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 Preferred Pinkie Alternation
Author: allencole 
Date:   2022-08-16 09:35

Couldn't find this in a search, so I thought I'd pose the question:

I've generally thought the the preferred pinkie kies for a D scale 1st octave or A scale 2nd octave would be LH B and RH C#. (Closer reach) Then RH E/B and LH F#/C# for E, B and F# scales, where D#/Eb is an issue.

But looking at some warmup materials for one of my young high schoolers, I see RH B and LH C# being indicated for the D scale. Has this snuck by me as a preference for that scale?

Allen Cole

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 Re: Preferred Pinkie Alternation
Author: ACCA 
Date:   2022-08-16 12:20

my thoughts:

3 Sharps or less: I do what you've written, and teach it. ie left pinky returns to LH long B key, RH pinky stays on C or C# depending on key. This feels much more natural to me.

4 sharps: then you need to do RH B, LH C#, then RH D#. Unless you have the LH Eb key, then you can do LH, RH C#, LH D#. Most students won't on their instrument.

RH B and LH C# being indicated for the D scale is a way of preparing for playing in more sharps I guess, and greater proficiency with alternate fingerings, but my preference is to stick with what you wrote first there, until the D scale has been mastered for some time. It depends on the level of your students I guess!

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 Re: Preferred Pinkie Alternation
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2022-08-16 13:10

I've tried to make myself more facile by having both under my fingers. It doesn't hurt to be flexible on fingerings.

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

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 Re: Preferred Pinkie Alternation
Author: Hunter_100 
Date:   2022-08-16 17:22

I am very right hand dominant and I often lead with the right pinkie for whatever note is called for. Also, I broke my left pinkie finger years ago and it is less flexible now than my right, so I tend to avoid it as my default fingering.

When I consciously think about it, I will alternate leading with the left pinkie but it is not automatic in my mind. However, if an eb is in the run of notes, that always dictates which finger to start with since I do not have an alternate eb key.

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 Re: Preferred Pinkie Alternation
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2022-08-16 18:01

Are these home-grown warmups or are they published? Most published scales I've seen with fingerings either show the ones you've described or they have both ways printed (one above the other, usually with a recommendation to practice both ways).

I think the L-R sequence for C, G, D and A major build on the (to me) obvious design intention that RH C be the normal fingering to use in a native C major scale. It makes logical sense, then, to use LH B(4) whenever the next note needs a lever that's available on the right hand. As you've said, this needs to change *as a standard fingering* when D#(Eb)5 or G#(Ab)3 is involved (E, B, F#/Gb).

If the only fingerings in the warmups you're seeing are RHB-LHC, and it isn't marked the other way in other exercises on the same scales (to support practicing both), I'd wonder what instrument the person who created the warmups plays.


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 Re: Preferred Pinkie Alternation
Author: SecondTry 
Date:   2022-08-16 18:47

I force myself and students to take passages that alternate the pinkies, but don't require a certain order of pinky use, to be practiced both ways.

Of course with 4 sharps, such options are not available to those not in possession of clarinets with a left finger Ab/Eb key.

In passages that require mid note pinky swaps, especially common for those not in possession of clarinets with a left finger Ab/Eb key, there is often more than one place in the passage where the mid not pinky swap can be done. I encourage it be practiced both ways.

Case in point, at measure 50, of Spohr's 1st Clarinet Concerto, Mvt 1, measure 50, the passage features an [Eb5], followed by a [B4], [C5], and [Eb5].

Those not in possession of clarinets with a left finger Ab/Eb key, can do the mid not pinky swap on either the [B4] or [C5]. I suggest both be learned.

Of course at performance time a particular choice I feel should be made and stuck to.

My $0.02.  :)

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 Re: Preferred Pinkie Alternation
Author: Tom H 
Date:   2022-08-17 05:38

I learned the RH B, LH C# first when I was a youngster. Bottom like is that both ways should be automatic and interchangeable unless you have an Eb to contend with of course.

The Most Advanced Clarinet Book--Austin Macauley Publishers
tomheimer.ampbk.com/ Amazon, Sheet Music Plus
Boreal Ballad for unaccompanied clarinet--Sheet Music Plus

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 Re: Preferred Pinkie Alternation
Author: allencole 
Date:   2022-08-17 19:29

To kdk: (sorry, I neglected to quote your reply for clarity)

They look just like the stuff I create in Sibelius, and most of them look pretty good. For most of these kids--despite the fact that they're in high school--I'd say that these are probably their introduction to the D scale. It's the only straight scale requiring pinkie alternation. The fingering notation for chromatic scale looks good.

Oddly enough, they DO mark LH B/RH C for C & G scales, and I have had some students who alternate pinkies on those scales and on chromatic rather than hold the C key down and simply release the B or C# key.

When teaching technique to a student who doesn't have private instruction, I think it's important to consider how much that student may misunderstand or misinterpret, and what kind of ripple effect it might have.

Allen Cole

Post Edited (2022-08-17 19:37)

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