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#2197095 - 12/13/13 02:45 PM Fingering for basic or general patterns
Punchslap Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/13
Posts: 57
I don't really have time to go to a teacher(And if I were to find one he'd probably be just another Joe that happens to "play the piano" anyway). So I'm trying to learn on my own. Would anyone tell me the basics of say, how to make a scale run? I am aware of that you're supposed to put your thumb under your hand when ascending with the right hand(or descending with left) when shifting positions. When going the other way, which finger are you supposed to start with in the next position? Should I use 3 or 4 fingers when making a run? Any other absolute basics I should be aware of?

Is there any good book on technique you would advise me to buy instead? I was thinking I could get the absolute basics down first and that I could buy a book about it later.

Thanks.

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#2197103 - 12/13/13 03:15 PM Re: Fingering for basic or general patterns [Re: Punchslap]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11898
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Where do you get the idea that if you found a teacher they'd just be some guy who knew how to play piano? That doesn't really bode well for your opinion of the piano teaching profession, and it's largely untrue. Sure, they're out there, but if you do your due diligence I'm sure you could find one who could see you irregularly and help you when you had time, AND are professional.

About having time to go to a teacher, let's say it's a 45 minute lesson and it takes you 30 minutes to drive there round trip, and you go once a week or every other week. If you don't have 1 hour and 15 minutes a week or every other week to go to lessons, then I'm not really sure this is a good time to start piano.

What kind of music are you trying to play? Classical, jazz, popular? There are basics to fingering, most of which you learn as you encounter them in music. You could get a book on scales which would teach you the correct fingering (Keith Snell's Scale Skills is good). As far as technique goes, you're going to have bad habits from self-teaching, so a book won't help much if you get it after you've engrained those bad habits. Why not read up a little as you go along to try and help prevent mistakes?
_________________________
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#2197119 - 12/13/13 03:49 PM Re: Fingering for basic or general patterns [Re: Punchslap]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5313
Loc: Philadelphia
I have to second everything Morodiene said. Additionally, I would like to add:

Quote:
Would anyone tell me the basics of say, how to make a scale run?

There are two ways. 1) bleach it real good during the rinse cycle; 2) scare it real good.
_________________________
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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#2197121 - 12/13/13 03:52 PM Re: Fingering for basic or general patterns [Re: Morodiene]
Punchslap Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/13
Posts: 57
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Where do you get the idea that if you found a teacher they'd just be some guy who knew how to play piano? That doesn't really bode well for your opinion of the piano teaching profession, and it's largely untrue. Sure, they're out there, but if you do your due diligence I'm sure you could find one who could see you irregularly and help you when you had time, AND are professional.

About having time to go to a teacher, let's say it's a 45 minute lesson and it takes you 30 minutes to drive there round trip, and you go once a week or every other week. If you don't have 1 hour and 15 minutes a week or every other week to go to lessons, then I'm not really sure this is a good time to start piano.

What kind of music are you trying to play? Classical, jazz, popular? There are basics to fingering, most of which you learn as you encounter them in music. You could get a book on scales which would teach you the correct fingering (Keith Snell's Scale Skills is good). As far as technique goes, you're going to have bad habits from self-teaching, so a book won't help much if you get it after you've engrained those bad habits. Why not read up a little as you go along to try and help prevent mistakes?


Maybe I formulated myself incorrectly, I meant technique for the fingerings. I am aware of how basic music theory works, but not how to practically apply correctly with proper technique on the piano.

I live in a small town close to nothing. Nearest big city is a 1+ hour drive from where I live.

I guess I'd be better of reading up on some. I'll get the book you mentioned. But I assume it doesn't go in depth regarding anything else but scales considering the name. Would "On Piano Playing: Motion, Sound, and Expression" by Gyorgy Sandor be something to combine the book you mentioned with?

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#2197133 - 12/13/13 04:08 PM Re: Fingering for basic or general patterns [Re: Punchslap]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5313
Loc: Philadelphia
Quote:
I live in a small town close to nothing. Nearest big city is a 1+ hour drive from where I live.

I know towns like that well.. they usually have someone who can play the piano. Heck, I spent half my childhood in a town with less than 10,000 people. There were nearly a dozen piano teachers. Where do you live?
_________________________
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#2197178 - 12/13/13 05:40 PM Re: Fingering for basic or general patterns [Re: Derulux]
Punchslap Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/13
Posts: 57
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Quote:
I live in a small town close to nothing. Nearest big city is a 1+ hour drive from where I live.

I know towns like that well.. they usually have someone who can play the piano. Heck, I spent half my childhood in a town with less than 10,000 people. There were nearly a dozen piano teachers. Where do you live?


In a small town in Sweden. About 4000 people in the actual city and 13000 in total with places on the countryside included. In Sweden, we have like a national "company" of teachers that teach in certain schools of theirs. These are all around the country and they try to fix lessons etc. in time with when the kids end their school-day or during recess etc. This is the only place I know in my town where the are people teaching musical instruments. I doubt their proficiency. I took electric guitar lessons there when I was younger(around 12 years old) and within 2-3(or 4) years I managed to outperform my teacher in various techniques, having learned and practiced them "at home by myself". But who knows, maybe I could give the piano teacher of that same place a shot and see.

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#2197183 - 12/13/13 05:55 PM Re: Fingering for basic or general patterns [Re: Punchslap]
earlofmar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1578
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: Punchslap


Maybe I formulated myself incorrectly, I meant technique for the fingerings. I am aware of how basic music theory works, but not how to practically apply correctly with proper technique on the piano.



I am confused your first post requests help on fingering for scales but later you request "technique for the fingerings". Two different things but perhaps English is not your first language.

Here is a chart of scale fingering here

While it is admirable that so many new starters want to learn everything all on their own, there are pros and cons to the method. My opinion, as one who thought I would not benefit from a teacher, is the benefits of having a teacher outweigh any negatives.

I would like to add as well that perhaps the thought of having a teacher for some is a feeling of lost independence. If one looks at it from another perspective a teacher is actually passing on the tools for you to eventually be free of a teacher.
_________________________
I thought I understood endurance sport; then I took up piano
XXXV-6-XXX

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#2197207 - 12/13/13 07:04 PM Re: Fingering for basic or general patterns [Re: Punchslap]
Michael Martinez Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/12
Posts: 413
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Derulux

I know towns like that well.. they usually have someone who can play the piano.


Yeah but whether they can teach is a different matter.

Regarding the original question, honestly I think too much emphasis is given to "proper" fingering. My opinion is basically any fingering that works smoothly for you is fine. You can't get hung up on fingering. There have been professional pianists and keyboard players who only use the same two or three fingers in each hand to do everything.
_________________________
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http://www.michael--martinez.com/music/

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#2197236 - 12/13/13 08:42 PM Re: Fingering for basic or general patterns [Re: Punchslap]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 759
Originally Posted By: Punchslap
Would "On Piano Playing: Motion, Sound, and Expression" by Gyorgy Sandor be something to combine the book you mentioned with?


NO! Well, yes. But no smile

That book is a very good read. It proposes a technique foundation that tries to be rooted in the anatomical structure of the body and relies on the joint simultaneous movement of multiple parts of the body to moderate degree to yield big effects.

But the techniques themselves are ultimately pretty advanced. You'd be sort of stepping into advanced calculus without a teacher. It takes a lot of slogging away at the keyboard to start to get a glimmer of what he's saying... and you'd have to be in intermediate repertoire, I think, to really begin to put some of it in action. That is to say, it's really targeted more for folks who have some basic grounding.

Scale-wise, the trick for the fingerings that I've learned for major scales is: long fingers on black notes, thumb on white notes. There are a couple of different patterns for the various scales, and you can almost certainly find canonical fingerings online--but in my experience they're all based on that basic principle.
_________________________
Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#2197318 - 12/14/13 01:33 AM Re: Fingering for basic or general patterns [Re: Whizbang]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1301
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
FWIW --

For scale patterns:

http://collaborativepiano.blogspot.ca/20...ml#.Uqv7T_RDujd

I've just checked the major scales, and they match my ancient copy of Cooke's "Mastering the Scales and Arpeggios".

I agree with most others, here:

. . . Try to find a teacher. Life will be much easier.

. Charles

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#2197366 - 12/14/13 06:43 AM Re: Fingering for basic or general patterns [Re: Charles Cohen]
Punchslap Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/13
Posts: 57
Originally Posted By: earlofmar
Originally Posted By: Punchslap


Maybe I formulated myself incorrectly, I meant technique for the fingerings. I am aware of how basic music theory works, but not how to practically apply correctly with proper technique on the piano.



I am confused your first post requests help on fingering for scales but later you request "technique for the fingerings". Two different things but perhaps English is not your first language.

Here is a chart of scale fingering here

While it is admirable that so many new starters want to learn everything all on their own, there are pros and cons to the method. My opinion, as one who thought I would not benefit from a teacher, is the benefits of having a teacher outweigh any negatives.

I would like to add as well that perhaps the thought of having a teacher for some is a feeling of lost independence. If one looks at it from another perspective a teacher is actually passing on the tools for you to eventually be free of a teacher.



I see your point; I'll try with my local one so I can at least be sure with the basics.
Nope, English is not my native language. And thanks for the link!

Originally Posted By: Whizbang
Originally Posted By: Punchslap
Would "On Piano Playing: Motion, Sound, and Expression" by Gyorgy Sandor be something to combine the book you mentioned with?


NO! Well, yes. But no smile

That book is a very good read. It proposes a technique foundation that tries to be rooted in the anatomical structure of the body and relies on the joint simultaneous movement of multiple parts of the body to moderate degree to yield big effects.

But the techniques themselves are ultimately pretty advanced. You'd be sort of stepping into advanced calculus without a teacher. It takes a lot of slogging away at the keyboard to start to get a glimmer of what he's saying... and you'd have to be in intermediate repertoire, I think, to really begin to put some of it in action. That is to say, it's really targeted more for folks who have some basic grounding.

Scale-wise, the trick for the fingerings that I've learned for major scales is: long fingers on black notes, thumb on white notes. There are a couple of different patterns for the various scales, and you can almost certainly find canonical fingerings online--but in my experience they're all based on that basic principle.


Alright then; would there be any good "introductory" book you could recommend?

Thanks for the tip about fingering!


Originally Posted By: Charles Cohen
FWIW --

For scale patterns:

http://collaborativepiano.blogspot.ca/20...ml#.Uqv7T_RDujd

I've just checked the major scales, and they match my ancient copy of Cooke's "Mastering the Scales and Arpeggios".

I agree with most others, here:

. . . Try to find a teacher. Life will be much easier.

. Charles


I found the book online! Thanks for the link and tips! And yes, I guess I'll try with my local teacher.


Thanks for your help everyone!

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#2197379 - 12/14/13 07:50 AM Re: Fingering for basic or general patterns [Re: Punchslap]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11898
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Keep in mind that your experience with electric guitar is probably more typical than piano. Perhaps it's different in Sweden, too, but I've known many of my piano students who took guitar and the person who was teaching wasn't really much of a teacher, just some guy who taught himself how to play guitar and wanted to make money teaching. There are piano teachers like this as well, but I've known far more who are professionals. So take a look around first, and just be sure to ask them the right questions.

Do a search on this forum and the Teacher's Forum regarding how to find a good piano teacher for adults.

As for fingering, in a way I agree with Michael Martinez. Fingering in different pieces will vary from pianist to pianist depending on their particular playing technique, size of hands, etc. So there is no one right way for some things. However, there are accepted fingerings for scales by the vast majority of pianists out there that follows a logical pattern and suits most people. Understanding the "rules" first and then learning your own way of figuring out fingering based on the principles behind that fingering is a better way to start. When students use whatever fingering, that usually means whatever fingering each time they play it, which means muscle memory is not solid because it changes each time they play it. It also may lend to an uneven sound or tempo if it is a poor choice if fingering.
_________________________
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Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2197525 - 12/14/13 01:38 PM Re: Fingering for basic or general patterns [Re: Punchslap]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 759
Originally Posted By: Punchslap
Alright then; would there be any good "introductory" book you could recommend?


Instead of a book, how about a video? "Freeing the Caged Bird" is a well-regarded technique video. I'm not sure if there's a version that will play in Europe, though. (Unless you've got a multi-region DVD player.)

Don't get me wrong. I think the Sandor book is great. But I think without a teacher there or having had much keyboard experience, I think it will be much harder to translate the written (and photo) advice into the correct movements. With a video, you'll be better set, in that you can see how the performer is moving. And with a good teacher, you'd be even better set, because they could watch your movements as you put principle into action and correct you if you are off course.

For canonical scale and arpeggio fingerings, the other resources in this thread should be fine. The technique books are generally about

1) playing piano safely [it's a pretty dangerous instrument, really]
2) learning the proper balance between tension and relaxation so you can pull off tough passages well, which only becomes a real concern as you go deeper into the repertoire
3) good tone production

Also, technique-wise, note that there are a LOT of schools of opinion and it's not like there's an impartial scientific scale against which the different schools can measure their effectiveness.
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Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#2197829 - 12/15/13 04:45 AM Re: Fingering for basic or general patterns [Re: Punchslap]
StarvingLion Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/30/13
Posts: 226
Google 'Keyboard Fingering and Interpretation by Jeffrey Swinkin'. Its a 26 page pdf .

Google 'Natural Fingering: A topographical approach to Pianism' by Jon Verbalis 220 pages. Companion website
http://www.oup.com/us/naturalfingering

IMO, for classical music, Czerny's Op.500 is the best resource for learning how to play the piano. Its free for download at various places (including pianostreet.com). Biggest problem with it is that it uses a dumb numbering scheme for fingering. Also, skip the etudes in Op.500 and use Czerny Op.823 and then Op. 599 instead. I like the czerny etudes in general.

I use the Seymour Fink book and DVD for learning coordinated movements and the William S. Newman book 'The Pianists Problems' and the book by Berman 'Notes from the Pianists Bench".

I don't use an instructor either.

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#2198529 - 12/16/13 01:23 PM Re: Fingering for basic or general patterns [Re: Punchslap]
Punchslap Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/13
Posts: 57
Nice! I've got myself a collection of learning resources now(bunch of PDF's and I'm going to get those videos all of you mentioned), I guess I'll try to understand them during the time before I get in contact with a teacher. Thanks a bunch!

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#2198739 - 12/16/13 06:13 PM Re: Fingering for basic or general patterns [Re: Punchslap]
Michael Martinez Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/12
Posts: 413
Loc: California
Morodien's suggestions are good. Basically when I was growing up I played classical piano and went through the whole "scale-fingering" exercises thing with crossing over on the 3 for some scales, on the 4 for other scales, etc..... The upshot was that I acquired good control and technique, but I don't actually apply these things rigidly in my playing nowadays.
_________________________
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http://www.michael--martinez.com/music/

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#2199116 - 12/17/13 12:46 PM Re: Fingering for basic or general patterns [Re: Punchslap]
piano_deb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/26/05
Posts: 787
Loc: Memphis, TN
Punchslap, as you may already be aware, there are series books designed specifically to teach piano; it might be useful to have a broader base of instruction than just scales. You could investigate the "Alfreds" series or "Faber" books. I believe that Alfreds has an all-in-one book for adults. There are a couple of other adult-oriented series/books as well; look for "complete piano" or "piano handbook." (I'm not at home and can't check for exact titles now.)

Like others before me, I highly recommend working with a teacher if you can find a good one. FYI, there are teachers these days who teach long-distance via Skype, so that could certainly be worth investigating, as it could remove geographical barriers.

Hope this is helpful. smile
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#2199145 - 12/17/13 01:31 PM Re: Fingering for basic or general patterns [Re: piano_deb]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3199
Loc: Virginia, USA
Scale fingerings don't transfer as well to repertoire as you might think.

And scales aren't always a perfect choice for a beginner especially without a teacher, unlike on other instruments.

But if you want to do scales, the fingering is really simple. It is just 1-2-3-1-2-3-4 repeated indefinitely.

But! you don't always start on 1. You might do 3-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-1 for example. You choose where to start by trying to land fingers 2 and 3 on black keys. If possible, 2 and 3 on C# and D# and 2 3 4 on F3 etc.

It's okay to figure it out again every time.
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gotta go practice

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#2199279 - 12/17/13 05:03 PM Re: Fingering for basic or general patterns [Re: TimR]
earlofmar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1578
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: TimR


And scales aren't always a perfect choice for a beginner especially without a teacher, unlike on other instruments.



I only read this fairly recently on another post and was a bit taken aback. I thought I was just being useless at scales when I started last year and I took a long break from them. When I restarted I was more technically and musically ready and they don't seem quite so daunting now.
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