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Topic Options
#590970 - 12/21/07 05:30 AM Beethoven Op.81a - need help with some fingering
Digitus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 866
Loc: Singapore
I am re-visiting this after last having played this many eons ago.

I used to play from the ABRSM/Tovey score, but found the fingering for the RH chords in mm. 32 - 34 limiting for speed and accuracy. Schirmer was no better. So I'm now trying Schenker, and its promising. I want to see what Henle suggests but can't track it down in any music store in Singapore.

Would someone who has Henle please help me out by giving the fingering from there?

If you have tried various fingerings, which one works best for you?

Thanks in advance!

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#590971 - 12/21/07 08:22 AM Re: Beethoven Op.81a - need help with some fingering
PoStTeNeBrAsLuX Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 2618
Loc: Geneva, Switzerland
Digitus:
Would someone who has Henle please help me out by giving the fingering from there?

I can when I get home from work, but that won't be for another 5 hrs or so \:\(

-Michael B.
_________________________
There are two rules to success in life: Rule #1. Don't tell people everything you know.

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#590972 - 12/21/07 08:43 AM Re: Beethoven Op.81a - need help with some fingering
Digitus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 866
Loc: Singapore
Michael: No hurry! Thanks so much for your kind offer.

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#590973 - 12/21/07 10:25 AM Re: Beethoven Op.81a - need help with some fingering
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
If you get a chance, look at the Schnabel edition too. I don't have it close by, so can't tell you what the fingerings are, but his are often useful to look at.

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#590974 - 12/21/07 12:11 PM Re: Beethoven Op.81a - need help with some fingering
Digitus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 866
Loc: Singapore
Ah, good suggestion. But even rarer still. At least I saw Henle on the shelves once (when I was buying Schenker). Hmmm...maybe I should just go to Amazon.com and pick up both Henle and Schnabel there. :p

 Quote:
Originally posted by Phlebas:
If you get a chance, look at the Schnabel edition too. I don't have it close by, so can't tell you what the fingerings are, but his are often useful to look at. [/b]

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#590975 - 12/21/07 01:19 PM Re: Beethoven Op.81a - need help with some fingering
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17954
Loc: Victoria, BC
 Quote:
Originally posted by Phlebas:
If you get a chance, look at the Schnabel edition too. I don't have it close by, so can't tell you what the fingerings are, but his are often useful to look at. [/b]
Schnabel :

RH, measure 34 : Schnabel gives four (!) possible fingerings for the first chord :
3/1; 4/2; 2/1; or 3/1, (depending on the fingering used on the last chord of the previous measure).

Then : 5 on C; 4/2 on Bb, Eb; 3 on Ab; 5/2 on G, C; 4 on F; 3/2 on F#, Eb;

RH, measure 35 : (3)/5/1 on G, D, (the three is obviously an alternate; 4 on A; (5) or 4 on B natural; 4 on B natural; 5 on C; (4)/5/2 on D, B natural F natural; 3 on Eb; 4 on C natural;

RH, measure 36 : 4 on E natural.

Note : where only one finger is given on chords, Schnabel does not indicate the other fingers, and it is always the top finger that is given.

I hope that this may be of help or at least interest to you.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#590976 - 12/21/07 01:54 PM Re: Beethoven Op.81a - need help with some fingering
Digitus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 866
Loc: Singapore
Thanks Bruce! Schnabel is very close to Schenker. Schnabel's alternates in m. 35 are Schenker's main.

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#590977 - 12/21/07 02:02 PM Re: Beethoven Op.81a - need help with some fingering
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
I never look at printed fingerings anymore,
unless nothing else works. If you play
from the score without looking at your
hands, your hands will find the best
fingering, and technique, automatically
on their own with no special effort on
your part.

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#590978 - 12/21/07 02:18 PM Re: Beethoven Op.81a - need help with some fingering
bitWrangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1789
Loc: Central TX
 Quote:
Originally posted by Gyro:
I never look at printed fingerings anymore,
unless nothing else works. If you play
from the score without looking at your
hands, your hands will find the best
fingering, and technique, automatically
on their own with no special effort on
your part. [/b]
But isn't it the case that not all fingerings are the same. Basically just because a particular fingering "works", it doesn't mean that it is optimal, esp. when you start to up the speed of the piece. In this case you could end up "teaching" yourself a fingering that could end up being more detrimental later on. I know in the case of our daughter, one of the things that her teacher works with her on is getting the fingering such that she is in a good position to play the next set of notes.

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#590979 - 12/21/07 02:25 PM Re: Beethoven Op.81a - need help with some fingering
Digitus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 866
Loc: Singapore
Gyro: I agree with you. I use a combination of instinct and suggestions. That's because sometimes when I go by instinct I get it wrong because my hands just aren't used to doing something that they haven't done before.

For example in the 4th chord of Schenker m32 (Schnabel m34), the "obvious" fingering is with 5 on the Ab. That's what I used to play (and both Tovey and Schirmer show) because my hands aren't large. But then I got Schenker and tried 3 on the Ab. Not comfortable initially, but after some experimentation with hand/wrist movement I found it far better than what I was using.

Same thing with the second group of 4 quavers in Schenker m33. What Schenker (and Schnabel) show is better than what I used to use.

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#590980 - 12/21/07 02:33 PM Re: Beethoven Op.81a - need help with some fingering
Digitus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 866
Loc: Singapore
I think that pianists with less experience and who haven't yet discovered either by themselves or through instruction about hand/wrist positioning and movement need guidance from the score. (Ouch, sorry for that sentence!) Sometimes even competent pianists need help!

I certainly need help because I'm not competent and never had teachers who taught me properly. Now that I am playing the piano after 25 years away from the keyboard, I am going through a whole lot of (very enjoyable) self-instruction.

 Quote:
Originally posted by bitWrangler:
But isn't it the case that not all fingerings are the same. Basically just because a particular fingering "works", it doesn't mean that it is optimal, esp. when you start to up the speed of the piece. In this case you could end up "teaching" yourself a fingering that could end up being more detrimental later on. I know in the case of our daughter, one of the things that her teacher works with her on is getting the fingering such that she is in a good position to play the next set of notes.

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#590981 - 12/21/07 02:59 PM Re: Beethoven Op.81a - need help with some fingering
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
BitWrangler, I was classically trained
as a child and I used to do it the
conventional way, by following the printed
fingering for the most part, and then using
one "optimal" fingering scheme to learn a
piece, because it makes it easier when you
use one fingering from the start. But
there are several flaws in this, as I
see it. First, the printed fingering is a
kind of generic, one-size-fits-all scheme
devised by the editor, based on his hand
mainly, and on his philosophy of playing.
In my view, there is scant chance of this
fingering suiting any individual, unless
his physiology and psychology were identical
to the editor, a near impossibilty.

Second, if you have a teacher who's guiding
you with fingering, this compounds the
problem, in my view. Teachers tend to
follow the printed fingering for the
most part, which is bad enough as it is.
But whatever modifications they do "to
suit the individual student" tend to be
based on their own philosphy of playing,
which again won't suit the student unless
he's a clone of the teacher. Thus, the
student ends up with a mishmash of
fingering philosophy, partly the editor's,
partly the teacher's, and none of it
really tailored to his individual physique
and temperment. Thus, the student ends
up being forced to play in a way that
is unsuited to him, which eventually
ends in inability to progress, except
for the handful of the most talented
individuals.

By playing without looking at your hands
and letting your hands find their own
best fingering and technique, you get
around all this. Now you're playing in
a way that suits your individual physique
and psychology, and there is no limit
to the progress you can make, over time.

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#590982 - 12/21/07 03:17 PM Re: Beethoven Op.81a - need help with some fingering
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
Note: when you let your hands find the
best fingering and technique on their own,
the results may seem shocking when compared
to accepted fingering practice. For
example, I like to cross the 4th finger
over the 5th and will do it whenever I
can get away with it. I also like to use
the same finger on successive notes, like
Bb to A with 4 4 instead of 4 3. I also
don't like to cross fingers and will avoid
it whenever I can, prefering to simply "hop"
with the hand to move around on the keyboard.
And so forth.

All of this would be probably be
considered terrible fingering technique
by most teachers, but this is what suits
my individual physiology and psychology
and is what allows me to make continuous
progress. Anything else would stop my
progress dead in its tracks.

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#590983 - 12/21/07 03:29 PM Re: Beethoven Op.81a - need help with some fingering
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17954
Loc: Victoria, BC
 Quote:
Originally posted by Gyro:
Teachers tend to
follow the printed fingering for the
most part, which is bad enough as it is.
But whatever modifications they do "to
suit the individual student" tend to be
based on their own philosphy of playing,
which again won't suit the student unless
he's a clone of the teacher. Thus, the
student ends up with a mishmash of
fingering philosophy, partly the editor's,
partly the teacher's, and none of it
really tailored to his individual physique
and temperment. Thus, the student ends
up being forced to play in a way that
is unsuited to him, which eventually
ends in inability to progress, except
for the handful of the most talented
individuals.

[/b]
The above statements, including : "Teachers tend to ...", "based on their (the teacher's) own philosophy of playing..." "none of [the fingering} ... tailored to the [student]..." might be trued if applied to teachers who have no idea what they are doing - which means they are not teachers; otherwise, these statements are absolute nonsense.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#590984 - 12/22/07 08:49 AM Re: Beethoven Op.81a - need help with some fingering
PoStTeNeBrAsLuX Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 2618
Loc: Geneva, Switzerland
Late reply due to impromptu Xmas apéro after work yesterday, and upon my return there being a visiting family member already asleep in room where the PC is located... So the Henle suggestions:

bar 32 (first two chords nothing at all, though presumably 3/1 and 5/1 given the previous bar's indications), and then:

4/2 (Eb-Bb)
5/1 (B-Ab)
5/2 (C-G)
4/1 (G-F)
3/2 (Eb-F#)

bar 33 (only top note indicated):

4-5-4-(blank)-5-5-4-5

bar 34 (only top note indicated):
4 and then blank for second chord, though presumably 5 ;\)


Hope that helps \:\)

-Michael B
_________________________
There are two rules to success in life: Rule #1. Don't tell people everything you know.

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#590985 - 12/22/07 09:52 AM Re: Beethoven Op.81a - need help with some fingering
Praa Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/12/07
Posts: 15
Loc: Australia
Interesting that an Op 81a discussion would focus on bars 32-34. I too studied the sonata once for an exam, and more often than not got shipwrecked there and in the same phrase in the recap (in spite of using Henle). Much later I read that Alfred Brendel has described the sonata as a "fingerbreaker". In spite of this vindication from on high, I ended up deeply disliking it and have never played it again.

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#590986 - 12/22/07 11:46 AM Re: Beethoven Op.81a - need help with some fingering
Digitus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 866
Loc: Singapore
Hi Michael,

Thanks very much for taking the trouble!

Hmmm...Henle is similar to Tovey and Schirmer. After a lot of experimenting I find that the fingering in Schenker/Schnabel to be better in terms of economy of movement and preservation of hand shape, particularly in bar 33. BUT that darned 3/1 stretch for B-Ab in bar 32 is presently a huge speed bump. The alternative 5/1 never gave me the accuracy I needed at speed. Oh, for want of slightly larger hands.

I'm going to persevere with the Schenker fingering for a while....

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#590987 - 12/22/07 11:49 AM Re: Beethoven Op.81a - need help with some fingering
Digitus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 866
Loc: Singapore
Heheh...Brendel may have described the sonata as a "fingerbreaker" but he sounds pretty OK in his recording of the cycle. Or maybe he stitched bars 32-34 together from multiple takes. :p

 Quote:
Originally posted by Praa:
Interesting that an Op 81a discussion would focus on bars 32-34. I too studied the sonata once for an exam, and more often than not got shipwrecked there and in the same phrase in the recap (in spite of using Henle). Much later I read that Alfred Brendel has described the sonata as a "fingerbreaker". In spite of this vindication from on high, I ended up deeply disliking it and have never played it again. [/b]

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#590988 - 12/22/07 11:51 AM Re: Beethoven Op.81a - need help with some fingering
Digitus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 866
Loc: Singapore
Or maybe I should just give up and start on Op. 26. \:D

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