What's correct RH "economy of motion" in a run of rest strokes? p i m & a all "resting" sometimes?

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Jason Kulas
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What's correct RH "economy of motion" in a run of rest strokes? p i m & a all "resting" sometimes?

Post by Jason Kulas » Tue Feb 26, 2019 9:27 pm

I'm playing various all-rest-stroke beginner practice pieces from various methods (currently from Noad, + Larry's "The Conservatory Tutor"). Sometimes they're indicating recommended RH fingering. These are simple pieces, music in 1 line, no chords.

I run into places in the pieces where, at times, there's no need for multiple prior digits to move off a string it landed on, before playing the next note.

This leads to times where, by strict economy of motion, I could potentially have p + 2 fingers "resting" on strings they landed on, then play a rest stroke with a 3rd finger, and now I'd briefly have p i m & a all resting on some string for a moment. Or just pim, or just ima, etc.

Is this proper, or what is?

I kind of dislike it so far. It makes the hand position a little weird or cramped/crowded-feeling at times, and sometimes it feels mentally weird.

I prefer never having more than p + 1 digit resting on a string, then I feel poised and free and relaxed ready to do whatever, but what is correct? Can I release everything I feel like releasing and decide to just leave p resting on a string, or just 1 digit, or just p+1?

Maybe part of this is, I'm sight-reading...so having fingers free for whatever might be needed next feels best to me. And then that approach for finger placement/release becomes my automatic mechanic for playing that piece.

A related question, when I am deciding my own RH fingering, should I want to choose a fingering that leaves as many fingers resting on strings as possible? Is pima (or just a few) resting (briefly) on strings, when possible, a desirable goal?
Last edited by Jason Kulas on Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:21 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Julian Ward
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Re: What's correct RH "economy of motion" in a run of rest strokes? p i m & a all "resting" sometimes?

Post by Julian Ward » Tue Feb 26, 2019 10:27 pm

Not totally sure what you are getting at but it is perfectly OK for fingers to be 'at rest' or not in use. If you are used to 'arpeggio' style pieces and not the 'scale passage' type that might use mainly rest stroke then it might feel a little odd at first.
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Re: What's correct RH "economy of motion" in a run of rest strokes? p i m & a all "resting" sometimes?

Post by Crofty » Tue Feb 26, 2019 10:49 pm

Jason, if you are talking about single line only [no thumb] and sticking to i and m, then what is critical [in my view] is that your hand is free to move so that it is continually achieving an optimum position for your fingers.

In which case the idea of resting ANY fingers on strings becomes a complete irrelevance - you just shouldn't be doing it.

Keeping your fingers CLOSE to the strings is another matter and obviously having a flexible hand/arm position plays a vital role in helping that to happen.

I hope that I've understood your question properly and that that maybe helps.

Paul

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Re: What's correct RH "economy of motion" in a run of rest strokes? p i m & a all "resting" sometimes?

Post by Julian Ward » Tue Feb 26, 2019 10:53 pm

Just to add... rest strokes on a single line melody, or with simple bass notes combined, should always alternate (whether you use i and m, or m and a).
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Re: What's correct RH "economy of motion" in a run of rest strokes? p i m & a all "resting" sometimes?

Post by Jason Kulas » Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:15 pm

Crofty wrote:
Tue Feb 26, 2019 10:49 pm
Jason, if you are talking about single line only [no thumb] and sticking to i and m
I've slightly edited my post, maybe it's more clear. It is a single line of music that at times uses all 4 digits, in various sequences (1 finger/note at a time...it's a simple practice piece, no chords, and it isn't in 2 lines).

>In which case the idea of resting ANY fingers on strings becomes a complete irrelevance - you just shouldn't be doing it.

That's illuminating to hear. Though I often hear (as a beginner) that keeping 1 finger or thumb on a string (when feasible) can be useful for giving a reference point for your next motion.

I think my natural translation of that has been, I always keep the last rest stroke in position (when possible), and as soon as I need to play a new rest stroke, I free-up the previous finger, whether it "had" to be freed or not. Then play the next rest stroke and leave it in position (when possible). So there's never more than 1 finger resting on a string. But there is always 1, when possible.

You think that is undesirable?
Last edited by Jason Kulas on Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's correct RH "economy of motion" in a run of rest strokes? p i m & a all "resting" sometimes?

Post by Rasqeo » Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:23 pm

I always have either the thumb or a finger (usually a) resting on a string whenever possible. It gives greater security and stability to the right hand. If playing a single line with alternating rest strokes I would rest the thumb either one or two strings above the string being played.

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Re: What's correct RH "economy of motion" in a run of rest strokes? p i m & a all "resting" sometimes?

Post by Larry McDonald » Wed Feb 27, 2019 12:32 am

Hi Jason,
Like Crofty, I teach that the finger should get off the string after the rest-stroke, and prepare to play again.
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Re: What's correct RH "economy of motion" in a run of rest strokes? p i m & a all "resting" sometimes?

Post by robert e » Wed Feb 27, 2019 12:35 am

Sometimes "economy of motion" contradicts "economy of effort", and I submit that in this case (perhaps in most cases) the latter should take precedence. Besides, economy of motion doesn't actually dictate that you leave all those fingers on their "rest" strings. If a finger's next task involves moving off the string, then you're simply delaying the motion, which could result in more, less or equal economy of motion, depending on what else is happening.

Theory aside, I've never before encountered a suggestion that the "rest" portion of a rest stroke ought to be held for any length of time if doing so isn't necessary for stability or for the next action.

jscott

Re: What's correct RH "economy of motion" in a run of rest strokes? p i m & a all "resting" sometimes?

Post by jscott » Wed Feb 27, 2019 12:38 am

Jason, when you play rest strokes do you strike the string, touch the next one and them immediately rebound off of it? Or do you 'rest' the striking finger longer on the next string?

I think the first of these allows for more speed in a run of rest strokes.

edit: I see this was covered in the last two posts. sorry!

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Re: What's correct RH "economy of motion" in a run of rest strokes? p i m & a all "resting" sometimes?

Post by Julian Ward » Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:32 am

Not so sure on this. I have taught the rest stroke to many hundreds of students in schools and I always teach it first, because it is easier for youngsters to acheive than freestroke, it it also keeps them more stable. I always aim to teach them to keep their finger rested against the above string until the moment the other finger strikes. In doing so the hand is immediately more stable, it also creates a more legato sound. I liken it to 'walking' with the pupils - I say when you walk there is always one foot on the ground. I was also taught this way. When acheiving greater speed, your fingers will come off in time entirely automatically. I have as fast a rest stroke alternation as any player I know.
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Jason Kulas
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Re: What's correct RH "economy of motion" in a run of rest strokes? p i m & a all "resting" sometimes?

Post by Jason Kulas » Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:46 pm

Larry McDonald wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 12:32 am
Like Crofty, I teach that the finger should get off the string after the rest-stroke, and prepare to play again.
I've been trying to play like M. Delcamp’s online lesson videos. He appears to always keep every digit in-place, until forced to move by the demands of the music. At least in all the beginner lesson videos I've watched so far. Sometimes he has 1 or more digits "resting" on the strings they landed on, while continuing to play other notes with other fingers. For example, see his videos in viewtopic.php?f=41&t=122240

It seems the consensus is that is not good for more advanced playing, and I have no problem changing. Before seeing what M. Delcamp was showing, I've been accustomed to (while working through Noad) frequently releasing all RH fingers, except to keep exactly 1 recent finger touching, when possible. I believe I could easily give up that too.
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