I am an experienced composer with moderate piano skill. I've only taken a handful of piano lessons. My limited piano skills usually suffice to get me through playing what I need to as I compose. A particular bass figure has me stumped, though.

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I'd like to be able to play this figure with my left hand at a decent tempo (q=120 or faster), but I keep stumbling over my fingers. The figure begins A-minor-ish for a beat then shifts to C-minor-ish, and then it repeats. (Or you could view it as most of an octatonic scale.) I can play the first beat by itself, and the second beat by itself. But how do I bridge the two beats together? The second bar (after the repeat) returns to white keys, which is much easier. Any ideas?

3 Answers 3


I’d suggest something like this:

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This is quite comfortable to play and can be played quite fast, and the transition between measure 1 and measure 2 is really nice two (as the first pattern ends on 2 and the second starts on 1). This would look something like this (the position is a bit awkward: as I’m trying to play while holding my phone ...):


Beginner pianists are often given blanket advice to avoid thumb on black keys, but for an ostinato like this is would definitely go with 4321 4321. (Unless this is all you have to play, in that case I would simply sit farther to the left and go 2123 1234 with my right hand!)

  • Or - 1st 4 l.h., 2nd 4 r.h., etc..?
    – Tim
    Jun 8, 2023 at 13:16
  • If it were all I had to play, I would definitely two-hand it! Alas, the right hand is busy, too :)
    – nuggethead
    Jun 8, 2023 at 16:22

I would try 4321 4321 4321 5432 1231 2345 1231 2345.

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