I agree with Owen.
I'd strongly question the credentials of people who ask 'what school do you
use for historical
fingering?' Why? Because Bach used 'old' and 'new' system with thumb under
So BAch himself used two schools. If you can't hear the difference, then
the 'fingering police?' I wonder what were the two schools that person had
From: Harpsichords and Related Topics
[mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Owen Daly
Sent: 19 November 2003 17:32
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: fingering fetishes
Phooey indeed. This is the kind of half-informed, or should I say
Half-Assed-Informed stuff that gives legitimate efforts to understand
and use informed practice a bad name (HAIP it should be called, or
It's probably run-ins with people like this that make implicit
critics like Judy think the enterprise is given to such nonsense.
There is NO legitimate HIP school of pedagogy that talks about rigid
*schools* of fingering, or that says you have to write-out
prescriptively every fingering in order to be historical. This was,
not to put too fine a point upon it, pure bullshit. Just like the
time someone, this time maybe a bit well-meaning, I suppose,
announced that the (OK, musically wonderful he said ever so
modestly) highly-personalized ZHI fortepiano I had built and which
was about to be played, was "an exact replica of the piano Mozart
played." I wanted to die.
Anyways, the more you learn about old fingerings, the less any of
this nonsense will fly. The fact is that the JSB fiddle sonata
harpsichord parts, like a lot of Bach's keyboard music, is
fingering-challenged in a way that you don't find, not just in his
contemporaries, but in almost anybody else. What this means is that
if you're smart, there will ALWAYS be somewhere where you need to jot
in a finger, unless, like me, you're really, really good at just
remembering fingering decisions you'd made in difficult spots.
A copy marked-up like that is usually seen, if anything, MORE in the
hands of mid-level-trained non-HIP players than the other way round.
I marked two measures in the entire G-Major of this set because those
two measures were so convoluted and knotty that I simply couldn't
play them otherwise. Rest of the time it would just have been
defacing a nice score.
I envy anybody playing the harpsichord part to the c-minor. Lucky!
>I had an odd experience the other night. I sat down to rehearse a
>Bach Sonata for violin and obbligato harpsichord with a friend, and
>as usualk asked for his copy of the hpschd part to play from so we
>would have the rehearsal letters, and it torned out I couldn't stand
>to use it. He had played the Sonata recently at a church with a
>harpsichordist who had written big pencilled fingerings in over
>practically every note -- and had quite proudly pointed the fact out
>to the violinist with the comment that they were 'authentic Baroque
>fingerings'. As if that excused the defacing. Maybe they were good
>fingerings, I don't know, but I couldn't stand playing from it, I
>used my clean Dover edition. When something is in front of me to read
>I feel compelled to read it, and playing glorious Bach (it's the
>fourth, in c minor) with finger numbers taking over important parts
>of your brain is such a waste of ecstasy time. The person who did it
>was not a student, by the way. Maybe there is a school of pedagogy
>that commands you to write all that out when you are first lwearning
>to shed your Czerny fingerings but by the time you are giving
>professional performances? Shouldn't your fingers be able to work
>this out for themselves?
>Which reminds me that I gave a concert not too long ago where a
>partially educated-to-HIP person came up afterwards and asked me what
>school of fingering I was using. Apparently I had played some of the
>passagework quite rapidly and he was sure that would have been
>impossible with authentic fingering. Oh Phooey.