I'm learning how to play the piano and I don't understand the fingering of the notes in the picture below. I'm not understanding how you're supposed to use the 2nd and 3rd finger twice. I guess that's not what this means but I'm not sure what they are trying to say. Could anyone explain the fingering they would use to play this? Thanks

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  • 2
    The answer given is correct. However, this isn't the usual way to write this--normally the bottom two notes would be written on the lower clef. What piece of music is this from?
    – trlkly
    Jan 26, 2020 at 17:08
  • 3
    @trkly: This depends on the context, which is missing from the question.
    – guidot
    Jan 26, 2020 at 21:31
  • Everything else aside, what is that from? It does not seem like anything someone teaching someone else piano would be giving as exercise. Jan 28, 2020 at 23:46

3 Answers 3


The left hand has wandered into treble clef territory here. You'll play the bottom two notes with the left hand, and the other three with the right hand.

  • 6
    This is clearly the editor's intention, but I'm sure most players would ignore that and play it with one hand (unless there's some other reason, not visible in the graphic)..
    – PiedPiper
    Jan 26, 2020 at 19:14
  • 1
    You could also mention, that the space does not permit the note heads to be horizontally aligned and so some were pushed behind.
    – guidot
    Jan 26, 2020 at 21:29
  • 1
    @PiedPiper - One possibility would be that the previous measure showing separate voices (so to speak) leading to the two-handed chord. At any rate, I'm just telling OP how to read what was written. Jan 26, 2020 at 23:29
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    Another cue is the fact that the bottom staff is empty, no notes and no rests, so the left hand has to be somewhere else. Jan 27, 2020 at 4:00
  • @aparente001 That's the kind of other reason I was thinking about. I was not trying to pick holes in your perfectly good answer, just add to it.
    – PiedPiper
    Jan 27, 2020 at 13:59

This is a chord of 5 notes:

The fingerings for the r.h. usually are written above the notes, and the fingerings for the l.h. below the notes!

There's absolutely no reason that you couldn't play this chord only with one hand c=1,d=2,f=3,g=4,a=5 (r.h.)

but you can also play a cluster of 3 tones with the fist (r.h.)

or 2 neighbor keys with the thumb (r.h.: c and d => 1, f,g,a => 3,4,5 ... l.h.: c,d,f -> 5,4,2 g and a => 1)

Mind: musicians are autonom human beings and not the slaves of any composer or editor.

Fingerings are meant as a proposition or an option. If you find your own fingerings more practicable or more comfortable so use your own ideas.

And don't forget: there are always misprints and errors in the notation of chords and (not too seldom!) in the fingerings.

But in your example the intention and indication is clear.

  • 3
    Fingering notations are really only a guideline. Not all hands and neuro-muscular systems are created alike. Jan 26, 2020 at 19:35
  • 3
    You're assuming this is in the key of C (or A minor). Since we can't see the key signature, we don't actually know. If some of these notes are sharp or flat, it might be a bit awkward to hit them all with one hand. Jan 27, 2020 at 22:04

You can tell, here, from way the numbers are written. The upper group shows 2,3,4 going up, just like the fingers on your right hand. The lower group shows 2,3 going down, just like the fingers on your left hand.

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