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Crossing over; alternative finger placements


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#1 dorfmouse

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Posted 04 April 2020 - 08:01

Normally we move up or down the strings smoothly by crossing over or under using the thumb,and usually with 3 or 4.
I am playing some Irish dance tunes with written out suggested fingerings in which (in the right hand) sometimes 2 or 3 crosses over 4 going down. At first I thought, uh? and replaced with a more standard fingering. But it felt lumpy so I gave the su?gested way a good try over a couple of days and, voilà, it really works well! Then I happened to look at a Lisa Canny tutorial on OAIM and there is this technique again.
Was just wondering if this is specific to Irish music or have you come across it in more classical genres? It makes sense to me to use it if it helps the musical flow.
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#2 Pickle

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Posted 04 April 2020 - 10:05

I think you'll meet it more in Irish music than other genres, especially Irish dance music - fast and bouncy. My teacher was American, living in Ireland and when I was still pretty novice, when faced with such fingerings, would tell me things like "My teacher would have slapped my wrists for that, but it works here". (Her teacher was German, living in America).

My own take on it is: Technique is there to allow you to play the notes you want, in the order and at the speed you want, with the tone you want whilst avoiding injury if you repeat it many times. If it works, do it. If it's not hurting you, and it works, it's right.

You may also come across much more use of thumb and finger slides. I suspect the technique has evolved in response to the demands of the style of Irish music, and if it works for classical pieces too, well, why not apply it?

And totally off topic, the Edinburgh Harp festival has moved online for this year and is up and running, if you fancy a virtual visit....?


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#3 dorfmouse

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Posted 04 April 2020 - 10:34

Thanks for that info!
I was so looking forward to my summer harp course in Ireland which has naturally been cancelled. I've signed up to the OAIM having tried their taster lessons in a couple of instruments and found them very good. My own teacher is purely classically trained but open minded to any non-injurious techniques. But there's nothing like being exposed to teaching in the traditional aural style by people who've grown up in it.
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