finger length

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    I had a surprising discovery in a lesson. We don’t all have the same finger proportions! My third finger is the longest, the fourth is next-longest, then the second finger; and my student had the second finger longer than the fourth! How do your fingers line up, if they do, and how about your students?

    My solution was that when bringing her hand around so that her fourth finger could curve, to simply slide the second and third fingertips lower on their strings to make a comfortable position. If they were higher up, then he had to rotate his hand to sideways to play the fourth finger. Isn’t that something?


    My fingers are like yours, Saul.

    Kelly R

    Mine are like your student — #3, #2, then #4.


    I have the same hands as your student, Saul, and it is such a nuisance not to have a longer fourth finger. The third finger’s knuckle can be pulled into contact with a vibrating string when the fourth finger reaches for the bottom note in a large chord, for example. If there are large spans, in a 1, 2, 3, 4, 3, 2, 1 passage, it is impossible to place the fourth simultaneously without causing the third finger to be in such a distorted position that it gets stuck. In some cases, I have to eliminate a middle note of a large chord or re-voice it just to be able to reach the notes without buzzing in the middle. However, with a few adaptations, it’s amazing what you can do with even less-than-ideal finger proportions. The key is not to be too dogmatic about the “rules”. Henriette Renié’s Method Book discusses this issue.


    My fingers are 3-4-1-2 from longest to shortest.

    My teacher, who plays wonderfully, has very very short fingers and the most hitchhiker thumb I’ve ever seen. Sure doesn’t impact on her technique though.


    Well that makes no sense. I MEANT-ring finger taller than pointer.


    The fingers on my right hand are exactly like yours Saul, but on my left, my no. 3 & 4 fingers are the same length….wow, didn’t realize that..hmmmmm..


    My fourth fingers on both hands are longer than my index fingers, both of which are shorter than my middle fingers. I once had a teacher who had fingers that were a full inch longer than mine. Many of the fingerings she suggested just didn’t work for me.


    It has apparently been known for a couple of centuries than men tend to have a longer 4th than 2nd and women are more likely to be the other way round- now thought to be related to fetal testosterone exposure…

    See for instance wikipedia

    My 2nd and 4th are pretty equal- I can measure them either way, and playing 2 and 3 lower down the strings is something I have always done.


    All people are unique. Yes, they have different length of finger, proportions and widths. This is why good teacher adapt. Not


    My fingers are the same proportions as yours. Middle finger longest, ring finger next longest and pointer last.

    My hands are fairly big with long fingers. I have never had much problem with my finger placement so long as hold my wrists correctly. My fingers just fall on the strings naturally and comfortably. My teacher often commented that she envied me my hands because they seemed almost perfectly made for playing the harp. She is a fairly small woman with small hands and it always amazed me to see the twists and tricks she needed to do in order to play some passages or play larger intervals.

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