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#2178880 - 11/08/13 06:05 AM General Fingering Questions
sydnal Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/20/13
Posts: 126
I have had some fingering uncertainties for a while but I was getting by somehow. However the finger patterns I will mention below has been getting more frequent in the pieces I play as keys containing more sharps and flats are introduced, and I have problems with fluency at moderate speeds.

1) Assume after playing a bunch of white keys a 2 note chord B flat and G will be played on RH with fingers 1 and 5. I try to play the white keys on their middle, right below the line where black keys begin. When the hand is in that position the thumb does not have enough of a reach to play that B flat so it's obvious some kind of hand/wrist motion has to be incorporated. However I found this can be done in two ways:
a) Move the whole wrist/arm up, hence the 5th finger will have to slide between two black keys to play that G.
b) Bend the wrist outward, G can still be played without entering between the black keys but this feels uncomfortable..

Which one is correct? Or am I wrong from the start? Do I always have to play in a position that thumb can reach a black key without any arm/wrist motion? (Which means I will always have to play between the black keys)

2) What is the general opinion about sliding a finger between two black keys? Is this acceptable, preferable or discouraged? My fingers can easily slide between two black keys but I hear some peoples can't fit in between.. It seems to me it would be really hard to play without it.

3) Since option a of question 1 feels more natural to me, I will continue assuming it's the correct answer. When moving the hand up, how are you supposed to make that jump smooth? Assume that you played F with 4th finger and have to connect it legato to that B flat - G chord, how do you do that? My current solution is, since I wait that chord will be arriving I start shifting my fingers up slowly with each note of the previous passage, so that when the chord arrives the fingers are already in place. But this feels wrong to me somehow, I assume it would not be possible to calculate so much when sight reading a piece? So there must be another way.

Thanks and sorry for the wall of text.
_________________________
Casio Privia PX-350
Alfred's Adult All-in-One Book 1 Graduate

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#2178904 - 11/08/13 07:59 AM Re: General Fingering Questions [Re: sydnal]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11748
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: sydnal
I have had some fingering uncertainties for a while but I was getting by somehow. However the finger patterns I will mention below has been getting more frequent in the pieces I play as keys containing more sharps and flats are introduced, and I have problems with fluency at moderate speeds.

1) Assume after playing a bunch of white keys a 2 note chord B flat and G will be played on RH with fingers 1 and 5. I try to play the white keys on their middle, right below the line where black keys begin. When the hand is in that position the thumb does not have enough of a reach to play that B flat so it's obvious some kind of hand/wrist motion has to be incorporated. However I found this can be done in two ways:
a) Move the whole wrist/arm up, hence the 5th finger will have to slide between two black keys to play that G.
b) Bend the wrist outward, G can still be played without entering between the black keys but this feels uncomfortable..

Which one is correct? Or am I wrong from the start? Do I always have to play in a position that thumb can reach a black key without any arm/wrist motion? (Which means I will always have to play between the black keys)

You want to maintain a perpendicular relation to the keys with your wrist for the most part. When you twist, you are right, it's uncomfortable, so don't do that one. I would use fingers 1 & 5 as you are, and just play higher on the G with my pinkie. When you watch pianists play, you will see them do the same thing, their whole arm moving toward the fallboard and back again, depending upon the notes being played.

Quote:
2) What is the general opinion about sliding a finger between two black keys? Is this acceptable, preferable or discouraged? My fingers can easily slide between two black keys but I hear some peoples can't fit in between.. It seems to me it would be really hard to play without it.
People who cannot do this have difficulty playing piano, unless they can find a piano whose space between the black keys are particularly wider than most - which is very possible. Otherwise, they have to work with other fingerings which are less than ideal. Playing between the black keys is really essential to playing pieces in keys other than C.

Quote:
3) Since option a of question 1 feels more natural to me, I will continue assuming it's the correct answer. When moving the hand up, how are you supposed to make that jump smooth? Assume that you played F with 4th finger and have to connect it legato to that B flat - G chord, how do you do that? My current solution is, since I wait that chord will be arriving I start shifting my fingers up slowly with each note of the previous passage, so that when the chord arrives the fingers are already in place. But this feels wrong to me somehow, I assume it would not be possible to calculate so much when sight reading a piece? So there must be another way.

Thanks and sorry for the wall of text.
You slide up on the F while holding it down to get fingers 1 & 5 in position in time for the next chord. I don't know why you think this is wrong, because this is a common practice.

Of course when sight reading a piece this can be done: why wouldn't the way you play be so ingrained that you can do it on sight? If you cannot do this sight reading, then you are sight reading pieces that are too difficult for you. (Note: and I'm assuming you mean by "sight reading" the standard definition which is the first time playing through a piece where you try to play it at tempo with all the dynamics and articulations as best you can, which is different from reading through a piece you are working on). When working on a piece of repertoire, however, you will encounter issues like this and in the process of working them out, that becomes a skill in your arsenal. The next time you encounter a similar situation in another piece, you will know what to do, until eventually you don't even have to think about it.

I do have to say that these questions can be addressed by a teacher, even if you only take lessons periodically. Teaching yourself something that you are not an expert in is sort of a backwards way to go about something that is already an extremely difficult task. If you don't already take lessons, I highly recommend finding a teacher suitable for you and your needs. If you do already take lessons, you can verify my answer with them smile
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2178918 - 11/08/13 08:29 AM Re: General Fingering Questions [Re: sydnal]
sydnal Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/20/13
Posts: 126
Thanks for the answers Morodiene;

It doesn't look likely that I will be able to get a teacher anytime soon, in the meanwhile I am trying to reduce the probability of acquiring bad habits that will trouble me in the long run. (The closest thing to a teacher I have is these forums)

As for question 3 I think I was not able to explain the situation clearly. I do not slide up on the last F, assume there is a phrase going D,E,F,E,F followed by Bflat-G chord, all with same note duration and legato. I start to slide up little by little with each note so at the final note my hand is in correct position for the incoming chord. That's why I thought it's probably wrong, I start preparing for the incoming chord a whole lot earlier, during the phrase, because I know it's coming.

If I am to keep my hand in white key playing position and slide up quickly on the last F (played with 4th finger) there simply is not enough time to play it fluently. I don't know maybe it's just my hands are not fast enough but jumping from F played with 4 in the middle of the key to BFlat-G chord(1-5) in a legato manner quickly seems to me like needs previous hand positioning rather than speed. The issue is that I have no clue when to do that positioning..

Current options:
- At the last note (instant jump)
- Slowly climbing up through the previous phrase (what I am doing but doubt is correct)
- At the start of the phrase that includes chord..
- Always play between the black keys so you don't need to shift positions..

Or I am totally wrong and someone with good technique has no problem with that F(4) -> Bb-G(1-5) movement and my hand positioning theories are bogus. Ahh.. So much questions, so little knowledge..

(Thanks once again btw.)
_________________________
Casio Privia PX-350
Alfred's Adult All-in-One Book 1 Graduate

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#2178935 - 11/08/13 09:12 AM Re: General Fingering Questions [Re: sydnal]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11748
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: sydnal
Thanks for the answers Morodiene;

It doesn't look likely that I will be able to get a teacher anytime soon, in the meanwhile I am trying to reduce the probability of acquiring bad habits that will trouble me in the long run. (The closest thing to a teacher I have is these forums)

As for question 3 I think I was not able to explain the situation clearly. I do not slide up on the last F, assume there is a phrase going D,E,F,E,F followed by Bflat-G chord, all with same note duration and legato. I start to slide up little by little with each note so at the final note my hand is in correct position for the incoming chord. That's why I thought it's probably wrong, I start preparing for the incoming chord a whole lot earlier, during the phrase, because I know it's coming.

If I am to keep my hand in white key playing position and slide up quickly on the last F (played with 4th finger) there simply is not enough time to play it fluently. I don't know maybe it's just my hands are not fast enough but jumping from F played with 4 in the middle of the key to BFlat-G chord(1-5) in a legato manner quickly seems to me like needs previous hand positioning rather than speed. The issue is that I have no clue when to do that positioning..

Current options:
- At the last note (instant jump)
- Slowly climbing up through the previous phrase (what I am doing but doubt is correct)
- At the start of the phrase that includes chord..
- Always play between the black keys so you don't need to shift positions..

Or I am totally wrong and someone with good technique has no problem with that F(4) -> Bb-G(1-5) movement and my hand positioning theories are bogus. Ahh.. So much questions, so little knowledge..

(Thanks once again btw.)
Of course, it's always easier to address a problem if we can see the music in question - context makes all the difference! Going up little by little as it appears to be a fast scale passage is fine. Whatever it takes to get you in the position that you need to be in and to do it comfortably. That's always the guiding principle behind good fingering: whatever works in the most efficient and comfortable way possible.

Don't make up rules for yourself that aren't helpful like "I need to keep in the middle of the white keys" etc. You have to do whatever works best in the passage.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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