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reaching for Eb


oldsubguy
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When playing first position on a song with 5 flats A,E,B,D,G should I be trying to reach the Eb (on the "D" string) without moving my hand or sliding it down to get it? It seems the more flats I try in a song, the more my hand hurts. is that because I should be moving it? I have tried to do this, but with no avail. Any ideas?

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quote:

Originally posted by BobbiFiddler:

Thanks you! I was about to post the same question Sub!

Does one shift up to half-position when playing 4 plus sharps?

BobbiFiddler: Down, not up. If you play E flat-E-F-G flat on the D string in half position, your fingers are doing the same thing as if you played D sharp-E-F-F sharp.

oldsubguy: half position isn't used just every time you have to play flats; one often needs to play, say, E flat on the D string (when you're playing in E flat major, for example), with the hand remaining in 1st position because that's where it needs to be for the other notes of the scale. If simply reaching the first finger back toward the nut while in first position is causing you pain, something else is wrong- perhaps you have a hand position that's causing too much tension.

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You're right, I'm really confused now! wink.gif You mean, you can comfortably play E with your pinkie on the A string, but playing E flat hurts?? I really don't get that since it's a shorter distance to the E flat, but it does sound like there's an awful lot of tension in your hand. You might want to try to get some hands-on evaluation from an experienced player. (Note to fiddlers, just to avoid setting off another round of recriminations: I do not mean by this that he necessarily should have "textbook" classical hand position.)

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Ahh. I think I see now (famous last words! wink.gif ). If you're in first position, why would you want to play E flat on the A string with an extended 3 (ring) rather than with 4 (pinkie)?? In almost any passage I can imagine, I would only use 3rd finger for E flat if I were in 2nd position. So perhaps the solution for the songs that are giving you trouble is indeed to shift up into 2nd position.

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It really is quite simple. You need to block yourself into a "half position" (as others mentioned.)

Finger the E on the D string with 1. Slide that puppy down to Eb.

Now play your scale

D: 1 2 3 4 A: 1 2 3 4

You should have a nice Eb scale. Piece of cake. Now try this.

D: 1234 A:123-1234 E:1234 Ha ha if you've done it right you now have a two octave Eb scale.

The shift happens on the A string up to third position. Just listen to the scale happening and you don't even have to think about the notes. They will just be there naturally. It makes it easier when you block these things.

Have fun.

Don Crandall

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I have in fact been using the ring finger for the G# or Ab on the "D" string, but today I've been trying to use my pinkie. It makes it about 50% of the time, but my trouble is trying to get that last joint to arc down when it is stretched so far. I'll get it though.! It does hurt a lot less though. I could only get through a couple of verses before, but now can get through several multiple verse songs. Have only been playing about 5 mo. so it should not be too hard to adapt.

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oldsubguy, it's not normally considered much of a stretch; as Candace pointed out, "high 3", eg. for G sharp on the D string, is a very normal everyday fingering even for beginners. What I said about 4th finger for E flat on the A string may have been misleading, for which I apologize; this is the "default" fingering violinists tend to use in flat keys, but that is not to say that it's normal to have trouble reaching that note with the 3rd finger. So again, I would point out that you're experiencing pain in "reaching" for a note that shouldn't really be a reach at all, which suggests that something is causing excessive tension in your hand. Trying to "gut it out" could easily cause injury (pain is always a warning sign that should be taken seriously), so again I suggest having an experienced player examine your posture and technique.

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What are you saying Crystal? Isn't the pointing finger the first finger and the pinkie the 4th finger? Don't you play the E (first note up from the open 'D' using the 'first' (pointing or index) finger? If you are playing in 5th position then you would be playing the 'E' using the 4th finger on the third string (D string.)

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Well, I HAD pain playing 4 plus flats...dreaded the scales and arpeggios. Thanks so much for telling about the half position. Now if I could get my incredibly short 4th finger to grow..oh, 5/8" ...life would be grand...I'd take world tours, make huge money, have my own display rack at Borders.....

While I wait for that to happen, i'll keep practicing shifting to 2nd and 3rd position.

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quote:

Originally posted by BobbiFiddler:

Well, I HAD pain playing 4 plus flats...dreaded the scales and arpeggios. Thanks so much for telling about the half position. Now if I could get my incredibly short 4th finger to grow..oh, 5/8" ...life would be grand...I'd take world tours, make huge money, have my own display rack at Borders.....

While I wait for that to happen, i'll keep practicing shifting to 2nd and 3rd position.

Heck, you don't have to grow anything. Move your thumb so that it is roughly opposite your middle and ring finger and your hand will naturally curve around giving your a greater reach.

Also remember that very often Eb is flater in Ab than D# is sharper in E.

Good luck,

Don Crandall

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quote:

Originally posted by MrWoof:

Heck, you don't have to grow anything. Move your thumb so that it is roughly opposite your middle and ring finger and your hand will naturally curve around giving your a greater reach.

Also remember that very often Eb is flater in Ab than D# is sharper in E.

Good luck,

Don Crandall

OMG!! My sister finds me this wonderful bb to read, and look what happens! A cure for the short-finger blues! This is great..no more turning my poor hand into a pretzel. Thanks Don, I'll have to show this one to my teacher....and my short-fingered sister.

Kim

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I've never really thought about it, but this topic got me thinking...a lot of the fiddling I do is in that "half" position. My band plays a lot of stuff in F and Bb, so there are a lot of Eb notes in the tunes. (That Eb double stop of 3rd finger G on the D string and 4th finger Eb on the A string gets me every time!!) Now that I think about it, there are some songs in Bb that I play in half position all the way through! Interesting stuff.....

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