Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/537

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FINGER.
525
FINGERING.

Cecilia's day. In 1696, in conjunction with John Eccles, he composed the music for Motteux's masque, 'The Loves of Mars and Venus,' and in the next year that for Ravenscroft's comedy, 'The Anatomist, or, The Sham Doctor.' In 1701 he set to music Elkanah Settle's opera, 'The Virgin Prophetess, or, The Siege of Troy.' In the same [App. p.636 "previous"] year he was awarded the fourth prize for the composition of Congreve's masque, 'The Judgment of Paris,' the others being given to John Weldon, John Eccles, and Daniel Purcell. Finger was so displeased at the ill reception of his composition that he quitted England and returned to Germany, where in 1702 he obtained the appointment of chamber musician to Sophia Charlotte, Queen of Prussia. Whilst at Berlin he composed two German operas, 'Sieg der Schönheit über die Helden' and 'Roxane,' both performed in 1706. In 1717 he became chapel-master at the court of Gotha. Nothing is known of his subsequent career. Besides the above-mentioned compositions Finger wrote instrumental music for the following plays 'The Wives' Excuse,' 1692; 'Love for Love,' 1695; 'The Mourning Bride,' 1697 ; 'Love at a loss,' 'Love makes a man,' 'The Humours of the Age,' and 'Sir Harry Wildair,' 1701.

[ W. H. H. ]

FINGERING (Ger. Fingersatz, Applicatur; Fr. Doigté), the method which governs the application of the fingers to the keys of any keyed instrument, to the various positions upon stringed instruments, or to the holes and keys of wind instruments, the object of the rules being in all cases to facilitate execution. The word is also applied to the numerals placed above or beneath the notes, by which the particular fingers to be used are indicated.

In this article we have to do with the fingering of the pianoforte (that of the organ, though different in detail, is founded on the same principles, and will not require separate consideration); for the fingering of wind and stringed instruments the reader is referred to each particular name.

In order to understand the principles upon which the rules of modern fingering are based, it will be well to glance briefly at the history of those rules, and in so doing it must be borne in mind that two causes have operated to influence their development the—construction of the keyboard, and the nature of the music to be performed. It is only in comparatively modern times, in fact since the rise of modern music, that the second of these two causes can have had much influence, for the earliest use of the organ was merely to accompany the simple melodies or plainsongs of the church, and when in later years instrumental music proper came into existence, which was not until the middle of the 16th century, its style and character closely resembled that of the vocal music of the time. The form and construction of the keyboard, on the other hand, must have affected the development of any system of fingering from the very beginning, and the various changes which took place from time to time are in fact sufficient to account for certain remarkable differences which exist between the earliest rules of fingering and those in force at the present time. Until the latter half of the 16th century there would appear to have been no idea of establishing rules for fingering; nor could this have been otherwise, for from the time of the earliest organs, the keys of which were from 3 to 6 inches wide, and were struck with the closed fist, down to about the year 1480, when, although narrower, the octave still measured about two inches more than on the modern keyboard, any attempt at fingering in the modern sense must have been out of the question. The earliest marked fingering of which we have any knowledge is that given by Ammerbach in his 'Orgel oder Instrument Tabulatur' (Leipzig, 1571). This, like all the fingering in use then and for long afterwards, is characterised by the almost complete avoidance of the use of the thumb and little finger, the former being only occasionally marked in the left hand, and the latter never employed except in playing intervals of not less than a fourth in the same hand. Ammerbach's fingering for the scale is as follows, the thumbs being marked and the fingers with the first three numerals:—

{ \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \clef bass \relative f { \cadenzaOn f-1_3^\markup { \smaller \italic "Right Hand." } _\markup { \smaller \italic "Left Hand." } g-2_2 a-1_1 bes-2_0  c-1_3 \clef treble d-2_2 e-1_1 f-2_0 g-1_3 a-2_2 bes-3_1 a-2_2 g-1_1 f-2_2 e-1_1 } }

This kind of fingering, stiff and awkward as it appears to us, remained in use for upwards of a century, and is even found as late as 1718, in the third edition of an anonymous work entitled 'Kurzen jedoch gründlichen Wegweiser,' etc. Two causes probably contributed to retard the introduction of a more complete system. In the first place, the organ and clavichord not being tuned upon the system of equal temperament, music for these instruments was only written in the simplest keys, with the black keys but rarely used; and in the second place the keyboards of the earlier organs were usually placed so high above the seat of the player that the elbows were of necessity considerably lower than the fingers. The consequence of the hands being held in this position, and of the black keys being but seldom required, would be that the three long fingers, stretched out horizontally, would be chiefly used, while the thumb and little finger, being too short to reach the keys without difficulty, would simply hang down below the level of the keyboard.

But although this was the usual method of the time, it is highly probable that various experiments, tending in the direction of the use of the thumb, were made from time to time by different players. Thus Praetorius says ('Syntagma Muaicum,' 1619), 'Many think it a matter of great importance, and despise such organists as do not use this or that particular fingering, which in my opinion is not worth the talk; for let a player run up or down with either first, middle, or third finger, aye, even with his nose if that could help him, provided everything is done clearly, correctly, and gracefully, it does not much