Does anyone else use this technique?

Posted: 9/27/2007 10:06:50 AM

From: Santa Rosa, California USA

Joined: 7/25/2005


After reading a long philosophical post like my previous one, anybody would be justified, I think, in asking the poster to put his money where his mouth is. Imperfect as it is, here's where you can find a sample of a recent effort--a once-through and unedited shot at Vocalise using no fingering technique with any numbered positions attached to it:

If you think that this could have been systematically improved by use of a numbered-finger technique, then you'll judge my ratiocinations wrong.
Posted: 9/27/2007 11:14:46 AM
Benjamin Scott

From: Ottery St. Mary, Devon, England

Joined: 9/26/2007

Brain, I am talking about going up a 2 octave chromatic scale without closing my hand again.
Posted: 9/27/2007 11:28:49 AM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

We haven't even talked much about the voice box, almost all of us engage it automatically while playing.
I think it is to help us tune and the concept of fingering is really to help us connect the hand to the voice box and hence to a physical manifestation of the pitch within our bodies.
It's fascinating and worth further pondering.
Posted: 9/27/2007 7:05:45 PM
Brian R

From: Somerville, MA

Joined: 10/7/2005

Benjamin, thanks for the clarification. I can only envy your Rachmaninoff-like handspan. Well, yes, I could halve the size of my control field, but somehow I don't anticipate a musically satisfying result...

Eliot, even before I visit the link, I'm going to agree with you: Each fingering method is a learning technique, and the goal is "effortless mastery" (did someone else already cite Kenny Werner here?). I find this especially true for post-tonal music: as I think I've mentioned before in another thread, the "nine" positions actually encompass 13 or 14... but that number would overload most brains (whereas nine fits George A. Miller's "Magical Number Seven, Plus Or Minus Two").

[9/28: Inaccurate comment on ergonomics removed. I find both methods uncomfortable with palm facing downward, and both methods comfortable with palm facing sideways.]

After some long practice sessions, I do notice some tightness in my volume-hand wrist... so any day now, I'll start looking into ways to clean up that technique.
Posted: 9/27/2007 7:13:14 PM
Brian R

From: Somerville, MA

Joined: 10/7/2005

OK, correction [to previous description of hand position, posted 9/27, edited 9/28]: the plane of my thumb-and-forefinger is at somewhat of an angle to the floor... as can be seen in, uh, the photo to the left.

(actually, a photo taken before I bought the Eyck method book... but my hand position hasn't changed, only the tuning of the field)
Posted: 9/28/2007 1:20:28 AM

From: Fresno, California USA

Joined: 3/26/2006

OK, I'm getting educated. I now have an inkling of the methods of Kavina-Eyck and Rockmore; I have the Eyck and Rockmore method books (although they are of limited use to someone without a piano theory background, I think), and Moog videos with Kavina/Rockmore and Kurstin ("Beginning and Advanced theremin Techniques"). Kevin refers (9/26/2007 @ 10:57:02 PM) to a Pamelia Kurstin DVD; is it the Moog one mentioned above, or is there another? And would I be correct to assume that her four-position technique is the same as, or very similar to, Rockmore's?
Posted: 9/28/2007 8:54:36 AM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

Kurstin appears in the interview video with Bob Moog that shipped with the EWPro.
"Etherwave Pro Tutorial"
though is really more a series of discussions than lessons, I think you can still get it from Moog Music

Yeah, I'd say her technique is basically Rockmore, with, of course, her own refinements especially for the volume hand. Not so much originated with her really but she has refined certain aspects more than others.

Brian, forearm tension is always a big warning sign for me, fatigue is one thing but tension requires my attention, I strive for strength, endurance and accuracy without tension. Yes I'm a big fan of the Kenny Werner book, I think Kip Rosser and I have both mentioned it here a few times.
Posted: 9/29/2007 1:56:58 AM

From: Fresno, California USA

Joined: 3/26/2006

Yes, that's the video I have. I think the four-position technique sounds more promising for a beginner--but it is rather difficult for me to discern just what those positions are. I have Rockmore's method book (text, anyway), which has verbal descriptions, but line drawings or still photos would be helpful. Well, at least I am now looking at the various videos with a more discerning eye. I suppose the Kavina-Eyck method, with a full octave's worth of hand positions, must depend greatly on the pitch antenna field gradient. With the four-note method, I suppose the forearm must be indexed to the next half-octave as necessary. Well, I will look more carefully. In time I will have my theremin built, and will begin to experiment. I wasn't able to work on it last night because of a long power failure, and this weekend is out because I work straight through. But next week I begin a vacation, and should be able to work on it a bit each day. The case is shaping up fairly well. Thanks for all your help.
Posted: 9/29/2007 7:47:58 AM

From: Leicester, UK

Joined: 9/23/2005

I noticed wonseeing Pamelia on video and live that the main difference with her and Rockmores style was in scale length and movement.
Pamelia seems to have smaller intervals and much smaller hand movements. Pamelia rarely jumps out of her octave too, especially in improvisations.
Posted: 9/29/2007 10:49:43 AM
Thomas Grillo

From: Jackson Mississippi

Joined: 8/13/2006

When I talked with Pamelia at the workshop in March, she told me that she uses a very narrow field, which explains the small movements. She also mentions this in the DVD.

You must be logged in to post a reply. Please log in or register for a new account.