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Being a pretty experienced player, I admit I still wonder what fingering you can use for left hand for measures 17-22 ?

For example, when making the huge transition A-F-A at measure 17-18, would you rather use 1-4-5 or 1-5-5 ?

How do you handle this passage in general ?

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Note: Internet advice on piano fingering is always suspect, since it comes from random people all over the world, who probably have completely different physiognomy, experience and attitudes than you do.

That said, these left hand figures are clearly intended to be played with one position per group, even though they span more notes than the average hand. I would always play 5-2-1-5, 5-3-1-3 or similar combinations for each group of four, since these groups are the units you have to learn to understand the passage (they also tend to correspond to the chord changes). (It doesn't hurt that my left hand span is way above average.)

That means that when the entire group shifts between bars, yes, you would use the same finger twice in succession on very remote keys. Obviously it helps to play these groups slightly unequally to buy yourself a little extra time for the position shift, but overall it's just much easier and more comfortable to practice one general pattern of movement for all these similar bars than to invent special-case solutions for all the places where the general solution creates local difficulties. Interpreting an entire sonata movement reasonably is very much a case of the big picture being more important than the niggling details.

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  • Which results in playing a bit faster on left hand for this part, basically ? – Blue_Elephant Apr 6 '16 at 12:22
  • By "unequal" I mean that the note before the horrendous leap from 5 to 5 will end up sounding a little earlier than theoretically correct, and the one after a little later than theoretically correct. Small deviations like this aren't harmful, in fact they add expressivity if you know you'll need them and plan for them. – Kilian Foth Apr 6 '16 at 12:40
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I assume you are talking about the bars with LH notes

.... F C A F | A Gb Eb A .... |

Using 4 on the last F in the bar doesn't buy you anything, since it's a weak finger and most likely you still can't reach the bottom A from that hand position. Either use 5 and then "jump" down to another 5, or use 3 (or even 2) on the F, with your hand already moving down to play bottom A.

Concentrate on getting the big hand and arm movements right, and then use whatever finger happens to be nearest the F at the right time to play it.

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  • Getting "whatever finger nearest" seems a bit harsh to me... It should dramatically increase the error rate, doesn't it ? – Blue_Elephant Apr 6 '16 at 12:24

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