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 Natural movements of pinky fingers
Author: Bigno16 
Date:   2006-06-13 21:46

(I've read the "Flying Fingers" thread.)

My teacher recently told me to concentrate on keeping my fingers as close to the keys as possible and that it would improve my good technique even more. The problem with this is, of course, the pinky fingers on both hands. He says that he likes to keep the pinky fingers on the keys as much as possible (perhaps all the time). But I am finding this very difficult to do and can't really even imagine myself doing it without thinking about it. It seems that even without the clarinet, if I put down the first 3 fingers (especially the ring finger), the pinky seems to have a natural tendency to move up.

So for instance, say I'm moving down a scale starting from G on top of the staff while trying to keep the right pinky (the left too but that is irrelevant right now) on one of the keys that it is associated with, most always the C key. It is fine when going from G to F, going from F to E I feel a slight bit more difficulty, and then going from E to D (putting down the ring finger) is the huge problem. It is extremely difficult to keep my pinky on the key because as soon as I put my ring finger down, it seems that the pinky just wants to move up. Perhaps it is because that ring finger is the weakest and least independent of all the fingers?

Do the pinky fingers naturally do this or is this just a problem was probably just never noticed and never fixed?

Does anyone else experience this or have in the past? It's really only my pinky fingers that seem to "fly" at times during my playing, so will it really slow me down?

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 Re: Natural movements of pinky fingers
Author: BobD 
Date:   2006-06-13 22:35

Usually that problem is associated with tea drinkers. I guess you just have to train your fingers to "sit".

Bob Draznik

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 Re: Natural movements of pinky fingers
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2006-06-13 23:34

I'd say that

http://test.woodwind.org/Databases/Klarinet/2000/08/000109.txt

...is the post to read:-)

Tony

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 Re: Natural movements of pinky fingers
Author: Simon 
Date:   2006-06-13 23:37

Bignol6 I am glad you asked the question as I always had the same problem and hope to get as many replys as possible.

I have read in the past that one of the techniques you can use and I have tried this is to play in fron of the mirror, play slowly try to be relaxed and keep all fingers as close as possible to the tone holes.

This has worked for me to some extent, however I will be interested to hear if there are specific drills/exercises for this.

Simon



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 Re: Natural movements of pinky fingers
Author: tictactux 2017
Date:   2006-06-13 23:47

This has worked for me to some extent, however I will be interested to hear if there are specific drills/exercises for this.

Sure. Use cyanoacrylate. (aka Superglue) - NOT! [tongue]

Play (throat) G/A/Bb - long B/C/C#/D# passages ad nauseum. Or get yourself a piece that hops up and down over the break. (I got a nasty piece that has fast A-C-Bb-G-A-C sequences in it. Arrgh)

From personal experience I can testify it's a hell of a job to untrain that tea finger.

--
Ben

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 Re: Natural movements of pinky fingers
Author: Markael 
Date:   2006-06-14 02:44

I’ve thought a bit about the concept of “close fingers.” These are just reflections; I’m not speaking as an “expert.”

Reflection #1: Muscle Groups.
Isn’t it true that, in most movements of arms, fingers, legs, and toes, complementary groups of muscles are used? One pulls; one pushes. Therefore, in order to achieve close fingers, it would seem that one group of muscles would have to act as a brake to keep the finger from raising too high.

Reflection #2: Synergistic movements of the body.
Hanon exercises for the piano were designed to produce independence of the fingers. Hanon is still used today and is a good series of exercises, but today it is recognized that the fingers were not designed to be absolutely and completely independent. Now more thought is given to the total movements of arm, wrist, hand, and fingers. It would seem that a certain amount of movement in the pinky while playing clarinet is just a natural part of the way the human hand works.

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 Re: Natural movements of pinky fingers
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2006-06-14 10:50

It seems to me that as long as the fingers remain close to the keys, some involuntary movement up or down won't be a stumbling block.

I agree with Ben, slow practice in front of a mirror is good. I use thirds and interupted scales, paying particular attention to the "break."

To answer Tony: Just be aware of acute paronychia (caused by bugs from the mouth getting into areas of the body they don't belong). Very painful. I AM being too concrete !!!! :-)



..........Paul Aviles

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 Re: Natural movements of pinky fingers
Author: BobD 
Date:   2006-06-14 22:06

But....the fingers that close open holes can get too close. Right?

Bob Draznik

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 Re: Natural movements of pinky fingers
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2006-06-14 23:56

Hey Bob,


It is pretty surprising just how close your fingers can get before this is an issue. Most of us never come that close I guarantee that.


............Paul Aviles



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 Re: Natural movements of pinky fingers
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2006-06-15 01:36

Markael wrote:

>> Isn’t it true that, in most movements of arms, fingers, legs, and toes, complementary groups of muscles are used? One pulls; one pushes. Therefore, in order to achieve close fingers, it would seem that one group of muscles would have to act as a brake to keep the finger from raising too high.>>

Yes, this is a disadvantage of any direct instruction to minimise finger movement. Muscles working against each other are useful for quick changes of direction of finger movement -- see the discussion of trills, below -- but simply use up energy when we're not needing to change direction immediately.

>> .. fingers were not designed to be completely independent...a certain amount of movement in the pinky while playing clarinet is just a natural part of the way the human hand works.>>

Yes, a wise remark.

Paul Aviles wrote:

>> To answer Tony: Just be aware of acute paronychia (caused by bugs from the mouth getting into areas of the body they don't belong). Very painful. I AM being too concrete !!!! :-)>>

My post (as your smiley perhaps indicates you appreciate) was simply a humorous (?) way of suggesting that the whole difficulty is generated by a worry about something that isn't worth worrying about -- namely, the worry that we're doing SOMETHING WRONG if our fingers are sometimes distant from the holes or keys.

We're not necessarily doing anything wrong, whatever your teacher says.

I've pointed out here before that both speed of finger movement and distance of finger movement can be irrelevant to a particular passage. For example, an ascending one octave F major scale, starting on low F, can be immaculately executed at lightning speed using slow finger movements that continue until each finger is as far away from the clarinet as is consistent with not dropping the instrument. (The scale is long over by then, of course.)

Then, beginning with the throat F, the same is true of a descending fast F major scale. Each finger reaches its hole (or key) a split second after the preceding one, guaranteeing that the scale is very quickly over.

What happens to each finger before arrival is irrelevant.

If you do this, using as slow fingers as possible, up and down the scale, you may well find that it is a relaxing experience. No finger moves fast, even though the scale is fast.

Now, of course, if you want to do a fast F to G trill at the bottom of the instrument, you'll find that you CAN'T move your right penki far from the key; nor can its movement be slow. But that's obvious to you just by direct experience.

I suggest that if you think of making slow finger movements when you play, you will naturally find that the opposition that Markael talks about is used only when it's needed, and that things seem easier.

Your penki won't wander when it's needed -- and what it does when it isn't needed is its own business.

(For a special musical effect, of course, it can be necessary that each finger arrives on its hole or key AT SPEED.)

Tony

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 Re: Natural movements of pinky fingers
Author: Bruno 
Date:   2006-06-15 04:21

If you double on flute you learn early on to keep your right pinky down (actually keeping the tone hole open). I now do it too on clarinet, though of course it closes the E/B tone hole. Which is all right BTW because it helps support the horn and darkens the lower register and throat tones. In fact I keep all R.H. fingers down for throat tones. For another color, try putting all L.H. fingers down for throat A and A#. Get used to it like I did and you find it hard to quit even when you want a breathy throat tone w/nothing down except the key.
An advantage of closing R.H. tone holes for throat tones is that when you cross the break, a lot of fingers are already down.
Another trick I've learned over the years is one to correct a slow finger causing a double attack of a forked-fingering note. I just find out which finger is slow and put my mind into that finger. After 2 more executions, the problem disappears.

What's this all about? Why, keeping fingers close to the horn. Isn't that what this thread is about?

B



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 Re: Natural movements of pinky fingers
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2006-06-15 07:31

Bruno wrote:

>> What's this all about? Why, keeping fingers close to the horn. Isn't that what this thread is about?>>

Well, I've suggested not.

(Your own post, I'd say, is useful -- but about something different.)

In general, threads are best when they encourage thinking about what's going on -- what lies behind all the stuff that gets trotted out because someone trotted it out to someone else that you heard about.

Then you might get an insight that enables you to go beyond what you've managed heretofore on the basis of the trots.

It could happen:-)

Tony



Post Edited (2006-06-15 08:38)

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