Klarinet Archive - Posting 000280.txt from 2002/05
From: Tony@-----.uk (Tony Pay)
Subj: Re: [kl] Keeping your fingers straight
Date: Sat, 11 May 2002 05:59:30 -0400
On Sat, 11 May 2002 02:45:20 -0700 (PDT), w7wright@-----.net said:
> Tony Pay wrote:
> > Keeping your fingers straight as you play requires you to use
> > opposing muscles farther up your arm [...which...], unlike the
> > abdomen/diaphragm opposition, is almost always counterproductive.
> > (I say 'almost', because there are some fast trills where such
> > opposition can be momentarily useful.)
> At dinner, I noticed that both you and Mr. Weddle straightened *all* of
> your left-hand fingers when playing Three Pieces. Was this (the fast
> trills) the reason for it, or was something else happening that I
> didn't see?
I don't have an explanation of that, Bill. Are you sure you don't mean
the right hand? I just tried playing the opening of the last movement,
and found that my LH fingers were curved. In fact, I found playing that
bit with my LH fingers straight difficult to do, because straightening
my fingers puts my fingertips in the wrong position for the holes.
What I did notice, though, was that my RH fingers were all straightish
and held together in the first few bars, playing the Bb.
You do want fast finger movements there, so that any legato transition
between one note and another is very clean and clear. Fast, sudden
movement is often associated with a previous opposition -- the (right
leg)/(left leg) opposition you use when you're preparing to return the
serve at tennis is a good example. That's probably why I instinctively
hold the right hand together and thus use larger muscle groups to
operate the Bb, as you would in a fast trill from A to Bb.
Though that's not really necessary, in this case it isn't
counterproductive either -- it's the only thing your RH has to do for 5
bars. And it does fit in with the tense, insistent quality of the music
at that point.
Fortunately, in the LH, you can obtain that opposition without straight
fingers, even though the converse isn't true: you do need opposition to
play with them straight.
Apropos all of this, it remains true that the proof of the pudding is
in the eating. I find it much more effective to play with curved
fingers, but it has to be said that some pianists play very successfully
with straightish fingers. I seem to remember that Horowitz was one of
_________ Tony Pay
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