Learn to improvise. 2004-2005. Lesson 16: piano fingering.
Beginners often don't pay attention to piano fingering, with the result
they have a strange way using their hands. For every melody and chord
you must ferret out which finger will have to be used for every note.
Sheet music sometimes has the fingering with numbers above the notes
to save you time. The numbers from thumb to the little finger are 1 to
We will use the scale of C as an example to show good fingering. If the
right hand plays from left to right the thumb shifts every 3 or 4
notes underneath the other fingers in the following
1 2 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5
c d e f g a b c d e f g a b c
It takes exercise to play so smooth you can't hear the jump of the
Sometimes it is better not to start like you expect, e.g. the scale of D-flat
can best be started with the index finger in stead of the
Everyone will be able to find the best fingering for a certain phrase, but
he has to be motivated to pay enough attention to it. After the right
fingering has been found, often one ignores to apply it for a
refined and rhythmic articulation. The capability of a piano to
give every note its own strenght rarely is exploited. Usually one playes
too loud. Try to play softly!! From there you may play
accents, which will appeal to the listener rather than stun him.
During improvising there is no time to ferret out the fingering, but those
who have always payed attention to fingering in other cases, have got a
routine preventing them from extreme clumsy use of their
hands. Apart from that, also during improvising one can think
ahead and have ones hand in the right position before knowing
every single note one is going to play.
The other way around an improviser may make the choice of his notes
dependent on the position of his hands on a certain moment. This is not
inferior; after all, every instrument has its peculiarities and the same
holds for the combination of an instrument and his player.
A good position requires a steady chair, with a height to have your
forearm horizontally. The shoulders must be relaxed. The
fingers have to be bent in a way the last phalanx (near the nail) is
vertical during the touch of the key. The nails have to be
A refinement may have people (often women) moving their pulses for a
light touch. Sometimes, when black and white keys are used the fingers
have to be placed between the black keys. The touch is heavier, but
there is no other choice then.
Every style has its typical phrases. In jazz it is the blue note in
combination with some other notes. On the piano this is played by
combining the notes e-flat and e (in the key of C). In classical music the
melody 'e-flat - e' is played with two different fingers, but in jazz the
middle finger often slides off the e-flat to the e to get a jazzy effect.
Some fingerings are good for everyone, like those of the scales. But as
hands and locomotion are different, there may be differences in
fingering. Apart from that one may deviate from the common rules
due to circumstance. Some jazz pianists play with streched fingers in
stead of bent ones. Mind to make a good fingering for a phrase
before learning it by heart!
Make the best fingering for the melodies and chords
More about piano fingering, taken from the Internet.
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