You know, I just realized that I may need to stop cursing my relative finger lengths.
My index and middle fingers on both hands are long. By comparison, my ring fingers come up to the nail base of my middle fingers. I’ve often thought to myself over the past few months that the added length of the index and middle fingers was actually a drawback, and that, if they were about a quarter-inch shorter, it would probably be easier for me as a harpist. When my ring fingers are so short, the added length of the others actually gets in the way. When I am ready to play a four-fingered chord in my left hand, you should see what it looks like from where I’m sitting: the thumb and ring fingers are in place, and these two ridiculously gangly appendages are hanging between them like weeping willow branches. My relative finger lengths actually actively displease me, whereas on the piano, my hands are pretty much perfect — spindly enough to get between the black keys, long, and with an ability to s-t-r-e-t-c-h that exceeds most. I don’t have Rachmaninoff hands, but nevertheless, they’re pretty good.
I am discovering a few ways in which my very long fingers-except-for-the-ring-finger help greatly, taking measure 14 in the Chopin arrangement as an example. I can reach that bass octave with 2-1 in the left hand without even working at it, or indeed realizing I’m doing it. And when I have to cross under even by a fourth, doing it with my index finger presents me with so little difficulty that again, I’m mostly not even aware I’m doing it.
Sure, I’d rather have a longer ring finger, but maybe I don’t want to give up a quarter-inch in the others to get it.