 7th, thumb on C, index on Eb, middle on G, ring on Bb, little on top C. This is common enough and I've made bigger stretches in Liszt and Bach.

I can't make a tenth without care and attention, so I don't have big hands.

It's possible, but not comfortable, and anything that is uncomfortable should be avoided whenever possible (provided the discomfort is not caused by a lack of familiarity with the technique).

I'm not as familiar with Bach, but the only Liszt piece I can recall off the top of my head (that I have played) where there is such a terribly uncomfortable stretch is La Campanella.



To the OP, who is working on "Linus and Lucy", I hate this particular passage. It is one of the times where I do use 24 on a perfect fifth, but it is terribly uncomfortable, and requires a hand movement that is not intuitive, so I very rarely play the piece (Christmas only).

Here is an alternate fingering that works:

13-14-35 (and then reverse it on the way back down)

A light pedal, and a legato 3-4-5 on top will cover the jump the thumb makes.

It's a little more work for the hand, but if the stretch is too far, it's too far. Don't kill yourself trying to reach something you can't.
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2052809 - 03/23/13 04:57 AM Re: Help Getting 3rd Finger Out of the Way [Re: zrtf90]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Am I missing something?

C minor 7th, thumb on C, index on Eb, middle on G, ring on Bb, little on top C. This is common enough and I've made bigger stretches in Liszt and Bach.

I can't make a tenth without care and attention, so I don't have big hands.



It may very well be my inexperienced perspective, but I'm not familiar with how common such a single-handed five finger voicing is in the modern repertoire and it was my understanding that it's not (obviously m7, as well as the other four seventh chords aren't uncommon, but are similar root-position five-note voicings of seventh chords that are meant to be distributed by a single hand all that common?).

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#2052836 - 03/23/13 07:48 AM Re: Help Getting 3rd Finger Out of the Way [Re: TheloniousPunk]
wouter79 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3605
I don't know the piece but I don't see a big issue with playing a 5th with 2 and 4

Bottomline IMHO, it really depends on your hands. What works for one person may be a overstretch for the other.

What you need to test is whether you can COMFORTABLY do the required hand motions at that point (at whatever slow speed). If you can, it may work for you at target speed. If you can't do it in any way, it probably never will work for you this way and you need to find another fingering
_________________________

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#2052928 - 03/23/13 12:07 PM Re: Help Getting 3rd Finger Out of the Way [Re: wouter79]
TheloniousPunk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/03
Posts: 824
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: wouter79
I don't know the piece but I don't see a big issue with playing a 5th with 2 and 4


I know people's hands vary a lot. When I open my hand, the thumb and little finger are at 180° to each other. When I was in college, I knew a skilled jazz pianist who was 7" taller than I was. His hands were the same size as mine, and he could not open them more than about 135°.

For me, Eb to B natural is as far as I can go comfortably with 2 and 4. My problem isn't the stretch. It's the coordination required to move 3 out of the way while using 2 and 4.

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#2052945 - 03/23/13 12:56 PM Re: Help Getting 3rd Finger Out of the Way [Re: TheloniousPunk]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5353
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: TheloniousPunk
Originally Posted By: wouter79
I don't know the piece but I don't see a big issue with playing a 5th with 2 and 4


I know people's hands vary a lot. When I open my hand, the thumb and little finger are at 180° to each other. When I was in college, I knew a skilled jazz pianist who was 7" taller than I was. His hands were the same size as mine, and he could not open them more than about 135°.

For me, Eb to B natural is as far as I can go comfortably with 2 and 4. My problem isn't the stretch. It's the coordination required to move 3 out of the way while using 2 and 4.

Let's try an exercise: if you play E-G with 2-4, does your 3rd finger play an extra note?
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2052957 - 03/23/13 01:41 PM Re: Help Getting 3rd Finger Out of the Way [Re: Derulux]
TheloniousPunk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/03
Posts: 824
Loc: US
Yes. Exactly. That was the problem. I couldn't think to lift the 3rd finger while thinking to push the other two down. I was able to do it easily when I wasn't playing a song, but I had to go very slowly. When I played at speed, my mind forgot all about 3, so it fell on a key.

It's so much better today! I've been practicing depressing 2 and 4 while lifting 3.

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#2053100 - 03/23/13 07:04 PM Re: Help Getting 3rd Finger Out of the Way [Re: TheloniousPunk]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3183
Loc: Maine
TheloniousPunk, is this a problem with 2-4 only, or is it a problem with other pairs as well? Pick any two fingers; can you play two notes with them without the finger or fingers in between also playing notes?
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#2054055 - 03/25/13 02:37 PM Re: Help Getting 3rd Finger Out of the Way [Re: TheloniousPunk]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5353
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: TheloniousPunk
Yes. Exactly. That was the problem. I couldn't think to lift the 3rd finger while thinking to push the other two down. I was able to do it easily when I wasn't playing a song, but I had to go very slowly. When I played at speed, my mind forgot all about 3, so it fell on a key.

It's so much better today! I've been practicing depressing 2 and 4 while lifting 3.

I wouldn't focus on "lifting" a finger.. it's really contrary to what you want to do while playing. Try this: play ascending thirds. CE with 13, DF with 24, EG with 35. Do you still depress the 3 when playing 24? Is there a speed at which you can go where you do not depress the 3rd finger?
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2054378 - 03/26/13 03:42 AM Re: Help Getting 3rd Finger Out of the Way [Re: Derulux]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1498
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
I may be out of my depth, here . . . forgive me, if so.

There's a classic "finger independence" exercise, in Hanon (number 50)(and probably everywhere else):

Hand on C(thumb) D(2) E(3) F(4) G(5).

Now play thirds, up and down, for a while:

C+E D+F E+G D+F C+E

Then move up one semitone, and repeat . . .

That doesn't duplicate the extremely wide reach (of a fifth) between 2 and 4, but it _does_ get 3 moving independently.

For a wider reach, you'd do something like:

Hand on C(1) D#(2) F#(3) A#(4) C(5)

and repeat

C+F# D#+A# F#+C E#+A# C+F#

That pattern (not by design) puts the fingers on notes of the "jazz scale", and might actually be useful in playing.<G>

. Charles


Edited by Charles Cohen (03/26/13 04:29 AM)
Edit Reason: Better exercise with black keys

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