Is the fingering notation in harp music just a suggestion (that you can change) or is there a reason certain fingering is written? Learn when it’s OK to alter the fingerings in your harp pieces, and when you should persists, how to tell one pieces from the others… and where there may be exceptions!
Is there a reason for certain fingering?
Yes, definitely! When a composer marks fingering in a harp piece, their intention is to make your life easier.
However, fingerings are a very personal matter, and some solutions may work for you better than others.
If you find the fingerings marked in the music awkward, it may be that you’ve come across some unfamiliar patterns that mean the fingering doesn’t feel as natural as the patterns you worked with in the past. It’s worth to give the new fingerings a go and try them out during your practice sessions. They will likely widen your “repertoire” of fingerings, and possibly also your harp technique!
Be mindful of your body at all times. If it feels like the new fingering requires a lot of hand stretching, or any other movement where you feel increased tension, you want to be really careful! Don’t try to stick to the recommended fingering at all costs. Your health comes first!
(By the way, if you’d like to learn more about taking care of your body as a harpist, check out the previous episodes of Coffee Break Harp where I talk about Alexander Technique and 5 things to watch out for to avoid an injury).
Resources mentioned in this episode
- Reading Music for Harp – my new online course for harpists who want to read music AND play the harp with freedom and confidence
- Bach-Grandjany: Etude 11 (Bach Violin Sonata No. 3 in C Major: IV. Allegro assai) from Etudes for Harp
- Bochsa: Etude XVI from 40 Etudes Faciles, Op. 318, Book 1
Watch the video
Now I am curious to hear from YOU…
Do you sometimes find fingering markings confusing? Would you like to change your fingerings but are not sure how?
Or is there a piece where you may give the “funny” fingerings another try?
Let me know in the comments!