Finger Technique. BPD # 23

<music: Vivaldi's Concerto in E minor, opening>

Welcome, In this video I will be discussing finger position and proper finger techniques.
This is material that will be useful not only to the beginner, but also for the more advanced student as well.

So let's start out with first the technique on the the bassoon that we call the "half hole" technique.
This particular technique is to used on the three notes above open F. We call that F, "F3": from the 
labeling system of the Acoustical Society of America. The first notes would be F#3. 

<music: demonstration of F#3>

Now I will come a little closer to the camera so that you can see exactly what I am doing here. 
So for F#3 we need to vent a little bit this first half hole. You can understand the proper 
position of the half hole if you press down your first finger and then look at where the hole 
appears. And you can see that the hole is off to the side of my finger.

The position [of the hole] should not be centered in the middle of the finger, but a little bit 
to the side. When we half hole we never slide up and down. Instead you turn the finger a little bit.

Now the proper effect of the half hole can be observed by the way the note sounds when the 
hole is opened or closed. For instance, I will start the F#, the F#3 (above open F) with the hole
half open. then I will slowly close it. 

<music: demonstration of F#3, closing half hole>

If I loosen my embouchure the note will go down to the lower octave. If the half hole is not 
open, you get an indistinct sound.

<music: closed half hole on F#3> 
It is an indistinct sound, like a chord. In fact it is a multiphonic--this is what we call this 
on the bassoon. So it is important that you vent that hole that you open up that hole. The 
other thing you will notice--this is important for tuning—the more open the hole is--that 
first finger hole--the sharper the note. So if I open that hole all the way (I will demonstrate
 to you here):

<music: demonstration> 

I don't know if you can hear that. I opened the hole all the way and then I closed it. 


Can you hear as I open the hole further, the note gets a little sharper. As I close it, 
it darkens the note and lowers the pitch. Particularly for F# it is important that we not 
have the half hole open all the way. Probably 1/4 of the hole open is just about right for 
that particular note.

Now the other notes that use it are the G above and G# above it. It is important to have the 
whisper key down. This pad here needs to be engaged for the half hole. 

Now, let's talk a little bit about finger placement and proper position. 

Once again I will come up to the camera so you can see closer. 

What you want to do is keep a certain curve to your fingers. Avoid over collapsed 
[joints]. So if this joint or any other joints collapse then in order to raise it you have to 
have a little bit pre-[excessive] motion  going. So if you can keep these fingers pretty much straight--
without much collapsing--it gives you a movement that is good for opening and closing 
notes, rather than extending those [motions].

Those people that are "double jointed" are going to find this more difficult. They may have 
to work at training their fingers to be relaxed, with a natural bow or curve in order to move 
up and down.

Now the other aspect of this is that it as important to avoid too much motion with your 
fingers. Keeping your fingers close to the keys and holes is the best approach to technique.

Now let's address the hand in particular the fingers. It is important for you to understand 
the mechanics of your fingers if you are to gain as fluid a technique as is possible.

Your fingers--not your thumbs--but your fingers have three different joints. You have to 
joint furthest away from the hands. It is the distal phalange. You have a second joint, 
the intermediate phalange. And then the one, the one in closest proximity is call the proximal
phalange. It is interesting and important for you to understand how each of these work. 
If you close off your hand and try do it so that you can only move the distal phalanges--the 
joints that are furthest away. 

Go ahead and do that. See how quickly you can move those back and forth. Release 
those and see if you can move only the intermediate phalanges. I find that I can move 
those a little more swiftly than the distal phalanges. 

Then if you allow the proximal phalanges, the joints just right at the knuckles are to move, 
I find that is in fact the most free and quickest of the motions.

Well, that is important for you to understand because if you want to maximize the hand 
and its ability to play as quickly as possible, then we have shown that by looking at these 
joints and the ability to move swiftly, as much as much as possible  you want to move the 
proximal phalanges first. You want to give them preference over the others. If your 
particular instrument position doesn't allow for free movement there, next you want to 
move the intermediate phalanges. Last of all, the distal. 

So if you look at the bassoon and placement of fingers (again I am going to bring my 
bassoon up closer so you can see the hand position) you will see with that this first finger

I can move the intermediate phalange. The proximal phalange is set where it is. 

With the second finger and the third as well, there is some distal phalange motion I can do. 
So it is important for me not to be moving my fingers this way. but to concentrate and trying 
to get as much motion from there [proximal], leaving these fingers [other joints] set. 

The distal and intermediate phalanges are set, allowing the motion to be as much as possible 
in the proximal joints.

Now in the right hand, it in fact should all be proximal phalange motion. I can always move 
from the knuckles. Again I establish the curvature and position of the fingers. Not moving this way [Like kneading dough or squeezing a ball].

<music: Vivaldi”s Bassoon Concerto "La Notte">