I'm playing a piece on piano which contains the following two-voice rhythm for the right hand: two-voice rhythm with dotted quarter note in the lower voice and sixteenth notes in the upper voice.

The piece is at a relatively rapid tempo, around 120 BPM. I currently finger the chord as 1-2-3-5 and play the fast notes with the pinky finger.

However, I'm struggling to perform this rhythm at speed. Since I need to hold down the lower notes from the chord with my 1-2-3 fingers, I find myself using purely my pinky finger for the repeats, which is quite weak and slow.

One thing I've tried was to rotate my arm and wrist so that the pinky is as low as possible on its key and it helps a bit, but with my thumb on a black key, I have to rotate a fair amount, to a point of some discomfort.

Is there a better way to handle this part?

  • Would it ruin the sound to use the pedal? Also, can you reach the B with finger 4? Sep 14, 2023 at 19:15
  • 4
    Please add the left hand part to the image.
    – Aaron
    Sep 14, 2023 at 19:16
  • It's not very pianistic. Is it a reduction? What's the left hand doing? If it's occupied then you do need a middle pedal to sustain the chord. I personally would look the musical director defiantly in the eye while omitting the first B but playing the others very crisply, using 5, 1, 3, 5 Sep 15, 2023 at 10:56

1 Answer 1


I see no purpose in holding down the lower three notes, when they could be pedalled - either with sustain of sostenuto pedals. That then leaves the pinky free to play the top note each time, or even move the hand across and use the stronger ring finger. Using a pedal will hardly affect the top notes, as they all get played in time.

  • 1
    Holding the damper pedal while playing notes will start a big humming sympathetic resonance. Sometimes it's just what the piece needs but other times not. If it was intended, there would be a pedal marking.
    – ojs
    Sep 15, 2023 at 7:05
  • @ojs - it would with the sustain pedal, but not with the sostenuto. One could always half-pedal, depending on what else is going on, which it seems we're not party to.
    – Tim
    Sep 15, 2023 at 8:03
  • that's why I specifically mentioned damper pedal. But there are a lot of pianos without sostenuto pedal out there.
    – ojs
    Sep 15, 2023 at 8:13
  • @ojs - seems to depend on which side of the Atlantic one is.
    – Tim
    Sep 15, 2023 at 9:27

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