March 22, 2006 at 4:59 am #87363
On my blog about technique, someone left a comment asking me to elaborate on the technique of placing only one finger at a time ahead of the one being played, rather than placing blocks of 3 or 4 notes at a time.
The term placing in sequence is mine.March 22, 2006 at 12:39 pm #87364
There’s one more thing that I should have added to the original post.March 27, 2006 at 3:25 am #87365Elizabeth Volpé BlighParticipant
I agree, Carl, it’s a necessary technique for certain passages! In Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra, in the final movement, there’s an excerpt in which the lines are only a third apart. Luckily, Grandjany re-arranged the first and second parts so that the hands are separated better, but this excerpt is on many audition lists and would have to be played as written at a professional audition. Salzedo’s Conditioning Exercises also specify sequential placing for a couple of the exercises. You’re absolutely right that students should first learn to place in blocks, though. If they try to place sequentially all the time, then they cannot play quickly with a good position. I’m enjoying your blogs! They’re full of good information, and entertaining as well.March 27, 2006 at 3:39 am #87366unknown-userParticipant
I have good news. After many years of frustrating searches for a
solution to playing the fugue in Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra,
Lucile Lawrence found the elegant, simple solution. You can exchange
notes between the right hand and left hand so instead of reaching up
for a thumb note, you reach down for a note from the left hand, which
easily takes a right hand note. You will soon see where this helps, in
more than one spot. It makes it smooth and relatively easy. She also
taught playing with placing one note ahead, especially in passages like
this, and called “like walking on eggshells.” But she used placing
ahead very creatively to create phrasing and illustrates notes that
belong to each other by placing them together.March 27, 2006 at 2:11 pm #87367
Elizabeth- I learned only recently that the Salzedo Conditioning exercises include placing in sequence.September 3, 2007 at 9:59 am #87368Lisa McCannParticipant
Placing in sequence is a more advanced technique that uses all of the skills developed from placing blocks of notes.
Carl, would you mind elaborating a bit on this statement? As a beginning harpist, I think that placing one note ahead would be much easier than block placing.
-LisaSeptember 3, 2007 at 5:15 pm #87369Saul Davis ZlatkovskiParticipant
Who said anything on the harp is easy? Yes, block placing is more difficult at first, but it is necessary for clean playing and good phrasing. One-at-a-time placing is only for when you can’t do it, or need a special effect.September 3, 2007 at 8:41 pm #87370
Placing one note at a time is what virtually all beginner students do, because as beginners they have no muscle memory for the hand position for tirads, 4 note chords, octaves, scales, and virtually all intervals,(2nds, 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, etc.). So when a beginner places one note at a time, he is really just hunting for the next note. But in sequencial placing, the player knows exactly where the next note is and is not hunting at all. The advanced player can form, in the air off the strings, any interval he wants, or any chord position(root, 1st and 2nd inversion, V7 in all its inversions, etc.). So when he places at the last second, or places in sequence, his fingers go exactly to where they need to be with no correction and no mistake. In order to get to that level of playing though, the student has to start by placing groups of 2,3,or 4 notes in blocks, making sure that when the fingers go on the strings(n blocks) no correction is needed, such as a finger landing on a wrong string, or a finger going so far through the plane of the strings that the string is almost down to the first knuckle, requiring the harpist to readjust the finger position before playing. Only when the student can consistantly place with complete accuracy in blocks can he/she move on to placing in sequence.September 4, 2007 at 3:31 pm #87371AnonymousInactive
Clifford Wooldridge who, as many of you will remember, worked for many years at Lyon & Healy, began his harp studies in England with John Cockerell.September 5, 2007 at 12:59 am #87372Saul Davis ZlatkovskiParticipant
If only there were fewer nitwits working at the publishers, one wouldn’t have to nitpick nearly as much.September 5, 2007 at 5:08 am #87373Lisa McCannParticipant
Many thanks to Carl et al for such an informative discussion on this topic. My excellent harp teacher (Chelsea Spence in Fort Collins, Colorado) and I had a very lively discussion on placing based on this discussion!September 5, 2007 at 6:03 am #87374patricia-jaegerMember
Mr. Milligan, I also heard John Cockerill’s recording of the Introduction and Allegro, in 1953, many times. I was on the faculty of a Missouri college, and it was in the music library located in my classroom. I almost wore that record out, I admired his playing so very much. It was good to read his name once more, for he is not mentioned in the Palkovic Bibliography,September 5, 2007 at 7:59 am #87375
Lisa- I’d love to hear what you both discussed.September 6, 2007 at 9:59 pm #87376
How the heck did we end up with two different threads on placing in sequence????
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