By means of numerous examples, this chapter shows that fingering, rather than merely facilitating the execution of a figure or passage, should be used as a tool to express the musical meaning behind the figuration. It argues that unfettered, free fingerings are appropriate in the music of the great masters, contrary to the notion that contemporary fingerings showed greater freedom. In Chopin, meaning and fingering are uniquely fused. Different means of attaining legato in chordal or spread out writing are shown and the astonishing claim is made that “fingerings must be honest”, i.e., the fingering must correspond to the voice leading.
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