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Title of the score is whistle while you work. What should be the academic fingering on the right hand C-E chord shown in blue of this score for "Whistle while You Work"?

I thought that it was natural to put 1-3. But is true ? If I do that, I don't respect the semi-breve note B.

Also, what is meaning silence actually ? If I use the sustain to keep the semi-breve note B, then by definition, I don't respect the silences of the left hand.

"Whistle while You Work" score

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    What is the key signature of this piece?
    – guidot
    Commented May 1, 2023 at 13:58
  • @guidot - it's going to be in key C.
    – Tim
    Commented May 1, 2023 at 14:05
  • My best guess to the silence issue is, that is intended as indication for the piano, that no singing takes place.
    – guidot
    Commented May 1, 2023 at 14:12
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    Various people have talked about a "silence" indication, but I cannot see the word "silence" anywhere. What does it refer to? As pointed out elsewhere, "sifflé" means "whistled". Commented May 1, 2023 at 19:52
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    @BrianChandler the word "silence" is not present, but the French word for "rest" is "silence," so it's possible that the question is about the rests in the left hand. Mathieu Krisztian: the English word for the signs on beats 2 and 4 of the left hand part is "rest." Is that what you meant by "silence"?
    – phoog
    Commented May 1, 2023 at 21:48

2 Answers 2

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Play the B semi-breve with thumb, and stretch a bit for E and G. The easiest option for the pairs of notes is then 3 and 5 for each pair, bouncing them, as they're staccato. That way, there's no pedal needed, and l.h. can 'play' the rests, as required.

Siffle surely means whistle, not silence - as the song's about whistling while you work... So, whistle the tune rather than sing it - there's no words anyhow!

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  • your answer is interesting, but most teachers say that one should play with 1 and 3 (their answer does not work since if we do that we don't respect the B semi-breve) Commented May 1, 2023 at 14:44
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    You've asked 'most teachers'? I don't even know 'most teachers'. And if that's their answer, they're wrong!!! It's only natural if there's no note held under the C, but here there is.
    – Tim
    Commented May 1, 2023 at 14:56
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    @MathieuKrisztian Have you studied this specific song with a teacher? Any teacher who knows it would not recommend pedal, though they very well might recommend pedal is similar situations in other pieces.
    – Aaron
    Commented May 1, 2023 at 15:09
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    @MathieuKrisztian It's good you went for a second opinion. That teacher definitely gave poor advice.
    – Aaron
    Commented May 1, 2023 at 15:14
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    @MathieuKrisztian That's definitely true, though as I describe in my own post, I don't like 53 there, because I have to contract my hand too much and unnecessarily.
    – Aaron
    Commented May 1, 2023 at 15:17
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There is not a standardized fingering for this situation.

Were it not for the sustained B, the typical fingering would be 53 - 24 - 13; however, that obviously doesn't work in this situation.

The sustain pedal is also not an option here. The "bouncy" nature of the song means that the rests and staccatos must be clearly heard, and pedaling would obscure them.

The "blue" chord has two main options:

  1. 23
  2. 24

As discussed, finger 1 isn't available, finger 5 unduly cramps the hand, and using 34 requires a space between 3 and 4 that tends to be uncomfortable, though some pianists don't mind it.

Beyond that, which one to use is purely personal.


My most likely fingering for the measure would be (thumb on B) 24 - 53 - 24 - 53.

  • The initial 24 because that's what I would have used at the end of the previous measure for the same two notes, and since I have to move my thumb from G to B, repeating the 24 fingering gives me the easiest and most accurate result.
  • The I go to 53, because it requires a fairly significant movement from the previous chord. This helps be get a good staccato and solid beat-one emphasis.
  • 24 is next because it's the obvious next choice after 53.
  • Then 53 again, because those fingers are already in position. And since it's staccato, it's an easy setup for the next measure, where I'll want to use 135 for the first chord.
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    There is not a standardised fingering for a good many situations! Recommended ones, maybe!
    – Tim
    Commented May 1, 2023 at 15:11
  • @Tim Not in this case. It's up to the pianist.
    – Aaron
    Commented May 1, 2023 at 15:12
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    My point exactly!
    – Tim
    Commented May 1, 2023 at 15:13
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    Recommended ones, MAYBE! (maybe NOT). Sorry, I don't subscribe to standardised or, for that matter 'recommended' fingerings. Some of my students have had to, and prefer even different fingerings from each other on the same piece
    – Tim
    Commented May 1, 2023 at 15:31
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    You're digging too deeply! I agree with you here, but try to point out that it's very often the case there's no recommended fingering that would work for, say, 50%. Recommended is a poor choice. Suggested may be more apposite?
    – Tim
    Commented May 1, 2023 at 15:38

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