Pinky finger use in maebachi

Hello, there! I am new to the community and somewhat new to shamisen. Been loving both.

I recently heard from an experienced tsugaru player that when doing maebachi you should always place the pinky finger at the base of the koma (to dampen the sound a bit). The pinky, in this case, would be curled up exactly as it always is when holding the bachi normaly, not stretched out. So when playing a piece where there is that constant shifting from ushirobachi to maebachi and back every 2 or 3 notes, every maebachi note would be played while the backside of the curled up pinky is pressing down the tip of the koma, and when doing ushirobachi your pinky would not touch the koma.

When looking at videos of professional players, I don’t think I see that happening… She was adamant that the correct way in tsugaru is to always do that though. So I am confused. Could anyone enlighten me?

All the best

Hi there, Welcome.

The little finger mute is a tool - it lets you emphasize the “click” of proper follow-through in maebachi. However, emphasizing that click isn’t always necessary. It’s just one way of introducing greater dynamics into performance. That makes it valuable, but one can do without it.

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