Right hand free and rest stroke: an apology and an amendment

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Right hand free and rest stroke: an apology and an amendment

Post by Ortega » Fri May 18, 2018 12:51 pm

An apology to my friends, and an amendment:

I'm now using the main knuckle joint push the finger through the string...just as I believed that I was doing back in the 1980s

I am using the large knuckle joint as the main source of thrust, just as the best selling establishment technique books say we must.

Simultaneously, however, I'm using my tip joint to literally yank the string straight towards the plucking finger's own main knuckle joint.

This is causing simultaneous middle joint passive contraction.

I always begin each stroke from feather light presentation to the string. This is crucial, and there is a clear symbiotic relationship between the lightness of the presentation to the string and the tightness or narrowness or "immediacy" of the tip joint's contractive trajectory during its activation.

During this symbiotic relationship between the combination of lightness of presentation and tightness of the tip joint's "yank", we simultaneously power through the string from the main knuckle joint.

This seems to be the crowning cornerstone, this powering through from the main knuckle joint, but it is useless without the other observations contained within this letter.

These ideas (other than the notion of using the main knuckle joint as main source of thrust for the pluck) are new, or at least they are newly expressed by myself and they are proven out in my playing and the playing of so many others...

The use of the tip joint as the sole activator of the literal "yanking" of the string *towards the plucking finger's own main knuckle joint* (now simultaneous with main knuckle joint thrust through string) always causes simultaneous passive contraction at the middle joint.

So we have a marriage of ideas old and new here....ideas that virtuosos have always used; ideas that have never been clearly understood or presented in total.

I intend to change that.

Rest stroke and free stroke are the same; the only thing that changes with rest stroke is the orientation of the hand, such that the follow through of the rest stroke is artificially terminated at the adjacent string.

The laws of physics and geometry dictate that the string will in fact be directed downward and towards the top of the instrument, in spite of the fact that we are attempting to yank/ pull the string straight up towards the plucking finger's own main knuckle joint. This is true IF we activate only the main knuckle and tip joints, simultaneously relaxing the middle joint.

The most important (and difficult) finger to do this correctly and consistently with is the i finger due to its location adjacent to p and due to the fact that the i finger is the neurological leader of m and a.

Note: the establishment pedagogues were (and are) CORRECT. There's simply more going on, and that must be described in order for the player to progress in a healthy and efficient manner.

The notion of the smaller joints as "helper joints", as one famous author designates them, is crucial. Their role, along with the other specifics I've outlined above, will be clearly laid out in my upcoming right hand technique mini book.

Scott Johnston

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