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Fingerings in Bach's S&P (Flesh)


November
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I have the Flesh edition for Bach's solo S&P.The fingerings are awkard.I find some of the fingereings are made unnecesary difficult especially in *easier* passages, the fingerings are made to such that you need to play on the 6th or 7th position on G string when I can play them comfortably on first position on A string.What's the rational for this unnecessary difficulty??

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Bach's manuscript is utterly devoid of practical information. That's why his music is flexible and interesting. Everyone has a different style. Flesh must have thought that it is better to be played on the G string instead of the A string. If you think you can do it with your own fingering, then I think it's even better. After all, Mr. Bach wouldn't mind you putting your own flavour to his pieces. Even Flesh didn't really know what Bach was thinking. I have the Galamian edition with the manuscript. I often read the manuscript. Who knows - one day I will come up with the illuminatus version just for me. smile.gif

[This message has been edited by illuminatus (edited 01-20-2001).]

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November, remember that in Bach's day there barely was 6th-7th position.

The shortened fingerboard and lower string tension did not allow for this kind of technique, and it's unlikely that Bach wrote his music for techniques that didn't come into existence until 100 years later.

Lots of people like to keep the sound on one string as possible - I call this vertical motion. My teachers Margaret Pardee and Aaron Rosand ascribe to this, but I do not.

I play the Bach the way I want to hear it - by making up my own bowings and fingerings to allow the notes to come out.

Why not get Bach's original manuscript (Galamian edition has a photo facsimile) and cop your OWN fingerings and bowings, November?

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November, sometimes it's just more musical to go into higher positions of a certain string than to go into a low position of the higher string. It just doesn't sound "right" sometimes to go to a higher string. The person that annotated the Flesch edition of the Bach (Henryk Szeryng) thought it was more musical that way, apparently. What is easiest or most comfortable is not always the most musical, unfortunately.

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For me, I try to use the simplest fingering possible when playing Bach. I don't think using fancy fingerings and bowings are appropriate for Bach. I believe that it's simplicity is what makes it so beautiful. I'm by no means saying that Bach is easy though, it should sound simple is all that i'm implying.

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I have the Szeryng edition, and though I like it very much, he often does the same sort of thing. sometimes I go with it but sometimes I do what I feel like.

I think the "rationale" is that they are basically trying to emphasize the differences in the various voices by trying to keep phrases uniform in tone color - and their solution is often to stay on one string in a really funky position. A lot of this was before the days when period performance got to be more acceptable. I play Bach with less vibrato and lighter than I play my other pieces, so often it does not make sense for me to be up in 7th position, especially when the nice, clear E string might actually be interesting. I just try to be careful not to make string changes too obvious.

In the Szeryng edition it's kind of funny - in Szeryng's introduction he tells why he did than, and then in the introduction in the same book by someone else the advice is that people didn't play in high positions back then.

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