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I have been learning to play the piano and the book I have has these suggestions for fingering for the chords.

fingering The piece that uses this is Take Me Out to the Ball Game

I find that it is easier for me to use my 4th finger for G7 after starting off with the 1st exercise in Hanson. Is this ok or should I used my 3rd finger, which is stronger but feels more like a stretch?

chord progression

Moreover, what I noticed is that if I use my 4th instead of my 3rd finger above (highlighted) for the D chord, I wouldn't have to move my hand. Just my fingers. This seems to be better for transitioning but I am curious if there is anything to learn by playing with the suggested fingering.

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Fingerings are suggested. But suggested by whom? It's as if we're all standard size, which we all know is absolutely incorrect. So one-size-fits-all is not particularly useful.

Said it before: part of the fun of practice/learning a piece (on piano in particular, but often, guitar) is to work out one's own fingering. That makes it more personal, as well as making it easies for one to play. Bear in mind that certain parts will only work with one particular fingering - maybe that's why it was suggested.

Any given fingering is purely a guide - a start point. At least you've begun questioning given fingerings, and realised that maybe they aren't the optimum for you. Great!

However, there are some times when the fingering can only be done one way, particularly fast pieces and complex changes of direction. These are where the suggested fingerings are a very good place to start. You may work out a 'better' pattern, which could let you down once the piece is up to scratch. But, by and large, work out what suits you and your hands and fingers best, and stick to that.

But above all, when learning, try to find a good finger pattern, and stick to it. That way, you'll learn the piece far better than just using a random fingering each time.

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  • Is impossible to sometimes eliminate the gap between the chords played when shifting the left hand? I am asking for when I get to the complicated pieces and have to use the suggested fingering. Nov 14, 2023 at 15:30
  • In the last paragraph, when you say that I should try to find a good finger pattern, and stick to it, are you saying that I should have fingering for practicing just the chords on their own and then try to fit this fingering in the new pieces I play? This sounds like a contradiction of what you said earlier. Nov 14, 2023 at 15:37
  • Moreover, should one be able to figure out fingering on the fly when they look at a new piece or is this something that you have to sit down and figure out by trying out different finger? Nov 14, 2023 at 15:41
  • Difficcult. In the early stages, where I think you are, you'll need to methodically work through fingering, and some of it will filter through to later pieces. After 65 yrs of playing, it's rare I have to think about which fingers go where, with new pieces, and thus chords. But you have to bear in mind the different inversions you may use, and also how to get from one chord inversion to the next, maybe different chord and its inversion.Listening to what you're doing is paramount,and the only way that's going to happen is to play lots,and be very critical, and know every chord/ its inversion.
    – Tim
    Nov 14, 2023 at 17:46
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    So, yes, eventually, you'll be able to do it all on the fly, but it may take years - or I'm a very slow learner... But there are still occasions where I need to sit and think how to finger certain parts. it's never ending!
    – Tim
    Nov 14, 2023 at 17:47
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Fingering should be comfortable and should connect with what comes before and after. Suggested fingerings may also need to be modified for small hands, though that doesn't seem to be the issue here. You seem aware of these principles.

'Easy' music editions often suggest close-position block chords in the left hand. Sometimes this will be designed to trigger an auto-accompaniment feature on a home keyboard. But if you're PLAYING all the notes, this sort of voicing should be questioned. After the melody, the next most important musical element is a strong bass line. The chords can then be filled in, but preferably NOT as sustained blocks in the upper bass range. That's muddy and boring!

Which of these do you feel you should be aiming for? enter image description here

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  • could you clarify what you mean by "sustained blocks in the upper bass range." and also why doing so is "muddy and boring"? Nov 14, 2023 at 15:28
  • Sustained blocks refers to playing left hand chords in "standard position," such as C E G for a C chord or B D F# for a B minor. In other words, playing a peice of music and never using inversions. This may have been confused with the topic of Suspended/Sustained chords where the 3rd is raised, but that is not the case here. Nov 15, 2023 at 7:30
  • Playing left hand chords all in root position is widely regarded as "Muddy and boring" because the alternative (Inversions, arpeggiations, and incomplete) sounds better. Inversions are not only used to make playing easier, but also because in many situations, they enhance the sound, preventing it from being boring. It's a stylistic choice. Nov 15, 2023 at 7:34
  • As for Muddy, playing block chords in left hand can be overwhelming. Bass notes such close together can start to sound dissonant, even if they aren't, or overall distort the chord's quality. Often, beginning pianists will play octaves of the bass note or chord tonic instead of a full chord in order to achieve the same effect with more clarity of tone. Nov 15, 2023 at 7:36
  • "Sustained blocks refers to playing left hand chords in "standard position," such as C E G for a C chord or B D F# for a B minor. In other words, playing a peice of music and never using inversions." You've invented the term 'standard position' for 'root position'? No it doesn't. A block chord just means it's in close position. It can be an inversion.
    – Laurence
    Nov 15, 2023 at 13:07

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