What Are Some Styles Of Music That J.S Bach Used What Are the 4 Types of Fingering Suited for the Performance of Early Organ Music?

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What Are the 4 Types of Fingering Suited for the Performance of Early Organ Music?

Playing early organ music requires much knowledge in registration, articulation, fingering, and other aspects of organ performance. Fingering, in particular, is an area where correct choices can facilitate the execution of articulation, phrasing, and ornamentation. The right way of fingering can even help to feel the pulse and the meter easier. If the organist plays a Baroque or Renaissance organ piece with the correct fingering, chances of performing it in style are much higher. In this article, I would like to give you 4 types of fingering suited for music composed before 1800.

1. Paired Fingering. The most famous of all kinds of early fingerings, paired fingering is used primarily for one voice passages in one hand. It can help to emphasize the meter and the pulse if used correctly. Paired fingering is based on the idea that the notes on the stronger beats should be played with stronger fingers. Authors of treatises from different national schools had their own ideas about strong fingers. They even referred to them as good and bad fingers.

2. Position Fingering. This type of fingering means that we choose the fingers which would allow playing the most number of notes without changing position. Like paired fingering, position fingering is also used for solo passages.

3. Interval Fingering. While paired and position fingering are best suited for solo passages, interval fingering is used to play two notes in one hand. Thirds are best played with 2-4 or 1-3, fourths – with 2-5 or 1-4, fifths, sixths, sevenths, and octaves – with 1-5. The succession of the same kind of intervals is played with the same fingers.

4. Chord Fingering. Because of narrower keys in the 16th and 17th century organs, the chords (and solo passages) in early music are often played without the thumb. For example, first inversion major chord E G C can be played with 2 3 5 in the right hand). The left hand chords are often wider, as in C G C and played with 1 2 5. The general rule for the Renaissance and early Baroque music is to avoid using thumb (especially in sharp keys). However, there are many instances where the thumb cannot be avoided, such as in music written in G minor, or F major.

Because of the chromatic nature of the music of J.S.Bach and complicated keys used in his works, playing with the thumb and using finger crossing is quite comfortable. However, try to avoid finger substitution and glissando which are best suited for the legato manner of playing used in organ music written about after 1800.

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