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Topic: Opinions on music without fingering  (Read 1007 times)

Offline jimf12

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Opinions on music without fingering
on: November 27, 2021, 01:56:05 AM
I just took advantage of Henle's US Black Friday sale, and got the first volume of Haydn's Piano Sonatas at a nice discount.   I had to order the version without fingering, as the version with fingering was back ordered.   I could have waited, but something that my teacher (whom I respect greatly) muttered a while back that made me decide not to.   On the whole she said she prefers music without fingering, because so often it's either just whacky or it is so dependent on the person that you end up marking up your score to put your own fingering in. 

From a respected publisher like Henle, I have to believe the fingering would not fall into the whacky bucket, and I've always kind of liked having at least a starting point for fingering knowing that it's not always a once size fits all.   In fact, I'm often found some questionable fingering to actually be useful.    Case in point is a Schirmer (GASP!) edition I have of Chopin Nocturnes edited by Joseffy - for the E minor Nocture (op72) there are a couple of places that I thought the fingering was kind of whacky, and only after using my own for a week or two I realized that his actually had some merits, and in some cases I've gone back to the book fingering.

Thoughts?   

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Opinions on music without fingering
Reply #1 on: November 27, 2021, 03:53:30 AM
Fingering is a very complicated issue and it really does take a lot of playing experience to come up with the most optimal solution for any given situation. I think we can easily fall into traps continually doing what we think is most correct and never add to our library of fingering understandings. There are a number of pieces I learned as a child/teen which were fairly advanced and I used fingerings that I wanted only, coming back to these decades later I see so much that I missed bcause I just did what I thought was best. It produced fine sound but the feeling while physically playing could be better.

It should be encouraged on piano forums to discuss all strange fingering suggestions we come across, as a matter of education it is highly useful. Then to discuss what then optimal solution is and reasons why will be highly insightful.
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Offline quantum

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Re: Opinions on music without fingering
Reply #2 on: November 27, 2021, 08:35:48 AM
Fingering is individualized.  Comfortable fingering can also change with time as one develops ones technique and can open up new possibilities that were previously determined to be unfeasible.

You can always consult multiple editions and pencil in fingerings you prefer.  Don't rely on the social status of a certain publisher to provide good fingerings.  I've encountered many wacky fingerings inside the blue cover.  Be happy with your purchase of a respected edition. 
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline arda152

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Re: Opinions on music without fingering
Reply #3 on: November 27, 2021, 11:35:54 AM
First, a simple argumentation:
Fingering implies motion.
Many pieces only become playable if you find the correct motions.
Therefore, the suitable fingering (for a certain pianist in a certain piece) will decide if a piece is playable or not.

Having said what I think about fingering in general, I can now talk about my thought on editions with/without fingering. I am always curious to see many fingerings for a passage, but at the end I decide on my final version and stubbornly practice only with that. (This might change of course, maybe in 5 years, but then I stick to the new version stubbornly)

Do get your hands on every possible idea how to play something and analyze why the certain movement might be suitable. You will find some laughable stuff even in the most superb publishing houses, but you will also find smart ideas. An edition without fingering is good to write your own decision at the end, so good choice with that :)

And at the end comes the historical aspect:
Fingering is related to a certain tradition of piano technique. Look at the attached file for example. What might look like a rather strange fingering today, is actually the very own recommendation of great master J. S. Bach.

Offline jimf12

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Re: Opinions on music without fingering
Reply #4 on: November 29, 2021, 02:41:26 PM
That Bach fingering is really interesting.   I don't understand that ever could have been considered standard, but times and ideas have changed I suppose.   Thanks for sharing that.

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