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Is there a good fingering video?

Home Forums Teaching the Harp Is there a good fingering video?

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  • #83697
    leonard victor
    Participant

    I’ve searched far and wide for a really good video by a competent, professional player on scale and phrase fingering, especially fingering a fast melody on one hand while the other accompanies with chords or a “rolling” alberti type base. When I see Xavier de Maistre and other fine players, the fingerings are too quick to see what’s really happening. The small number of so-called harp fingering “how to” videos are too elementary and take ages to explain something mind-numbingly simple!

    What I would like to know is how good players managed to make a descending or ascending passage on one hand sound so quick and smooth. Are they “crossing” the thumb (above) and fourth finger below as they reach 4321 -cross under- 4321 going up, and are they crossing the thumb OVER (1234-1234 or 123-123) when descending, or are they very quickly taking the hand off the strings and deftly repositioning for the next part of the scale?

    Do most professionals “anchor” each scale portion so they are “on the strings in advace, and when they run out of fingers they re-anchor, or are their fingers “free” and un-anchored. (If I do it this way there is more chance of buzzing or “missing” the target).

    I hope I am explaining these questions well enough. What is disappointing is that there are numerous good websites but a complete lack of videos DEMONSTRATING fingering. Instead they describe it (rather like I am doing now, but that’s because I am not sure). Please don’t say “find a teacher”. There isn’t one nearby. You can’t beat a clear visual demonstration. Words never suffice.

    Any clear explanations would be welcome, but even better, a link to fluid, good playing, not a performance (too fast to see) which shows exactly what’s happening in detail. Thanks very much!

    #83698
    carl-swanson
    Participant

    Fingering is an integral part of overall technique. A virtuoso player like Xavier or Emanuel Ceysson or many others play with speed and fluidity because all 8 fingers work pretty much equally well. They are all capable of controlling dynamics from very soft to very loud, are all equally comfortable in difficult passages, and are for the most part interchangeable in sticky situations.

    When I was studying with Bernard Zighera, the principal harpist of the Boston Symphony at the time, he told me to use, as much as possible, the fingers that are closest to the notes, and that’s what I do. I think that some harpists find my fingerings awkward at times, and I think that’s because they have not developed equal dexterity in all 8 fingers. They have stronger fingers, and weaker ones, and so have to come up with fingerings that favor the strong fingers. That’s no way to play advanced repertoire.

    It sounds like you are looking for a magic bullet. “If only I could figure out what fingerings they are using, I’d be able to play like them.” It doesn’t work that way. You are going to have to find some way to take a lesson occasionally with a good teacher who can get you where you want to go on the harp. You can’t do it by yourself or with a video.

    #83699
    leonard victor
    Participant

    Hi carl. I’m sure you’re intentions are good, but unfortunately your reply is as frustrating as it could possibly be. My question was simple but you side stepped it!!

    Maybe I did not make my questions clear enough: Ispecifically DIDN’T imply a fingering regime 4321 321 21 421 etc as the main point at all. What I am asking is whether the best way is to TAKE THE HAND AWAY then replace it with replaced fingers on the next run, or to TUCK the next finger UNDER the thumb going up, or when descending CROSS THE THUMB over the top when going down the harp. It was to do with whether to ANCHOR the fingers or NOT to anchor them. I realise that different phrases require different techniques. I was referring to a typical plain scale run, and whether crossing thumb or fingers is generally used by good harpists or not. That question remains unanswered.

    #83700
    leonard victor
    Participant

    …I ought to add that I am an experienced and advanced pianist. In piano playing nothing is quite so vague. There are of course individual variations, but when ascending a scale, the thumb is tucked under the third or fourth finger to facilitate smooth flow in a scale. Of course the harp is different, but I cannot believe there is such wild variation in BASIC scale fingering, as not to be able to answer such a basic question.

    #83701
    Karen Johns
    Participant

    Well, I can’t speak for everyone here, but for myself I cross-under going up a scale, and cross-over going down. Anchoring the finger seems to be the best way to not lose your way.

    #83702
    Karen Johns
    Participant

    Perhaps you should give a basic phone call to a basic harp instructor before you basically slam everyone on this forum for not being able to answer your basic question basically 3 hours after posting this. Just saying….

    Karen

    #83703
    carl-swanson
    Participant

    Firstly, I was not sidestepping your question. Secondly, there s nothing ‘vague’ about harp technique. If you are as advanced a pianist as you say, then you should understand that the playing of scales is an integral part of instrumental technique. Your original question, and the several repeats of it, tell me that: 1) you haven’t the slightest idea of how to play the harp, and 2) you’ve got a pretty overblown opinion of your own musical knowledge and ability. In my original answer, I was trying to be diplomatic. In this answer, I am not.

    #83704
    alice-freeman
    Spectator

    Please don’t say find a teacher”. There isn’t one nearby. You can’t beat a clear visual demonstration. Words never suffice.”

    Leonard, there are many good teachers who offer lessons now using Skype (where you can get clear visual demonstrations). Just because there is not a teacher nearby is no excuse any more.

    — Alice in windy Wyoming

    #83705
    leonard victor
    Participant

    Apologies if I came over as impatient. Karen’s answer gave me the info I was seeking, whether it is best to “cross over and under” when ascending and descending. When descending the natural tendency of the thumb to move in the direction of the scale makes it easy to cross it over. While ascending it is more difficult, because tucking the next finger underneath while going up contrasts with the movement of the thumb which is drawn to the palm so this bit is more difficult, but I’m getting there.

    Carl: Apologies. I kind of repeated the question so there was no doubt what I was asking for. I did have a couple of lessons and obviously I have looked at some videos and illustrations of hand position and the two fundamental techniques, so I assure you I am not completely ignorant but I understand your frustration with me! The question of whether to anchor the fingers when doing rapid passages, and to cross or tuck fingers seems to be a subject of argument even among experienced harpists. I referred to my piano technique because often a question is assumed to mean someone is a complete beginner in music per se, and I wanted to communicate that I wasn’t. It was not intended to be arrogant and I apologise if that came over.

    These mechanical questions seem to be rarely answered in discussions about the harp, not just here but everywhere I have researched. I just wanted an answer about crossing over. Thanks for your efforts to answer.

    #83706
    leonard victor
    Participant

    Thanks Alice for the Skype tip. I’m in the UK and haven’t found any Skype equipped teachers but I will look and thanks for that suggestion.

    #83707
    leonard victor
    Participant

    Oops, I meant the thumb is drawn over the top of the first finger…..

    #83708
    unknown-user
    Participant

    Dear Lenoard,

    I think that this is a great question for beginner and I also don’t understand why your question was avoided. There are many posters in this forum who simply ignore the questions posed and patronize the askers. (Not that

    #83709
    unknown-user
    Participant

    Whoops! Spelled your name wrong, Leonard. Sorry about that!

    ~Sam

    #83710
    unknown-user
    Participant

    Hi Leonard,

    #83711
    unknown-user
    Participant

    Whoops!

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