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 Fantasy fingering
Author: David Peacham 
Date:   2006-08-24 19:45

Schumann Fantasy pieces that is.

The last one. I'm playing it in the correct concert key, transposed for the Bb. (Don't tell me to get an A.)

I'm struggling with bar 16:

D#6 C#6 B5 A#5 G#5 C#5 D#5 E5

A classic little-finger problem. (Don't tell me to get a Bb with a duplicate D#5.)

One way out seems to be to play G# as R 12. 45. This is easy to finger after A# as R 1.. .5., but the tone quality is very muffled, and the piece is not so quick that I can hide this.

How do other people manage this passage?

-----------

If there are so many people on this board unwilling or unable to have a civil and balanced discussion about important issues, then I shan't bother to post here any more.

To the great relief of many of you, no doubt.


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 Re: Fantasy fingering
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2006-08-24 21:19

The nub of the problem is: G# C# D# E D#.

First use the standard G# fingering and take everything after the G# on the right. Then, you get a (semiquaver) D natural sounding between the C# and the D# because the RH penki has to make an upward leap.

Play this slowly a few times, allowing the D natural to sound, and without tensing your RH. After a bit, as you play through the 5-note sequence (6-note with the extra D natural), allow yourself to become aware that your LH penki is free after releasing the G#.

Then use a relaxed, short flip of your LH penki on the LH C# key to 'cover' the transitional D natural.

This is of course a well-known technique, but I've described it in a quite careful way in order to lead you to a fluid movement. There is no REALLY fast finger action involved -- I'd say the important thing is to get the timing right at a slow speed before you try it faster.

PS It just struck me that you can practise both halves of the penki movements required, (L and R) by playing slowly what I described above:

G# C#(Rpenki)/Dnatural D# E D#

...but then also:

G# Dnatural/C#(Lpenki) D# E D#

....though having fooled around with all that for a bit, I think it's much easier to practise voicing the xxo/xxo fingering you referred to. Don't forget to use lots of support....(why?-)

Tony



Post Edited (2006-08-24 21:54)

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 Re: Fantasy fingering
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2006-08-25 07:59

I would just suggest to move from right pinky to left pinky during the C#, unless it is very fast (what is the rhythm on those notes?). This is basically the same as what Tony Pay suggested just without playing only on the right and hearing the D which I don't think is necessary, but maybe that's because I'm used to doing it since I don't have a left Eb lever either (and when I did I never used it). I'm assuming Tony Pay has a lot more experience teaching than I so he probably knows better what works for learning.

Tony Pay - just a few days ago I was told you did a master class in Israel, I think just a few years ago. Too bad I didn't know about it or else I would come.

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 Re: Fantasy fingering
Author: Mike Clarinet 
Date:   2006-08-25 08:07

I read what Tony says several times before it finally made sense to me. Then the lightbulb flickered on. What he has described is what my first clarinet teacher used to call a "double clanger", ie changing fingers on a note wthout stopping the note. He used to get me to practice it like this:

The problem part is going from RH C# to RH D#.

Imagine that 2 C#'s are written, each half the value of what is really written.

Play: G#(l) C#(r) C#(l) D#(r) E D#(r)

When this is fluid, imagine the 2 C#'s tied together and play accordingly.
Of course, you have to make sure that the C#(l) is secure before releasing your r finger.

The idea is to make the change on a beat (or subdivision thereof) of the bar, so not to interrupt the flow of the music.

I am not familiar with the Schumann, but this sort of situation is out of the "First book of holes for clarinettists to fall into", written by assorted composers who either know nothing about clarinets, or who know too much and are inpressed with their own cleverness :-)

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 Re: Fantasy fingering
Author: Gretchen 
Date:   2006-08-25 14:43

i absolutely agree with Mike Clarinet. Coming from the G#, which you use your LH Pinky for, imagine the rhythm of the C#'s as 2-16th notes tied together. The first C# sixteenth note, come from the G# to the C# using the RH Pinky, and quickly switch to the second 16th note using the LH Pinky so you can proceed to use your RH Pinky to play the D#. Do this slowly at first. it's tricky.  :)


Good luck! let us know how your practicing goes. :)

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 Re: Fantasy fingering
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2006-08-25 14:47

clarnibass wrote:

>> I'm assuming Tony Pay has a lot more experience teaching than I so he probably knows better what works for learning.>>

Well, I don't know about that -- I don't think I've ever 'taught' that technique before. It's just that if I have to consolidate any piece of technique myself, I try to approach it in a way that minimises it being 'special', so that it fits naturally into the skills I already have available.

Including the D natural 'both ways' is one way to do that -- the first that occurred to me -- and it seemed to work to generate a relaxed and fluid movement that corresponds to a plausible note sequence in my 'normal' playing -- plausible, note, to the EAR as well as to the fingers, a consideration often overlooked -- as well as mimicking the exact timings of the finger movements required for the 'tricky' passage in question. So I already had a relaxed muscle and ear memory of success before combining the two halves into a practisable whole.

That there are other ways of approaching the matter, I have no doubt.

All that having been said, if you want to play these pieces, buy an A clarinet!-)

>> Tony Pay - just a few days ago I was told you did a master class in Israel, I think just a few years ago. Too bad I didn't know about it or else I would come.>>

I've done classes as part of the 'Clarinet Days' organised by Sarah Elbaz twice previously, once with Hakan Rosengren and most recently with Sabine Meyer and her husband Reiner Wehle two years ago. If all goes well, I'll do them again in December this year.

Tony

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 Re: Fantasy fingering
Author: GBK 
Date:   2006-08-25 15:30

I've used and taught Tony's suggestion of switching pinkies to the alternate fingering while the note is sustained.

I've always called it a "retake" (refering to fingers switching to the alternate fingering)...GBK

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 Re: Fantasy fingering
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2006-08-25 16:36

HAHAHA! I was expecting this thread to be about special fingerings that we'd like to use for certain notes, or one fingering that makes a variety of notes.

So 'double-declutching' is acceptable! I've often done this and looked around to see if anyone noticed me switching fingers on a held note.

Nice to know I'm in good company! Now I'll do this without feeling guilty - for me the xxo|xxo G# fingering has to be worked hard at to make it match in tone quality to the other notes around it, so I do avoid it unless it's a fast or unstressed note.

Chris.

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 Re: Fantasy fingering
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2006-08-25 17:28

Chris P wrote:

>> So 'double-declutching' is acceptable! .... Now I'll do this without feeling guilty.>>

What did you think you 'should' have been doing?

THERE ARE NO AUTHORITIES OUT THERE.

>>- for me the xxo|xxo G# fingering has to be worked hard at to make it match in tone quality to the other notes around it, so I do avoid it unless it's a fast or unstressed note.>>

A probably-too-fast-to-switch example, forcing you into an alternative G# (which I'd argue isn't so hard to make acceptable even at slower tempi), is the Scherzo of the Tchaikowsky Piano Concerto #1, involving these very notes.

Tony



Post Edited (2006-08-25 17:31)

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 Re: Fantasy fingering
Author: crnichols 
Date:   2006-08-25 17:38

I remember learning about switching as an alternative to sliding about 8 or 9 years ago. My teacher at that time said "I've done the Debussy Premiere Rhapsodie sliding and with double fingering. When you slide, you can hear it." I have to agree with her on that, but not always. I do think it's much easier to accomplish a clean legato interval double fingering than sliding. I've never been able to use sliding successfully except when articulation was involved, but only if the coordination is exact. In general, I've found that double fingering is more reliable. Also there's always the option to have the extra Eb/Ab key installed on your clarinet. Then you'll almost never have to deal with sliding or double fingering.

Christopher Nichols, D.M.A.
Assistant Professor of Clarinet
University of Delaware

Post Edited (2006-08-25 20:50)

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 Re: Fantasy fingering
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2006-08-25 18:08

"Also there's always the option to have the extra Eb/Ab key installed on your clarinet. Then you'll never have to deal with sliding or double fingering."

Really? How about G# D# C# G#

Chris, was your post a joke? I mean, you do whatever you need to convey (I think that's the right word) the music. If 'double-declutching' as you call it is what you need to do to play something, I can't think of any person with any sort of sense at all to not aprove that.

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 Re: Fantasy fingering
Author: crnichols 
Date:   2006-08-25 20:50

Sorry, I reread what I typed. I left out a word, it's been corrected.

Christopher Nichols, D.M.A.
Assistant Professor of Clarinet
University of Delaware

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 Re: Fantasy fingering
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2006-08-25 23:28

"What did you think you 'should' have been doing?"

Planning ahead and getting the right fingers in the right place at the right time perhaps. But I do this a lot on sax as well - holding a note and changing the fingering of that note to get to the next note easier, and making sure the changeover is smooth and the note still sounds the same - eg. changing from xxx|xo,o to xxx|oxo.

I have had players comment on why I do this, I just answer 'because I feel like doing it and it makes the next bit easier'. But these are from people that adhere to their fingering charts as if their life depends on them.

Yeah I know there aren't hard and fast rules in everything, and we all do what's easiest for us.

Chris.

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 Re: Fantasy fingering
Author: Terry Stibal 
Date:   2006-08-26 03:45

Those who brought up that the composers don't always "write well" for particular instruments should recall that this is an A clarinet part being transposed to be played on a Bb instrument.

From the structure of the comments, it appears that things wouldn't have been too bad when the part was played on an A horn. The half step difference in pitch is the cause of the problem, not the original intentions of the composer.

A fine point perhaps, but one that needs to be made.

Also, it's with stuff like this that I thank myself for the presence of mind I had to go with full Boehm horns....

leader of Houston's Sounds Of The South Dance Orchestra
info@sotsdo.com

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 Re: Fantasy fingering
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2006-08-26 15:17

Terry Stibal wrote:

>>...it's with stuff like this that I thank myself for the presence of mind I had to go with full Boehm horns...>>

It's interesting to see this thread from my own perspective: namely, that of someone who habitually plays simpler clarinet systems, down to and including the 5-key clarinet.

On such clarinets, both key-sliding and the use of 'acoustically challenged' fingerings are commonplace requirements, and are therefore practised to the extent that they interfere only minimally with musical expression. Sometimes we find they even serve to ENHANCE musical expression.

On modern instruments, the undesirability of sliding is greatly exaggerated because people regurgitate what they have been told without SUFFICIENTLY trying it out for themselves. The fact is that what is (or is not) possible or desirable with regard to sliding cannot be determined by spending five minutes on it after lunch, as watching any excellent bassoon player will make evident.

The Paris Conservatoire resisted teaching more advanced clarinets than the 5-key instrument for many years before yielding rightly to the inevitable, so making way for the possibility of ever more complicated clarinet music. But that they could plausibly resist at all is evidence for the degree of mastery attainable on even a simple instrument.

What sort of mastery? Well, consider: the great virtuoso Ernesto Cavallini played throughout his career on (and therefore wrote ALL his Etudes for) a 5-key clarinet. That should give anyone pause for thought.

Tony

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 Re: Fantasy fingering
Author: David Peacham 
Date:   2006-08-26 16:04

I knew about the finger-switching idea; I use it for example in the Finzi Forlana just before figure 2, where I switch on C5. But the C5 is a long note, there is plenty of time.

Usually I prefer to slide, for example in the Saint-Saens sonata, second movement bar 57, when I slide the right little-finger from D#5 to C#5. Or, an easier slide, in the second movement of the Brahms Eb sonata, from Ab3 to F3.

Perhaps I should retitle this thread "Switching or Sliding?"

----

Tony Pay wrote: "All that having been said, if you want to play these pieces, buy an A clarinet!-)"

But has been discussed on this board in the past, some performers actually prefer to play them on the Bb. Or to play the first on the Bb and the other two on the A, which seems to me almost the worst of all possible worlds in live performance, given the attacca markings.

Also, playing them on the Bb is good practice. Seems to me a little perverse to play them on the A to make them easier, then go hunting out studies in obscure keys in order to improve technical fluency. I'll probably learn the A-clarinet part as well, albeit still using my Bb.

-----------

If there are so many people on this board unwilling or unable to have a civil and balanced discussion about important issues, then I shan't bother to post here any more.

To the great relief of many of you, no doubt.


Post Edited (2006-08-26 16:06)

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