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'D' Position
#3034760 10/12/20 09:48 AM
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Hi All,
I've been learning through the Simply Piano app for about 1 year. I get that lessons are probably better than an app
but I've been at the guitar for 3+ years so that's my main Instrument so I'm probably not going to get lessons on keys any time soon.

My question is about hand positions. I think the standard C position and F position are fine now with both hand but the 'Intermediate'
course pushes the 'D' position. It really throws me because I'm so used to having my right thumb and left pinky on C or F.

Is it really important have this position under your belt? I'm not sure if it's just a way of the app trying to get you
away from getting too attached to the finger numbers (cheating..) they tend to display for you or it's something
a person learning in a more conventional way would also learn.

Any insight appreciated.
Thanks

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Re: 'D' Position
dantheman1983 #3034781 10/12/20 10:53 AM
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After one year, you should be able to read the notes on the staves and use any finger on any note, assuming you have been practicing, and you are actually learning to associate the notes on the staves to the keys on the keyboard. Meaning that you should be able to move your hand to any position, at least within the two octave range in the middle of the keyboard.

Don't associate fingers with notes or keys!

BTW, I have no idea what Simply Piano app is teaching.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: 'D' Position
dantheman1983 #3034816 10/12/20 12:26 PM
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I'm going to guess/assume two things. D position is short for D chord position. And the examples are chords in the first inversion. (Left pinky and right thumb on the root) The rest of the fingers play the 3rd, and 5th.

A guitar player would know the chords of the G key are G(root), C(IV), and D(V).
The odd thing about a D chord is the F# in it. It should be automatic for a piano player to get that F# in there. One doesn't need to read notation to remember this. But as Ben said, don't get hung up on a particular finger being a particular note. It's easy enough to know the keyboard note names. Converting this to a number seems counter productive as well.


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Re: 'D' Position
dantheman1983 #3034832 10/12/20 01:07 PM
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In the beginning when we learn to play easy songs, many of the pieces are in C or intentionally arranged that way so we only play white keys. A lot of intermediate and advanced pieces we need to play both black & white keys.

Why do we fix the hand in a specific position playing beginning pieces? The easy pieces require us to play very few notes. A easy piece like "Mary Had a Little Lamb" or "Lightly Row" only uses the notes C - G (total of 5 notes). The goal of learning to play is to get us to keep our eyes in front (on the sheet music) as much as possible while using a sense of touch to press the correct piano keys. Since we only have 5 keys to press, we tend to associate finger 1 with C, 2 with D ... 5 with G.

When music gets more complicated and the 2 hands have to jump around, we'd use a hand position that allow us to play the most number of piano keys in 1 handful before we need to move a hand to play lower or higher notes. If a song starts very high it's not efficient to have the hand in the C position as the starting position than moving it immediately to the high note that needs to be played.

Re: 'D' Position
Farmerjones #3034833 10/12/20 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Farmerjones
I'm going to guess/assume two things. D position is short for D chord position.
I would assume that the D position is your right hand thumb on D, and your left hand pinky on D, and that the music that you play from that position is in the key of D major. And yes, Dantheman1983, you need to learn it. cool


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Re: 'D' Position
dantheman1983 #3034837 10/12/20 01:33 PM
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Hi, welcome to the forums.

Early on in method books they will introduce these positions when talking about a particular key. The exercise/pieces generally stay in that position. However, once you start to play more music, your hands will be all over the place.

Don't worry about the position so much, understand the key.


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Re: 'D' Position
dantheman1983 #3034847 10/12/20 02:27 PM
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I've never really heard of "positions" in that way for piano, like violin has. In the very beginning it is helpful to have a small range of notes that you predictably put fingers on repeatedly, but I can't see how that's helpful beyond the very beginning stages when keyboard geography and fundamental coordination is being built.

What piano ultimately has are patterns of fingerings for particular keys when talking about scales, chords, and arpeggios, but where your fingers go moves around the keyboard very fluidly. In no way would I get into the habit of thinking about particular notes on the keyboard assigning to particular fingers, or calling what you do starting on "d" or "c" really any different to the point where you would give them each a name. It would be very weird to look at middle c and feel like any particular finger has dominion over it just...because. If you are starting to do that, then I highly encourage you to start encountering things in different keys and move your hand around until you don't have that feeling anymore.

Remember, you have ten fingers, but 88 keys. No individual key can claim ownership of any particular finger.

Edited to add: after a year, something is not great about that app if you still haven't encountered ways to move your hands around the keyboard. I have a student who just started as a young adult, and we spent maybe two weeks kind of considering C to be home base, and I moved her off of that before she started to think of her thumb kind of "owning" middle c.

Last edited by TwoSnowflakes; 10/12/20 02:30 PM.
Re: 'D' Position
Animisha #3034861 10/12/20 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by Farmerjones
I'm going to guess/assume two things. D position is short for D chord position.
I would assume that the D position is your right hand thumb on D, and your left hand pinky on D, and that the music that you play from that position is in the key of D major. And yes, Dantheman1983, you need to learn it. cool

Yes this is what I meant, right thumb shifted up to the D next to middle C rather that any association with a D chord

Re: 'D' Position
dantheman1983 #3034866 10/12/20 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by dantheman1983
.......... both hand but the 'Intermediate'
course pushes the 'D' position. .

at many points along an individuals piano journey you are going to encounter something difficult. The first thought should be what sort of strategy do I need to master this, not ''do I need to do this''.

Assuming the D position is the D chord, a good way to get comfortable with this would be to learn the D major scale in both hands.


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Re: 'D' Position
bennevis #3034867 10/12/20 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
After one year, you should be able to read the notes on the staves and use any finger on any note, assuming you have been practicing, and you are actually learning to associate the notes on the staves to the keys on the keyboard. Meaning that you should be able to move your hand to any position, at least within the two octave range in the middle of the keyboard.

Don't associate fingers with notes or keys!

BTW, I have no idea what Simply Piano app is teaching.

Yes I think I can do what you say with the two octave range but I think the app has definitely taught me to associate notes with fingers, which has the advantage that I hardly look at my fingers and can keep my eyes on the screen/music which
help you play ‘their’ way with the hints but in the real world with no guidance probably is counterproductive.

I think I need to get out of the finger number habit though it’ll
probably involve me resetting and having to look at the keys
a lot more like when first starting rather that keeping my head up.
Would be good if there was a way of removing the numbering.

Re: 'D' Position
dantheman1983 #3034882 10/12/20 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by dantheman1983
I think the app has definitely taught me to associate notes with fingers, which has the advantage that I hardly look at my fingers and can keep my eyes on the screen/music which
help you play ‘their’ way with the hints but in the real world with no guidance probably is counterproductive.

I think I need to get out of the finger number habit though it’ll
probably involve me resetting and having to look at the keys
a lot more like when first starting rather that keeping my head up.
Would be good if there was a way of removing the numbering.
Think of how limiting the 'five-finger position' is, if you try to play Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star with your right hand on C-D-E-F-G (or D-E-F#-G-A, or F-G-A-Bb-C) with 1-2-3-4-5, and you try to play it by reading finger numbers........

Maybe it's time to get some simple music which has very few fingerings, and try to learn them from just the notes (and write in your own fingerings)?

Like this:

https://ks.imslp.net/files/imglnks/usimg/7/75/IMSLP265150-PMLP64414-Mozart_Menuet_C_KV6.pdf


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: 'D' Position
dantheman1983 #3034891 10/12/20 03:46 PM
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bennevis +1

Only when playing a scale you start with thumb with many scales.
Otherwise, you pick fingers for other reasons.

In piano playing, every phrase needs customized fingering for many reasons. Determining the right fingering for you is an art that you need to learn. Standard positions and fingerings are usually completely irrelevant, unless you play a plain scale or other completely standard pattern in that hand.


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Re: 'D' Position
earlofmar #3034893 10/12/20 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by earlofmar
Originally Posted by dantheman1983
.......... both hand but the 'Intermediate'
course pushes the 'D' position. .

at many points along an individuals piano journey you are going to encounter something difficult. The first thought should be what sort of strategy do I need to master this, not ''do I need to do this''.

Assuming the D position is the D chord, a good way to get comfortable with this would be to learn the D major scale in both hands.

Yes I guess I should learn at least the major and minor scales.
I used to regularly practice major scales but got out of the habit.
I probably need to get a balance between doing what is ‘fun’ practice and
doing drills which can be more tedious but are necessary

Re: 'D' Position
bennevis #3034896 10/12/20 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by dantheman1983
I think the app has definitely taught me to associate notes with fingers, which has the advantage that I hardly look at my fingers and can keep my eyes on the screen/music which
help you play ‘their’ way with the hints but in the real world with no guidance probably is counterproductive.

I think I need to get out of the finger number habit though it’ll
probably involve me resetting and having to look at the keys
a lot more like when first starting rather that keeping my head up.
Would be good if there was a way of removing the numbering.
Think of how limiting the 'five-finger position' is, if you try to play Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star with your right hand on C-D-E-F-G (or D-E-F#-G-A, or F-G-A-Bb-C) with 1-2-3-4-5, and you try to play it by reading finger numbers........

Maybe it's time to get some simple music which has very few fingerings, and try to learn them from just the notes (and write in your own fingerings)?

Like this:

https://ks.imslp.net/files/imglnks/usimg/7/75/IMSLP265150-PMLP64414-Mozart_Menuet_C_KV6.pdf

I can go from the middle C to to C5/D5 comfortably but my right thumb
is generally only at home and comfortable on middle C or F4.

Yes back to basics I guess!

Re: 'D' Position
bSharp(C)yclist #3034903 10/12/20 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
Hi, welcome to the forums.

Early on in method books they will introduce these positions when talking about a particular key. The exercise/pieces generally stay in that position. However, once you start to play more music, your hands will be all over the place.

Don't worry about the position so much, understand the key.

Ok that’s interesting, It didn’t really occur to me that most beginner songs/piece
would be in the Key of C where the thumb first is taught to sit (assuming most songs tend to start on the note to the key of the song)

I originally got (just a lame) keyboard to help me understand theory as well
as ear training as it seems a lot of more logical and easier
when looking at keys rather than strings on a guitar which
aren’t presented in ‘order’ as such (unless staying on a single string etc)
Anyway I’m rambling!

Re: 'D' Position
earlofmar #3034909 10/12/20 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by earlofmar
at many points along an individuals piano journey you are going to encounter something difficult. The first thought should be what sort of strategy do I need to master this, not ''do I need to do this''..

This is very good advice.

Another way to say this is .....

Do not pick and choose between what topic is or is not "necessary"

Just do it.


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Re: 'D' Position
dantheman1983 #3034917 10/12/20 04:49 PM
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"The D position" doesn't sound like something I'd be talking about in polite company blush
wth is simply piano teaching people?

Re: 'D' Position
TwoSnowflakes #3035067 10/13/20 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by TwoSnowflakes
I've never really heard of "positions" in that way for piano, like violin has. In the very beginning it is helpful to have a small range of notes that you predictably put fingers on repeatedly, but I can't see how that's helpful beyond the very beginning stages when keyboard geography and fundamental coordination is being built.

What piano ultimately has are patterns of fingerings for particular keys when talking about scales, chords, and arpeggios, but where your fingers go moves around the keyboard very fluidly. In no way would I get into the habit of thinking about particular notes on the keyboard assigning to particular fingers, or calling what you do starting on "d" or "c" really any different to the point where you would give them each a name. It would be very weird to look at middle c and feel like any particular finger has dominion over it just...because. If you are starting to do that, then I highly encourage you to start encountering things in different keys and move your hand around until you don't have that feeling anymore.

Remember, you have ten fingers, but 88 keys. No individual key can claim ownership of any particular finger.

Edited to add: after a year, something is not great about that app if you still haven't encountered ways to move your hands around the keyboard. I have a student who just started as a young adult, and we spent maybe two weeks kind of considering C to be home base, and I moved her off of that before she started to think of her thumb kind of "owning" middle c.

Thank you that is very good information for a rookie like me
And thanks to everyone else for their input

Re: 'D' Position
dantheman1983 #3035097 10/13/20 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by dantheman1983
Hi All,
I've been learning through the Simply Piano app for about 1 year. I get that lessons are probably better than an app
but I've been at the guitar for 3+ years so that's my main Instrument so I'm probably not going to get lessons on keys any time soon.

My question is about hand positions. I think the standard C position and F position are fine now with both hand but the 'Intermediate'
course pushes the 'D' position. It really throws me because I'm so used to having my right thumb and left pinky on C or F.

Is it really important have this position under your belt? I'm not sure if it's just a way of the app trying to get you
away from getting too attached to the finger numbers (cheating..) they tend to display for you or it's something
a person learning in a more conventional way would also learn.

Any insight appreciated.
Thanks

The positions are a way to learn how to move around with your hands on the keyboard. The app will start with positions, then add stretches so you reach more notes from a position and finally start removing the positions alltogether. It's not something SP came up with btw. the Alfred books basically do the same.

Concidering the factors that it pushes you and throws you off: Arguably that is probably the point. They are breaking up the concept of "positions" and push you into freely moving around the keyboard.

Re: 'D' Position
dantheman1983 #3035100 10/13/20 08:18 AM
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The exercises appear to be focused on the strongest fingers and a reasonable place to start. In real music though, your RH in most cases will follow the melody and could be anywhere within or around the D scale. The melody note, and the melody that precedes this, and what comes after it will determine where your hand needs to be and what fingering you choose. 1,3,5 fingers on D are fine until you have a melody above it, then it isn't. Or, if (D) is the melody and you already have it again in your LH, you won't really need it again with the thumb of your RH. Perhaps just drop it. You always will have to have fingers free to play the melody, so let this determine what other chord notes and fingers you use for any notes you choose to play below it. In the LH it is safe to start the root with your pinky, but it is not a rule and this may change too.

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