Fingers and thumbs.

Questions on learning to play the piano, and piano music.

Moderators: Feg, Gill the Piano

Post Reply
Jonathan the 2nd
Persistent Poster
Persistent Poster
Posts: 238
Joined: 09 Dec 2011, 16:37

Fingers and thumbs.

Post by Jonathan the 2nd » 09 Dec 2011, 21:51

At 68 I have decided (almost ) to learn the piano. I read one useful rule yesterday. Don`t play black notes with your thumbs. Are there any others to learn after that or am I already a pedagog?( Should be spelled Pedagogue but it`s such a silly word .I don`t want to encourage it ).
Last edited by Jonathan the 2nd on 15 Dec 2011, 11:38, edited 2 times in total.

dancarney
Persistent Poster
Persistent Poster
Posts: 105
Joined: 22 Feb 2011, 19:55
Location: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

Re: Fingers and thumbs.

Post by dancarney » 11 Dec 2011, 18:28

Don't put your thumb on a black-note 'rule' really only applies to scales, in my opinion.
Dan Carney BMus(Hons) DipABRSM

Junior Piano Technician

Jonathan the 2nd
Persistent Poster
Persistent Poster
Posts: 238
Joined: 09 Dec 2011, 16:37

Re: Fingers and thumbs.

Post by Jonathan the 2nd » 11 Dec 2011, 19:07

I`ve got a funny feeling I am on the wrong site here. I feel as if this is for technicians and teachers , but not absolute beginners. I`ll get me coat.

Gill the Piano
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 4114
Joined: 25 Oct 2003, 19:39
Location: Thames Valley

Re: Fingers and thumbs.

Post by Gill the Piano » 12 Dec 2011, 15:53

Yes, there's the Piano Lounge for gossip and Learning and Teaching Piano for serious stuff! :)
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

Jonathan the 2nd
Persistent Poster
Persistent Poster
Posts: 238
Joined: 09 Dec 2011, 16:37

Re: Fingers and thumbs.

Post by Jonathan the 2nd » 15 Dec 2011, 11:37

I read that there are very few books about placing the fingers on a piano . That`s the area I was thinking of. Maybe it`s all down to improvising. But I always thought teachers would be watching for that. I thought that was why they taught scales. As a beginner these questions may seem too vague for experts . Sorry about that.

Gill the Piano
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 4114
Joined: 25 Oct 2003, 19:39
Location: Thames Valley

Re: Fingers and thumbs.

Post by Gill the Piano » 15 Dec 2011, 18:21

If you want detail about finger placing and stuff like that, read Tobias Matthay's books. They go on & on & on & on about it!
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

Jonathan the 2nd
Persistent Poster
Persistent Poster
Posts: 238
Joined: 09 Dec 2011, 16:37

Re: Fingers and thumbs.

Post by Jonathan the 2nd » 15 Dec 2011, 20:41

Thankyou Gill. I shall look for that. I found a very useful chart with the fingering for all the different scales . Sure enough the thumbs stay on the white notes. It`s a good start for me. I needed a mental picture for each key.

User avatar
Colin Nicholson
Executive Poster
Executive Poster
Posts: 1829
Joined: 04 Jul 2010, 19:15
Location: Morpeth, Northumberland
Contact:

Re: Fingers and thumbs.

Post by Colin Nicholson » 16 Dec 2011, 02:09

All the scales that start on a white key (the sharp keys): G, D, A, E and B major start with the thumb in the right hand, but the sharp & flat keys that start on a black key: F#, Bb, Eb, Ab, and Db major start with the 2nd finger - right hand.

The only 2 exercises (that I know of) start on a black key with the RH thumb - are the arpeggios of F# major and Eb minor - since they are all black keys.

When I did my diploma - I had to learn 'double octave' scales both hands together - so every note in the right hand consisted of the thumb & 5th finger! .... dont know if its changed now?
AA Piano Tuners UK

Colin Nicholson Dip. Mus. CMIT CLCM PTLLS
Piano tuning & repairs. Full UK restoration service
http://www.aatuners.com
Tuition ~ Accompaniment ~ Weddings
http://www.pianotime1964.com
Member of The Guild of Master Craftsmen

Jonathan the 2nd
Persistent Poster
Persistent Poster
Posts: 238
Joined: 09 Dec 2011, 16:37

Re: Fingers and thumbs.

Post by Jonathan the 2nd » 16 Dec 2011, 11:13

I found also a thing called the Chopin position which is what he taught his pupils. He used the thumb and small finger for white keys and 2,3 and 4 for blacks. I was surprised to see so many scales that don`t use the small finger at all. I wonder why the charts are only showing the right hand picture .

Gill the Piano
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 4114
Joined: 25 Oct 2003, 19:39
Location: Thames Valley

Re: Fingers and thumbs.

Post by Gill the Piano » 16 Dec 2011, 18:52

Matthay also had his own system of scale fingering - I only tried the D major one, but it fell surprisingly easily under the fingers.
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

Jonathan the 2nd
Persistent Poster
Persistent Poster
Posts: 238
Joined: 09 Dec 2011, 16:37

Re: Fingers and thumbs.

Post by Jonathan the 2nd » 16 Dec 2011, 20:00

I tried to work out the best sequence for left hand for each scale. The pattern I was aiming at , after a few attempts , would have logically started and ended one octave on the same finger that I started on. But looking at the right hand patterns shown on the net there are nine that start on one finger and finish on another. So the second octave might end in a tangle. The other thing that occured to me is not to twist the hand left and then right inside one octave. It`s a good puzzle corner game .

dancarney
Persistent Poster
Persistent Poster
Posts: 105
Joined: 22 Feb 2011, 19:55
Location: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

Re: Fingers and thumbs.

Post by dancarney » 21 Jan 2012, 18:21

This is an excerpt from one of my University essays (Topic: From piano or organ to harpsichord: discuss the essential elements of both technique and style in the development of an apprentice harpsichordist).

Some may find it of interest as it touches on some previous comments.

‘ABRSM’ convention of, say for example, the right-hand C major scale is to finger the ascending scale in the following way: 1,2,3,1,2,3,4,5, and descending with 5,4,3,2,1,3,2,1. The most common ‘early’ alternative takes the ascending pattern of 1,2,3,4,3,4,3,4 and 4,3,2,3,2,3,2,1. Like in the world of pianism, the left-hand was, and to some extent still is, seen as the weaker hand when compared to the right-hand. Therefore, the early fingering of a C major left-hand ascending scale follows the pattern of: 4,3,2,1,2,1,2,1 – cleverly utilizing the stronger fingers, i. e. those closest to the thumb. Essentially, early fingering not only permits a harpsichordist to move ‘quietly’ from note to note, but is also a highly logical way of improving keyboard-based mobility and dexterity.

Early fingering is a defined, systematic approach to fingering; it is not a case of using a ‘spare’ finger where/when possible. The piano students of today generally begin with basic one or two part pieces – these pieces focus on the fundamentals; finger mobility, the passing of the thumb, hand position, and freedom of the wrist. It is evident that from looking at Francois Couperin’s L’Art de Toucher le Clavecin, that students began with rather simple two-part pieces, and gradually began to play pieces with increased difficulty/more complex textures. However, acquiring a technique at the harpsichord, when one has been firstly conditioned at the piano, cannot be fully developed by merely learning musical works of progressive difficulty. Some purely technical work is required. It would seem that the above methodology is not too dissimilar to how one begins to learn the piano, today. The only discernable difference is that there is arguably more tutorial piano literature available for the piano. There is, however, no room for argument in regards to where these more modern methods have evolved from.
Dan Carney BMus(Hons) DipABRSM

Junior Piano Technician

Jonathan the 2nd
Persistent Poster
Persistent Poster
Posts: 238
Joined: 09 Dec 2011, 16:37

Re: Fingers and thumbs.

Post by Jonathan the 2nd » 21 Jan 2012, 20:16

The 4,3,2, 3,2,1 for right hand looks incredibly awkward. We haven`t evolved ( physically , I mean ) much since harpsichords were the main instrument. If you defined a stepover in Football , would that be Football Pedagogy?
Last edited by Jonathan the 2nd on 23 Jan 2012, 13:46, edited 1 time in total.

dancarney
Persistent Poster
Persistent Poster
Posts: 105
Joined: 22 Feb 2011, 19:55
Location: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

Re: Fingers and thumbs.

Post by dancarney » 21 Jan 2012, 22:43

We haven't evolved much, but fingering definitely has. Compare Chopin Paderewski edition vs. Chopin Ekier edition.
Dan Carney BMus(Hons) DipABRSM

Junior Piano Technician

Jonathan the 2nd
Persistent Poster
Persistent Poster
Posts: 238
Joined: 09 Dec 2011, 16:37

Re: Fingers and thumbs.

Post by Jonathan the 2nd » 23 Jan 2012, 13:49

It seems , at first ,like a very basic subject then suddenly swerves into incredibly technical. Definitely one for the thoroughbreds racing around the keys.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest