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Right way to pivot hand while playing full scale?

Posted: Tue Mar 31, 2020 10:09 pm
by vinayjain57
I am rookie, doing the reading music course. I see that as part of lesson #4, you should be able to pivot (move hands) in the middle of the song to be able to play full scale (E F G A B C D E) using 5 fingers. But the instructor never talked about how to best pivot the hands and when to pivot the hands. Is there any resource that i can access to understand and practice pivoting more effectively. I am not able to figure out when to pivot and where to pivot.

See screen shot for the lesson that includes full scale in this course (played by right hand):

Re: Right way to pivot hand while playing full scale?

Posted: Fri Apr 03, 2020 12:21 am
by sw1tch73ch
The first thought to keep in mind is there is no absolute right place to pivot. There are relative right places, though. Move your hand when you can't get to the next set of notes easily - yeah, not helpful, I know, but it is the context the rest of my advice will be within. Because everyone's hands are different finger notation is general and for the average sized five finger hand. If you have a hand that is smaller or larger, or have lost the use of some fingers, you will have to adjust. These guidelines will keep that in mind.

1- Know your hands; how wide a Span can you play?

2- Study the notes. The thumb should avoid playing a black note, usually, if possible, because it has the shortest front to back reach. This rule is often broken, though.

3- The thumb has the best side to side reach, so use it to reach some notes to avoid moving the hands too much

4- Study the notes some more. Notes side by side that are played consecutively should use different fingers most of the time - don't use the index finger to play E, then F, then G, for instance, it will just be harder to keep the notes smoothly legato. So use three fingers in a row to play them. Keeping in mind when you might have to reach for a note not conveniently close

5- you will see in the exercise that the notes here are grouped mostly in sets of three or two.
a- Play the lowest with the thumb since this is a right hand exercise
b- try to arrange moves so you are at a rest so the lowest note can be played by the thumb again. Pay attention so that you can still reach the highest note, too.
c- DO NOT move your hand if you really don't need to, even at a rest. For instance the hand position for measures 1,2, 3, 5, 6 and 7 will also work for 8 and 9, even though there are rests between.
d- be prepared for a wide hand position; there aren't any examples for this in the displayed exercise for this, but it will happen sometimes that you can reach all the notes by just spreading the fingers - just take into account the consecutive notes played.

6- play the whole thing "manually" without hitting the play button to see if there are hard reaches that you might want to move your hands for.

7- A pivot can often be accomplished by moving the thumb under or another finger over to move the hand while playing a note. It's hard to describe in a short sentence, but if you practice the scales, you'll see the thumb tuck under or some fingers reaching over the thumb, depending on which direction the hand moves for the pivot. So you don't always have to wait for a rest to move your hand.

I'm sure there are guidelines I've left out - things I might even be doing without thinking about them.

In this exercise: Measures 1 through 9 can easily be played in one hand position, these are five notes right in a row. Then for measure 10, you begin a short run where you extend out past those five so you have to move.

How I would map this out for my hands.

Measures 1 through 9, thumb (finger 1) at E, pinkie (finger 5) at B. In measure 10 you probably want to pivot so the thumb is on G so that you can play through to measure 17. But at Measure 18 you will need to move to reach even higher still so that the pinkie can reach that octave up F key a couple measures farther along. You'll be good until measure 25, but the thumb can easily reach that A, just stretch the thumb - a kind of mini-pivot. This then sets a new hand position where you play the B in measure 26 with the Index finger and so the little #5 finger can reach the E up there in measure 30 and then stretch your thumb down to G in measure 32.

These exercises aren't about pivots, though. They're about reading the notes in the staffs, so you could play the entire exercise with just one finger if you felt like it - not that I recommend that, however.

Re: Right way to pivot hand while playing full scale?

Posted: Thu Apr 09, 2020 3:07 pm
by vinayjain57
Thanks a lot for the response. It's super helpful. Will probably have read this 3-4 times to comprehend :)

Re: Right way to pivot hand while playing full scale?

Posted: Fri Apr 10, 2020 9:49 am
by andrewwegierski
Just a quick response here - but my thoughts:

This is basically an exercise in an extended 5 finger G position.

Your anchor is G A B C D = 12345. When you have to lower to E F, use 1, 2 accordingly.

When you have to stretch to the high E and F, anchor your thumb on G, but use 2,3,4,5 on C D E F.