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Joined: Sep 2021
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Originally Posted by bennevis
I follow the advice of Beethoven's great predecessor, Mozart, who said to Joseph II, when asked why he used so many 4th fingers:"I use my 4th finger as often as I need to: no more, and certainly no less." smirk

BTW, are you sure that those fingerings are editorial? Beethoven was fond of his fourth fingers because he wore his rings on them, so he wrote fingerings for them.

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Originally Posted by anamnesis
If you need a quick really simplified summary, it's basically that theory as most people are exposed it is rather clunky because it really only allows "two layers" of chord-tones and non-chord tones.

The reality is you can experience music as multi-layered nesting of "harmonies" interpreted as almost "mini-key signature like" areas that don't have to perfectly line up all the time.

--------

Normal chord theory only works in so far is that there seems to be an obvious "conspiracy of agreement" between lines at a certain layer of the music.

The Harmony textbook by Robert Snarrenberg linked to at the end is probably the most explicit treatment concerning the agreement of lines:

https://www.reddit.com/r/piano/comments/3f9lmy/books_on_composition/ctmo8cn/
That's extremely interesting. I will definitely look into it more. I always did consider the chord tones and non chord tones a bit limiting so I'm curious about getting to know what this is all like.


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Bach BWV 870
Beethoven Op. 90
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My 4th fingers never collapse. I use them very frequently because they can save stretching with the 3rd, and are much stronger (physically) than the 5th.

The muscles of the hand can get much stronger. I used to be able to close the captains of crush no. 2.5 gripper (237.5lbs), and I started off at the 80lb one. I used to have a finger exerciser where you push individual spring loaded plungers down with a maximum force of 8lbs (variable settings), I worked my pinky up from 4 ish to 8. Playing piano definitely felt easier in some ways back when my hands were stronger from constant training.

I've experimented with and practiced all the feasible fingerings in numerous passages with major and minor thirds in both hands and am not scared of any double notes. My hands are fairly big (I can reach A to C#) but the 4th finger is the most comfortable to use, partly because I don't have a very stretchable hand, partly because my 5th finger is a little shorter so it's awkward to use 3 and 5 together in a lot of situations.

Last edited by trigalg693; 12/30/21 05:39 AM.
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My piano professor trained in the Eastern Europe/Russian school, and said the 4th finger is often referred to as the “ “singing” finger.

Not sure how true it is, but makes sense to me. But would definitely depend on the circumstance.

To play the main note of a smooth melodic line, probably wouldn’t want to use thumb or 5th finger. 2nd finger might feel awkward, 3rd might be too strong.

On the other hand, doing something like a 3-4 trill is difficult and you can use substitutes. But it is worth developing that ability. Sometimes you don’t have much of a choice. , ie Brahms Paganini Variations Bk 1 var 4.

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