2022 our 25th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments.
Over 100,000 members from around the world.
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
Who's Online Now
52 members (EPW, Chris B, alans, Ed McMorrow, RPT, emenelton, AndrewJCW, Carey, 36251, ChickenBrother, BMKE, 7 invisible), 686 guests, and 277 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 2 of 3 1 2 3
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 984
C
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 984
Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
laugh It seems we still can't understand each other in this simple question. Let's try one last time. You wrote two fingerings:

5 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 . . .
4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 . . .

stating (if I understand you correctly) that they are equally good. The first one of them uses one 1-4 transfer and two 1-3 transfers. The second one uses two 1-4 transfers and one 1-3 transfer. I questioned the equality of these fingerings because 1-3 transfer is easier to do than 1-4 in my opinion, so the fingering requiring two 1-4 transfers is somewhat more difficult.


And if I were Brendel (ha ha), I would also say that even the last parts of these fingerings taken in isolation:
1 4 3 2 1 3 2 1
1 3 2 1 4 3 2 1
are also not equal. I love this puzzle, maybe someone could guess why...

This is the response I was expecting, which seems missing from the previous posts. My point is that those two fingerings are equivalent because by virtue of all white keys, essentially both are repeating patterns of 14321321, it's just the first one starts at C, the other starts at F (or alternatively, repeating 13214321 starting at either G or C). In 'C major scale' it makes less sense to count how many 1-4 or 1-3 pivots there are because it's an abstraction - depending on start/end there are unknown numbers of such pivots and besides, if you can do one well you can do any number of 1-4 or 1-3 pivots.

Furthermore, this is in the service of addressing the OP's claim that there is one best fingering for any piece. My approach is thus to demonstrate that even in something as basic as C major scale there is no best fingering, hence the claim is suspect.


A rising tide lifts all the boats
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,287
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,287
Of course there isn't only one "best" fingering. Just compare the fingerings Mikuli and Joseffy use in Chopin (both edited all of Chopin for Schirmer). (Yes, maybe the worst editions out there for reasons other than fingering, but it's just to illustrate a point.)

In my experience a lot of fingering that editors insert is designed to maintain a connected, legato line wherever it is needed. Such fingering is often not the easiest, and sometimes can be downright awkward (especially in Bach with 3 or more voices). Of course one has the option of ignoring the professional's advice and just doing whatever is easiest, legato be damned. It is so tempting to say, "Well, the sustaining pedal takes care of the legato." I've convinced myself of that a zillion times. But my teacher can hear if I'm not using legato fingerings no matter what the pedal is doing. She is a stickler for legato, and for good reason, as it is one of the most basic piano techniques and IMHO one of the most difficult to learn well.

Most editors will also strive to avoid 1 or 5 on the sharps, though most will also break this "rule" if there is simply no good way to land on 2-3-4.

And then sometimes one's hand and fingers just cannot do what the fingering suggests (either from one's personal physiognomy or, say, arthritis). Then substitutions have to be made. But again I've found for myself that I'll determine my hand can't do something and then discover I'm just making up an excuse for not doing the more demanding thing!


August Förster 215
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 694
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 694
Originally Posted by cygnusdei
This is the response I was expecting, which seems missing from the previous posts. My point is that those two fingerings are equivalent because by virtue of all white keys, essentially both are repeating patterns of 14321321, it's just the first one starts at C, the other starts at F (or alternatively, repeating 13214321 starting at either G or C). In 'C major scale' it makes less sense to count how many 1-4 or 1-3 pivots there are because it's an abstraction - depending on start/end there are unknown numbers of such pivots and besides, if you can do one well you can do any number of 1-4 or 1-3 pivots.

Furthermore, this is in the service of addressing the OP's claim that there is one best fingering for any piece. My approach is thus to demonstrate that even in something as basic as C major scale there is no best fingering, hence the claim is suspect.

Vas' post was extremely clear, but instead of answering it you twice suggested they read your initial comment again. I still don't think you've answered his point.

This thread is utterly pointless btw, particularly as the OP said they didn't believe it to be true in the first sentence.

Can we have a new thread about sight-reading instead please?

Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 984
C
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 984
Originally Posted by fatar760
Vas' post was extremely clear, but instead of answering it you twice suggested they read your initial comment again. I still don't think you've answered his point.

If you say "A" and someone asks "Why do you think B?" of course you can't answer that question. The prudent thing would be to refer him to the original statement.


A rising tide lifts all the boats
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 11,256
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 11,256
If you are interested in exploring the principles of fingering, this book is highly recommended

http://rami.ybarniv.com/?page_id=71


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 33,012
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 33,012
From the OP:
"I actually don't believe this to be the case, but what I'd like to do is explore in what specific situations there can be more than one best fingering for a given piece."

So first he says the title was not something he believed even though the title says "prove me wrong". Then he asks for specific situations where there can be more than one best fingering even though there are certainly hundreds of thousands of those. Finally, it's clear that there will be no general agreement on which passages do or do not have one best fingering.

Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 3,421
S
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
3000 Post Club Member
S
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 3,421
The best fingering to do what ? How do you define best fingering ?


Blüthner model 6
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 1,111
R
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
R
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 1,111
I'm thinking of the octaves in the right hand in the second section of the Revolutionary etude. You can play them either 14 15 14-15, or 14 15 14 14.

Both tend to sound subtly different. It's largely an interpretational issue.

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 33,012
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 33,012
Originally Posted by ranjit
I'm thinking of the octaves in the right hand in the second section of the Revolutionary etude. You can play them either 14 15 14-15, or 14 15 14 14. Both tend to sound subtly different. It's largely an interpretational issue.
And you can play them all with 15 or use 4+5 on the E flat and other ways.

Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 206
S
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
S
Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 206
As I see it, the overall task and objective of fingering is to resolve the digital requirements for accessing and sounding musically stipulated successions of piano-keys in a manner optimal for precisely controlling the acoustical qualities of the succession of sounds one wishes to experience and their durations, and for ensuring the fluent continuity of their delivery. This means that, in order to determine an optimal fingering for any given succession of keys, these different parameters have to be taken into view and satisfied relatively to each other.

In principle, the basic problem of accessing a musically pertinent set of keys that can be readily played as a discrete, continuous succession (i.e., falling within the compass of the hand) can be resolved by applying the general, elementary rule of fingering (GRF), concerning the topography of the keyboard - namely, where feasible, longer fingers are mechanically better suited for sounding shorter (i.e. black) keys. and shorter fingers for sounding longer (i.e. white) keys. The GRF allows one, in the majority of passages, to deduce a logically optimal fingering for each discrete key-set and for performing hand shifts from one set to the next. Thus, on the basis of this rule, one can establish a means of sounding keys as continuous successions of greater length than permitted by the compass of any single hand-position.

The logically optimal fingering for a passage, as deduced by strictly applying the GRF, does not necessarily amount to a technically optimal one, because the GRF does not of itself take into account parameters pertaining to the actually-presented musical context in which a given key has to be sounded. The GRF doesn't address matters concerning the durations of sounds and tempo, or the expressing of musical structures, such as the boundaries of phrases, or their acoustical qualities, including whether a phrase should be delivered legato, staccato, or its dynamic specifications, such as its general level of loudness, gradual changes in loudness, and accented sounds. Fingering has to cater and be catered for meeting all these and suchlike contextual musical demands. Preference as to pedalling is another musical determinant. Fingering must furthermore be customized so as to minimize personal physical limitations dictated by the player's hand-physiognomy and arm-span - which will obviously be different for young children and for adults. Finally, choice of fingering is often dependent upon the player's habitually employed manners of key-sounding for producing desired acoustical qualities and the finesse of their ability to coordinate their actions efficiently and in synchrony with the pace of successive musical demands.

In sum, determining a practically (i.e technically) optimal fingering for any given passage is a highly complex business involving the interacting of many context-dictated parameters as well as individual physical capabilities that is essentially an optimal compromise between logical GRF-derived fingering and music/performer-dependent determinants. Ultimately the ability to determine a technically optimal fingering is dependent upon trial-and-error experimentation and upon the level of technical expertise one commands for conducting it. The eventual outcome of exhaustive experimenting may in some cases turn out to be more than one optimal alternative fingering or a set of fingerings that are each optimal in multiple regards but less than optimal in certain other respects.

Taking everything mentioned into account, it would seem to follow that, for all cases in which the logically optimal fingering is not technically optimal, the probability of determining a single, one-size-fits-all technically optimal fingering is extremely low.


Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. - Albert Einstein

https://understanding-piano-technique.com/ocportal
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,287
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,287
Originally Posted by Scordatura
As I see it, the overall task and objective of fingering is to resolve the digital requirements for accessing and sounding musically stipulated successions of piano-keys in a manner optimal for precisely controlling the acoustical qualities of the succession of sounds one wishes to experience and their durations, and for ensuring the fluent continuity of their delivery. This means that, in order to determine an optimal fingering for any given succession of keys, these different parameters have to be taken into view and satisfied relatively to each other.

In principle, the basic problem of accessing a musically pertinent set of keys that can be readily played as a discrete, continuous succession (i.e., falling within the compass of the hand) can be resolved by applying the general, elementary rule of fingering (GRF), concerning the topography of the keyboard - namely, where feasible, longer fingers are mechanically better suited for sounding shorter (i.e. black) keys. and shorter fingers for sounding longer (i.e. white) keys. The GRF allows one, in the majority of passages, to deduce a logically optimal fingering for each discrete key-set and for performing hand shifts from one set to the next. Thus, on the basis of this rule, one can establish a means of sounding keys as continuous successions of greater length than permitted by the compass of any single hand-position.

The logically optimal fingering for a passage, as deduced by strictly applying the GRF, does not necessarily amount to a technically optimal one, because the GRF does not of itself take into account parameters pertaining to the actually-presented musical context in which a given key has to be sounded. The GRF doesn't address matters concerning the durations of sounds and tempo, or the expressing of musical structures, such as the boundaries of phrases, or their acoustical qualities, including whether a phrase should be delivered legato, staccato, or its dynamic specifications, such as its general level of loudness, gradual changes in loudness, and accented sounds. Fingering has to cater and be catered for meeting all these and suchlike contextual musical demands. Preference as to pedalling is another musical determinant. Fingering must furthermore be customized so as to minimize personal physical limitations dictated by the player's hand-physiognomy and arm-span - which will obviously be different for young children and for adults. Finally, choice of fingering is often dependent upon the player's habitually employed manners of key-sounding for producing desired acoustical qualities and the finesse of their ability to coordinate their actions efficiently and in synchrony with the pace of successive musical demands.

In sum, determining a practically (i.e technically) optimal fingering for any given passage is a highly complex business involving the interacting of many context-dictated parameters as well as individual physical capabilities that is essentially an optimal compromise between logical GRF-derived fingering and music/performer-dependent determinants. Ultimately the ability to determine a technically optimal fingering is dependent upon trial-and-error experimentation and upon the level of technical expertise one commands for conducting it. The eventual outcome of exhaustive experimenting may in some cases turn out to be more than one optimal alternative fingering or a set of fingerings that are each optimal in multiple regards but less than optimal in certain other respects.

Taking everything mentioned into account, it would seem to follow that, for all cases in which the logically optimal fingering is not technically optimal, the probability of determining a single, one-size-fits-all technically optimal fingering is extremely low.

Well put!


August Förster 215
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 1,111
R
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
R
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 1,111
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by ranjit
I'm thinking of the octaves in the right hand in the second section of the Revolutionary etude. You can play them either 14 15 14-15, or 14 15 14 14. Both tend to sound subtly different. It's largely an interpretational issue.
And you can play them all with 15 or use 4+5 on the E flat and other ways.
Those fingering solutions sound good in theory perhaps, but don't really work as well in practice, and I'd say they are definitely not optimal.

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 33,012
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 33,012
Originally Posted by ranjit
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by ranjit
I'm thinking of the octaves in the right hand in the second section of the Revolutionary etude. You can play them either 14 15 14-15, or 14 15 14 14. Both tend to sound subtly different. It's largely an interpretational issue.
And you can play them all with 15 or use 4+5 on the E flat and other ways.
Those fingering solutions sound good in theory perhaps, but don't really work as well in practice, and I'd say they are definitely not optimal.
Hans von Bulow recommends 15 15 on the first two octaves. Earl Wild recommends playing all octaves with 15.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 09/13/21 01:36 PM.
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 1,111
R
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
R
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 1,111
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by ranjit
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by ranjit
I'm thinking of the octaves in the right hand in the second section of the Revolutionary etude. You can play them either 14 15 14-15, or 14 15 14 14. Both tend to sound subtly different. It's largely an interpretational issue.
And you can play them all with 15 or use 4+5 on the E flat and other ways.
Those fingering solutions sound good in theory perhaps, but don't really work as well in practice, and I'd say they are definitely not optimal.
Hans von Bulow recommends 15 15 on the first two octaves. Earl Wild recommends playing all octaves with 15.
That's quite odd. I suppose if you have supreme control over your pinky, you can create accents to make it sound a certain way even if it's played 15 all through. But it certainly doesn't sound like an optional solution unless you have small hands.

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 33,012
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 33,012
Originally Posted by ranjit
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by ranjit
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
And you can play them all with 15 or use 4+5 on the E flat and other ways.
Those fingering solutions sound good in theory perhaps, but don't really work as well in practice, and I'd say they are definitely not optimal.
Hans von Bulow recommends 15 15 on the first two octaves. Earl Wild recommends playing all octaves with 15.
That's quite odd. I suppose if you have supreme control over your pinky, you can create accents to make it sound a certain way even if it's played 15 all through. But it certainly doesn't sound like an optional solution unless you have small hands.
Earl Wild didn't have small hands.

Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 1,111
R
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
R
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 1,111
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Earl Wild didn't have small hands.
Can you explain why it's a good solution?

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 33,012
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 33,012
Originally Posted by ranjit
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Earl Wild didn't have small hands.
Can you explain why it's a good solution?
I read his lengthy bio where he discusses this a long time ago. As I remember he didn't give a reason.

Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 3,421
S
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
3000 Post Club Member
S
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 3,421
I think the whole concept behind an ideal fingering is relatively new and is dated from the 19th century. The idea of a fingering as a convenient way to achieve fluidity and execution comfort, thus reliability originates from the period where virtuosic playing was becoming the norm.

The previous fingering models, in baroque music were all based on the idea that fingering is part of the articulation and eveness is not an objective. For example Playing scales with a different set of fingers in the 2 hands introduces articulation differences which enhance the expressiveness per the baroque aesthetics. Most scales were played with 2 or 3 fingers, the third finger crossing the 4th in the RH. The fingers were usually paired, one strong and one week to fit with the strong and weak notes. What were the good and bad fingers was different in different countries.

The role of the thumb and pinky was less important. But even in the 19th century music, in some cases the need to achieve a particular musical effect does favor a fingering that is not the most convenient from a purely execution standpoint.

Thus the idea of fingering depends essentially on the musical objectives. Essentially an objective ideal best fingering does not exist.


Blüthner model 6
Joined: Sep 2021
Posts: 2
L
Junior Member
Offline
Junior Member
L
Joined: Sep 2021
Posts: 2
I would say that each piece has a perfect fingering for any particular interpretation, for each individual at the instrument.
This may even change as technique is acquired over time. And fingering is one useful hook in our arsenal for memorizing music to avoid 'memory lapses'.
There is often one really elegant solution to fingering that suits the hands and direction of music and is not always found in sheet music! So we can use the findings of others' to inspire and improve our technique whilst constantly questioning "does this bring out the voices and can I achieve the correct phrasing and articulation in a better way?". It is a puzzle with a best fit solution.

Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 984
C
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 984
If OP had said "Prove me wrong, there is only one best fingering for Bach Prelude in C, BWV 846", then it might be a difficult task. In this piece the hand position barely changes, so there is a natural fingering that exerts the least stress.

But the conjecture is supposed to be for any piece. To disprove a conjecture, one need only provide a counterexample.


A rising tide lifts all the boats
Page 2 of 3 1 2 3

Moderated by  Brendan, Kreisler 

Link Copied to Clipboard
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
Piano Buyer - Read the Articles, Explore the website
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Two, Three and Four Hamburg Steinways in Concert
by Joseph Fleetwood - 08/11/22 10:32 PM
Dissonant overtones when mute rail is engaged
by MattH22 - 08/11/22 08:36 PM
Your piano teacher
by Dscally - 08/11/22 07:25 PM
To RD-2000 owners
by PianoStartsAt33 - 08/11/22 07:18 PM
Buying a Yamaha U1?
by ada d. - 08/11/22 05:31 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
What's Hot!!
FREE June Newsletter is Here!
--------------------
Forums RULES, Terms of Service & HELP
(updated 06/06/2022)
-------------------
Music Store Going Out of Business Sale!
---------------------
Mr. PianoWorld's Original Composition
---------------------
Sell Your Piano on our world famous Piano Forums!
---------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
Forum Statistics
Forums43
Topics214,350
Posts3,215,600
Members106,065
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers

Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | MapleStreetMusicShop.com - Our store in Cornish Maine


© copyright 1997 - 2022 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5