Fingers tangle when playing scales

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

  • Participant
    aglaia-t on #155000

    Hi all, I am not very good at playing scales. My fingers tend to tangle when I play fast. I practice the scales over and over again until they seem to be in control, and then the next day when I practice again, my fingers will become all tangly.

    I’ve tried moving my wrist and arm ahead of time, and I’ve tried placing my third and forth fingers together when I go up the scale. Neither of these can help secure my scale playing. Can anyone please offer more suggestions as to I can tackle this problem? Thanks!

    kay-lister on #155001

    Hi Aglaia,

    My first thought on this is . . . HIGH THUMB!

    tony-morosco on #155002

    What Kay said. But let me emphasize, SLOW.

    Practice as slow as you need to in order to play correctly each time. Then gradually increase speed, giving yourself time to get to a point after each increase where you can play without error.

    Gradual increases with time to get used to them will get you there. Not fast, but you will get there and it isn’t a race.

    barbara-brundage on #155003

    Yes, there’s nothing like slow. The way my teacher had us do scales was to play one octave as quarter notes (so you can really focus on your position) followed by two octaves eighth notes, three octaves eighth triplets, four octaves 16th notes, and you had to be able to go up and down at least ten times with the 16th notes without stumbling before you could move the metronome up one notch.

    (BTW, most methods don’t think you should ever lead with your wrist/arm when playing scales.)

    Philippa mcauliffe on #155004

    You might try this video;

    He shows the space you need in close up and how to get your fingers on quickly without bumping.

    aglaia-t on #155005

    Wow thanks so much for all your great suggestions!!

    aglaia-t on #155006

    I actually have one more question. During the crossunder, should I place my 3rd or 4th finger before I play the thumb or do I simultaneously place the 3 or 4th finger while I am playing the thumb?

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