The Bebop Bible by Les Wise

By Les Wise

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Sample text

Even if their left hand is weaker in overall strength, the fingers have more liberty and flexibility. I can speak only from an overall perspective that is purely subjective and without scientific foundation. Contrary to this idea, my own hands reflect the opposite situation—my right hand can play fast passages much more easily and clearly than my left hand, and I am right-handed. Saint-Lambert comments: “There is nothing freer in harpsichord playing than the position of the fingers. ” 77 Comfort requires the appropriate balance between relaxation and the development of the necessary muscles involved in playing.

78 He describes the harpsichord as being “extremely easy to play, not at all tiring for those who play it, and not requiring, as do some other instruments, a constrained posture that very often is not becoming to modest persons. ”80 Placing two thumbs simultaneously on one note seems rather unnatural, but one assumes that comments like his come from witnessing such behavior. Some teachers might also give such finger exercises to beginners, placing their thumbs together on middle C for five-note warm-ups in contrary motion.

P. E. Bach is similarly open about his admonition against inappropriate grimacing at the keyboard: In playing, the fingers should be arched and the muscles [or tendons] relaxed (mit gebogenen Fingern und schlaffen Nerven). The less these two conditions are satisfied, the more attention must be given to them. Stiffness hampers all movement, above all the constantly required rapid extension and contraction of the hands. . If he understands the correct principles of fingering and has not acquired the habit of making unnecessary gestures, he will play the most difficult things in such a manner that the motion of his hands will barely be noticeable; moreover, everything will sound as if it presents no obstacles to him.

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