Monday Mailbag: Piano Fingering

Piano
Piano (Photo credit: MagnuZ)


Israel and garindra have shared with me a common complaint
with their fingering during practice of the piano, along with
coordinating the l.h. and r.h. Many beginners and intermediate 
piano students struggle with piano fingering... you're not alone!

Since our fingers have different lengths

 Reading Fingering To Piano Music

You will see numbers 1-5 written above or below notes in piano scales
and songs with sheet music. The numbers match and go with your fingers
 and let you know what finger presses the key of the piano.

A Guide To Finger Placement

So, the fingering is the same for both hands:

Thumb: 1
Index Finger: 2
Middle Finger: 3
Ring Finger: 4
Pinky Finger: 5

  Our fingers are of different lengths; the thumbs are shorter than the other 
fingers. Generally speaking, the thumb is the strongest finger of all. The 
thumb, index finger (2nd) and middle finger (3rd) are used the most for 
piano playing. The fourth finger is the weakest and least used.  The following 
are some tips on how to play piano with correct fingering by Yoke Wong.

1. Restrict the usage of thumb on black keys. You may consider using thumb 

on black keys when the following occurs:

  • Playing chords with all black notes, for example: Gb major chord.
  • Playing chords with black and white notes, and the lower note happens to 
  • be black note.
The fingers most used to play black notes are the 2nd and 3rd fingers.

2. When playing the melody with the right hand and some keys are out 

of reach, you may move the whole hand to play the note. If the key is only 
a couple of steps down from the thumb, you may use the thumb as an anchor and 
cross the second finger over to reach the note on the left side of the thumb. You do 
not need to move the hand. Just move the second finger over. Once the second finger 
plays the key, the thumb will cross over to play the other note to the left of the key.

Suggestion: Practice the piano scales often to know what finger to use.

3. The same rule applies to the left hand.

4. Watch other experienced pianists whenever possible, look at their fingering and 

imitate their movements.

Practicing The Piano 

The easiest way to be able to play an entire piece of music with hands 
together is to play the song in small sections and also to do plenty of 
segments with separate hands in practice.

Wrapping Up With Rules for Fingering 

1. It's most natural to use the middle fingers for the black keys. 

2. It's knowing all of your scales without ever having to think about 
the proper fingering. 

3. It's essential to learn the standard fingerings for arpeggios in all chord inversions.

4. It's natural to change hand position at the same time in both hands, moving in
opposite directions. It's easier to remember passages in which the thumbs coincide. 

5. It's often best to keep a consistent fingering, even if it sometimes means breaking
 other rules; even if a motive or figuration is repeated in another key.

6. It's true that changing your fingering for a given passage can subtly and sometimes dramatically affect the resulting sound.  

7. It's o.k. to write down the fingering that you're using during piano practice.










"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King
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