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#481949 - 06/07/02 01:51 AM changing fingering
nancyww Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/02
Posts: 585
Loc: central oregon
Last night I decided to play a piece I'd worked on awhile ago and had set aside. In order to refresh my memory, I got the book out and quickly noticed that some of the fingering I had marked was awkward. So I changed it. There was more awkward fingering so I changed that too. Then...who knows why, I erased all the old fingering and decided to start fresh...at 10oclock at night, what was I thinking???? After completely reworking the fingering for the piece, I proceeded to try to play it and AARRRRRGGHGHGH, of course it didn't work. My fingers were totally confused.

Now what should I do? Give the new fingering a chance to become more familiar? Or is that unlikely after playing it for so long with the old fingering? Should I erase everything again and try to remark the old fingering? If I can remember what it was. (Here is a case where it would have been smart to make a copy of the music to scribble on before erasing anything...hindsight :rolleyes: ) And in the future, when I'm tempted to change the fingering for an old familiar piece, should I resist and just leave well enough alone?

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#481950 - 06/07/02 04:30 AM Re: changing fingering
BruceD Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18131
Loc: Victoria, BC
Nancy:

Let me make an assumption or two in answering your post. I assume that it has been some considerable time since you've played this piece. I assume, also, that you've grown as a pianist since you played this piece, so I would say that your reaction to your previous fingering being awkward is a good one.

No fingering that feels awkward should be kept unless anything else is "worse." Therefore, I suggest you work on the "new" fingering for a while, letting both your mind and your hands adjust to it.

I'm curious to know what the piece is and where you have encountered the need to change your fingering. It's also interesting that you need to write in the fingering to play it. Is it that complex?

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#481951 - 06/07/02 06:09 AM Re: changing fingering
Praetorian_AD Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/01
Posts: 717
Loc: England
Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. Fingering's always something I agonize over and over and pay loads of special attention to. The annoying thing is that when I actually try and give the piece a proper run-through after practice, my fingers just revert to some terrible fingering, not what I told them to! Argggghh they're stubborn things....

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#481952 - 06/07/02 12:35 PM Re: changing fingering
nancyww Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/02
Posts: 585
Loc: central oregon
Hi Bruce,

Thanks for your insight on awkward fingering.

Do you mean that you don't write in the fingering for the pieces you play and you can play them without finding yourself in the middle of a run with no fingers left to play the last 4 notes? \:D I guess I'm more like Praetorian. Even after working out the fingering, my digits tend to revert to doing their own thing in spite of what I tell them to do.

The piece I was trying to play was a Brahms intermezzo. Complex? I have small hands so it takes some planning to reach some of those chords without overstretching and hurting myself.

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#481953 - 06/07/02 02:30 PM Re: changing fingering
BruceD Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18131
Loc: Victoria, BC
Nancy:

I occasionally write in the fingering for one or two notes only where the choice isn't obvious to me once I've decided what the "new" fingering should be. For example, if I've constantly played a passage with a certain note being played by 3 and decide that 4 ultimately is better for the passage, I'll mark the 4, just to remind me what to do - and not to do - when I hit that note. Otherwise, I don't write the fingering in on the score.

Which Brahms Intermezzo was/is it?

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#481954 - 06/07/02 05:23 PM Re: changing fingering
nancyww Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/02
Posts: 585
Loc: central oregon
You have probably been playing much longer than I have. Perhaps I will be able play more and write less as I get better. The intermezzo is 118 no2.

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#481955 - 06/08/02 10:41 AM Re: changing fingering
April Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 323
Loc: Great Lakes State
Hi Nancy,

Are you working with a teacher on the Intermezzo? He/she would be the best one to help you with fingering (or was it teacher markings the first time through?). I have played that piece (isn't it beautiful!) and I also have small hands. If you'd like, you can post the measures you're working on and I can let you know what fingerings I use in those passages. Obviously everyone's hands are different, but maybe it'll at least give you some ideas for your own fingering.

April

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#481956 - 06/08/02 08:00 PM Re: changing fingering
nancyww Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/02
Posts: 585
Loc: central oregon
Hi April, op.118 no.2 is so beautiful which is why I felt like playing it the other night. I worked on it a while ago with a different teacher than I have now. My current teacher would rather not work on old pieces with me.

So tell me, what fingering do you use for the first few measures? I've never been happy with the way I play the opening. It sounded too plunky to me. I was trying to find a way to ease into the piece and bring out the melody, oh, you know, I was trying to figure out some fingering that would make me sound more like Rubenstein. ;\) Any advice is much appreciated.

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#481957 - 06/09/02 08:51 AM Re: changing fingering
BruceD Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18131
Loc: Victoria, BC
Nancy:

What fingering do you use on those opening chords? I use the following: 5,3; 4,2; 5,2. I've also tried: 4,1; 3,2; 5,2; which also works for me.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#481958 - 06/09/02 03:42 PM Re: changing fingering
Elaine617 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/02
Posts: 364
Loc: North Carolina
Nancy,

I use 4-2, 3-1, and 5-2 on the opening chords, catching the D with finger 1. I let finger 3 linger VERY briefly on the B during the change between the 2nd and 3rd chords. This seems to smooth out the melody so you don't get the plunky feeling. It also helps to "sink" into the 3rd chord with 5-2 instead of "landing" on it. What fingering & technique are you currently using?

April

(This is really April, not Lyn - I'm on Mom's computer)

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#481959 - 06/09/02 08:45 PM Re: changing fingering
nancyww Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/02
Posts: 585
Loc: central oregon
Thanks Bruce and April. I started out with the fingering Bruce uses and changed it to what April wrote.

What gave me the bug was working with my teacher on Brahms 117 no. 1. She had me change the fingering on the very last chord from 1-3-5 to 1-2-5 because it makes the hand more naturally lean toward the highest note and brings it out. Oh cool, I thought, so off I go to try it out on my other pieces which got me into the mess with 118 no2.

I appreciate the input and will try the fingering again both ways.

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#481960 - 06/09/02 09:37 PM Re: changing fingering
Ted Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 1514
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
Fingering, like sight-reading and probably a dozen other things, isn't my strong point. In improvisation I just play anything with any finger that's handy; in pieces I don't hesitate to try new fingerings all the time, even in mid-stream. I am therefore very much a learner rather than a teacher in this particular discussion.

Different fingerings really do give different musical effects, and as fingering depends on size and shape of individual hands the whole issue is very personal indeed. As an example, one thing I find impossible to decide in advance is whether to play octaves with 1/5,1/4 or 1/3. So most of the time I just let it take care of itself- probably lazy, I know.

To make matters worse, as I've aged, certain fingerings have become a lot stronger with use and therefore I don't need to consciously search for what is easiest quite as much. In rapid tempo I can't tell the difference in sound between jumping from position to position and trying to create legato by passing things over and under. Therefore I don't bother any more.

I'm not a performer,so take what I say with a pinch of salt. I've never written any fingerings in my music though. Firstly I keep changing them and secondly I don't use music except to memorise.
_________________________
"It is inadvisable to decline a dinner invitation from a plump woman." - Fred Hollows

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#481961 - 06/11/02 03:47 AM Re: changing fingering
Praetorian_AD Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/01
Posts: 717
Loc: England
That's another thing; what kind of fingering do people use for octaves? The way I see it, there are two schools of thought on the subject: some people use combinations of 1/3 1/4 and 1/5 to facilitate their legato (though this is difficult for people w/smaller hands), and some just say 'screw it' and use 1/5 all the time.

One of my pieces ends with a page full of syncopated double octaves, and after trying to figure out a fingering, I just gave up and used 1/5s and probably learned it a lot faster as a result.

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