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#2624487 - 03/17/17 06:47 AM Fingering advice for scale and passage - help appreciated
takutox Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/24/11
Posts: 8
Hello there, beginner-intermediate player here who has never had formal lessons.

I am slowly piecing together fingering techniques by watching others more experienced, however a few have me stumped

1)

The scale I need to play is

C, D, D#, F, G, G#, A#

then up an octave and repeat, and so on

Am I correct in that C = 1, D = 2, D# = 3, F = 1, G = 2, G# = 3, A# = 4 then going up an octave the next C = 1 and so on with same fingering?

Or is there a more efficient way.

And 2)

A fast passage which consists of C#, D, G, D, E, D, Bb

Which is most efficient to play this passage? I have seen trained players do both

C# = 2, D = 1, G = 5, D = 1, E = 3, D = 1, Bb = 3

(using the thumb to press the D)

OR is it:

C# = 2, D = 3, G = 5, D = 3, E = 4, D = 1, Bb = 3


Thank you resident piano experts! This may seem like a stupid question but your help is very appreciated. I don't want to practice with the wrong fingering.


Edited by takutox (03/17/17 06:51 AM)

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#2624488 - 03/17/17 06:52 AM Re: Fingering advice for scale - help appreciated [Re: takutox]
bSharp(C)yclist Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/16
Posts: 586
Loc: Orange County, California
That looks like E Flat major.

Eb-Major
Eb F G Ab Bb C D Eb
RH 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 3
LH 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 3
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#2624490 - 03/17/17 06:59 AM Re: Fingering advice for scale - help appreciated [Re: bSharp(C)yclist]
takutox Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/24/11
Posts: 8
Originally Posted By bSharp[C
yclist]That looks like E Flat major.

Eb-Major
Eb F G Ab Bb C D Eb
RH 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 3
LH 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 3


Thank you for the help and the super fast reply!


Edited by takutox (03/17/17 07:00 AM)

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#2624492 - 03/17/17 07:18 AM Re: Fingering advice for scale - help appreciated [Re: takutox]
zrtf90 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 3416
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Every scale uses all seven letter names to which accidentals (always of the same type in each key) may be added so D & D# must be D & Eb.

In sharp keys (G, D, A, E, B) 4th finger goes on the 7th in RH and F# in LH.
In flat keys (F, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb) 4th finger goes on the 4th in LH and on Bb in RH.

As long as you use the 4th finger only one in each octave and never use your pinky there are seven ways to play a scale. Try all seven ways and you'll find out very quickly if you're using the wrong fingering. It's easier to pass the thumb under the 4th when the 4th is on a black key and the thumb goes to a white key. It's basic ergonomics not a black art.
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#2624500 - 03/17/17 08:18 AM Re: Fingering advice for scale - help appreciated [Re: zrtf90]
takutox Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/24/11
Posts: 8
Originally Posted By zrtf90
Every scale uses all seven letter names to which accidentals (always of the same type in each key) may be added so D & D# must be D & Eb.

In sharp keys (G, D, A, E, B) 4th finger goes on the 7th in RH and F# in LH.
In flat keys (F, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb) 4th finger goes on the 4th in LH and on Bb in RH.

As long as you use the 4th finger only one in each octave and never use your pinky there are seven ways to play a scale. Try all seven ways and you'll find out very quickly if you're using the wrong fingering. It's easier to pass the thumb under the 4th when the 4th is on a black key and the thumb goes to a white key. It's basic ergonomics not a black art.


Thanks, but not really. It's a black art to anyone who hasn't learnt it. People sometimes forget how difficult simple things are for beginners and take for granted things such as how difficult it is for a beginner to determine what fingering to use.

Even watching a vid you of the scale you aren't quite sure whether to move back up with the thumb to play the C.

If it was basic ergonomics it'd be natural, and there wouldn't be so much self taught players not using correct fingering and stalling on passages. I mean only discovered a few years in that you should be moving your middle/thumb to play like that.

Normally would do something silly like 1/2/3/4/5/2/3/4/5, as do most people naturally.

Thanks for the help and advice though, its appreciated.

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#2624511 - 03/17/17 08:48 AM Re: Fingering advice for scale - help appreciated [Re: takutox]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 15475
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I think what Richard meant is that ergonomics can be understood by anyone and that it doesn't have to be a great mystery - that there are some basic principles that once you understand them, you can apply it to any situation. It was encouragement, not saying you're dumb for not just knowing it intuitively. smile

The thing about fingering is - do what feels best to you in the end. The idea of ergonomics helps if you think in terms of you have 3 longer fingers which are more suitable for playing the notes farther away (i.e., the black keys). While ideal for the black keys, that may not always work out that way depending on the context.

I encourage you to study scales. Work on one hand at a time on one scale until it's easy, then put hands together. Start with one octave only. Also work on arpeggios in the same key, one hand at a time until easy, then hands together, one octave. Work your way around all key signatures (major and minor). Then try learning 2 octave scales and arpeggios. Get a good reference for scale and arpeggios fingerings to help you out. You'd be surprised how much you learn about ergonomic fingerings from that and how much you encounter scales and arpeggios in music.
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#2624515 - 03/17/17 09:26 AM Re: Fingering advice for scale - help appreciated [Re: takutox]
zrtf90 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 3416
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By zrtf90
As long as you use the 4th finger only one once in each octave and never use your pinky there are seven ways to play a scale. Try all seven ways and you'll find out very quickly if you're using the wrong fingering.
This is the thing.

Scales are taught using the 123,1234 finger grouping so the 4th finger is only used once per octave (whichever finger you start the sequence on). If you try using the 4th finger on a different note each time that's seven different ways to play the scale and if you try, you will quickly understand what's right and what's possible versus what's clearly wrong and it will no longer appear to be a black art.

It takes less than two minutes per key, even if you go through every variant (and you should quickly abort a few of them), so in less than twenty minutes all twelve keys will have been covered and the light will have turned on for you.

The trying will lead to understanding instead of having to remember specific fingering rules and spending your hard-earned on a useless scale manual.
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Thanks, Erin smile

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Richard

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#2624542 - 03/17/17 12:25 PM Re: Fingering advice for scale - help appreciated [Re: zrtf90]
takutox Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/24/11
Posts: 8
Oh, I see where you guys are coming from now.

Sorry for being so defensive, I did not understand what you meant but I see that you are trying to teach me to fish. The small tips you gave are invaluable.

I never paid attention to small things regarding ergonomics such as how easy the thumb would be able to move under before, rather just saw it as a secret correct fingering chart to follow.

And you are correct, you can not play the fourth finger on certain notes because you can't move the thumb underneath after, so it feels awkward and there exists only a most comfortable and logic path.

Thanks again, and sorry if I came across as rude!

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#2624550 - 03/17/17 12:58 PM Re: Fingering advice for scale - help appreciated [Re: takutox]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 15475
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By takutox
Oh, I see where you guys are coming from now.

Sorry for being so defensive, I did not understand what you meant but I see that you are trying to teach me to fish. The small tips you gave are invaluable.

I never paid attention to small things regarding ergonomics such as how easy the thumb would be able to move under before, rather just saw it as a secret correct fingering chart to follow.

And you are correct, you can not play the fourth finger on certain notes because you can't move the thumb underneath after, so it feels awkward and there exists only a most comfortable and logic path.

Thanks again, and sorry if I came across as rude!
No problem, tone and intention do not come across very easily on text, so it's easy for misunderstandings to happen. smile
_________________________
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#2625275 - 03/19/17 10:11 PM Re: Fingering advice for scale - help appreciated [Re: takutox]
takutox Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/24/11
Posts: 8
Do you guys happen to have the answer to the edit in 2) or able to offer some wisdom of fingering in that set of notes?

I've seen multiple trained pianists do this in different ways - surely one of them is more optimal than the other?

I can't tell when doing it myself either. It's hard to know which one will eventually be able to be faster.

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#2625286 - 03/20/17 12:34 AM Re: Fingering advice for scale - help appreciated [Re: takutox]
Qazsedcft Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/17/15
Posts: 937
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Originally Posted By takutox
Do you guys happen to have the answer to the edit in 2) or able to offer some wisdom of fingering in that set of notes?

I've seen multiple trained pianists do this in different ways - surely one of them is more optimal than the other?

No. That's the thing, everyone has different hands and different fingerings may be optimal for different people.

Originally Posted By takutox
I can't tell when doing it myself either. It's hard to know which one will eventually be able to be faster.

It's not just about what works when going fast. There are many reasons to choose a particular fingering over another. Some examples:

- The fingering can help position your hand for what comes after.
- You might want to change positions in places where one phrase ends and another begins, so you plan your fingering accordingly.
- A particular fingering could be more expressive because you play certain notes with fingers that have more control, like 2 and 3.
- With fast repeated notes you might find it easier repeating with different fingers than with the same finger.

Those are just some examples, there are many more.

Regarding what you asked about, within that limited context I wouldn't say one particular fingering is better. I think we would have to see the music to say something more.
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#2625324 - 03/20/17 05:28 AM Re: Fingering advice for scale - help appreciated [Re: takutox]
Medden Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/14/14
Posts: 368
Loc: London, UK
Depending on where you need your hand for the next bar, I would play your section thus:

C#=2
D=3
G=5
D=3
E=4
D=3
Bb=1

Usually I would try and avoid thumb on black keys, but for speed keeping 3 on the D would help.
If the next bar moved lower, I certainly wouldn't want to be ending on my thumb, and the 1-3 crossing you suggest would be best.

I remember being at the stage where I didn't know what to try, or how to judge if one way was better.
This is where my teachers advice and experience helped most.

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#2625372 - 03/20/17 10:04 AM Re: Fingering advice for scale - help appreciated [Re: takutox]
zrtf90 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 3416
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Without knowing what comes before the passage, what comes after it, and where else a similar figure might appear in the score, I'd be hesitant to recommend a fingering or offer suggestions but I would put the phrasing above comfort or speed.
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Richard

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