I'm having a little difficulty in perfecting the following accents in Chopin's Impromptu. (Here's the sheet music I'm referencing for those interested. )

If you look at the following picture, you'll notice how the acccents are placed at on the first note of each set of 4 in the right hand. This is rather natural to play and doesn't come with much difficulty (especially considering it's played with the thumb, which usually is rather strong.)

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However, later in the piece Chopin mixes it up and places the accent on the second note of each set of 4.

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This is where my difficulty appears. Maybe it's because I have a weak 5th finger, but I just cannot seem to get the same amount of emphasis on the accented note as I did in the previous bars where the accent was on the first note. (Especially at the high speeds at which this is supposed to be played.)

As I type this out I realize that the best solution may be to simply work on strengthening my 5th finger with various exercises. Any recommendations for any specific exercises or tips for playing this piece of music?

  • 1
    How are you playing it? From the finger? Or stiff finger and wrist rotation with a bit of forearm?
    – user16935
    Jan 24, 2016 at 6:44
  • You can practice clenching your pinky+ring fingers and also strengthen them by carrying jugs of milk or water with them.
    – sova
    Jan 26, 2016 at 6:15
  • 3
    @sova brilliant. :) Now excuse me while I go reattach my pinky. It's still clutching the milk jug.
    – codedude
    Jan 27, 2016 at 3:52

2 Answers 2


Keep in mind that, in that second passage, you're looking for a melodic phrase with that second note that imitates the melodic phrase in the first note in the earlier passage. So there are some deeper subtleties than just playing all the accented notes equally. Even in that second passage, you need to keep the idea of a primary accent on the first note and a secondary one on the third note, as in any standard 4/4 passage.

As Kilian says, it is more a matter of getting the passage soft enough and still having the control to accent the top note with the 5th finger. Now, I do this by raising my 5th about two inches from the key and dropping it, with a slight arm supenation (about a quarter inch) to get added force.

One of the other technical difficulties with this accented note is that it doesn't fall at the same time as any note in the left hand (in this case, 1/3 of a 16th note before the second 8th note in the left hand). The thumb accent falls at the same time as the first note in the 8th note triplet, of course. It's another detail you have to account for in working out the passage, and it can trip you up if you're not paying attention.


There is no need to strengthen your R5 for this passage.

It's not a question of force, but of control. This is a piano passage, so what you should so is reduce the energy in the three remaining notes. Then the highest note will automatically sound accented.

But even if you did have to increase force on the highest note, you wouldn't do it with an isolated finger movement, but in combination with a fitting wrist and arm movement. Practice the proper arm gesture, and your finger doesn't have to much more then in any other passage of octaves.

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