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#1463284 - 06/26/10 05:12 AM Important Hand Positions C & G and Other's A, D, F
JasonCA Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/27/08
Posts: 2
Loc: California
Hi Everyone,

I can't seem to find enough clarity on the important of hand positions or which hand positions I should primarily focus on?

Just as I have mastered the C position, there suddenly is a new G position. And, after trying to do some research, it seems like there are other hand positions such as as A, D, and F. However, I haven't been able to confirm if there really are other hand positions such as A, D, and F. And if there are other hand positions, it seems like a forever task to try to remember fingering for them.

So a few important questions:

1) How many hand positions are there? I know there is C and G, but is there any more hand positions?

2) Among the hand positions, which ones are really important to focus on? It seems like at the very least I should master C and G hand positions?

3) If there are other hand positions such as A, D, F, then really it seems quite difficult to really master your fingering on the keyboard? I am not sure how to cope with this? For instance and while focused on right hand only, if there is a B position, then I would have to remember that finger 1 (thumb) that is usually on C is now resting on D. And then my right hand would play D, E, F, G, A. But that just screws up my mind as far as what fingers play which notes.

4) Would mastering C and G position be good enough to play a variety of music? I suppose I feel that as soon as I master C and G, I will just have tons of other hand positions I would have to master as well.

Anyone's thoughts on this would be great!

Thanks!

Jason

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#1463292 - 06/26/10 06:18 AM Re: Important Hand Positions C & G and Other's A, D, F [Re: JasonCA]
Basia C. Online   blank
Full Member

Registered: 03/02/09
Posts: 358
Loc: Sweden
Well, the bad news are that hand positions are not really relevant to piano playing. shocked Ok, maybe not completely true. Hand positions is something some method book writers have made up in order to help the students get started. It makes it easier in the beginning to know where to put the hands and to know which note should play which finger. As you progress, your hands will be moving much more freely over the keyboard, and it will no longer make sense to think about it in the terms of hand positions. You will simply decide where to put the hand by looking at the notes, and by figuring out what fingering might be good.

Don't worry, getting beyond hand positions is likely one of the next steps in your learning, and will give you a different freedom on the keyboard.
_________________________
Nothing is accomplished without enthusiasm. - Ralph Waldo Emerson




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#1463293 - 06/26/10 06:27 AM Re: Important Hand Positions C & G and Other's A, D, F [Re: Basia C.]
Basia C. Online   blank
Full Member

Registered: 03/02/09
Posts: 358
Loc: Sweden
BTW, if I were to answer the question about how many hand positions there are, I would say there are twelve. One for each key in music. Learning scales will help you in the future to know easier how to finger the notes.
_________________________
Nothing is accomplished without enthusiasm. - Ralph Waldo Emerson




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#1463306 - 06/26/10 07:17 AM Re: Important Hand Positions C & G and Other's A, D, F [Re: JasonCA]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11201
Loc: Canada
"Hand positions" is a way to start you off. The truth is that you put your hand in such a way that your fingers can comfortably fit over the keys you will be playing. Beginner music is written in such a way that all the notes of the piece will happen to span the notes C,D,E,F,G for example. You have 5 fingers that fit over 5 notes. Later on you will have pieces that span a greater distance and you learn to move your hand into new positions, and also to spread your hand out or shrink it back together to reach more notes.

If you have begun associating a finger with a note, such as C=1, D=2, E=3 for the RH .... don't! The fingering is to show you where to play for now, because they can't reach out of the book to put your hand down for you (that would be creepy whistle) so they give you an idea through numbers. But in your mind always identify the keys by the notes they are and the tone they produce. You could play the note C with any finger you want and it would still sound like C.

Imagine that you want to play the notes from D to A. find them on the piano and see where your hand would fit to best cover those notes and put it there. Then imagine another set of 5 notes and do the same. Essentially that is all that hand position is. It's a lot simpler than we might believe.

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#1463323 - 06/26/10 08:07 AM Re: Important Hand Positions C & G and Other's A, D, F [Re: keystring]
mom3gram Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/26/08
Posts: 1129
Loc: New Jersey
You sound like a true beginner, Jason. :-) And I'm not all that far advanced from that point myself. I can remember struggling with "G position" and having it make no sense to me that I now had to learn all the fingering over again. I was doing so well with "C". LOL I'm here to tell you that slowly, but surely, you will overcome the hand position thing.

My suggestion to you is to drill note recognition and key recognition so that you know where each note is automatically. And to look at your piece and determine the fingering for the first note in each hand to see where to start instead of determining which "position" you are playing in.

I had the hardest time, when first moving out of a 5 finger position, to remember where my hand was now in relation to the other notes. It sunk in gradually. Just take it slow and it will all make sense.

If you have a teacher, ask him/her to help you with this concept. If you are self teaching (I am) just take it slow and don't move on until you are comfortable. Find as many beginner pieces as you can to practice with and have fun!
_________________________
mom3gram

ALFRED'S ADULT BOOK 1 GRADUATE


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#1463363 - 06/26/10 10:00 AM Re: Important Hand Positions C & G and Other's A, D, F [Re: mom3gram]
packa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1397
Loc: Dallas, TX
I agree with the earlier responses. There are no fixed hand positions in piano. The concept is one that some method books use to introduce the new student to the keyboard and to help them finger their first few pieces. Other method books and many teachers don't bother with such a concept even in the beginning. The downside of hand positions, as pointed out earlier, is the tendency to associate notes with certain finger numbers in certain positions. That doesn't really work for real playing.

Hand position really relates to fingering, and fingering always has to be adapted to your hand size and shape and with consideration to where you are in the notes and where you need to be next. Fingering gets easier with time, but there is always something new to learn. Even after years of practice, my teacher sometimes suggests a new fingering that I hadn't thought to try. I was working on a Liszt piece last night that includes a couple of fingering suggestions from Liszt himself, and they were a revelation, something I don't think I would have ever come up with on my own.
_________________________
Paul Buchanan
Estonia L168 #1718

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#1463579 - 06/26/10 06:50 PM Re: Important Hand Positions C & G and Other's A, D, F [Re: Basia C.]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2342
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Basia C.
BTW, if I were to answer the question about how many hand positions there are, I would say there are twelve. One for each key in music. Learning scales will help you in the future to know easier how to finger the notes.


I was trying to work out which of the 12 this was:



wink
_________________________
  • Liszt - Liebesträume No. 3, S541
  • Bartók - Romanian Folk Dances, Sz. 56
    My Hungarian Period wink

Kawai K3

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#1463622 - 06/26/10 09:38 PM Re: Important Hand Positions C & G and Other's A, D, F [Re: Andy Platt]
ll Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/08
Posts: 1101
There are more than 12. There's quite a large possibility of hand positions, considering all the combinations.

But don't let that bother you. They aren't that important.

Can I ask what method you are using to learn and if you have a teacher?
_________________________
II. As in, second best.
Only lowercase. So not even that.
I teach piano and violin.
BM, Violin & Percussion Performance 2009, Piano Pedagogy 2011.

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#1463648 - 06/26/10 11:31 PM Re: Important Hand Positions C & G and Other's A, D, F [Re: ll]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
The hand positions are like being in the kitchen, and saying "Now I am at the stove position, and next will move over to the sink position, then I probably will go to the refrigerator position".

No...you are in the kitchen, moving about.

Likewise, at the piano, there are 88 keys, 10 fingers, and you move your hands around; thus there are a virtual infinite number of hand positions, if one takes in account both the left hand and the right hand, and all the possibilities, including crossing the hands over.

Thus, "hand positions" are really a fiction, a concept invented to help beginners at the very beginning, (which they perhaps do, but one must abandon the thought of them rather quickly), but beyond the beginning of studies they do not really have value, and can become a mental obstacle to progressing, as perhaps evidenced by the OP's questions.
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#1463651 - 06/26/10 11:44 PM Re: Important Hand Positions C & G and Other's A, D, F [Re: Andy Platt]
BenPiano Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/09
Posts: 1171
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: Andy Platt
Originally Posted By: Basia C.
BTW, if I were to answer the question about how many hand positions there are, I would say there are twelve. One for each key in music. Learning scales will help you in the future to know easier how to finger the notes.


I was trying to work out which of the 12 this was:



wink


This is the "nose position".

That is, in order for me to play this correctly I would need to use my nose on that A# above middle C. grin
_________________________
Learning to play since June 2009.
My piano diary on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/user/afpaSTU1096
<- 10+ ABF recitals

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