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Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues Fingering (Read 1292 times)

Offline fftransform

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Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues Fingering
« on: December 21, 2019, 02:54:58 AM »
I've been messing with this piece off and on for a long time, and this is the only passage that is really keeping me from working it up.  I have trouble reaching the 9th chord in the RH, i.e. the first five notes are what's giving me problems.  The LH and jumping up for the other stuff is fine for me.  But on the ninth chord I tend to . . . add a note or two with the pinky and/or thumb haha

The fingering I've been using is 1-2-1-2-(125)-2-1-2.  I can handle using the (2) that fast in this passage, it's just hitting the chord with any accuracy that's the problem.  I've also messed around with the more natural 1-2-1-2-(135)-2-1-2, which feels basically exactly the same except it makes it a bit more awkward to do the 4-5 crossover up to C in the third measure and makes it harder to accent.

Has anyone worked this piece up, before?  Or can someone have a go at the RH of this passage (just the first measure) and let me know if they can get it to work?  Give it a try before trying to think up a fingering, it's deceptively difficult.  Just bare in mind that it also has to work with the next two measures.

Another problem is that because that's a decent stretch for me and the thumb is moving around so much, it's hard to practice for very long.  Anyone want to play around with it and see what sort of exercise gives them some results?

Offline quantum

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Re: Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues Fingering
«Reply #1 on: December 21, 2019, 06:11:19 AM »
Try 1-2-3-2-(135)-2-3-2

Crossing 2-3 will allow you to maintain the span of a 9th while playing the rest of the notes.  It feels natural to me likely because it is commonly encountered in organ playing. 

Constantly expanding and contracting the hand leads to fatigue.  It is the same idea when playing bass-chord-chord patterns in the LH - maintain the form of the chord in your hand when you play the single note. 

Bar 2: 1-2-3-2-(135)-(25)-(14)-(15)

Bar 3: 1-2-3-2-(135)-1-2-(35)

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Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues Fingering
«Reply #2 on: December 21, 2019, 12:24:08 PM »
Overusing the thumb is probably going to make it hard so wouldnt suggest 1212(125) that thumb is changing shape too much for my liking.


1234(125)432 to help the accuracy of the chord it is useful to have an early thumb movement away from the black position.

1234(125)(25)(14)(15)  repeating the 2 in the chord is useful to maintain percussive accented effect and relaxed hand. Thumb finishing on black is not so bad because the repeats keep the thumb in a black position anyway.

and

1234 (125)12(25)    using (25) at the end makes the interval natural in the hand, the last group are all accented so it's quite percussive movements, similar idea as in the previous bars accented groups.
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Offline j_tour

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Re: Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues Fingering
«Reply #3 on: December 21, 2019, 03:40:18 PM »
I have played this and brought the score to the "North American Ballads" down to see where you're talking about.

Yeah, no question about it, that's a wide stretch for the RH, especially at tempo.

Sorry I can't be more help, but I think the technical answer is just sort of fake it, while maintaining the tempo.

And be glad, it's only a bit until you get to the Ray Charles-esque "Un poco meno mosso" section.

Sorry I can't help, but that's the only way I can figure it out.  No idea what I did back in the day:  probably about the same.

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Offline fftransform

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Re: Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues Fingering
«Reply #4 on: December 22, 2019, 01:19:40 AM »
Try 1-2-3-2-(135)-2-3-2

Thanks, I never tried this!  It does seem like maybe it will get me over the hump with this passage, though I am hybridizing it with my old fingering:

1-2-3-2-(125)-2-1-2.  It still has the problem of moving the thumb around a lot, but it's less enough to make it possible to practice a lot more than my old one.  I can't do the crossover going back down, my 2nd/3rd fingers are almost exactly the same length and it's too weird-feeling.


Regarding the measures 2/3, the fingerings I've been using have worked really well for me.  They are as follows (incorporating quantum's fingering for the first five notes, which I will mess around with for a few days):

Measure 2: 1-2-3-2-(125)-(15)-(14)-(15)

Measure 3: 1-2-3-2-(125)-4-3-(15) i.e. a 'harpsichord crossing', this one is especially comfortable and I have good accuracy here so I can defo recommend the 4-3-(15), also based on the next measure.


Overusing the thumb is probably going to make it hard so wouldnt suggest 1212(125) that thumb is changing shape too much for my liking.


1234(125)432 to help the accuracy of the chord

Yeah, the thumb movement is a big contributor to why it's so tiring.  I just can't do 1234-(125) or 1234-(135) because of the quick movement of 5.  That's probably how a GOOD pianist would play it though haha


I think the technical answer is just sort of fake it, while maintaining the tempo.

Yeah, I tried to look at some videos and definitely saw that, just leaving out the thumb.  I wouldn't be satisfied with myself, I really want to 'beat' this passage because it's so small yet has eluded so many of my attempts haha

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues Fingering
«Reply #5 on: December 22, 2019, 07:27:18 AM »
...  I just can't do 1234-(125) or 1234-(135) because of the quick movement of 5.  That's probably how a GOOD pianist would play it though haha
Yeah the thumb needs to start moving early it cannot stay in the black position from the starting note, that helps getting the 5th into place.
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Offline j_tour

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Re: Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues Fingering
«Reply #6 on: December 23, 2019, 03:54:32 AM »
I admire the OP's integrity for getting the fingering locked down.  Yeah, it's just one little tricky bit out of a pretty long piece, but that's commendable.

I remember that my father was NOT pleased when I was practicing this one during when he was trying to watch the TV news back in the day.  And it may have been a different piece, but somewhere around there one of the wooden dowels that held the hammer gave out.  At the time it was on my uncle's upright piano decent instrument, but even then the wood was probably rotting in multiple places, and the treatment I gave it especially on this piece didn't do it much favors.  :)

OUT OF CURIOSITY, how is the OP managing with the Ray Charles-like section I alluded to above?  When I was doing this one, my teacher went ahead and pencilled in some pop/jazz style chord names at my behest, although she wasn't too happy about "dumbing it down" for me (I think she thought it was beneath her to pencil in the chord names, as opposed to just RNA)  but I think at the time I was also taking some pop/gospel off the records and I remember being very excited about playing that bit from "legitimate" music.

ALSO the only recording I know about is the Paul Jacobs record:  I'm sure there must be others out there.  So who else recorded this set?

BTW, I also did "Down By The Riverside" off the same set, although I don't think I ever got that one down all the way through.  Lots of tricky almost free-floating bits, as far as the time goes. 

Are you doing the whole opus, or just the one for now?
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline fftransform

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Re: Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues Fingering
«Reply #7 on: January 07, 2020, 12:00:33 AM »
OUT OF CURIOSITY, how is the OP managing with the Ray Charles-like section I alluded to above?

ALSO the only recording I know about is the Paul Jacobs record:  I'm sure there must be others out there.  So who else recorded this set?

Are you doing the whole opus, or just the one for now?

The second half only has the one tough passage after the bass ostinato returns, but it's just about sufficient practicing, it doesn't really present any technical walls.  It's hard to read, but very pianistic, probably a lot of improvisatory stuff which usually means it will be comfortable.

I don't like Jacobs or Rzewski's rec.  My favorite is David Jalbert's commercial release from the late 90's or early 2000's.  He has a recent vid on youtube, but it's a very different interp now.



Just No. 4.  I like No. 3 as well but it's not enough of a priority for me.  The next 20th century work I wanna do is the Stockhausen Klavierstuck VII (my fav, except maybe the nearly-unplayable X) or the Protopopov: