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I'm going to start practicing diminished scales on the piano, but don't want to ingrain incorrect fingerings into my muscle memory. I've found major and minor scales to have pretty standard fingerings for instance C Major is shown as 12312341 most everywhere I look.

Surveying diminished scale fingerings however has confused me as the first 3 websites I found all had different fingerings: This site says to think of them as two stacked tetrachords and to play them that way ie. 12341234 And then this site and this site have completely different fingerings.

I realize in some cases fingerings are subjective or different depending on hand size (I have longer than average fingers). Is that the case with the diminished scales or what are the advantages for a particular fingering? ie speed, theory, etc..

  • I would say that it is very context dependent: do you start or finish half-way the scale, where do the black keys come up in the fingering etc. Regarding black keys, for example, I like to put my longer fingers there (2, 3 and perhaps 4). Try and find what works good for you, in particular with respect to relaxedness: the less cramped things feel, the better. – user18490 Jul 11 '16 at 6:29
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There are no rules on this sort of thing, it's far too subjective. Why rely on someone else's idea? Why not try out a few of your own. There are not that many options.Usually, thumbs come in far more usefully on white keys, whereas the longer fingers, usually middle and ring work more effectively on the farther away black keys. But that's not a rule, and rules can be broken.

Whatever works best for your hands and fingers is YOUR best way, so give some options a go. I've seen what I would consider really weird fingerings for some piano playing, often used by self-taught players, but actually they work for those people, and I sometimes think 'actually, that's very effective, but no traditional teacher would show that, as it's not the norm'.

Has the internet taken all of the pioneer spirit out of us?

  • I think there's a valid idea behind this question: experts might see pitfalls that beginners want to avoid. For example, once a beginner's technique improves, a certain fingering might limit their speed. That's the sort of info I think apricity is seeking. (While the ultimate decision might be personal, it's not all subjective. For example, no one will suggest a fingering of 1-2-1-2-1-2, etc. and there are objective reasons to avoid it.) – jdjazz Dec 6 '18 at 22:43
  • I agree somewhat. To become an expert needs one to try out all possibilities, eventually finding a personal best way, and realising other ways that could be better for others. Being passive, and relying on others isn't as effective as eliminating all the possibilities. It's called experience. Discovering what works for you is part of the journey, and while that can have shortcuts, there's no reason why some of those missed out ideas wouldn't work for someone. Thus - 'diy'. Obviously some fingerings don't work well - for everybody - but that's part of the fun, finding out yourself. Downvoted? – Tim Dec 7 '18 at 8:17
  • We agree on a lot, but I did downvote because I don't think there are "no rules" or that it's "far too subjective." To me it sounds like you're saying there are universally bad fingerings and there's a finite number of fingerings that could work. I think it would be really helpful to list the fingerings that generally work (excluding the ones that definitely don't work), and perhaps explain the reasons why someone would prefer one finger over the other. – jdjazz Dec 7 '18 at 23:15

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