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Fingers and thumb movements for playing scales. #2913159 11/17/19 01:27 PM
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Junkers 88 Offline OP
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Hello all.
I have been playing for nearly three months, but, when playing a C major scale, my fingers move in 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4 groups, not in a smooth 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 etc. motion.
I may have a problem with my thumbs moving too slowly to create a smooth movement up and down the keys, but will this rectify itself in time, or is this a problem?
The only way I can move smoothly is to play hand over hand, which I cannot find demonstrated on Youtube, so I assume that it is frowned upon in terms of technique.
If this is a common problem which is corrected with time and practise, I will be content, but as it stands, I am unhappy, as I have made good progress with my coordination and independence.
Any advice will be welcomed, thank you.

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Re: Fingers and thumb movements for playing scales. [Re: Junkers 88] #2913162 11/17/19 01:38 PM
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Last edited by dmd; 11/17/19 01:41 PM.

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Re: Fingers and thumb movements for playing scales. [Re: dmd] #2913177 11/17/19 02:33 PM
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Thank you, but that's not what I want to know.
I've already got the fingering information.
The critical point is whether time and practise will allow me to play smoothly across the keys or whether my thumbs present a problem.
Am I going to be stuck with an audible gap between the groups of four notes?
If I knew a piano teacher, I'd ask them, but I haven't found one where I live.
So, hopefully, someone who has played for a few years will be able to advise me and I can decide to persevere or to give up on piano.

Re: Fingers and thumb movements for playing scales. [Re: Junkers 88] #2913178 11/17/19 02:38 PM
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The problem of the thumb, crossing over and moving the hand while playing smoothly is the problem of playing scales, or at least 90% of it. If you do that smoothly and evenly on first attempt as a beginner than you should give up piano because it will offer no challenge for you.

In other words yes, it is entirely normal and expected that is where you will have difficulty and it will take practise and hard work to get better at it.

Re: Fingers and thumb movements for playing scales. [Re: Junkers 88] #2913193 11/17/19 03:20 PM
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Agree with AndrewJCW above, it is common. How to get better? Well, I'm also adult beginner and I don't have my scales as good as I want it (but i have made improvements). So take my advice with that in mind. First, practice slowly and see if you still hear a gap, if not, then gradually speed up. For me, the evenness (ie no gaps) is compromised when i attempt to go faster than my current ability. Speed is acquired over time and you will improve. Secondly, it's good that you are listening to yourself. The ability to detect unevenness allows you to improve. It may help you to "hear" an even scale in your mind, an ideal. Imagine it, hear it in your head, then play. Somehow your fingers just might obey. Thirdly, make sure you play with curved fingers. The fingers are not allowed to "kick up" straight when you make a turn. They remain curved.

Re: Fingers and thumb movements for playing scales. [Re: dmd] #2913213 11/17/19 05:15 PM
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I do not like the exaggerated finger movements in the one- and two-octave scales of this video. It may suggest to beginners that this is the way to play scales but following this example as a model could lead to tension. The hand should be as relaxed as possible to avoid any tension. Nor is there any need for the wrist to bounce up and down with each note played.

Regards,


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Re: Fingers and thumb movements for playing scales. [Re: BruceD] #2913242 11/17/19 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by BruceD


I do not like the exaggerated finger movements in the one- and two-octave scales of this video. It may suggest to beginners that this is the way to play scales but following this example as a model could lead to tension. The hand should be as relaxed as possible to avoid any tension. Nor is there any need for the wrist to bounce up and down with each note played. Regards,
Yes, the high lifting of the fingers looks ridiculous. Perhaps the pianist was trying to show which fingers where playing which notes but that doesn't justify the way he plays the scale which could easily end of being copied by a beginner or student with no teacher.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 11/17/19 06:28 PM.
Re: Fingers and thumb movements for playing scales. [Re: Junkers 88] #2913246 11/17/19 06:30 PM
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I've seen it before as a recommendation to avoid tension and contortion (ie curled or flying pinkie syndrome) when first learning scales. Obviously as you build speed and smoothness you wouldn't play like that. Whether it's effective or a good idea though I have no idea.

Last edited by AndrewJCW; 11/17/19 06:31 PM.
Re: Fingers and thumb movements for playing scales. [Re: AndrewJCW] #2913252 11/17/19 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by AndrewJCW
I've seen it before as a recommendation to avoid tension and contortion (ie curled or flying pinkie syndrome) when first learning scales. Obviously as you build speed and smoothness you wouldn't play like that. Whether it's effective or a good idea though I have no idea.
One should not practice an incorrect motion just to guard against developing a different incorrect motion one may not even have. If one develops some incorrect motion then it might make sense to do a special exercise to try and correct it. I didn't watch the whole video but I bet the pianist didn't say that lifting fingers very high was just a temporary way to practice for a particular reason he explains and then show the correct way to play scales.

There is nothing wrong with a curled pinky...that's just the way some pianists' hands work, and many terrific pianists curl their pinky when it's not being used. I've even seen flying pinky on some excellent pianists but I don't know whether that motion should be corrected.

Re: Fingers and thumb movements for playing scales. [Re: Junkers 88] #2913279 11/17/19 08:11 PM
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in the above video link given by dmd you can hear the guy's scale became unneven at the end (16th). You can hear the turn. It's showing what NOT to do.

Re: Fingers and thumb movements for playing scales. [Re: Junkers 88] #2913284 11/17/19 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Junkers 88
Hello all.
I have been playing for nearly three months, but, when playing a C major scale, my fingers move in 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4 groups, not in a smooth 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 etc. motion.
I may have a problem with my thumbs moving too slowly to create a smooth movement up and down the keys, but will this rectify itself in time, or is this a problem?
The only way I can move smoothly is to play hand over hand, which I cannot find demonstrated on Youtube, so I assume that it is frowned upon in terms of technique.
If this is a common problem which is corrected with time and practise, I will be content, but as it stands, I am unhappy, as I have made good progress with my coordination and independence.
Any advice will be welcomed, thank you.

I really cannot give advice unless I see what you're doing that is causing this unevenness - are you lifting your wrist when you cross under? Is the arch to your finger collapsing on one of these notes? Are you doing too much motion with the thumb and not enough lateral moving of the hand? is your arm not directly behind each note as you play?

It would really help to be able to directly address the problem for you. A side-view of your playing (not top-down) is best.


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Re: Fingers and thumb movements for playing scales. [Re: pianoloverus] #2913286 11/17/19 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
[One should not practice an incorrect motion just to guard against developing a different incorrect motion one may not even have. If one develops some incorrect motion then it might make sense to do a special exercise to try and correct it. I didn't watch the whole video but I bet the pianist didn't say that lifting fingers very high was just a temporary way to practice for a particular reason he explains and then show the correct way to play scales.

There is nothing wrong with a curled pinky...that's just the way some pianists' hands work, and many terrific pianists curl their pinky when it's not being used. I've even seen flying pinky on some excellent pianists but I don't know whether that motion should be corrected.


Thanks for the clarification. Maybe take it up with the people the teach this though, I'm not one of them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KdWG-zIFY4

Re: Fingers and thumb movements for playing scales. [Re: AndrewJCW] #2913290 11/17/19 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by AndrewJCW
Thanks for the clarification. Maybe take it up with the people the teach this though, I'm not one of them.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KdWG-zIFY4
Even if what he says is correct, it has nothing to do with pinky problems. Nor is it appropriate to a beginner just learning scales. What he says makes little sense to me. How could it take more strength to release a note than to play it? He learned from his father who was considered quite good but may have had old fashioned ideas about technique that are not considered correct today.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 11/17/19 09:01 PM.
Re: Fingers and thumb movements for playing scales. [Re: wszxbcl] #2913292 11/17/19 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by wszxbcl
in the above video link given by dmd you can hear the guy's scale became unneven at the end (16th). You can hear the turn. It's showing what NOT to do.


LOL ….

When I grabbed that video I just wanted to show the OP the fingering pattern.

I did not consider the "correct" hand position, etc ….

So, I have now researched for a "good" example.

Not easy to find, by the way.

But anyway … this I believe is better.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?...E717DCE0532FB9EDC88&&FORM=VDRVRV

I am sure there is a flaw in there somewhere but maybe not quite as bad as the other one.



Last edited by dmd; 11/17/19 09:10 PM.

Don

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Re: Fingers and thumb movements for playing scales. [Re: Junkers 88] #2913294 11/17/19 09:17 PM
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I think the real issue here is you’re using bing... surely there’s room on these forums for another never ending debate thread?? whistle

Re: Fingers and thumb movements for playing scales. [Re: AndrewJCW] #2913299 11/17/19 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by AndrewJCW
I think the real issue here is you’re using bing... surely there’s room on these forums for another never ending debate thread?? whistle


Actually, I didn't even notice.

I just did a search from EDGE browser and clicked on one of the result videos.


Don

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Re: Fingers and thumb movements for playing scales. [Re: Junkers 88] #2913328 11/18/19 12:00 AM
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And let's not get started on Edge!

Seriously though, Josh Wright has a video on scale smoothness that is all about the cross, anticipating it and being prepared but not anticipating it too much. I found it helpful.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bCkATswH_Y&t=3s


Last edited by scirocco; 11/18/19 12:03 AM.
Re: Fingers and thumb movements for playing scales. [Re: Junkers 88] #2913352 11/18/19 02:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Junkers 88
Hello all.
I have been playing for nearly three months, but, when playing a C major scale, my fingers move in 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4 groups, not in a smooth 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 etc. motion.
I may have a problem with my thumbs moving too slowly to create a smooth movement up and down the keys, but will this rectify itself in time, or is this a problem?

It's a problem, a scale must be played even right from the start. (Although I'm not a proponent of playing scales in first year.) What you're missing most likely is that you need to start abducting your hand gradually right after playing a note with your thumb, so the next time your thumb plays a note it will play it from abducted position. I meant RH upward scale or LH downward scale.

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Susana_Domenech/publication/291030064/figure/fig3/AS:342125293129731@1458580434648/Abduction-and-adduction-movements-of-the-wrist-joint-Source-Adapted-from-Hall-2009-p.png

Re: Fingers and thumb movements for playing scales. [Re: pianoloverus] #2913353 11/18/19 02:31 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by BruceD


I do not like the exaggerated finger movements in the one- and two-octave scales of this video. It may suggest to beginners that this is the way to play scales but following this example as a model could lead to tension. The hand should be as relaxed as possible to avoid any tension. Nor is there any need for the wrist to bounce up and down with each note played. Regards,
Yes, the high lifting of the fingers looks ridiculous. Perhaps the pianist was trying to show which fingers where playing which notes but that doesn't justify the way he plays the scale which could easily end of being copied by a beginner or student with no teacher.

AFAIR in the beginning I was taught to play scales in that manner, lifting fingers as high as possible and playing forte.

Last edited by Iaroslav Vasiliev; 11/18/19 02:36 AM.
Re: Fingers and thumb movements for playing scales. [Re: Iaroslav Vasiliev] #2913357 11/18/19 03:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev

AFAIR in the beginning I was taught to play scales in that manner, lifting fingers as high as possible and playing forte.

In the manner of that video? (I would hope not). smile

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