06/04/2018 Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

5 TOP TIPS to help you with your fingering!

ce35335a-cb26-4687-847e-7b18be76aef8

Advice on how to improve your fingering

By Melanie Spanswick

 

Fingering is a perpetual hot topic and we all know that finding the right fingering solution for a particular passage can make a colossal difference, fostering smooth, fluent, and ideally, comfortable playing.There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to fingering as everyone one of us has a different size hand, but hopefully the following suggestions may be helpful. 

 

Aim to know all the standard fingerings for scales (particularly contrary motion), arpeggios, and broken chords. If you know these fingerings, you will have a substantial advantage when learning any repertoire, but especially in Baroque and Classical styles, where scale passages and arpeggios abound. It can be prudent to learn two or three fingerings for chromatic scales and a couple for chromatic thirds as well. 

 

Know where your thumbs are and where they should be! Even when passage work isn’t symmetrical, the thumbs can stabilize the hand and being aware of where they fall in rapid figurations aids the memory, making fingering easier to grasp. 

 

 

I advise my students to play ‘in position’ as much as possible. This involves limiting turning the hand or changing hand positions. Many hand turns can easily lead to a bumpy, uneven musical line (this happens when there are too many thumbs on the scene!). If you can use outer parts of the hand (the fourth and fifth finger) as much as the inner part (thumb and second finger), not only will the hand be more balanced, but it will also feel natural to play without so much movement. The fourth and fifth finger will need to be sufficiently strong in order to do this. 

 

Finger substitution and finger sliding both ultimately provide smooth legato. Changing fingers on a note (once you’ve played a note, quickly replace whatever finger you used to play the note with another, whilst keeping the note depressed), or sliding fingers from one note to another, but still keeping the musical line (almost connecting the notes, as much as you can, so the overall impression is one of legato). 

 

Once you’ve decided on your fingering, DO NOT change it! This is a cardinal rule; when you change or substitute fingers after working at the original fingering for a while, the brain has already wired these finger movements and cancelling them will be awkward to say the least. Practice tends to make permanent, so spend some time writing your fingering in the score before you begin studying a piece, and be quite sure your chosen fingerings suit your hand and you are happy with them. 

 

Melanie Spanswick 

 

 

Back to News

06/04/2018 Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

Leslie Howard gives all-Liszt 70th birthday recital at Wigmore Hall this Sunday

When his mammoth complete Liszt 99-disc box set was released on Hyperion a few years back, he spoke to ...


The World's Oldest Piano

Sitting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is the world’s oldest piano. Dating from 1720, the ...


The Leeds International Piano Competition 2018, First Round, New York City

Stuart Isacoff reports from the second day’s session, where two pianists capture his attention ...


Who will teach the piano teachers?

Erica Worth profiles a new course offering advice and support to piano pedagogues ...


Other News

The Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room were reopened on Monday 9 April

with a concert by Chineke! and an exhibition that surveys the history of one of London’s most iconic music ...


America pianist Emanuel Ax is honoured by LPO

with a Lifetime Award for Musical Achievement by the American Friends of the London Philharmonic Orchestra ...


Jacob Collier takes Centre Stage at Frankfurt Musikmesse 2018

Yamaha Music Europe is proud to announce that double Grammy award-winning, multi-instrumentalist, composer ...


Oxford Piano Festival celebrates 20th anniversary this summer

with appearances by Alfred Brendel, Richard Goode, Sir András Schiff, Dame Fanny Waterman and many more ...