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Hi, this is my first time on the forum so please let me know if this is not the kind of question to be asked on this forum, I apologise if so.
I am teaching myself and have realised that the easiest way for me to play/remember a right hand first inversion is to use fingers 2,3 & 5.
This is because when I am playing a triad with fifth finger on root note octave, I already have first inversion with fingers 2, 3 & 5.
I am wondering if this is bad practice although it does feel natural to me? Thanks in advance for any replies.

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Maybe it depends on your hand size etc. Normally the thumb, index and pinky ... in that order for first inversion. The 1-2-5. If you're absolutely comfortable with your approach, and don't encounter issues now or ever .... then ok.

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Originally Posted by Neil Hallesy
Hi, this is my first time on the forum so please let me know if this is not the kind of question to be asked on this forum, I apologise if so.
I am teaching myself and have realised that the easiest way for me to play/remember a right hand first inversion is to use fingers 2,3 & 5.
This is because when I am playing a triad with fifth finger on root note octave, I already have first inversion with fingers 2, 3 & 5.
I am wondering if this is bad practice although it does feel natural to me? Thanks in advance for any replies.

It depends on the key. It works for C major. F minor first inversion, however, is an uncomfortable stretch with 2-3-5

Last edited by Moo :); 05/28/22 08:12 AM.
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There is an exercise called a broken chord where you play all the inversions of the triad.


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For me, playing your 2 3 5 position would feel tense and result in a poky, fingery sound. For the simple triad, 1 2 5 feels and sounds better.
For the full octave position eg in C maj, EGCE, 1 2 4 5. This adapts easily to playing the arpeggio over more than one octave so
1 2 4 1 2 4 5 at the top then (5) 4 2 1 4 2 1 coming down.

A decent book of scales and arpeggios with fingerings and alternative fingering suggestions would stand you in good stead.

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Moving from root to 1st inversion, your choice would seem to work nicely. But what happens next?

The fingering you choose should be the fingering that works best based on where you are coming from and where you are going next. So, to say that you should always play 1st inversion with these fingers is not correct. Sometimes you will sometimes you won't.

Try not to get tied up with set fingering for intervals or chords, since it will likely have to change when you come across these intervals or chords in real music.

Welcome and keep the questions coming.

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The reason I use 1st inversions mostly, is because I'm trying to figure out the chords to a song by ear. I use it as a "standard" and may change the voicing later, maybe. I'm thinking about other stuff. I don't need to be thinking about chord formations also. Slash chords definitely lend themselves to a certain voicing. But voicing to avoid big jumps, no. A certain chord progression should be voiced for a certain sound, I don't consider the hand movement. If it's difficult, this is the reason to practice until it's not.


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Originally Posted by Neil Hallesy
the easiest way for me to play/remember a right hand first inversion is to use fingers 2,3 & 5.

I also usually change the given fingering in pieces. However, you like me are a beginner, and if you change the given fingering too much, you will never learn to be comfortable with 1 2 5 and only be comfortable with 2 3 5. But you'll need to be able to also play 1 2 5 comfortably! For instance, in a piece, there may be a bigger distance between the second and the third note, so you can only reach that distance with 2 and 5, not with 3 and 5. Therefore, when practising scales, I try to keep the given fingering, even if I would prefer to change it.


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Your question is a good one and interesting because I'm not sure if it has ever been asked before. I agree with most of the comments above.

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Remember also that we are playing with both hands. To change the inversion thus, you simply need to change the bass note and nothing at all needs to move in your RH. Theoretically at least.

So to simplify things, you could let your LH control the inversion (like play C,E or G for root, 1st and 2nd inversion of C chord) and just worry about following the melody in your RH with some harmony that will fit as the inversion is already established by your LH.

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Originally Posted by Animisha
I also usually change the given fingering in pieces. However, you like me are a beginner, and if you change the given fingering too much, you will never learn to be comfortable with 1 2 5 and only be comfortable with 2 3 5. But you'll need to be able to also play 1 2 5 comfortably! For instance, in a piece, there may be a bigger distance between the second and the third note, so you can only reach that distance with 2 and 5, not with 3 and 5. Therefore, when practising scales, I try to keep the given fingering, even if I would prefer to change it.

Good advice. One should learn "standard" fingering for inversion, scales, arpeggios, etc.

That way, when those items occur in music, you will play them automatically with the best fingering which is typically most comfortable and fits the design of the hand. The caveat, of course, is if when coming to the chord / scale from a different hand position, that situation can require a different fingering for the upcoming item (chord, scale, etc).

That is the best way to learn to finger well, and thus play intuitively and confidently. Have a set standard for things, which is adaptable as needed.

I once had a transfer student who had been playing for over 20 years, medium level Classical, and had the most atrocious fingering you could imagine.

She had absolutely no standard way of fingering anything. She would start a scale on finger 3, for no necessary reason whatsoever. And then hop over and do the remaing four notes again starting on finger 3! It was chaos. Chords were the same...Root chord in C was often 3-4-5, (painful to look at, and play) again for no logistical reason of necessity. And she had small hands.

Most of our work together was learning proper scale and chord fingering, and applying that to new music, which did not have ingrained in her memory this chaos.

Bottom line...learn "standard" fingering for chords, inversions, scales, arpeggios, etc, and adjust as necessary.


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That's exactly right. Achieving the desired timing etc etc generally requires having worked out one (or more, if any) solutions for the hands/body etc for connecting the notes together to maximise chances of playing the piece consistently --- in the intended/desired way (good timing etc etc etc).

So being equipped with some basics, including studying or learning about widely-used finger patterns and sequences for chords, and scales/scale runs is generally beneficial. And developing knowledge/skills - in any which way we can (eg. from a piano teacher, own solving skills, or other resources) for allowing the piano player to work out great (or at least good) choices for finger pattern/sequencing is just part of the piano experience.

If the 2-3-5 creates issues, or prevents playing of a tune in a desired way due to sequencing hold-ups (reliability, timing, smoothness etc) in playing the 'piece' of music as a whole, then consider the 1-2-5. This is all assuming that the 2-3-5 really is feeling very comfortable - and is not working toward any damage issue for the hands (both short term or long term).

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Originally Posted by rocket88
... One should learn "standard" fingering for inversion, scales, arpeggios, etc.

That way, when those items occur in music, you will play them automatically with the best fingering which is typically most comfortable and fits the design of the hand. The caveat ...

That is the best way to learn to finger well, and thus play intuitively and confidently...


It is always nice to have alternate opinions too.

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Originally Posted by SouthPark
...
So being equipped with some basics, including studying or learning about widely-used finger patterns and sequences for chords, and scales/scale runs is generally beneficial...

If the 2-3-5 creates issues, or prevents playing of a tune in a desired way due to sequencing hold-ups (reliability, timing, smoothness etc) in playing the 'piece' of music as a whole, then consider the 1-2-5. This is all assuming that the 2-3-5 really is feeling very comfortable - and is not working toward any damage issue for the hands (both short term or long term).

The first part of what you say is OK. But, you are thinking too small. We don't just want to play comfortably. We want to be able to play well and we can.

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Originally Posted by Greener
The first part of what you say is OK. But, you are thinking too small. We don't just want to play comfortably. We want to be able to play well and we can.

On the contrary - I mentioned the word 'comfortable' (or equivalent) at least two times in my posts in this thread, AND my remarks associated with timing, etc etc etc (accuracy etc etc etc) covers 'playing well'.

Originally Posted by SouthPark
That's exactly right. Achieving the desired timing etc etc generally requires having worked out one (or more, if any) solutions for the hands/body etc for connecting the notes together to maximise chances of playing the piece consistently --- in the intended/desired way (good timing etc etc etc).

I purposely added etc ------ in order to try handle preemptively comments such as yours. I will also make a remark about - shouldn't make remarks like that ----- as in 'thinking too small'. Not good form.

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Originally Posted by Greener
It is always nice to have alternate opinions too.

That is true. Both rocket's opinions and your ones - are both good, and beneficial.

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Originally Posted by SouthPark
... I will also make a remark about - shouldn't make remarks like that ----- as in 'thinking too small'. Not good form.



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Quote
"Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist". Pablo Picasso


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Originally Posted by rocket88
Quote
"Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist". Pablo Picasso

Another approach - is to make use of what has been learned/accumulated - and sometimes, new ground can be made when somebody that didn't know 'all the rules' (or pro rules) makes new ground - based on something that wasn't thought of before.

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In over 20 years of teaching hundreds and hundreds of students, many of whom are beginners (as is the OP), I have never ever seen an example of a beginner, especially an untaught person who "made new ground" regarding fingering strategy that was of any helpful value.

Instead, their new ground was the result of their often vast technical limitations, and lack of basic knowledge. Good piano pedagogy is designed to overcome that.

Thats my point, and my last post. Carry on.


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