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 Flat or curved
Author: Rusty 
Date:   2009-04-10 09:24

My sax playing has confused fingering a bit here and as, also a clarinet player, raises this query. I notice looking at the clarinet playing on You Tube that some players use flat fingers ( like bag pipes) on the keys while others use curved fingers with tips coming down almost vertically.
Is there a preferred choice? What do teachers teach? I think this subject is important as best means of quickly covering the holes completly is paramount.

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 Re: Flat or curved
Author: tictactux 2017
Date:   2009-04-10 19:48

Interesting question...I think a lot has to to with your hands (obviously) - some people just finger the notes with stretched hands while others use curvy fingers. (Just as some barely lift the fingers off the holes while others virtually "let go" of the instrument in such cases).

If you have flat finger tips, you're probably more comfortable with straight fingers. I have round finger tips and curve my fingers.

I don't think there's a definitive answer. Whatever rocks your boat, or whatever makes you make less mistakes would be the diplomatic answer...


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 Re: Flat or curved
Author: Rusty 
Date:   2009-04-10 21:11

I`ve always used curved fingers tictactux but I`ve been watching bagpipe player`s fingers up close and they all use flat fingers and just flap them down. All they contact is a small hole with no guide ring around it.
Made me wonder. I tried this on my clarinet but after years of curved fingers the result was`nt the best. Still, if I had started out that way???

Post Edited (2009-04-12 21:03)

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 Re: Flat or curved
Author: tictactux 2017
Date:   2009-04-14 11:33

Maybe it's just a matter of "tradition", just like that "flat chin smiley embouchure" mantra taught in certain parts of the world.

I checked some "instructional" videos about bagpiping and they all cover the RH holes with their fingers' middle joint, not the tip joint. This certainly won'd do much good if you think of the lower joint ringed holes in the clarinet. I'd say it's just "how it is done", just like the bag pipe embouchure (or breathing technique) differs from a clarinet player's.

(one can now theorise why this is so, but apparently bagpipers can play even with half their fingers sawed or chopped off, maybe the godfather of all bag pipe teachers was a carpenter...)


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 Re: Flat or curved
Author: Andy Firth 
Date:   2013-01-07 11:44

Hi Rusty,

I've always used and taught flat, straight fingers as I find that curving or arching the fingers slows me down. It's a personal thing but I find that flat, straight fingers kept close to the keys is the best technique for me. You will find that your
technique, speed and accuracy will improve too because the pads of your fingers cover the holes better than fingers approaching from above at an angle to the hole. I find that arching fingers and even bending the knuckle slows my technique down quite considerably. Again, it's all personal choice so try both methods and see what works for you. Hope this helps in some way.


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