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tchaikovsgay

Bach Preludio: "Rolling" the Finger?

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Hi. I'm working on Preludio from Violin Partita No.3, BWV 1006 by Johann Sebastian Bach. In bar 49, the { notes are to be stopped simultaneously with the fourth finger (otherwise the D♯ will be late), yet, the sixteenth C♯s create a dilemma of risky lifting and dropping of the fourth finger during the C♯s multiple times.

The only way I can think of is to "roll" the finger.

How to do it?

P.S. I'm sorry I always ask questions about the tiniest things

Thank you

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2 hours ago, tchaikovsgay said:

The only way I can think of is to "roll" the finger.

How to do it?

Do you mean the only way you want to is to roll the finger?  Seems if you just employ the shift with the index finger fourth note g# you'll be on your way.  

This is a decent example to differentiate portamento from legato, if needed.  Portamento {slur} is useful in exercises for blending the registers and removing inequalities in tone.  Now it sounds like we're describing legato which I think should be different from portamento.

If there's time I'd investigate later composers like Mendelssohn and his contemporaries for the two mast schooner version on how to dissect Bach or the seven mast version of Pagannini on how he went about it portamento wise.  Then we'll see what portamento and legato is really about which again, I think should be two different things.

You could email Yo Yo Ma and ask his opinion.

 

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Good question. Sounds like you're playing the octave G#-G# with fingers 1 and 4, and want to roll (or flatten) finger 4 in order to get the D# without lifting.  Makes sense, but for me the 4th finger won't quite work.  I see in the Auer edition the upper G# is fingered with 3— i.e. extend back to reach the low G#, then continue in first position (instead of half-pos.), rolling on 3. That works much better for me... playing on mandolin. :) 

I can't tell what Uncle Duke is talking about.

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I roll the 4th finger.  I play the C# with my third finger.  Works fine, but I have long fingers.  Even though the music doesn't indicate it, I like to hold onto that low G# with my first finger for the resonance.

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11 hours ago, J-G said:

I can't tell what Uncle Duke is talking about.

Measure 49 - index finger stops the g#, pinky for the next g# though ring finger can work too, 2nd finger for the c# and then shift index finger back to the d string for the fourth note g#.

His next note can be reached using the fourth finger, same string, or he can roll to the d# on the next string.  depends on finger length, technique taught and or confidence in reaching further up.

The idea is to present a lesson/demonstration for others at his school.  If he's working his way towards being a teacher one day maybe start thinking along the lines of "if I had a student{s} to teach how could I convey these particular notes into a useful lesson".

My understanding of portamento is a grouping of scaler runs where the notes are in succession of each other - like 15 to 25 note scaler runs for example where most are tied together without the staccato dots above.  What I see in the above music is just simply play the notes trying for the smooth, legato blending sound.  Maybe should of been transcribed using the legato lines above each note.

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5 hours ago, uncle duke said:

My understanding of portamento is a grouping of scaler runs where the notes are in succession of each other - like 15 to 25 note scaler runs for example where most are tied together without the staccato dots above.  What I see in the above music is just simply play the notes trying for the smooth, legato blending sound.  Maybe should of been transcribed using the legato lines above each note.

14 hours ago, J-G said:

I can't tell what Uncle Duke is talking about.

I sometimes mistake portato and portamento for each other (as uncle duke has done here).

Portato is the bow stroke.  Portamento is the shifting technique.

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24 minutes ago, Stephen Fine said:

I sometimes mistake portato and portamento for each other (as uncle duke has done here).

Portato is the bow stroke.  Portamento is the shifting technique.

Now I have all types of questions.  Where to start?  Under the wiki page for portato I see articulated legato, mezzo staccato and non legato.  These terms I can figure out their meaning but my question is which bowing technique do I use?  Mostly Pagannini slurred scaler runs with the dots under the tie, some Deberiot is like that too.  Detache bowing sure does get one tired after a while whilst trying for a non legato sound. 

Does it matter, I'm non professional but do want maximum result with minimum effort.

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17 hours ago, J-G said:

 ( ... )  I see in the Auer edition the upper G# is fingered with 3— i.e. extend back to reach the low G#, then continue in first position (instead of half-pos.), rolling on 3. That works much better for me... playing on mandolin. :) 

When learning the piece, the "roll" is practical because of time limitations for students. Even for juries, this might be acceptable if executed well with the 4th finger. I am a bit more cautious when offering suggestions for those who laterally flex their fingers. There are stretches across wide fingerboards where this becomes more necessary. In the above passage, the player is forced into half position. There is an approach in performance where we crave the low g# resonance and there is boutique-y approach where we energize each pitch without resonances as they tend to be more parasitic, where the G# is released. Regardless, this is near the end of the rhythmic series so I bias towards the upper pitches.

What one should notice is that the hand shape does change. The better "survival" roll motion is ( generally ) a slight drift of the finger from the lower string to the higher string when completing mostly perfect 5ths though there are other occasions when this might be used. To drift, is better than rolling off the lower string. Some players squeeze so hard that a pivot is formed into the finger making it necessary to roll. When the perfect 5th is achieved from the tonic, the finger should slightly be sharpened to achieve the clearest pitch. I hate to use the term "most accurate" as this becomes more subjective as one considers expressive, tempered, pure, intervals and those with less - exceptional 4th finger vibrato. Some will flatten the entire arch of the finger, especially of the 4th finger as we are blessed with myriad of lengths and sizes and hand widths. If the change is subtle, I do see professionals use this technique or approach, I can not criticize them. My outside 1st, 2nd stand partner years ago was a petite ( probably 5' 1" ) older lady with rocking good sound and clarity. Her instrument was a Pressenda and also owned a Seraphin ( Eudoxa and Golds - Pirastros - completely old school ) and boldly crossed 4th fingers all the time. On occasion, she used techniques like vibrato trills and flattened 4th fingers ( with vibrato. ) The position was very visible, behind the CM, but the techniques were never questioned. I learned quickly not to overplay and blend carefully with the outside player ( both sonically and visually ) on my French instruments with Dominants. She used to say, "...don't pick up bad habits," without specifying what they might be...

The worst type of "roll" is the flattening of the tip joint to bridge the the perfect 5th. This is what one observes in the primary, once - a - week, after - school music programs. It is impressive that these kids come up with many solutions, efficient and quick, but we are taught otherwise, much later, not to use such innovative practices. I do not ask for the kids to stop what they are doing ( unless I am willing to commit the time to individually correct these students. ) I am satisfied that they are trying to keep up with their lesson taking peers. But middle school kids should learn not to flatten the finger joints.

Hand size becomes the final decider, but regardless of size or strength, I have them try to hop to a double-stop 4th finger across the strings only for those two notes, and back again. It is a quick action but the distances are very close. Finger pad sizes tend to be smallest on the 4th finger so for slender fingers this may be difficult to achieve the perfect 5th double stop with the 4th finger. Also difficult on the viola and far more complex on the cello, if not impossible.

Which is why the 3rd finger marking as mentioned by J - G is found on many editions. A hybrid of 1 - 4  finger octaves and the substitution of the  3rd finger for the perfect 5th is also done by many small or slender handed people. It is difficult, in slow practice the intonation is awful at times, but at speed it is not so much an issue after some practice.

Anyway, learning to drift the fingers become a necessity for many. Also for many players, touch becomes lighter over time and drifting the finger becomes considerably easier. When i was a kid, the opinion of many was to hold down the string securely - using considerable force - to the fingerboard or fret. But with better strings and instruments, we can make pretty good sound without crushing the fingers into the instrument. My thought in current playing, though incorrect, is that the excess force used to depress a string is the excess force required to lift the finger off the string.

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it's definitely rolling the finger.  don't have to push it all the way down, maybe not push it at all -- use your ear.  the fingering you use always depends partly on what comes before and after.  try to keep same fingers down.

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