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#1788256 - 11/13/11 04:55 PM Hanon #2 fingering
thurisaz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/11
Posts: 73
Loc: Finland
My initial exposure to Hanon was the few exercises included in Alfred's Adult Level One book. They seemed quite useful, so I got myself a copy of The Virtuoso Pianist. I finally cracked it open tonight. The first exercise was fine, but I'm a bit surprised by the fingering on the second one. The exercise starts on C-E-A-G-F-G-F-E; the left hand fingering is 5-3-1-2-3-2-3-4. This seems a bit odd to me, because the stretching (to whatever extent) is 3-1 rather than 5-4, which seems to be the focus of these early exercises. With this fingering, I don't feel like either hand gets a useful stretch ascending or descending. I tried 5-4-1-2-3-2-3-4 and that feels more like a useful stretch -- similar to what's in the first exercise.

Should I continue using my alternative fingering or am I missing the point of the exercise? I'm normally inclined to use my own judgement about fingering than to ask on the forums, but it seems to me the fingering is a very important part of Hanon/Czerny/etc, so I thought I'd double check. (FWIW, I'm using the Schirmer edition.)

(I've also been trying some Czerny Op. 599. I started with exercise 12 and found the left hand fingering to be really odd, but I'm willing to stick with it -- I feel like it might sometimes be beneficial to do things in a strange way.)

Edited by thurisaz (11/13/11 04:56 PM)
Yamaha Arius YDP-161

Bach Prelude in C (BWV 846)
Petzold Minuet in G minor (BWV Anh 115)
Beethoven Moonlight Sonata, first movement
Working on: Alfred's Adult Piano Level 2, Satie Gymnopedie N. 1

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#1788287 - 11/13/11 05:32 PM Re: Hanon #2 fingering [Re: thurisaz]
packa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1406
Loc: Dallas, TX
Finger independence and precision, not stretching, are the main points in Hanon. The exercises are designed to employ all sorts of different finger sequences as reflected in the standard fingerings. Of course, you can use the exercises for other things at your own discretion. Just be careful about excessive stretching as well as exaggerated finger movements (despite the antiquated instructions to "lift the fingers high").
Paul Buchanan
Estonia L168 #1718

#1788358 - 11/13/11 07:43 PM Re: Hanon #2 fingering [Re: thurisaz]
Brian Lucas Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 1139
Loc: Nashville, TN
I personally feel like the 2nd exercise (among others) is about hand movement too. It's about moving your hand up a key while playing the line. Many times the thumb will be stretching up to get a new high note, which is happening here (on a smaller scale of course). Once you stretch up to that note, the rest of your hand shifts to the new notes. I think that's what it's about. 5-4-1 is more realistic to the way you'd actually play a line like that.
BM in Performance, Berklee College of Music, 23+ year teacher and touring musician
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#1788583 - 11/14/11 06:12 AM Re: Hanon #2 fingering [Re: thurisaz]
jrcallan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 395
Loc: Pennsylvania
This is very interesting to me. My Russian-trained teacher has me play a number of the first Hanon exercises (#1-4) 5-4-1, not 5-3-1.

She says that part of the idea is that the fourth finger is the weakest in the bunch generally, and needs the work, aside from it feeling equally natural.
Baldwin M
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#1788809 - 11/14/11 01:37 PM Re: Hanon #2 fingering [Re: thurisaz]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4594
Loc: San Jose, CA
I couldn't make out what the issue was, but it happens that Monday is when I do piano exercises, so I tried it the 5-4 etc way.

5-3-1 seems like a perfectly natural and easy way to finger the exercise; I don't see any great reason to mud-wrestle with monsieur Hanon over this one. There are other, more important aspects to attend to, such as evenness of timing and making a musical sound, even with such a mundane little warm-up exercise. In general, Hanon is trying to get the hand used to executing figures that the player will be seeing again and again in music. You will have a little library of these treasures, which the hand already finds familiar (and thus it does not tax the mind), when you get to actual compositions.

All fingers are employed here. The hand falls naturally onto the first note of the next measure. What else do you want? Move on--- you will get to the stretches.

BTW--- packa was right about "lift the fingers high." Exaggerated movements of this kind can lead to injury. A crisp intonation is fine, but there's no need to make the fingers out-do the Rockettes at the cost of injuring the hand and tendons. RSI's are a pretty bad setback. So go a little easier than that.

Edited by Jeff Clef (11/14/11 01:39 PM)

#1788828 - 11/14/11 02:12 PM Re: Hanon #2 fingering [Re: thurisaz]
tinknocker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/31/09
Posts: 70
Loc: Key Largo, FL
Exercises are meant to be played as written. They aren't pieces of music, they are meant to help you develop the skills to play music.

Hanon is very incremental, each exercise focus on a specific thing, and they build on each other. The 5-4 stretch you refer to is employed in other, later exercises.

Hanon is sort of Zen like, you just do it, don't intellectualize it, and the "why" will come to you.

Patience, Grasshopper.

#1788912 - 11/14/11 04:30 PM Re: Hanon #2 fingering [Re: thurisaz]
thurisaz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/11
Posts: 73
Loc: Finland
Thanks for all of your comments! I didn't have another go at #2 today (played through #1 instead, along with some Czerny), but I think I'll play Hanon #2 tomorrow and just follow the fingering given. I guess I got a bit caught up in the stretches from the first exercise; in fact, I noticed today that the introductory text explicitly states that successive exercises are designed to avoid fatigue by focusing on different aspects & fingers.

I think I find it easier to get a musical sound from Czerny than Hanon, but I also get the feeling that that's just the way they are.
Yamaha Arius YDP-161

Bach Prelude in C (BWV 846)
Petzold Minuet in G minor (BWV Anh 115)
Beethoven Moonlight Sonata, first movement
Working on: Alfred's Adult Piano Level 2, Satie Gymnopedie N. 1

#1790589 - 11/17/11 11:41 AM Re: Hanon #2 fingering [Re: thurisaz]
samasap Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/10
Posts: 622
Loc: UK
I'd suggest you using the guide it gives you, it may feel a little bit awkward to start with, but once you get use to it and your fingers strengthen up it'll be fine....We are all the same when we come across something slightly out of out comfort zone.

If you really feel uncomfortable with it then use what you are suggesting, but it's good to get into good fingering habits from the beginning and then this will produce fluency throughout your songs and give you a better sound long term.
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#1790747 - 11/17/11 04:21 PM Re: Hanon #2 fingering [Re: thurisaz]
thurisaz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/11
Posts: 73
Loc: Finland
Thanks, samasap. I'm planning to use the fingering from Hannon. My concern wasn't that it wasn't uncomfortable, but that it didn't feel like a workout. Based on the response here (and a more careful reading of the introduction), I seem to have missed the point, though. smile
Yamaha Arius YDP-161

Bach Prelude in C (BWV 846)
Petzold Minuet in G minor (BWV Anh 115)
Beethoven Moonlight Sonata, first movement
Working on: Alfred's Adult Piano Level 2, Satie Gymnopedie N. 1


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