I'm trying to practice a song that requires me to play my right pinkie hard and my right thumb soft, but at the same time. They are an octave apart and I am having trouble playing them at different strengths. Is there any song or exercise to practice this?

Sorry if this is a stupid question, but i'm self taught so I have no idea if this is an easy fix or not.

  • I'd suggest within-hand independence pieces like Chopin's "Tristesse" etude, but then that's probably a harder piece....
    – Dekkadeci
    Feb 5, 2018 at 1:35
  • - Dekkadeci sadly that song is well out of my skill range. Thanks for the suggestion though. I will have to play it when I get better. Feb 5, 2018 at 1:47

3 Answers 3


Not really an exercise, though you could make this into an exercise:

When you need to play certain notes louder than others when playing several notes simultaneously within one hand, make sure that you lift the finger that needs to play louder higher above the keys than the other fingers. When you then play the chord so that all the fingers strike the keys at exactly the same time, then the finger (or fingers) that were lifted higher will need to be moving faster to reach the key(s) at the same moment as the fingers which started off closer to the keys. This will automatically make then louder than the other notes.

Hope that makes sense: it is easier to do (after lots of practice) than to explain!


One technique I like is the following:

Play the notes for the pimkie always twice and play the rest of the piece normally. I made a short scores, which should explain this more clearly. If the piece is written like the first bar, play it as in the second bar. Short piece for pimkie strength.

You can do the same game the other way round, by doubling the notes for the thumb.

  • 1
    I really like this technique too. One way I like to do it is to play the pinky first FF then the thumb pp stacato and repeat it several times, before I try to play both together (which is kind of the same thing but the over way around)
    – abernard
    Feb 5, 2018 at 14:27

You may try singing along the note you want to emphasize, or thinking about the sound you want before hitting the keys.

Rather than thinking of hitting a particular key stronger, which is not very pratical (specialy when you play 4-5 notes chord or when the passages are fast), it is more natural to keep the melody in your head, and it will certainly come out louder than the accompaniement.

This is what my teacher told me at the time I used to struggle with this, and it really worked on me !

I hope this is usefull.

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