Playing with the left Pinkie

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Donauer
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Playing with the left Pinkie

Post by Donauer » Mon Nov 17, 2014 9:24 pm

As a total beginner I notice that the pinkie is never shown as being used as a regular part of left hand fingering technique. Why is this?

kenbloom
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Re: Playing with the left Pinkie

Post by kenbloom » Wed Nov 19, 2014 8:38 am

I don't know about anyone else but I've used the pinkie ever since I started playing zither. I have found it very useful for grabbing all sorts of chords. I work out my scales two ways, the normal way you find in the books using the thumb and then using my little finger and forgetting about the thumb. Between the two different fingerings it makes for more choices when working out difficult passages.
I use my right thumb in both directions and I find it easier to do string crossings with a forward stroke. Thus having alternate approaches to fingering makes this easier. Just my 2p.

Ken Bloom

Donauer
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Re: Playing with the left Pinkie

Post by Donauer » Wed Nov 19, 2014 3:33 pm

Thanks for the reply Ken.
I also play violin and must admit fingering with the four fingers and excluding the thumb seems easier than three fingers and thumb. Of course fingering a mirror image of the string layout that I am accustomed to and with hand reversed is strange initially. I have experimented with both fingering schemes that you use and have played around with using all five on the left hand. Five fingers seems a bit more awkward than either of the other methods but perhaps only practice is needed to develop the necessary hand motions.
Your right hand technique is interesting. Do you use a modified thumb ring? Is there any problem with the thumb ring shifting around as you play opposite direction strokes? The reverse stroke seems on the face of it to be weaker than the press stroke. Is the disparity in power noticeable in playing? I'm afraid that at this point I probably don't have enough technique to judge meaningfully.

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Dave
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Re: Playing with the left Pinkie

Post by Dave » Wed Nov 26, 2014 6:18 pm

Donauer, the left pinky is rarely (if ever) used by the majority of zither players. I don't know of anyone that uses it regularly, except for Ken, now that he's mentioned it. For now, I would recommend focusing on standard fingering. I for one can't even incorporate it in a simple scale, but I'm not one to look down upon innovation. :)

Dave
We do not take humor seriously enough. —Konrad Lorenz

Kennethpauls
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Re: Playing with the left Pinkie

Post by Kennethpauls » Wed Nov 26, 2014 7:12 pm

In my lesson with Tomy Temerson, he told me, for aesthetic reasons, that the left pinkie stays up high parallel to the board- as mine was going up & down/ in all directions depending on the song. Anne had told me Tomy had her bound the pinkie to the ring finger with a rubber band to keep it from bouncing around.
The right pinkie is used for the contrabass strings.
KP

kenbloom
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Re: Playing with the left Pinkie

Post by kenbloom » Thu Nov 27, 2014 9:27 am

Ideas about how to approach zither playing have changed a lot over the years. When I began playing, th eonly information I could find in English was the old book by A Darr published back in the 19th century. In that book they said to put the little finger of the right hand in a groove on the bridge and never use it to pluck strings. That seemed very limiting to me so I ignored that approach and used both the little finger and ring finger for basses and contrabasses. Years later, Ludwig Karlbrunner gave me a couple of books by Willy Hintermeyer that showed using all the finger fo the right hand and a very organized way of doing scaled of all sorts on the bass and accompaniemtn strings. Very helpful!
Having taken this approach to the right hand, I started to reexamine the left hand. I could see no good reason not to use a finger if it made playing easier. I'd grow more fingers if I could!
What I do for a basic hand position is to extend my little finger and thumb straight out and curl the other three up a bit. This allows me to put all five fingers on a single string in a straight line. I first began by playing up and down each string. On the C string I would play C, D, E, F, G and A using all five fingers. As I ascend, I keep the fingers down. This allows me to pivot a bit to make using the thumb easy and not lose my place. Going back down means I simply lift them up again. Adding the little finger to your repertoire of fingerings means more resources for otherwise difficult or cumbersome passages. It's hand for grabbing some recalcitrant chords as well.
Give it a try and see what you think. I'd be interested to hear what others have experienced. I learned to play the zither in isolation for the most part.

Ken Bloom

Rudy Mueller
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Re: Playing with the left Pinkie

Post by Rudy Mueller » Thu Nov 27, 2014 2:43 pm

Thanks Ken,

Ludwig has been working extensively with Jeff lately, who now plays the open strings like a harpist. On some pieces he playes Z1 as one would expect, but Z2 on the open strings where it counts.

...and Ludwig has been encouraging us sparrows to "try the open strings".....if you warm up with a scale, try the same notes on the open strings. Ugh. Ludwig is a true global resource....and he's here in the upper Midwest!!!

For all you people in the Chicago Metroplex, the next Zither Sunday in Wisconsin might be December 14, 2014, barring unforeseen weather conditions. Free lunch included.

Rudi

P.S. Dave, how does one print out only a single note on the site? There is a lot of schmaarn in this communication, but not all needs to be printed.

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Dave
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Re: Playing with the left Pinkie

Post by Dave » Thu Nov 27, 2014 3:49 pm

Rudi,

You may have already seen this, but you could select “Print View,” located top-left under “New Topic” and “Post Reply.” This will prepare the text for printing. Perhaps from there, just copy and paste the note you’d like into another document and print that? Good question, but I don’t believe there is a more direct way.

Dave
We do not take humor seriously enough. —Konrad Lorenz

NutmegCT
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Re: Playing with the left Pinkie

Post by NutmegCT » Thu Nov 27, 2014 5:01 pm

The "Print View" will give you the entire topic. But to print and/or save *only the text in a single note* (a single post), is:

1. pull the cursor through that single note, to highlight only what you want to print.

2. copy to clipboard (CTRL+C).

3. open whatever word app you use (Wordpad, Notepad, Word, etc.), and paste to the new document. (CTRL+V).

If you're using a Mac, use Command+C and Command+V

And the *quickest* way to print just a small selection of text, without having to Save the text in a file, is to highlight the text, then press CTRL+Shift+P. Printer box will open up, and you choose Selection in the Page Range box (not All, not Pages).

Hope this helps.
Tom (retired computer network manager)

kenbloom
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Re: Playing with the left Pinkie

Post by kenbloom » Thu Nov 27, 2014 6:21 pm

I've worked out a few tunes with contrapuntal lines played on the accompaniement and bass strings. Dixie works out especially well and you can gussy up the chords a lot. I'm trying to find some time to write out some of my arrangements for Dave. O'Carolan tunes work out especially well for this approach. Bob Wills tunes (like Faded Love) also are great for this. The Willy Hintermeyer books are great for learning these techniques. The title is Der Weg zur Virtusitat, Vols. I, II, and II. I have I and II. Get through those and you'll be soaring.

Ken Bloom

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