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D to E, A to B, E to F string crossing or not?
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Andrew Shumway
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September 19, 2018 - 12:50 pm
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To judge from the beginners books I've got, the rule is:-

If you want to play notes above A, play the A string open: don't stop the D string with your 4th finger.

If you want to play notes below the A, stop the D string. And so on.

And indeed playing 4th finger on a string (e.g. to play A) to 1st finger on the next higher string (to play B) is difficult, whereas 3 to 1 (G to B) isn't so tough.

Presumably I have to learn somewhen to play 4 to 1 in order to avoid ugly-sounding open strings? It seems that one of the tricks is to have the 1st finger already in position before playing with the 4th finger. Apart from that, what are the rules? Or do pros play open strings but play them nicely?

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pchoppin
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September 19, 2018 - 2:07 pm
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I don’t have a complete answer but there are 2 main reasons to stop a note, rather than play the open string.  (1) To play a “better” tone, or one that matches the passage currently being played, and (2) to use fingering that follows or proceeds a logical pattern, such as playing notes that remain on a string or will switch to the next string.  

Having said that, the choice of playing an open string or a stopped note then depends on how the music is written, the tempo, dynamics, and how complicated the passage is where the decision to switch strings happens.  

I have found that my books for strings will often write fingering specifically to teach a concept, which is important.  However, in real life, orchestral music is often open to interpretation and left to the player’s discretion.  And there are just good ways of doing things that make life easier.  For beginners, though (and I include myself) follow the fingering in the book. 

- Pete -

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Andrew Shumway
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September 19, 2018 - 3:40 pm
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I nearly answered my question this evening - I was looking at some 2-octave scales which were fingered for no open strings, so I've just got to practise them.

I'd follow the fingering in the books, but some of it is sparse.

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AndrewH
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One of the important purposes of practicing scales is to develop muscle memory and aural memory, so that you place your finger correctly when you need it. I tend to believe you should generally practice scales with more than one fingering (e.g. both fingered and on open strings), so that all the possible finger patterns are set in your memory.

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Andrew Shumway
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AndrewH said
you should generally practice scales with more than one fingering (e.g. both fingered and on open strings), so that all the possible finger patterns are set in your memory.  

Taken on board.

But there is a Fiddlerman video on position playing where he mentions in passing that positions are used to avoid open strings and to avoid going from 4th finger on one string to 1st finger on the next higher string, so it's obviously a recognised technical issue.

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AndrewH
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Andrew Fryer said

Taken on board.

But there is a Fiddlerman video on position playing where he mentions in passing that positions are used to avoid open strings and to avoid going from 4th finger on one string to 1st finger on the next higher string, so it's obviously a recognised technical issue.  

What you really want to avoid is half-steps from 4th finger on one string to 1st finger on the next string. Crossing strings from a low 4th finger note doesn't pose the same problems as from a high 4th finger, because you can curve your 4th finger over the next string up when it's not stretched out to the higher note.

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bocaholly
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September 26, 2018 - 7:40 pm
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@AndrewH 

What you really want to avoid is half-steps from 4th finger on one string to 1st finger on the next string. Crossing strings from a low 4th finger note doesn't pose the same problems as from a high 4th finger, because you can curve your 4th finger over the next string up when it's not stretched out to the higher note.

I'm paying attention but not quite getting the picture. Do you mean:

     B with first finger on the A-string and A with fourth finger on the D-string;
     (like this example from Suzuki 1 - the Happy Farmer - bars 13-14)
2kAAAD2QAAwHFtbW9kAAAAAAAABhAAAKAuAAAAANDl7gAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

 

 

     E with first finger on the D-string and E with fourth finger on the A-string?
     (like this example from Suzuki 1 - the Gavotte -bar 21)