What are your fingering ideosyncracies?

Posted by: Kuanpiano

What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 12/31/12 10:16 PM

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.
Posted by: Ferdinand

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/01/13 02:10 AM

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.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/01/13 08:57 AM

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.
Posted by: BruceD

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/01/13 09:38 AM

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
Posted by: gooddog

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/01/13 11:48 AM

The only idiosyncrasy I can think of is my tendency to arrange the fingering so my trills are played with non-adjacent fingers.
Posted by: WinsomeAllegretto

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/01/13 12:21 PM

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.
Posted by: Derulux

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/01/13 01:04 PM

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.
Posted by: gooddog

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/01/13 01:58 PM

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.
Posted by: jeffreyjones

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/01/13 02:04 PM

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.
Posted by: jdhampton924

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/01/13 02:38 PM

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.
Posted by: debrucey

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/01/13 02:47 PM

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.
Posted by: Ragdoll

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/01/13 03:08 PM

thumb

Me too, I have small hands
Posted by: Ted

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/01/13 03:18 PM

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.
Posted by: ando

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/01/13 03:56 PM

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.
Posted by: Kuanpiano

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/01/13 09:05 PM

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?
Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/01/13 09:47 PM

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.

Posted by: bennevis

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/02/13 05:21 AM

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).
Posted by: debrucey

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/02/13 06:32 AM

There is one note in Appassionata which I use my fist for
Posted by: bennevis

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/02/13 06:41 AM

Originally Posted By: debrucey
There is one note in Appassionata which I use my fist for


Which one?
Posted by: Kuanpiano

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/02/13 06:48 AM

Woahwoahwoah, which one?
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/02/13 09:28 AM

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.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/02/13 09:38 AM

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.
Posted by: ando

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/02/13 12:45 PM

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.
Posted by: debrucey

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/02/13 03:24 PM

See if you can spot it ;-)

Posted by: didyougethathing

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/02/13 06:29 PM

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).
Posted by: Damon

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/02/13 08:30 PM

I always change fingers on repeated notes unless it is impossible.
Posted by: didyougethathing

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/03/13 12:41 AM

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.
Posted by: argerichfan

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/03/13 01:14 AM

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.)

Posted by: JoelW

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/03/13 02:26 AM

In my right hand I trill better with 35 than 23. I don't know why.
Posted by: Derulux

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/03/13 03:37 AM

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
Posted by: debrucey

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/03/13 03:53 AM

I'll change fingers on a couple of repeated notes in fast passage work, but if its a long string of them like in Appassionata (or if its a lyrical melody like in 4th Ballade) then I won't change.
Posted by: JoelW

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/03/13 03:56 AM

Originally Posted By: Derulux
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


Well, it's not like I can't trill well with 23, but 35 seems more consistently obedient.
Posted by: maxmila

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/03/13 05:41 AM

Originally Posted By: debrucey
See if you can spot it ;-)



Ah, the D-flat at ms.130 (I felt like listening to your Appassionata -you did a very fine job). This reminds me of a most illustrious example of that gimmick.

Out of curiosity, why did you use the fist? I don't think it is of particular advantage there. In ABM's case I suspect it was merely for tone control.
Posted by: debrucey

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/03/13 05:46 AM

Because I found it gave me the best balance of power and accuracy, that's all. I wouldn't say it was a gimmick, I wouldn't have done it if there wasn't a good reason.
Posted by: maxmila

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/03/13 06:15 AM

You're right, "gimmick" was not the best choice of word. In fact I do believe that the relationship with the instrument is so individual that "if it works it is good" is the best philosophy to follow.
Posted by: gooddog

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/03/13 05:27 PM

Originally Posted By: Derulux
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

Well, that's food for thought. I've always preferred trilling with non-adjacent fingers but I've never thought about why I avoid adjacent ones. I'm going to have to pay attention and see if you suggestion is the reason. Thanks!
Posted by: trigalg693

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/03/13 05:35 PM

When the hand is stretched, I am almost always using 4 where everyone else uses 3, even though I can reach with 3. For example, chords that look like C Ab C (going up) are all done with 145. I also try to trill with 34 everywhere, because I can :P
Posted by: Kuanpiano

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/03/13 06:59 PM

There's this rising chromatic scale at the beginning of the recap of Beethoven's Waldstein sonata, first movement, that I finger as 4-5-4-5 a la Chopin...hahaha.
Posted by: trigalg693

Re: What are your fingering ideosyncracies? - 01/03/13 10:16 PM

Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
There's this rising chromatic scale at the beginning of the recap of Beethoven's Waldstein sonata, first movement, that I finger as 4-5-4-5 a la Chopin...hahaha.


Glad I'm not the only crazy around laugh