I’m only a month into using SimplyPiano and there are a few songs that have left hand combos of E and G#.

The numbers suggest I use 1-3, but I can’t get my thumb up to G# unless I slide all the way to the top of the keyboard. It’s easier to just use my index finger and slide over, but that’s then 2-3. I am trying not to come up with bad finger techniques... so this is where a real teacher comes in :-)

Advice would be appreciated. I see the G# Major chord is played with the “slide up”, but surprised SimplyPiano would introduce those notes without a lesson on it.

Edit > this is an example of just one. I could shift positions and "cheat" some, but it sounds like the "shift up" is proper, but just haven't learned it. There aren't a ton of these, just happened to stumble on it. Any other thoughts are appreciated. enter image description here

  • 1
    This is a strange fingering to recommend for a beginner. Can you post the context? There might be a specific reason for it, or it might be a mistake either in the material you're looking at or your interpretation of it.
    – Aaron
    Dec 22, 2020 at 5:17
  • Could the figerings be back to front? Pinky=1, middle=3?
    – Tim
    Dec 22, 2020 at 7:26
  • Not leaving this as an answer, because I feel like the question is more about playing the black key with your thumb, which has been answered. However, as mentioned by others, this fingering is quite strange and doesn't necessarily teach the best practices. I would suggest 1-5, 2-4, 1-2 instead.
    – WillRoss1
    Dec 22, 2020 at 15:06

4 Answers 4


Dont be afraid to use the entire key to play things, it is IMPOSSIBLE to stay on the edge for everything BECAUSE BLACK NOTES EXIST

If you avoid sliding into the key, you run into terrible positions like this:

enter image description here

Isn't that disgusting? My entire hand feels contorted and I am just begging for carpal tunnel syndrome. Instead, compare the beauty of a good hand position:

enter image description here

So much nicer, isn't it? Do not be afraid to slide into the piano to reach black notes with your thumb. Whatever your fingers, you cannot sacrifice the form of your hand and wrist in the process

  • 1
    +1 for the photos. Love photos! (The all caps bold-face is a bit much, though. Maybe just the bold?)
    – Aaron
    Dec 22, 2020 at 5:18
  • Thank you for the thorough information. I had not considered carpal tunnels and pain issues yet, just speed/proficiency in moving, but this makes sense.
    – Sureshoe
    Dec 22, 2020 at 13:30

UPDATE: Now that the example is posted in the OP: I suggest using 5-3 for the E-G#. It will be more comfortable, and it will prepare the hand for the A-C that follows.

To play E and G# with left-hand fingers 3 and 1, the correct technique is to slide your hand toward the back end of the keys, as you're doing.

However, this is an odd fingering to use, especially for a beginner. It would be standard for the right hand, but for the left hand, 5 (on E) and 3 (on G#) would be more typical and not require a shift in hand position.

The 2-3 combination you tried might be used in a specific context that demanded it, but it would be context-specific, not a general way to play those notes.

  • This is where my ignorance will show. I only “know” the C and F position. The 5-3 you describe sounds like an E position or something, that I haven’t been introduced to. I’ll be giving the slide up a shot. Thanks!
    – Sureshoe
    Dec 22, 2020 at 13:28
  • Follow up, that 5-3 is much more comfortable and easy. Is that a “cheat”’as a beginner? It’s technically not C or F position. Am I being needlessly strict? Again, this is where self-teaching has its limits. Thanks for all the help!
    – Sureshoe
    Dec 22, 2020 at 16:43
  • @Sureshoe The 5-3 fingering is standard piano practice -- no cheat there. In general, piano finger is "whatever is most comfortable and effective for you", but using "positions" like C and F is a common technique for teaching beginners to help learn basic patterns.
    – Aaron
    Dec 22, 2020 at 18:05
  • That makes sense and where the real teaching is going to be needed at some point vs. just playing Guitar Hero on the piano :-)
    – Sureshoe
    Dec 23, 2020 at 3:09

I'd be more inclined to use 4-2 for the E and G♯, setting the hand up nicely for 3-1 on A and C.

3-1 on E and G♯ isn't ridiculous - yes you'd have to move your hand forward, but that's legitimate piano technique. But in this context it seems clumsy.


Fingering of one particular moment depends on what comes before and after. There isn't one correct fingering. So, you need to have a rationale for your fingering choices. I did this as my first thought...

enter image description here

Generally you want to make fingering changes to place new fingers on adjacent keys or substitute new fingers on one key, because once a finger is down on a key it's fairly easy to place another finger on an adjacent key or make a finger substitution. By comparison, if you lift your whole hand off the keyboard, you loose the spatial point of reference of an already placed finger and it harder to hit the target keys.

The rationale: 5 1 is just a 5-finger position on a perfect fifth, then 5 3 involves crossing the thumb under and placing finger 3 adjacent to the thumb on the G# key, then 2 1 just involves placing finger 2 adjacent finger 3 on the A key. Each of those moves involves and easy, adjacent placement of fingers.

The problem I see in the SimplyPiano fingering is all of the moves involve a lift of the thumb. G to G# for the thumb isn't difficult, because it's just moving up to the next key, but it leaves you in a bad position for the next change. To get to A C you need to lift the whole hand and go up a fourth. That too may not be very difficult, but it doesn't take advantage of easier moves.

If you make moves using new fingers/adjacent keys, you don't really need to look at the keyboard.

...surprised SimplyPiano would introduce those notes without a lesson on it.

The fingering given by this software application reminds me of software determined guitar tab. Such software probably follows some general principle of numerically smallest movements. But sometimes the results just don't feel right. I think you need to assume such software will give you bad fingerings and you need to develop the judgement to make better choices.

Look for a traditional, classical piano method book that gives scale, arpeggio, and double note fingers in all keys. Study the fingers given and use them as a point of reference to figure out the fingering of passages.

  • It didn’t occur to me the fingering might be computer generated. It makes sense. I might be a little less rigid because it’s actually made playing some of the songs harder.
    – Sureshoe
    Dec 23, 2020 at 3:12

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