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technique question - thumb on black keys


jsaras

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I have a fairly decent technique at the piano. I can play all the usual scales in contrary motion and I can play the Two-Part Inventions and not sound like an idiot...just to give you an idea of where I am with my technique in general.

 

Anyway, I've noticed that the weakest link in my technique is playing things that require the thumb to land on a black note. For example, the two-octave B major pentatonic scale is a killer. I use 1234 123 1235 as my fingering. Obviously a "thumb-under" approach doesn't work here. I am aware of the use of hand rotation and the elbow pulling the arm along, which almost produces a "thumb-over" technique.

 

How do you get your thumb to land securely on those black notes?

 

Thanks,

J

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In the case you mentioned, I would put the thumb on B, then F#, then C#. The fingering would then be 123 123 12345 That puts the thumb in more natural positions on the keyboard, with the thumb generally having a good deal of space between notes to be clumsy ;)

 

Other than that, it just takes practice...

A ROMpler is just a polyphonic turntable.
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OK, but one needs to practice a correct habit over and over...what part of the thumb should make contact with the key? On white keys the hand position can be kinda high and you can keep your thumb knuckle fully extended and land top dead center of the tip of the thumb without problems.

 

On black keys that approach is extremely diffucult because the keys aren't as wide...so you have to almost aim for the thumb joint.

 

There's gotta be someone here who's had too much classical training!

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you're going about this all wrong.

if ever there's a situation where the song is supposed to be in the key of "B" you should insinuate that the singer is straining on the higher notes,and then suggest the song be played in "Bb" to spare their voice.

problem solved :P

 

unless you're singing,in which case you should have learned it in a different key to avoid this problem...

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Just a little tangent here, If you practice playing scales in thirds (minor&major) it tends to have the effect after some weeks of proping the hands up a bit and I found it helped my accuracy for thumb turns also.
SP6, CP-50, FP-80, PX5-S, NE-5d61, XK-3, CX-3, Yamaha YUX Upright, '66 B3/Leslie 145/122
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OK, but one needs to practice a correct habit over and over...what part of the thumb should make contact with the key? On white keys the hand position can be kinda high and you can keep your thumb knuckle fully extended and land top dead center of the tip of the thumb without problems.

 

On black keys that approach is extremely diffucult because the keys aren't as wide...so you have to almost aim for the thumb joint.

 

There's gotta be someone here who's had too much classical training!

I guess it depends who you ask, but in my case I play notes with my thumb mostly with the side of my thumb.
A ROMpler is just a polyphonic turntable.
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My brother, a monster pianist, had this to say about it when I asked him if it was OK to use the thumb on a black key.

 

"Sure. why not. actually if you turn your hand just slightly sideways and use the side of the thumb around the knuckle its very easy.

 

"The only people that say don't use your thumb on black keys are nuns!"

 

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. The fingering would then be 123 123 12345 .....

 

Other alternate fingerings could be:

 

23-123-123-124

 

The next two are Debussy fingerings:

 

234-234-23-234

 

234-234-234-35

 

1234-23-12345

 

12345-12345-1 or 5.....you have to have strong finger independence to play leagato.

 

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

 

NY Steinway D

Yamaha AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. The fingering would then be 123 123 12345 .....

 

Other alternate fingerings could be:

 

23-123-123-124

 

The next two are Debussy fingerings:

 

234-234-23-234

 

234-234-234-35

 

1234-23-12345

 

12345-12345-1 or 5.....you have to have strong finger independence to play leagato.

Yeah Dave, all of those a beauties, real technique builders but not killers.
A ROMpler is just a polyphonic turntable.
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Del,

 

I've never heard about not using your thumb on black keys, that's a very strange idea to me!

 

BTW, do you know about these thumb sucker photo cards:

WDeck . . .

 

 

sucking your thumb will strengthen it.

 

http://planetsean.blogspot.com/uploaded_images/bushthumbReuters1-792019.jpg

SP6, CP-50, FP-80, PX5-S, NE-5d61, XK-3, CX-3, Yamaha YUX Upright, '66 B3/Leslie 145/122
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I've never heard about not using your thumb on black keys, that's a very strange idea to me!

 

Debussy wrote a lot in the keys of Db,B, Gb and E.

A lot of his music have Pentatonic passages in them. One piece, Etude #6 Book I, is played not using the thumb at all, you are alternating lines between the LH & RH hands using the 5432 (LH) 2345 (RH) fingering.

A great study for legato, finger strength and independence.

 

It can take some getting used to, but once you get accustomed to the hand position, it's actually easier to get a more legato, connected sound in those kind of passages.

 

 

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

 

NY Steinway D

Yamaha AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I just had an extended conversation with my classical accordionist friend, Nick Ariondo, and he gave me the following fingerings that really make great sense.

 

12 123 12 1235

12 123 123 124

 

231 231 21 235

 

The one thing that these fingerings have in common is that the crossover to a black note is only done from the C# to D# and never under the 4th finger. The short crossover distance helps to maintain good hand position. Also, these fingerings are basically three finger runs, a device that Art Tatum loved to use.

 

That will be $75 for the lesson!

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