Bass Blog

Michael Hovnanian plays bass in an orchestra located in a large midwestern city.

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Letter from Max

Max Dimoff sent an interesting reply to the 12/7 post concerning something included in his warm-ups. I will post this now (with Max’s permission) because I’ve been under the weather recently. Besides, I have this week off from the CSO.

Max writes:

Anyway, I felt compelled to explain the fingering the way I play it (and collect my reward!). The footnote is actually from Simandl. I do not take that too literally though. My fourth finger is always over the string and but at best mostly firm on the string. I release the fourth finger, although still keeping it over the note, when playing the third and sixth degrees of the scales. I do this because I prefer to avoid true extensions whenever possible. As for the second degree I do use the third finger. In warming up this morning I was thinking about your questions and analyzing my motions. The way I keep the fourth finger down is by sort of rolling to the outside of the pad and collapsing the first joint. The second joint on the fourth finger is therefore at a rather high angle. The third finger collapses at the second joint when reaching across the string unless I raise my elbow.

I know this is a rather distorted position but that is how I do it. It always comes immediately back to a good fundamental position. For the purposes of a warm-up this really works the abductor digiti minimi in the left hand. (The big muscle extending from the fourth finger). It also promotes a certain flexibility in my hand position which I feel is essential.

I hope this clears things up a bit.

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