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Joined: Jul 2020
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Hi beginner pianist here. Some pieces I encounter require some awkward fingering on my part wherein I find myself just reaching the top part of the key just to press it. For example for the 4 note chord F3# A3 C4# E4, I press A3 with the 3rd finger but just the top half portion of the key because I can't reach the bottom part where I usually hit the white keys. An issue I find for cases like this is since I'm hitting the top part, it's a bit heavy to press and sometimes I don't get to press is fully so the sound doesn't register. Is this something that I should always avoid or is it a normal thing for a relatively small handed pianist like me? (max 9th interval).

One workaround I find myself instinctively doing is I sort of put my hand at an angle. For example, for a chord on the C6 side upwards, sometimes I angle my hand like a 45 degree angle just so my pinky can reach the bottom part of the A6 white key. It's just awkward sometimes if my forearm is straight and my wrist angles so I have to think if I need to reposition my sitting at that point of the piece. But is this also a good workaround or a bad habit?

Using a digital piano btw.

Last edited by dcbluepiano; 08/31/20 10:36 PM.
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Digital pianos often make the heavy feeling worse because the keys are usually shorter than an acoustic, so you are quite close to the pivot point at the top of the key and don't have as much leverage, hence the heavy feeling. I notice a massive difference between my Yamaha U1 acoustic and P-45 digital in this respect.

It's why top end digitals have longer keys as a selling point.


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Originally Posted by dcbluepiano
But is this also a good workaround or a bad habit?

Wow. You found out way earlier than I did that the piano is two-dimensional. You definitely go up and down the keyboard but you also have to go in and out depending on what you are playing.

Playing in definitely requires more effort but depending on what you need to do, that is sometimes what you have to do.

In fact, I think I once saw a video that said that perhaps the default hand position at the keyboard should be where the black keys end. I think there is something to recommend that in terms of tactile feel of your position at the keyboard, easy access to both black keys and white keys, and a compromise in terms of the force needed to depress keys (which is less than you think!)

Regardless, if you need to go deeper into the keyboard to play something, that is often a completely valid choice!


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It's normal to play white keys in-between black keys when playing chords. It's also normal to rotate your hand a little bit when doing this if it feels more comfortable.

The mentioned chord, it's F#m7, is very easy, I'm not sure why you have problems with it. Perhaps you are in the very beggining of your journey. It requires some practice for fingers to become stronger, but chords also require arm movement, don't forget about that. Good luck!

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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
It's normal to play white keys in-between black keys when playing chords. It's also normal to rotate your hand a little bit when doing this if it feels more comfortable.

The mentioned chord, it's F#m7, is very easy, I'm not sure why you have problems with it. Perhaps you are in the very beggining of your journey. It requires some practice for fingers to become stronger, but chords also require arm movement, don't forget about that. Good luck!

For that specific chord I think the difficulty is I have to quickly jump to that chord which is abit difficult for me because doing it fast I tend to just push the top part of the key and don't realize it. Slow practice might solve.

The C6 area chord(actually not really a chord) that I was referring to is actually A6, Bb5, C6 then G6, Bb5, C6 alternating twice at a fast tempo. I can't reach Bb5 after A6 on a normal stretch so I have to rotate my hand about 45 degrees so it's more manageable for my thumb and pinky(this way pinky can hit the bottom part of the A6 key) then 2nd finger hits C6 but again only the top portion of the C6 key so sometimes when I'm doing it fast I don't hit C6 hard enough.

My small hands also means that I make an effort to really do those 4 note chords. I actually set my key sensitivity to light from medium coz aside form the stretch I also find the need to press harder which so far has been solved largely by the sensitivity change.

I'm only 6 months in btw so yes I'm at the very beginning I would say. And yes I should play easier songs but I also enjoy learning new things so I spend some time with pieces I really like but are far too difficult at the moment coz it helps me determine what I don't know yet and need specific practice.

Last edited by dcbluepiano; 09/01/20 01:37 AM.
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No, the top of the key is lava. don't touch the lava. you'll break the piano.

Haha, just kidding. The only trouble with the top part is it's harder to push down, so you stick to the bottom unless you have to.

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I used to notice this when I was young but over years of playing the brain has grown to accommodate differences in grip and pressure without my thinking about it and one position is frequently as good as another. I suspect the Virgil Practice Clavier might have had some bearing on that, which is just as well as thinking about it would impede improvisational flow. I do not have small hands though so possibly my observation is irrelevant.


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Originally Posted by dcbluepiano
The C6 area chord(actually not really a chord) that I was referring to is actually A6, Bb5, C6 then G6, Bb5, C6 alternating twice at a fast tempo. I can't reach Bb5 after A6 on a normal stretch so I have to rotate my hand about 45 degrees so it's more manageable for my thumb and pinky(this way pinky can hit the bottom part of the A6 key) then 2nd finger hits C6 but again only the top portion of the C6 key so sometimes when I'm doing it fast I don't hit C6 hard enough.
I think you need to be careful with that. It's a year of injuries.

Unless you want a specifically rough sound (and that's a bad idea for beginner anyway) it's not correct to "hit" the keys when you play chords. I mean it's not correct to poke your fingers in to the keys. Instead you need to do a little grasping motion with your hand and fingers.

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It's normal and desirable on an acoustic piano. However, it will feel heavier and rather awkward on most digitals because the pivot point is closer.


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