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#2007259 - 12/31/12 10:16 PM What are your fingering ideosyncracies?
Kuanpiano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2151
Loc: Canada
This thought just popped into my head in the L'Isle joyeuse thread recently, where a number of members including myself were giving fingering suggestions. Fingering is a highly personal thing, and generally how one fingers a passage can give some clues about the artistic vision of the player, as well as how their hands and technique works.

What does your own choice of personal fingerings say about how you approach the piano?

Myself, I find that I tend to use my thumb very frequently, especially to voice melodies - I prefer the heavier tone I get using my thumb as opposed to using my index finger in similar situations. My pinkies play the loudest, so I tend to always use 1-5 for playing melodies which are written in octaves to get a brighter sound (as opposed to trying to get a legato sound going). And apparently, my fingering of choice for ascending right hand chromatic thirds is either alternating 1-5, 2-4, or 1-3 and 2-4, which is the result of working on Chopin's 4th Ballade. I'm sure there's more, but I'll think of those later.
_________________________
Working on:
Chopin - Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante
Rachmaninoff - Preludes op. 23 nos. 3,4,6, op. 32 no.12
Franck - Violin Sonata

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#2007312 - 01/01/13 02:10 AM Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? [Re: Kuanpiano]
Ferdinand Offline
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Registered: 04/23/07
Posts: 943
Loc: California
Where there are sequences, I look for a fingering that will work for every instance of the pattern, rather than seek the most comfortable fingering for each instance. So I tend to use thumb on black keys often. Also I look throughout the piece for transposed repetitions of a passage, before committing to the fingering most natural to its first appearance.

I work hands together when setting fingering, watching for opportunities to use the same finger on both hands at the same time. Those places where, for instance, LH 3 and RH 3 go together seem to anchor the passage in muscle memory.

All the above applies especially to learning music of Bach.

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#2007387 - 01/01/13 08:57 AM Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? [Re: Kuanpiano]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19480
Loc: New York City
Too great a use(when it's not necessary and finger legato can be achieved with simpler fingering)of changing fingers on a note(finger substitution). Too great a use of finger legato when the legato for the passage can be achieved with the pedal and sound exactly the same.

Trying to gradually get rid of both these habits.


Edited by pianoloverus (01/01/13 10:36 AM)

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#2007393 - 01/01/13 09:38 AM Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? [Re: Kuanpiano]
BruceD Online   content
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Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18155
Loc: Victoria, BC
I use whatever fingering (I think) is best for the moment. As my familiarity with a work or passage develops, I may change fingering, but it's still to suit what is now best for the moment. I'm not sure, however, that that would be considered idiosyncratic.

Regards
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Estonia 190

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#2007436 - 01/01/13 11:48 AM Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? [Re: Kuanpiano]
gooddog Offline
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Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4806
Loc: Seattle area, WA
The only idiosyncrasy I can think of is my tendency to arrange the fingering so my trills are played with non-adjacent fingers.
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Deborah

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#2007447 - 01/01/13 12:21 PM Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? [Re: Kuanpiano]
WinsomeAllegretto Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/18/10
Posts: 832
I don't know if this is super common or not, but I often play two notes that are right next to each other with the same finger. This is particularly when they are part of a large chord.

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#2007462 - 01/01/13 01:04 PM Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? [Re: Kuanpiano]
Derulux Offline
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Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
I kept trying to think of how best to answer this, because I'm not really sure what "idiosyncratic" might mean in the general sense. I also don't particularly subscribe to (or necessarily know) what "standard" fingerings might be for more difficult passage work, because I'm really only concerned with the fingerings I find most comfortable and I tend to forget the others (which could be a bad habit).

The only one I can think of off the top of my head is my tendency to use 15 for almost every octave, black key or not.
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2007486 - 01/01/13 01:58 PM Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? [Re: Kuanpiano]
gooddog Offline
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Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4806
Loc: Seattle area, WA
A tiny bit OT but I find it challenging to figure out the most efficient "at tempo fingering" while I am still in the early stages of learning a piece. I hate having to unlearn old/relearn new fingering late in the development of a piece of music. I find it works to discipline myself to never again play it the old way but it still feels like I've wasted valuable time learning it inefficiently. It helps to have a teacher who can offer pointers early in the learning process, but sometimes the best fingering is a very individual thing and we only discover the problem late in the process.
_________________________
Best regards,

Deborah

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#2007488 - 01/01/13 02:04 PM Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? [Re: gooddog]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2361
Loc: San Jose, CA
Originally Posted By: gooddog
The only idiosyncrasy I can think of is my tendency to arrange the fingering so my trills are played with non-adjacent fingers.


I do the same. It's just easier to shake the wrist.

Generally, I use the thumb as seldom as I possibly can. It could possibly have something to do with how much typing I do, but unless it's essential due to the size of the chord, finger crossings or what have you, I will use any of the other four fingers first.

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#2007498 - 01/01/13 02:38 PM Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? [Re: Kuanpiano]
jdhampton924 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/13/08
Posts: 1009
Loc: Evansville, Indiana
I don't know of any that has to do specifically when I am playing. Haven't caught myself doing anything that I find odd. Though I am sure I have them.

One thing I do involves the times I practice....I have issues practicing when the clock is not on some sort of even number, example would be at 2:00 or 2:30. I am not adhd or OCD, not by a long shot.

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#2007502 - 01/01/13 02:47 PM Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? [Re: Kuanpiano]
debrucey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2606
Loc: Manchester, UK
If a melody or phrase of a melody ends with three descending notes (E, D, C for example) I like to use 432 instead of 321. Not sure why.

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#2007506 - 01/01/13 03:08 PM Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]
Ragdoll Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/12
Posts: 673
Loc: Illinois
thumb

Me too, I have small hands
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Ragdoll

Just be yourself, everyone else is already taken.


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#2007515 - 01/01/13 03:18 PM Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? [Re: Kuanpiano]
Ted Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 1515
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
No true idiosyncrasies I am aware of. I tend to use whole hand positions, i. e. all five fingers working, instead of moving the hand to use the stronger fingers. This is probably a consequence of doing mostly improvisation, where time restriction prohibits devising the optimal solutions essential for playing pieces. This is laziness, not idiosyncrasy, and for me it doesn't matter that much anyway.
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#2007544 - 01/01/13 03:56 PM Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? [Re: Ted]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3622
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: Ted
No true idiosyncrasies I am aware of. I tend to use whole hand positions, i. e. all five fingers working, instead of moving the hand to use the stronger fingers. This is probably a consequence of doing mostly improvisation, where time restriction prohibits devising the optimal solutions essential for playing pieces. This is laziness, not idiosyncrasy, and for me it doesn't matter that much anyway.


I'm a bit the same there, Ted. If I can get away with not having to pass the thumb under in the middle of a group of notes, I will. I have a very large stretch which allows me to get away with this to a fair extent. I do it more in my left hand than my right. On the other hand, this means my left hand technique is not as good as it could be.

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#2007679 - 01/01/13 09:05 PM Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? [Re: Ted]
Kuanpiano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2151
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Ted
No true idiosyncrasies I am aware of. I tend to use whole hand positions, i. e. all five fingers working, instead of moving the hand to use the stronger fingers. This is probably a consequence of doing mostly improvisation, where time restriction prohibits devising the optimal solutions essential for playing pieces. This is laziness, not idiosyncrasy, and for me it doesn't matter that much anyway.

I guess this is the most common approach, choosing fingerings which are just based on the facility they allow. But sometimes people make fingering choices for artistic purposes - like Liszt using 2-4 for thirds, or at the end of Rachmaninoff's D minor etude from op.39, where the left hand ascending melody is played only with the thumb. I've never consciously picked a fingering for a purpose like that, though I'm interested if anybody else has done that before?
_________________________
Working on:
Chopin - Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante
Rachmaninoff - Preludes op. 23 nos. 3,4,6, op. 32 no.12
Franck - Violin Sonata

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#2007700 - 01/01/13 09:47 PM Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6114
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
Originally Posted By: WinsomeAllegretto
I don't know if this is super common or not, but I often play two notes that are right next to each other with the same finger. This is particularly when they are part of a large chord.


I think it is OK. I do that too with really huge chords because I have small hands. Occasionally I have even seen editions where they recommend this "trick" with huge chords.

_________________________



Music is my best friend.


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#2007808 - 01/02/13 05:21 AM Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? [Re: Kuanpiano]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5308
Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
Originally Posted By: Ted
No true idiosyncrasies I am aware of. I tend to use whole hand positions, i. e. all five fingers working, instead of moving the hand to use the stronger fingers. This is probably a consequence of doing mostly improvisation, where time restriction prohibits devising the optimal solutions essential for playing pieces. This is laziness, not idiosyncrasy, and for me it doesn't matter that much anyway.

I guess this is the most common approach, choosing fingerings which are just based on the facility they allow. But sometimes people make fingering choices for artistic purposes - like Liszt using 2-4 for thirds, or at the end of Rachmaninoff's D minor etude from op.39, where the left hand ascending melody is played only with the thumb. I've never consciously picked a fingering for a purpose like that, though I'm interested if anybody else has done that before?


In a few pieces, I've used 'unnatural' fingering in order to better bring out melodies (subsidiary or otherwise) in the middle of textures. Like shifting the whole hand in order to use my left thumb to hit a particular note rather than using a finger (the momentum of the hand movement also helps with this). And for loud chords and octaves in LH, I sometimes try to use my 4th rather than 5th fingers, even on white keys, if I want to bring out the bass note, simply because my 4th finger is stronger - especially if coming down from a height. (Many years ago, I developed a mild inflammation in the 5th finger PIPJ - proximal finger joint - after practising Rachmaninov's Prelude Op.23/5. Luckily, my teacher suggested using my 4th finger on the black keys in ff chords as well as octaves as much as feasible...and I took that step a bit further since).
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2007819 - 01/02/13 06:32 AM Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? [Re: Kuanpiano]
debrucey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2606
Loc: Manchester, UK
There is one note in Appassionata which I use my fist for

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#2007823 - 01/02/13 06:41 AM Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? [Re: debrucey]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5308
Originally Posted By: debrucey
There is one note in Appassionata which I use my fist for


Which one?
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2007824 - 01/02/13 06:48 AM Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? [Re: Kuanpiano]
Kuanpiano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2151
Loc: Canada
Woahwoahwoah, which one?
_________________________
Working on:
Chopin - Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante
Rachmaninoff - Preludes op. 23 nos. 3,4,6, op. 32 no.12
Franck - Violin Sonata

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#2007869 - 01/02/13 09:28 AM Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? [Re: ChopinAddict]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19480
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: ChopinAddict
Originally Posted By: WinsomeAllegretto
I don't know if this is super common or not, but I often play two notes that are right next to each other with the same finger. This is particularly when they are part of a large chord.


I think it is OK. I do that too with really huge chords because I have small hands. Occasionally I have even seen editions where they recommend this "trick" with huge chords.
I think this is more accurately described as the thumb on two notes. Are there any other specific examples of using another finger on two notes? Maybe very rarely the fifth finger on two notes, but I can't recall any specific examples.

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#2007876 - 01/02/13 09:38 AM Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? [Re: Kuanpiano]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19480
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
Originally Posted By: Ted
No true idiosyncrasies I am aware of. I tend to use whole hand positions, i. e. all five fingers working, instead of moving the hand to use the stronger fingers. This is probably a consequence of doing mostly improvisation, where time restriction prohibits devising the optimal solutions essential for playing pieces. This is laziness, not idiosyncrasy, and for me it doesn't matter that much anyway.

I guess this is the most common approach, choosing fingerings which are just based on the facility they allow. But sometimes people make fingering choices for artistic purposes - like Liszt using 2-4 for thirds, or at the end of Rachmaninoff's D minor etude from op.39, where the left hand ascending melody is played only with the thumb. I've never consciously picked a fingering for a purpose like that, though I'm interested if anybody else has done that before?
The Schnabel edition of the Beethoven Sonatas is supposedly filled with tons of examples of Schnabel choosing fingering that appears awkward to facilitate some musical idea. I think Beethoven did this in the fingering for a passage in one of his early Sonatas, perhaps the A major from Op. 2. It's a famous example because he rarely wrote any fingering in at all.

I think perhaps the notion that choosing a fingering for musical purposes is separate/opposite from choosing a fingering based on facility is incorrect. Assuming one is always wanting a passage to sound the best from a musical point of view, the example you gave of using only the thumb on a left hand passage might be the easiest fingering to achieve the musical idea.

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#2007958 - 01/02/13 12:45 PM Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? [Re: pianoloverus]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3622
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: ChopinAddict
Originally Posted By: WinsomeAllegretto
I don't know if this is super common or not, but I often play two notes that are right next to each other with the same finger. This is particularly when they are part of a large chord.


I think it is OK. I do that too with really huge chords because I have small hands. Occasionally I have even seen editions where they recommend this "trick" with huge chords.
I think this is more accurately described as the thumb on two notes. Are there any other specific examples of using another finger on two notes? Maybe very rarely the fifth finger on two notes, but I can't recall any specific examples.


That sort of thing happens quite frequently in Ravel's music.

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#2008043 - 01/02/13 03:24 PM Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? [Re: Kuanpiano]
debrucey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2606
Loc: Manchester, UK
See if you can spot it ;-)


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#2008141 - 01/02/13 06:29 PM Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? [Re: Kuanpiano]
didyougethathing Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/11
Posts: 545
Loc: New York
Well, it's obviously varied depending on the situation, but I have noticed some habits. I too tend to use 1-5 for all octaves, unless the piece calls for a very legato approach. I also like to use the same finger on the repeated notes, but this usually occurs when the tempo is slow. For something like the Ravel Toccata, I would alternate.

I also don't usually like to divide things between my hands unless I have to. I have been learning the Prelude to Le Tombeau de Couperin and the edition I use has many parts fingered to split the melody between hands, and I found myself altering much of it (but still using some splits).

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#2008198 - 01/02/13 08:30 PM Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? [Re: Kuanpiano]
Damon Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6169
Loc: St. Louis area
I always change fingers on repeated notes unless it is impossible.
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#2008304 - 01/03/13 12:41 AM Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? [Re: ando]
didyougethathing Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/11
Posts: 545
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: ando
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: ChopinAddict
Originally Posted By: WinsomeAllegretto
I don't know if this is super common or not, but I often play two notes that are right next to each other with the same finger. This is particularly when they are part of a large chord.


I think it is OK. I do that too with really huge chords because I have small hands. Occasionally I have even seen editions where they recommend this "trick" with huge chords.
I think this is more accurately described as the thumb on two notes. Are there any other specific examples of using another finger on two notes? Maybe very rarely the fifth finger on two notes, but I can't recall any specific examples.


That sort of thing happens quite frequently in Ravel's music.


One of the hardest things for me in Jeux d'Eau was the fingering of the clusters of notes in the A Major theme that appears towards the beginning, and then towards the end but over more octaves. The fingering itself makes complete sense, but the execution is difficult because two clusters are played with 4-5 and 2-3 and the next with the thumb itself. I had a tough time keeping the 4-5 and 2-3 notes from separating.


Edited by didyougethathing (01/03/13 12:46 AM)

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#2008312 - 01/03/13 01:14 AM Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? [Re: Damon]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8907
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: Damon
I always change fingers on repeated notes unless it is impossible.

I can understand -and agree- in rapid passages, but in slowish music such as the F minor section from the Andante of the Mozart K330? Changing fingers in the left hand is counter-productive and the resultant thumping tends to challenge the melody above. IMO it is totally unnecessary to do so there. (It is a piece I know very well, and my piano teacher certainly never recommended it.)

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Jason

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#2008328 - 01/03/13 02:26 AM Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? [Re: Kuanpiano]
JoelW Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4835
Loc: USA
In my right hand I trill better with 35 than 23. I don't know why.

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#2008335 - 01/03/13 03:37 AM Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? [Re: JoelW]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: Joel_W
In my right hand I trill better with 35 than 23. I don't know why.

Could be one of your fingers gets stuck in the "up" or "down" position, and isn't timed right with the other finger. Do you trill better with 13 and 24 than 23? That would be a strong indicator that it's a coordination issue. smile
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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