Four-note chord fingerings

Posted by: de cajon

Four-note chord fingerings - 07/12/13 04:17 AM

Back in the 70s (having heard Keith Emerson's version), I learned the piano versions of Promenade and the The Great Gate of Kiev from Mussorgsky's Picture At An Exhibition. I'm now trying to play Promenade, with its fistfuls of chords, again.

Now, I have a tendency to play all four-note chords with (right hand) 1, 2, 3 and 5. I'm thinking I should probably be trying to improve my technique by playing straightforward four-note major and minor chord inversions (nothing worse than three or four flats) with 1, 2, 4 and 5?
Posted by: Greener

Re: Four-note chord fingerings - 07/12/13 07:26 AM

Not sure how many would agree, but my inclination would be ...

play the chord in the most comfortable + sensible method based on the chord or register position you've just come from and where you are going next. Ie. NOT a restriction of finger positioning for all 4 note chords.

It doesn't make sense to play a compact chord vs. a very spread out open chord always with the same fingers.

just my two bits though ...
Posted by: Ken.

Re: Four-note chord fingerings - 07/12/13 03:39 PM

I use "The Source" by Steve Barta. It contains fingerings for 4 note chords and their inversions for both left and right hands. It also contains fingerings for modes and various scales.

For the RH the for the fingering for the root voicings he uses is 1235, 1st inversion 1234 with some exceptions, 2nd inversion 1235 with some exceptions, and 3rd inversion 1235 with some exceptions.
Posted by: de cajon

Re: Four-note chord fingerings - 07/13/13 05:15 AM

I'm guessing those fingerings are for 7ths, etc.

1234 for the 1st inversion of C major or F major isn't going to work at all for me eek . I don't think Promenade has anything other than plain majors and minors.
Posted by: John_In_Montreal

Re: Four-note chord fingerings - 07/13/13 05:23 PM

Originally Posted By: jdeacon
I'm guessing those fingerings are for 7ths, etc.

1234 for the 1st inversion of C major or F major isn't going to work at all for me eek . I don't think Promenade has anything other than plain majors and minors.


Did you not ask about 4 note chords in your original post? Of course, for major & minor triads 1,2,3,4 won't work. A general consensus is 1,3,5; 1,2,4 or 5 for 1-st inversion; 1,3,5 for 2-nd inversion. But you also need to know where you are going next and this will influence the choice of fingering.
Posted by: de cajon

Re: Four-note chord fingerings - 07/13/13 07:09 PM

Sorry. I'm not sure of the correct term. Looking in the books four-note does indeed seem to refer to four notes all of different pitch, such a 7th, which isn't what I meant. In this piece - Promenade - many chords have four keys being played but two of the pitches will be octaves. They are all plain major or minor chords.

There's an example at 0:40 here: the right hand in the middle of bar 13 or the left hand in bar 14.

'Tis a small thing. I was just thinking maybe I should be practising more flexibility.