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#1497092 - 08/16/10 01:01 PM Fingering and chord exercises
TheodorN Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/16/10
Posts: 1192
Loc: Helsingborg, Sweden
Hi there, everybody.

As maybe some of you know I'm an absolute beginner at the piano. I've started practising major scales and chords in chromatic order. Thank God and kind-hearted people there are a lot of tutorial videos on YouTube and such sites, and you can get a tutorial of most popular songs and classical pieces.

But, there are two things I haven't found much material about:
  1. Fingering.
  2. Chord exercises.

Does anybody know of any good sources where those two areas are covered? Preferrably free of charge, but I'll consider all paid courses you can recommend.
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#1497216 - 08/16/10 03:55 PM Re: Fingering and chord exercises [Re: TheodorN]
nancymae Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/09
Posts: 129
Loc: NE Wisconsin
Welcome Pianotehead! I'm a big advocate of the Alfred system. There is no set type of fingering for songs. But if you work through their method book, primarily book 1, they give you the fingerings for the songs. You have a "C" position in which you place your right thumb on Middle C or the G position (G above the middle C) same for the Bass Clef. This helped me with the chords.

They also have a Chord, Scale and Arpeggio book out with all the chords and fingerings for the scales,arpeggios and chord for all keys. Both books are cheap (less than $20 for both I believe)

If you can afford anything, get the Chord book. At least you can work on scales and chords which give the fingers for each.

Good luck!

Nancy
_________________________
Piano Obsession Log:
Began Piano 12/25/09 on Yamaha starter digital keyboard
Playing on circa 1917/18 Chickering Grand Piano since July 2010
Finished Alfred Book 1-August 2010
Started Book 2--August 11, 2010
Alfred Favorites Book







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#1497219 - 08/16/10 04:01 PM Re: Fingering and chord exercises [Re: nancymae]
Crit Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/02/09
Posts: 88
Loc: North Carolina, US
+1 for the Chord, Scale and Arpeggio book

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#1497261 - 08/16/10 04:45 PM Re: Fingering and chord exercises [Re: Crit]
tangleweeds Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012


Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 1269
Loc: Portlandia
I recommend the Alfred book as well, but if you can't afford it, there is also Cooke's _Mastering the Scales & Arpeggios_ as a free PDF.
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#1497327 - 08/16/10 05:55 PM Re: Fingering and chord exercises [Re: tangleweeds]
tangleweeds Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012


Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 1269
Loc: Portlandia
Another thought: You might want to learn your scales, etc. in Circle-of-Fifths order rather than chromatic order. They really make much, much more sense learned in the right order, because as you progress around the circle of fifths, you add just one sharp or one flat to the scale you had before.

So you would start with C major, then learn G major (one sharp) and F major (1 flat), then learn D major (two sharps) and Bb major (2 flats), etc. The order for minor scales would be A minor (no sharps or flats), E minor (one sharp) and D minor (one flat), etc.

If you google for "circle of fifths" you will find many diagrams and explanations. It may seem a bit dry & obscure at first, but it is one of those things that, once you know it, you find yourself using it all the time. Really, I think it is the single most useful bit of theory I have ever learned.

In this image (stolen from Wikipedia) the major keys are in uppercase red, toward the outside, and the minor keys are in lowecase green, toward the inside.

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Oops... extremely distracted by mandolins at the moment... brb

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#1497446 - 08/16/10 08:42 PM Re: Fingering and chord exercises [Re: tangleweeds]
TheodorN Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/16/10
Posts: 1192
Loc: Helsingborg, Sweden
Thanks for the replies. I will take a look at the Cooke's PDF-file, and see if Amazon or some book stores might have the Alfred book.

Tangleweeds I understand to some extent the importance of the circle of fifths. I was discussing some weeks ago on another forum in which order one should practise the scales and some felt it should be done in chromatic order. After some consideration I came to the conclusion it's better to learn them in the order they appear in the circle of fifths. That way you learn the circle at the same time.

I can now easily find out how many sharps there are in the C to G natural major scales with help of the phrase Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle. The number of sharps is equal to the place the beginning key has as the first letter in the phrase minus two.

For example A is the first letter of the fifth word in the phrase and therefore the A major scale has three sharps, F#, C# and G#. Although I'm not saying I don't get confused sometimes and press wrong keys!
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http://www.youtube.com/user/thenorbass1

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#1497680 - 08/17/10 07:20 AM Re: Fingering and chord exercises [Re: TheodorN]
samasap Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/10
Posts: 607
Loc: UK
Hi,

Hope your enjoying learning piano - The Associated Board of the Royal School of Music, does a good scale arpeggio and broken chord book. From Grades 1-8, and they put the fingering underneath the notes as a guide.

What you will find with MOST major and minor scales is that the fingering pattern is repetitive, so once you click with the co-ordination of one hands together, you will find the others easier to pick up.

For major scales, the fingering they advise is: -
C Major 2 octaves for example
Ascending: -
RH - C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C
1 2 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5 (1 BEING YOUR THUMB)
So if you look there is a pattern happening here -being you change on the 3, 4 3 end on 5, so I've done this as two octaves but if you want to continue up the piano you just carry on and changing under from 4 to one to go up another octave..

LH - C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C
5 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 3 2 1

Hope this helps!
Thanks

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#1497685 - 08/17/10 07:28 AM Re: Fingering and chord exercises [Re: samasap]
samasap Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/10
Posts: 607
Loc: UK
Another good scale with the pattern I have mentioned above is the contrary motion scales.
See worksheet attached for these. A lot of my pupils really enjoy playing these!

Also you can get the major scales I was telling you about for free here!

http://www.colourmuse.com/search.php?category_id=2&keywords=scales

Enjoy!

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#1497697 - 08/17/10 08:05 AM Re: Fingering and chord exercises [Re: tangleweeds]
MiM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/09
Posts: 543
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: tangleweeds
Another thought: You might want to learn your scales, etc. in Circle-of-Fifths order rather than chromatic order. They really make much, much more sense learned in the right order, because as you progress around the circle of fifths, you add just one sharp or one flat to the scale you had before.

So you would start with C major, then learn G major (one sharp) and F major (1 flat), then learn D major (two sharps) and Bb major (2 flats), etc. The order for minor scales would be A minor (no sharps or flats), E minor (one sharp) and D minor (one flat), etc.

If you google for "circle of fifths" you will find many diagrams and explanations. It may seem a bit dry & obscure at first, but it is one of those things that, once you know it, you find yourself using it all the time. Really, I think it is the single most useful bit of theory I have ever learned.

In this image (stolen from Wikipedia) the major keys are in uppercase red, toward the outside, and the minor keys are in lowecase green, toward the inside.





That's a good summary of it. I find the next trick very practical in knowing the key by looking at the key signature:

1) For key signatures with sharp signs, the key is found by adding a half step to the right most note with a sharp sign.

For example, If you look at the key of G, the key signature has one note with a sharp sign (the F). Adding a half step to F# gets you G.

2) For flat key signatures, the key the music is in can be found in the second note from the right.

For example, Eb has three flats in the key signature. The second flat sign appears on the E note, so the key is E flat. The key of F is an exception because it doesn't have 2 or more flats.
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#1498152 - 08/17/10 07:34 PM Re: Fingering and chord exercises [Re: MiM]
TheodorN Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/16/10
Posts: 1192
Loc: Helsingborg, Sweden
Thank you samasap, and I like your hat!

I'm sure it's helpful to have a audio or video file of the scales played correctly, equal time for each note. I have a metronome which also helps me with the synchronization or rhytm.

Just started reading Cooke and it seems to be an in-depth coverage of scales and arpeggios, with exercises as well. Although I might get Alfred's book, better to have some material in book form when playing.

MiM, interesting points there is a lot of mathematics in the circle of 5ths!

Finally one little question about minor scales. It seems that often when they are referred, what the writer is talking about is harmonic minor. Should I skip the natural minor scales in my practising and focus on the harmonic ones?
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http://www.youtube.com/user/thenorbass1

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