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Hi Beth!

I have recently noticed that I sometimes tend to curl my 4th finger away from the strings. Usually when 3rd finger is doing something.

Till now this has not been a problem so I haven't even really paid attention to it, but now that I'm learning that Fiocco's, 4th really needs to be ready to play and not be curled away.
I've already googled around and this seems to be quite common problem. I also found an exercise for the problem from somewhere and I'd like to ask your opinion is this a good one, or do you have better ideas to fix the problem. The exercise goes like this:

Hold 4th finger using harmonic pressure OR just hover it above the string. Then on string below play 1st finger - open string, 2nd finger - open string, 3rd finger - open string and repeat n times. And while doing this 4th should maintain harmonic pressure or the hover. Not press harder or lift up.
What do you think?

2 Responses
Posted: May 26, 2011
Last Comment: June 23, 2011

Beth Blackerby
Posted: June 23, 2011
You're right. I totally missed this post, and it's such a good one. I think the exercise you described sounds like an excellent one. I like it because it emphasizes harmonic pressure to keep the 4th finger from getting stiff. I also curl the 4th finger at times, especially if I don't need it. For instance, if I'm playing a long held 3rd finger, 4th finger is curled (not tightly, though).

In places where I do need it, like in a fast passage in Fiocco Allegro, I bring the hand around a little closer to the fingerboard so that the 4th finger is in a closer striking range, and keep it more in a hovering position.

My primary strategy with the 4th finger, though, is good preparation. Even if my pinky is somewhat curled, it lifts and hovers with well before it needs to strike.

As far as right and wrong goes, I have both colleagues whose 4th fingers look like all the other fingers, poised nicely right next to the 4th finger, and I have colleagues with curled 4th fingers as well. However, when I say curled, I don't mean squeezed tightly, just not in a constant hovering position.

My only caveat in regards to keeping the pinky hovering is it could add tension to the left hand. If that's the case, then try and strike a balance. Figure out when you really need to have it hovering and when it's ok to let it hang where it wants. Just remember, good preparation will take care of most instances.

Posted: June 23, 2011
I forgot that I had even posted this...seems that this has gone unnoticed so I'll pop this back up :)