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  • Adam Hope

Organ technique prt. 2. Thirds and sixths


16th & 17th C

Thirds were usually played with fingers 2 & 4, sometimes with 1 & 3.

Fast parallel thirds were always played with fingers 2 & 4 (Couperin + C.P.E. Bach)

Sixths were mostly played with fingers 1 & 5, with 2 & 5 used when the lower note is an upper key. 

Many sixth chords were often played with 2, 3 and 5 as this avoids excess inwards turning of the thumb.

18th C

Thirds, in slow movements, were played with 1 & 3, 2 & 4, and 3 & 5.

It is still recommended that 2 & 4 are used in faster passages. 

Sixths - as above

19th C

Thirds - parallel thirds were played with 3 & 1 and 4 & 2. Occasional exceptions occur when upper keys are involved. 

Sixths - parallel sixths were played with 4 & 1 and 5 & 2. Again, this was fairly consistent, but exceptions occur again where upper keys are involved. 


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