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What would be the recommended fingering for this descending arpeggio? (I'm currently using 5-4-2-1 but it's tricky to shift between positions.)

The tempo is somewhere around 1/4 @ 135 bpm.

Right-hand descending arpeggio from B5

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    If this arpeggio was ascending, how would you play it? Oct 11 at 20:20

4 Answers 4

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Hm, maybe something like 5-4-3-2 | 1-4-3-2 | 1-4-3-2 | ...

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    ...or maybe 5 4 3 2 | 1 4 3 2 | 1 4 2 1 depending on what's next.
    – Theodore
    Oct 11 at 20:52
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My preference

The fingering that is most comfortable and accurate for me at speed is

5-3-2-1 4-3-2-1 4-3-2-1

The initial 5-3 is because it's easier for me when my hand is that distance out from my body, but 4-3 is easier otherwise. The only drawback I found was the potential for a "gap" between 1 and 4, but that was easily covered with some half-pedaling.

Other attempts

My first instinct was the 5-4-3-2 1-4-3-2 ... fingering suggested elsewhere, but I wasn't comfortable or accurate (at speed) with covering the F#-C# distance with 3-2.

I also tried the more "radical" 1-3-1-3 1-3-1-3 ..., which seemed like a good idea in my head, but was a disaster for me on the keyboard.

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    Funny, I find 4-3-2-1 harder than 1-4-3-2, because it requires a weird movement for switching 1 on c# → 4 on b. Putting the thumb on the c# requires you to either move your hand further in or to angle your hand, both making this somewhat harder. Playing the c# with 2 instead allows your hand to remain in a natural position. But again we see, fingering is something very personal, and also this is not a particularly nice arpeggio to play ...
    – Lazy
    Oct 12 at 7:29
  • @Lazy I do tend to be comfortable with my hand far forward (toward the fall board), but the disadvantage is just as you say. I don't even try to make a legato connection between 1 on C# and 4 on B. I just make a horizontal shift, which gets close to legato, but then I use the pedal to cover for me.
    – Aaron
    Oct 12 at 14:57
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1 on the second B, turn 4 onto the A (like @Lazy said). Or 5 4 3 2 [shift] 5 4 3 2...

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Find a new teacher. You don't want to attempt applying what you read on the internet. A teacher will not only tell you what to do correctly but sleuth out what you may be doing wrong and you don't know it. Often it is not enough to know what to do because what not to do is often insidiously invisible. IOW, you may be doing everything right but there is an invisible movement holding you back. Only a knowledgeable teacher will be able to find it. Not the internet.

To answer your question though, it is not which fingers but how you use them. I'd have to see you play this section but I'd focus on the elbow for the shifts, pronation and supination of the forearm, playing to the point of sound with the proper in/out movements because your fingers are all different lengths and the black keys are higher than the white ones, and, slap you if you abduct any of your fingers. Abduction creates muscular co-contractions which will destroy legato every time. Oh, this passage can be ripe with ulnar and radial deviations of the wrist which will destroy the line, too. Your bones can only move in one direction at a time and when you use two muscles to pull one bone in two directions . . . anarchy reigns.

There is another problem: Muscle memory. If you already tried to work on this, you may have already hardwired improper movement into your muscle memory and SOME PEOPLE (like me) will never master what they learned first-incorrectly. For example, if you sloppily played something as a beginner, years later as you advance beyond that piece, if you played that first piece years later, some of the old improper movements will come back. It is not because you are rusty, took a day off or are having a bad day, muscle memory is rearing is ugly head.

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    Sorry, but I find this answer not only not helpful, but to some extent abusive. You are literally claiming you’d need to slap the OP if he did something wrong. There is nothing wrong with asking on a music related site for fingering suggestions. Yes, a teacher might help in that regard. But you do not know anything about the OPs situation. Also this same argument could be applied to pretty much any technique-related question, to any practise-related question, even to theory and history-related questions.
    – Lazy
    Oct 12 at 7:21

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