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Corwin Slack

Epiphany ... again!?...Is that a repiphany?

February 28, 2008 at 4:27 AM

What is an epiphany you get over and over again? A re-piphany? I have been having one of these for some years now. I finally have formulated some rules to help me quit repiphanizing.

I keep learning my etudes out of order. Late in the process I realize that I haven't done my finger preparation (or as Harold Berkley calls it in his Schirmer editions of etudes "advanced fingering")

I have decided to formulate some rules to help me start more effectively.

The left hand objectives of learning every etude include the following

1. Determining the earliest time that any finger can be held down.
2. Determining the length of time the finger can be held down.
3. Determining which strings the finger should cover while it is held down
4. Determining the earliest moment a finger pattern can be formed
5 Forming the pattern on and over the string at the earliest moment possible

All of the above should be contemplated before shifts wherever possible. At some point one also starts understanding that it isn't always the earliest opportunity but rather an optimum opportunity; however, that is best learned after one has solved earliest.

I have been working for some time on one particular etude and applying these rules has helped my legato enormously as well as helped me improve my velocity and intonation..

I also have come to believe that the primary values of any etude (viz a viz the left hand) is the opportunity it gives the student to solve the finger preparation problem.

One of my strongest childhood memories of watching violin soloists and professional orchestra players was how little they moved their fingers. When I watch students and amateurs I notice how much they move their fingers. I hope to make my fingers invisible.

From Terez Mertes
Posted on February 28, 2008 at 2:53 PM
>One of my strongest childhood memories of watching violin soloists and professional orchestra players was how little they moved their fingers. When I watch students and amateurs I notice how much they move their fingers.

What a cool observation - I'm going to start looking at this as well.

Oh, and I like the term "repiphany"! : )

From Ray Randall
Posted on February 29, 2008 at 5:31 PM
Working on Kreutzer #2 I played it extremely slowly searching out, as you said, where I could put fingers down early, in descending notes where to put down maybe three or four fingers at once and then simply lift them up.
Transferring that to the orchestra music it's amazing how much easier it is to play fast passages and how much better the sound and articulation can be.

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