I honestly think I’m going to have to swear off of [4 3] and playing 3 permanently. It’s just not working, at least not now and possibly not ever. It’s the only time I’ve had to make a movement with my hand at an instrument and had such a powerful conviction that this will simply not be possible.
As a result, I’ve gone back to my old thumb-first bracketing. It will be slower than 180bpm sixteenth notes, but so be it. It seems that my choices are either:
- Play the broken brackets, which will make me slower,
- Force myself to play the correct brackets, which will make me wake up at 2am with throbbing hands no matter how much I “relax,” or
- Allow myself to break the brackets below about middle F and whenever the gap between 4 and 3 is larger than a third, which is just too damned confusing.
From now on, brackets are broken when I’m expected to place [4 3] and play 3, period. Uninjured hands and consistency matters more than following rules that change depending on where my hand is and which will hurt me, I think. I guess we’ll see how it goes.
For now, I place [3 2] at the same time when possible and [4 1] at the same time when possible, especially  — and balance/position my hand around [3 2].
So I couldn’t sleep last night, got up at 12am, and proceeded to do a bit of very, very quiet work. I think it was the “very, very quiet” part that changed things, and somehow I managed to do a [4 3] and play 3 … tentatively and quietly only, but it’s more than I could do before. I’m a bit in shock. I’ve been unable to do this for two and a half years, and now with one good chunk of exercises I’ve made small but existing progress. I’m not even sure what it is I’m doing differently.
I’m really taken aback by this, but in a pleasant way. I still can’t manage it with a fourth between 4 and 3, but adjacent strings is a breeze now, and the third is at least manageable as long as my hand’s not too far down the harp. I’ve changed the conditioning exercises that Candace assigned to exclude [C||F|A|C] because I can only manage that one by bracketing the unorthodox way, and I don’t want to develop the habit of doing that until/unless I know that I have no other choice.
Of course, it feels like that’s the only way I can do it, but I swore up and down that it was the only way I could manage [C|E|G||C] as well, and that edifice has begun to show cracks.
So I’ll stick with the [C|E|G||C] flavor for now, and just gently see if I can’t move myself in the direction of [C||F|A|C] with patience and lazy, quiet 12am exercise sessions.
It really did help to do it at night, when I felt that I had to be quiet and loose.