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Fingering is Fundamental - Agree or Disagree? (Read 1881 times)

Offline emin7b5

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Fingering is Fundamental - Agree or Disagree?
« on: March 03, 2018, 08:48:13 PM »
I've become convinced that piano fingering is an art, like making oboe reeds is to an oboist.  I can't tell you how many times when learning a new piece, a teacher or fellow student helped me out with a much better fingering than what I was using.  And it made a huge difference.

When I go back to a scores I've worked on in the past, I've sometimes been able to come up with a much better fingering that makes a troublesome passage suddenly no big deal.  Unfortunately I don't think teachers spend enough time with students going over different fingering approaches to technically challenging passages.  And to think about all of the brilliant artists of the past and the knowledge of fingerings they took with them to the grave!  Wouldn't it be cool if we could see how Horowitz, Rubinstein, Richter, etc. approached difficult passages?  Yes, we all have different sized hands, spans, finger lengths, etc., but that doesn't mean that there aren't instructive finger patterns that we should all be aware of and learn.

We have no standard way yet of sharing with each other fingerings for pieces we all love, other than photo copying bits of our score.  In a day and age where we have open source and free methods of notating music, such as Lilypond.org, it is a shame that there is no such method yet for fingerings.

What do you think?  Is fingering fundamental, or much ado about nothing.

Offline outin

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Re: Fingering is Fundamental - Agree or Disagree?
«Reply #1 on: March 03, 2018, 09:08:02 PM »
Lots of my practice time goes to finding good fingerings so I guess I cannot disagree. There are plenty of pieces I could not play at all with the proposed fingerings of the editors. Having a small reach has taught me quite a lot about how to tackle technical difficulties by creative thinking. The more impossible the notes the more fun it is to try to find a way.

Offline mjames

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Re: Fingering is Fundamental - Agree or Disagree?
«Reply #2 on: March 03, 2018, 10:09:43 PM »
It isn't. Conventional fingering is helpful but it's not the only way, you can very much produce the same results with unconventional fingering. Also there are far too many "schools" of how technique (including fingering) should be approached with contrasting philosophies to merit the idea that fingering's fundamental.  

Offline clouseau

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Re: Fingering is Fundamental - Agree or Disagree?
«Reply #3 on: March 03, 2018, 10:47:01 PM »
Fingering is essential.

Not only for making difficult passages manageable, but also for better phrasing. There are some fingerings which work miracles. For example: look for Godowsky's instructive editions! (available on imslp) They are full of fingerings and once you try them out, you will see why Godowsky had a profound understanding of this topic, and why fingering matters. His fingerings feel good and sound good.

Also look for Pachmann editions of Chopin (also on imlsp). Pachmann was a fingering expert, who chose sometimes even unorthodox fingerings, if they served a musical goal well.

Some say that students should from early on learn to find good fingerings themselves, so to develop this skill. However if the student doesn't have some short of guidelines, or examples of what good fingering is, it will be a very time consuming process.

Speaking of fingering, has anyone read "the art of piano fingering" by Rami Bar-Niv?
"What the devil do you mean to sing to me, priest? You are out of tune." - Rameau

Offline dogperson

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Re: Fingering is Fundamental - Agree or Disagree?
«Reply #4 on: March 03, 2018, 10:53:45 PM »
Fingering is essential
.......
Speaking of fingering, has anyone read "the art of piano fingering" by Rami Bar-Niv?



Yes, I have read Ramiís book..,, and would highly recommend it.

Online ted

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Re: Fingering is Fundamental - Agree or Disagree?
«Reply #5 on: March 04, 2018, 12:25:38 AM »
For me, primarily an improviser, fingering is fundamental, but fundamentally different and infuriatingly perverse. In fingering pieces we are seeking precisely optimal solutions to well defined problems.  In improvisation, on the other hand, we have to apply a large mental database of comprehensive general fingering solutions to ill defined, spontaneous situations. Therefore, as you would expect, I am very poor at slowly working out optimal fingerings for pieces. The trouble is that, beyond certain vague, general principles, which we all know about, the musical quality of end results seems uncorrelated to any fingering rules at all. This might be because I am largely untutored, but I somehow doubt it.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline klavieronin

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Re: Fingering is Fundamental - Agree or Disagree?
«Reply #6 on: March 04, 2018, 12:42:56 AM »
Agree. There are always going to be options for good fingerings but bad fingering can destroy a piece.