Changing fingers on repeated notes

Posted by: ChopinAddict

Changing fingers on repeated notes - 11/15/12 03:59 AM

I know we have already discussed the topic of changing fingers on repeated notes...
But today I was browsing other ABRSM editions (after buying Beethoven's Sonatas) and I noticed that the description of Chopin's Nocturnes (Fielden/Craxton) says:
In the present edition, fingerings have been inserted to conform with modern practice; the convention of changing fingers on repeated notes has been avoided as far as possible; fingering should be adapted to shape of phrases rather than to mere facility. As in former volumes of this edition, pedalling has received careful attention, and unnecessary repetition of pedalling marks for similar passages has been avoided.

Any thoughts about the convention of changing fingers on repeated notes has been avoided as far as possible? Thanks! smile
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Changing fingers on repeated notes - 11/15/12 04:08 AM

Say what now? I'm not at all sure I agree with this, but it depends on how many repeated notes are we talking about...

Personally, I do not alter the fingers when I repeat the notes, but my sound and my music is usually harsh enough to allow that... :-/
Posted by: Derulux

Re: Changing fingers on repeated notes - 11/15/12 04:31 AM

I think it depends. If there is a strong case for the finger change (ie, it's really too fast a series of notes to play with one finger, may cause unnecessary tension, better aligns the hand from the previous notes/for the next notes, or helps to keep time/meter), then I support changing fingers on repeated notes. Otherwise, I don't really feel it's necessary.

This, I support with my own playing as well. Sometimes I do it, sometimes I don't. But for me, it is always a conscious decision whether it makes sense, rather than a lack of technique. I think it's equally important to be able to change fingers, to have that technical ability, and that one is making a musical/mechanical decision, rather than basing their decision on a flaw in or absence of technique.
Posted by: debrucey

Re: Changing fingers on repeated notes - 11/15/12 04:32 AM

My general rule of thumb is not to change fingers on a repeated note if it is part of a slow, lyrical phrase. Unless, changing a finger helps either navigate the dynamic curve or relocate my hand to carry on to the next bit of the phrase.
Posted by: DonaldLee

Re: Changing fingers on repeated notes - 11/15/12 08:12 AM

It depends on what type of repeated notes we're talking about. Slow ones in a phrase: No change in finger, and I tend to raise the key only slightly above the tone point before depressing it again. Creates a nice legato effect even without the pedal. On fast repeated notes: It depends. In La Campanella, I change fingers on everything. In Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2, I sometimes change fingers, but sometimes I use the same finger (I'm experimenting with the different characters that piece can take on). However, I think it's important to be able to play rapid repeated notes with one finger. Once you've balanced your hand on the key properly, it's almost like a controlled nervous tick that makes it happen. It's this same concept that allows us to play the fast octaves in the Liszt/Schubert Erlk├Ânig, and fast chords like the ones found in the first movement of Beethoven's Sonata op. 81a.
Posted by: gooddog

Re: Changing fingers on repeated notes - 11/15/12 09:51 AM

Changing the fingers on repeated notes changes the sound. There seems to be more clarity and evenness when fingers are changed. It depends on what sound you want to produce.
Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: Changing fingers on repeated notes - 11/15/12 02:04 PM

Thanks! smile I agree with the replies here. One should differentiate between slow and fast passages. It is just that their description is a bit misleading...
Posted by: Arghhh

Re: Changing fingers on repeated notes - 11/15/12 07:48 PM

I believe the description alludes to a former pedagogical concept (originating in the 19th century maybe??) where one should always change fingers on repeated notes. This is no longer thought to be so mandatory. Kind of like the practicing with a coin on the back of the hand.
Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: Changing fingers on repeated notes - 11/15/12 08:02 PM

Yes, I agree, that's why they call it a "convention". There are exercises in books like Hanon that reinforce this convention of course, but as one grows one realizes it is not always the best choice. In a really fast passage it would probably also be more difficult to change fingers (apart from the other considerations mentioned in this thread)!
Posted by: slava_richter

Re: Changing fingers on repeated notes - 11/16/12 10:08 AM

For rapid-fire repeated notes, there's no other way than to change fingers. Here's the most perfect demonstration of that imaginable:

Posted by: Damon

Re: Changing fingers on repeated notes - 11/16/12 10:26 AM

I change fingers in almost every case, slow or fast.
Posted by: Bluoh

Re: Changing fingers on repeated notes - 11/17/12 01:08 AM

I find that the sound is generally clearer and crisper when the fingers are changed, but this depends on how many notes we're talking about. If it's one or two sets, then it's probably not worth the hassle and the extra trouble.
Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: Changing fingers on repeated notes - 11/17/12 01:18 AM

I always tend to change fingers too (or tended until now at least) (I think it also has to do with exercises in the past, yeah, even Hanon, it's sort of automatic), that's why I was surprised at the original statement, but I intend to buy the book anyway and have a specific look at those passages with repeated notes (not right now though, I am not ordering anything from overseas before Christmas).
Posted by: Bluoh

Re: Changing fingers on repeated notes - 11/17/12 01:39 AM

Originally Posted By: ChopinAddict
I always tend to change fingers too (or tended until now at least) (I think it also has to do with exercises in the past, yeah, even Hanon, it's sort of automatic), that's why I was surprised at the original statement, but I intend to buy the book anyway and have a specific look at those passages with repeated notes (not right now though, I am not ordering anything from overseas before Christmas).

True, it has a lot to do with practice and tradition, but context is also very important... There shouldn't be a solid rule saying you should or shouldn't do anything, especially when it comes to technique and quality of sound.
Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: Changing fingers on repeated notes - 11/17/12 01:51 AM

You are right. It is just the first reaction (because of drills), but then one should go deeper. I know that there have been instances where I am sure that I have not changed the fingers, although right now I don't remember where (I am a bit tired this evening).