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#2084694 - 05/18/13 11:21 AM alternating fingers on the same repeated note. why?
gnossie Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/10/10
Posts: 8
I have seen this in several reputable technique books. What the hey? I can't discern any difference in the sounds, and going from 5 4 3 2 seems a lot more complicated than simply playing 2 repeatedly.

Piano books pass over this in silence, as if it's obvious why one should do it.

What's the rationale?

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#2084709 - 05/18/13 11:35 AM Re: alternating fingers on the same repeated note. why? [Re: gnossie]
Damon Online   happy
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6143
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: gnossie
I have seen this in several reputable technique books. What the hey? I can't discern any difference in the sounds, and going from 5 4 3 2 seems a lot more complicated than simply playing 2 repeatedly.

Piano books pass over this in silence, as if it's obvious why one should do it.

What's the rationale?


Unless you have some freaky innate talent, alternating fingers allows for faster repetition. It also helps facilitate fingering for what comes after.
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#2084719 - 05/18/13 12:03 PM Re: alternating fingers on the same repeated note. why? [Re: gnossie]
gooddog Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4794
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Damon's right. Also, it really does sound different - more even and clearer.
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#2084732 - 05/18/13 12:27 PM Re: alternating fingers on the same repeated note. why? [Re: gnossie]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5107
Originally Posted By: gnossie
going from 5 4 3 2 seems a lot more complicated than simply playing 2 repeatedly.



There's no real reason why you have to change fingers, if you find it easier to play with the same finger. Harpsichordists, for instance, prefer to play the repeated notes of Scarlatti's Sonata Kk141 with the same finger, but pianists invariably prefer to change fingers - not just because the latter tend to pay it markedly faster, but also because the key action of the piano mechanism allows for it (repeating the note well before the key has rebounded back). But then, in some pieces like Samuel Goldenberg & Schmu├┐le from Mussorgsky's Pictures, some pianists prefer to play the repeated notes with the same finger. And in others like Ravel's Ondine, you have to play fast repeated notes with the same pinky in the RH ostinato figure (not to mention fast repeated chords with the same three fingers...)

Once you play beyond a certain speed, you'll likely find it easier to repeat fast notes with alternating fingers, whenever possible. And above a certain speed, it's next to impossible using the same finger......

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#2084733 - 05/18/13 12:31 PM Re: alternating fingers on the same repeated note. why? [Re: gnossie]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18014
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: gnossie
I have seen this in several reputable technique books. What the hey? I can't discern any difference in the sounds, and going from 5 4 3 2 seems a lot more complicated than simply playing 2 repeatedly.

Piano books pass over this in silence, as if it's obvious why one should do it.

What's the rationale?


Changing fingers on repeated notes becomes more important as the tempo increases, and these are the most frequent instances where change of fingers is recommended. A simple test should prove that fairly conclusively: try playing a group of repeated notes with 2 as quickly as you can and either the muscles/tendons tense and you begin to tire or the repetition of notes becomes uneven. Then try playing the same group of repeated notes with a change of fingers - it doesn't have to be 5, 4, 3, 2, it can be 4, 3, 2, 3, 4, 3, 2 - and you should see that you are able to maintain repeated notes with more even, clearer articulation.

As others have indicated, often a change of fingering on one note is required for what comes after. Even in slower passages the changing of fingers on a single note gives for better control of expressive sound because the weight required to produce good tone can be transferred from one finger to the other rather than being applied to one finger, released and re-applied.

Regards,
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#2084773 - 05/18/13 01:42 PM Re: alternating fingers on the same repeated note. why? [Re: BruceD]
Goof Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/05/12
Posts: 357
Loc: UK
I do not see 1-3-2 as a sequence ; it is best for me but I'm no expert. 1-3-2 was shown to me by a friend about 60yrs back!
Is there any reason why the thumb should not be used?

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#2084801 - 05/18/13 02:53 PM Re: alternating fingers on the same repeated note. why? [Re: Goof]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18014
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: Goof
I do not see 1-3-2 as a sequence ; it is best for me but I'm no expert. 1-3-2 was shown to me by a friend about 60yrs back!
Is there any reason why the thumb should not be used?


I see no reason why the thumb should not be used as one of the alternating fingers if it facilitates the execution of the passage in question.

Regards,
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BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#2084806 - 05/18/13 02:59 PM Re: alternating fingers on the same repeated note. why? [Re: gnossie]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18014
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: gnossie
I have seen this in several reputable technique books. What the hey? I can't discern any difference in the sounds, and going from 5 4 3 2 seems a lot more complicated than simply playing 2 repeatedly.

Piano books pass over this in silence, as if it's obvious why one should do it.

What's the rationale?


Perhaps this video will be more convincing than any text. It would be impossible to play this without changing fingers on the repeated notes, as portions of the video surely prove :

Scarlatti, K.141

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#2084827 - 05/18/13 03:55 PM Re: alternating fingers on the same repeated note. why? [Re: BruceD]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5107
....and here is a harpsichordist playing the same piece, markedly slower, but because of the innate clangy sound of the instrument (like "two skeletons copulating on a tin roof in a thunderstorm" - Sir Thomas Beecham grin), sounds very fast.

http://youtu.be/HLuYLN_k4lA

Note the woodpecker movement of the stiffened fingers shaped like a beak...... wink


Edited by bennevis (05/18/13 04:12 PM)
Edit Reason: Beecham's witticism added

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#2085011 - 05/19/13 01:07 AM Re: alternating fingers on the same repeated note. why? [Re: gnossie]
John Pels Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/07
Posts: 1260
Loc: Tomball, Texas
In addition to being able to play faster, it is also easier to control your volume. The more you tend to use the same finger, the louder it tends to become.

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#2085098 - 05/19/13 07:36 AM Re: alternating fingers on the same repeated note. why? [Re: bennevis]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11900
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: bennevis
....like "two skeletons copulating on a tin roof in a thunderstorm" - Sir Thomas Beecham
LOL! Accurate for some harpsichords I've heard. thumb
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#2085231 - 05/19/13 01:59 PM Re: alternating fingers on the same repeated note. why? [Re: gnossie]
Kuanpiano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2140
Loc: Canada
Alkan sometimes has the pianist alternate hands on fast repeated notes, which I guess has its own benefits and problems.

Lisitsa uses the same finger (well...she clumps her fingers into a beak when she does this) to play the repeated D#s at the beginning of Scarbo, and it seems to work pretty well for her.
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#2085284 - 05/19/13 03:36 PM Re: alternating fingers on the same repeated note. why? [Re: gnossie]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6070
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Originally Posted By: gnossie
I have seen this in several reputable technique books. What the hey? I can't discern any difference in the sounds, and going from 5 4 3 2 seems a lot more complicated than simply playing 2 repeatedly.

Piano books pass over this in silence, as if it's obvious why one should do it.

What's the rationale?


Slow repeated notes? One usually never needs to do that. Just use the same finger. I've never understood any "rationale" for it. smile


Edited by Orange Soda King (05/19/13 03:36 PM)

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#2085345 - 05/19/13 05:22 PM Re: alternating fingers on the same repeated note. why? [Re: gnossie]
kapelli Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/26/12
Posts: 381
Loc: Poland
Strange topic. To be honest, I completely don't understand how you can play repeted notes by one or two fingers. It's so unnatural. My favorit way to play repeted note is pattern 4-1, so the hand is in it's most natural position and totally relaxed and the only speed limitation is piano action.

Of course, if there is no way to play it by more than 2 fingers it's another story.

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#2085603 - 05/20/13 07:21 AM Re: alternating fingers on the same repeated note. why? [Re: gnossie]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5276
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
As in many things in music, at slower tempos it doesn't really matter what you do. The problem is when it comes to faster tempos.

It just makes good sense to develop good habits at slow tempos.
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#2085727 - 05/20/13 12:00 PM Re: alternating fingers on the same repeated note. why? [Re: gnossie]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13789
Loc: Iowa City, IA
From a pedagogical standpoint, the use of different fingers promotes a free arm and wrist. Using a single finger for repeated notes requires an angular up-and-down motion, whereas using different fingers involves the whole playing mechanism.

Also, when people have trouble using multiple fingers, it's almost always because there's some kind of tension hindering the playing mechanism.
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"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#2086029 - 05/20/13 09:54 PM Re: alternating fingers on the same repeated note. why? [Re: gnossie]
dynamobt Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 674
Loc: NH
Thanks for posting those performances. What a treat! Both of them!!
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#2086031 - 05/20/13 09:56 PM Re: alternating fingers on the same repeated note. why? [Re: dynamobt]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7598
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: dynamobt
Thanks for posting those performances. What a treat! Both of them!!

You might try using the quote function, or at least pointing out the posters whose posts you're referring to. After all, they posted several days and ten posts before you. wink
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Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2086107 - 05/21/13 03:36 AM Re: alternating fingers on the same repeated note. why? [Re: gnossie]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6101
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
It sounds better (in particular clearer) with different fingers.
Just try both. If you pay attention you will notice the difference.
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Music is my best friend.


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#2086188 - 05/21/13 09:57 AM Re: alternating fingers on the same repeated note. why? [Re: ChopinAddict]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13789
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Originally Posted By: ChopinAddict
It sounds better (in particular clearer) with different fingers.
Just try both. If you pay attention you will notice the difference.


This may be problematic. For someone with technical problems, using the same finger is easier and sounds better.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#2086220 - 05/21/13 11:13 AM Re: alternating fingers on the same repeated note. why? [Re: gnossie]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6070
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Are we still talking about fast notes or slow notes?

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#2086257 - 05/21/13 01:36 PM Re: alternating fingers on the same repeated note. why? [Re: Kreisler]
Damon Online   happy
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6143
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Originally Posted By: ChopinAddict
It sounds better (in particular clearer) with different fingers.
Just try both. If you pay attention you will notice the difference.


This may be problematic. For someone with technical problems, using the same finger is easier and sounds better.


That same person may be inclined to play a melody with one finger.
_________________________
It's been scientifically proven that Horowitz sucks.

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#2086261 - 05/21/13 01:44 PM Re: alternating fingers on the same repeated note. why? [Re: Damon]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5107
Originally Posted By: Damon

That same person may be inclined to play a melody with one finger.


Like this pianist? grin

http://youtu.be/rVUGtSl3Z0U

He played most of the repeated notes of the melody with the same finger or thumb, except when he needed to shift his hand position.....

(P.S. Tried to show Horowitz's video of the same, but link didn't work)


Edited by bennevis (05/21/13 01:59 PM)
Edit Reason: Horowitz's video switched to Zimerman's

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#2086413 - 05/21/13 07:02 PM Re: alternating fingers on the same repeated note. why? [Re: Damon]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6101
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
Originally Posted By: Damon
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Originally Posted By: ChopinAddict
It sounds better (in particular clearer) with different fingers.
Just try both. If you pay attention you will notice the difference.


This may be problematic. For someone with technical problems, using the same finger is easier and sounds better.


That same person may be inclined to play a melody with one finger.


There are also people who type with one finger!
_________________________



Music is my best friend.


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#2086423 - 05/21/13 07:24 PM Re: alternating fingers on the same repeated note. why? [Re: gnossie]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6101
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
I just remembered this video I watched some time ago.

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