What are the fingerings for dominant 7th of C major? Is it 1234, 1234, 1234' 1234' 1234? Or is it 4 instead of 3? My piano teacher said something about 3 but I'm not so sure whether it's a 3 or a 4.

Please take your time to answer and reply. I have an exam in less than a week so please take your consideration to answer my question.

  • Are you talking about arpeggiated chords? – 11684 Nov 10 '15 at 9:53

Your fingering makes no sense to me. However, fingering in an exam situation is not something the examiner will be looking at. Fingering in the syllabus books is only a suggestion, although it usually turns out to be the best option for most folks. S/he only wants to hear correct, regularly played notes, so how you finger them is how you are most comfortable. Dominant 7th of C maj. could be C E G Bb, with the one black key, or could be construed as G B D F, with none. If the former, then Bb can be played with a thumb. It's usually best not to use thumb on black keys, when there's an alternative, as it's the shortest digit, and puts the hand further from the player, but as any alternative is not as good, use the thumb. Seems quite late to be considering this, with an exam a week away!


To me, your fingering makes a lot of sense; if you have to play an arpeggiated chord consisting of four notes, it would make sense to use four different fingers, so you can repeat your fingering each time the chord repeats. Now we only need to decide which four fingers (and in which order, although that should be obvious from which fingers you want to use).

If you want to arpeggiate a chord over multiple octaves, you need to move your thumb over; because of this, it would be a bad idea to use the fifth finger on the last note of the chord, since it's really hard to do a thumb-over after a fifth finger. It can be done, but if you have the choice (which you seem to have) it is just much easier to use another finger on the last note before the thumb-over. So, use the fourth finger on the last note. Since we need four fingers, we can derive that we need to use all fingers except the fifth: C = 1, E = 2, G = 3, B flat = 4. You can even recycle those fingerings for most seventh chords, except where you have a black key as the first note, on which you should avoid if possible to use your thumb.

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