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dracaa Offline OP
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Piano fingering question:

If you arpeggiate with your left hand playing an rolling arpeggio in F minor:

http://i653.photobucket.com/albums/uu259/sarta53/notes_zps47ed4bba.jpg

What fingering do you use for the third of the arpeggio? 3 or 4?

Second question: What if you make it an arpeggio in E major instead of F minor. Now the third is G sharp, which is farther to the right than the third of the previous arpeggio. Do you use the same fingering?


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I use 4.
Use whichever feels better. smile

About E major: Depends exactly where it is on the piano!
The lower it is, the more likely I'd use 3, because of the angle of the hand.

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This and similar situations(just playing chord for example) always are a difficult choice for me.

I think the problem choosing is there because the fourth finger is weaker but sometimes using the stronger third makes the position of the fingers slightly awkward. For E major in the indicated register I would definitely use 3. For f minor, probably it could be either.

I usually have to try each many times to help me decide. I don't think either one is much more "correct".

Last edited by pianoloverus; 10/16/12 11:01 PM.
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Probably 3 in both cases.

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For the f minor arpeggio I would use 4. For E major, 3.

For an f minor arpeggio extending two octaves or more, I would use 4 ascending and 3 descending.

My hand is small, reaching a 9th at most.

In the printed example you linked to, the G sharp should be A flat.

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It doesn't depend for anybody else on which octave it is? (I do see that Plover seemed to imply that for him it might.)

It depends for me to an extent that very often when there's a repeating figure going all the way up or all the way down the keyboard, I'll switch from 4 to 3 (or vice versa) on the 3rds toward the end.

Example: The final downward riff in Chopin's 4th Ballade: Where the figure is Db-C-Ab-F, I use "3" on the Ab in the L.H. for all of them until the lowest one, where I use 4.

BTW, why the 'switch' for this is the opposite of what I said above for the simple arpeggio figure:
Well, it's different smile -- because of the thumb and 2nd finger being close together like that, different enough that for me it works out oppositely.

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Another thing to consider is what comes before and what comes after. This will also impact your choices.


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dracaa Offline OP
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Thanks for the input. I wanted to figure out a rule of thumb for determining the best fingering for that third, and what I came up with is:

For chords where the root and fifth are on white keys, if the third is on a black key which is to the LEFT of the white key that is exactly between the root and fifth (in other words, for the chords Cm, Fm, and Gm) then the recommended finger to use for the third would be 4.

For chords where the root and fifth are on white keys, if the third is on a black key which is to the RIGHT of the white key that is exactly between the root and fifth (in other words, for the chords D major, E major, and A major) then the recommended finger to use for the third would be 3.

That seems to be what most people follow, right?


Kohler and Campbell skg-600s 5'9 grand (newly acquired)
I'm not a tech but ambitiously learning out of necessity
since I live in the middle of nowhere and getting a tech
to come out here for minor things (that I could and want
to learn to do myself) is prohibitively expensive.
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Originally Posted by dracaa
That seems to be what most people follow, right?
It's not that important what most people follow. What's important is which you find better for your hand and technique. I do think for E major most would play G# with their third finger. I don't really know about f minor.

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According to The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music Manual of Scales Arpeggios and Broken Chords for pianoforte (I won't be writing that too often) the correct finger for the A flat in the left hand root position F Minor arpeggio is 4.
For 1st inversion the L/H is, 4,2,1,4,2,1,2 and for 2nd inversion 5,3,2,1,3,2,1.
For all three positions the fingering in the same ascending and descending.

Last edited by slipperykeys; 10/18/12 01:01 PM.
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Originally Posted by dracaa
I wanted to figure out a rule of thumb for determining the best fingering for that third,

A good rule of thumb is to not use it here. (Sorry, couldn't resist)

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It is probably worth repeating in this connection that formations which appear visually identical differ slightly but tangibly in the distances between keys and therefore may need different fingerings, even for the same player. This first occurred to me with stride tenths as below, but the same principle applies to all formations. I did not realise this obvious fact for years !

Let the distance of an octave be unity. Then the centres of the key shanks are therefore at 1/24 + 2n/24 and the borders of the whites at m/7.

For an E tenth:
The upper edge of the E is at 3/7 and the centre of the G# is at 41/24
Stretching distance = 41/24-3/7=215/168

For a D tenth:
The upper edge of the D is at 2/7 and the cente of the F# is at 37/24
Stretching distance=37/24-2/7=211/168

For an A tenth:
The upper edge of the A is at 6/7 and the centre of the C# is at 51/24
Stretching distance=51/24-6/7=214/168

For a B tenth:
The upper edge of the B is at 0 and the centre of the D# is at 31/24
Stretching distance=31/24-0=217/168

Last edited by Ted; 10/18/12 03:28 PM.

"We shall always love the music of the masters, but they are all dead and now it's our turn." - Llewelyn Jones, my piano teacher

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